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Compared and Contrasted: OpenOffice V. LibreOffice 294

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the forks-and-spoons dept.
GMGruman writes "Oracle's imposition of fees for some OpenOffice capabilities caused some of the venerable open source office suite's creators to head out on their own and create LibreOffice as a truly free OSS tool. InfoWorld's Neil McAllister reviews the two OSS productivity tools side by side to figure out where they differ, and whether you can jettison Oracle's OpenOffice safely for the fully free LibreOffice."
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Compared and Contrasted: OpenOffice V. LibreOffice

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  • Printable version (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Here's the print version [infoworld.com] (all one one page instead of four). There's still ads, but it's better.
    Also, frist psto?

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:12PM (#35223128) Homepage

    (Read the print version of the article on one page. [infoworld.com] It's one of those "short article spread across many ad-heavy pages" crap sites.)

    The article just compares the feature lists. It's not clear if either is better from a bug standpoint. A big problem with OpenOffice is that it tends to crash too much. (Especially, for some reason, when exiting.) Also, OpenOffice had some features written in Java, but they were optional. Did LibreOffice get rid of the Oracle Java parts, replace them with something, or what?

    It's encouraging that LibreOffice is around. I've been using OpenOffice since 1.0, and haven't used a version of Microsoft Word later than Word 97. OpenOffice in its later incarnations isn't bad, although it still, after ten years, has an amateurish feel to it.

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:19PM (#35223192)

      The article just compares the feature lists.

      This isn't true at all. While their testing was very limited they notes several bugs where the specs claimed a feature would work, but did not actually function or was inaccessible.

      Also, OpenOffice had some features written in Java, but they were optional. Did LibreOffice get rid of the Oracle Java parts, replace them with something, or what?

      If you had RTFA you'd note the discussion of needing to download the JRE if you used LibreOffice in order to get some features to work. So, no, there is still a dependency. You'd also note the JRE comes bundled with OpenOffice, but is an out of date version.

      OpenOffice in its later incarnations isn't bad, although it still, after ten years, has an amateurish feel to it.

      Agreed. It really needs some good paid developers from Canonical or Redhat or someone to do proper usability assessment and testing, and then rework the UI and other relevant parts of the code.

      • by icebike (68054)

        Downloading a JRE doesn't seem that big of a deal. Most people have that installed already.

        The review specifically stated:

        I found no difference between the two offerings either in performance or stability. Neither crashed on me, even when handling documents designed to put productivity apps through the wringer.

        That is my assessment as well. I've never seen any crashes on either version.

        I agree that the UI puts things in odd places, and some things are done in un-obvious ways.

        But basically I disagree with the author's "amateurish" assessment. That is pure Microsoft speak there, which translates into "Not all the things learned from years of swearing at Word translate to either of these packa

        • by tverbeek (457094)
          "I agree that the UI puts things in odd places, and some things are done in un-obvious ways." Sounds like a description of Microsoft Office to me.
        • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @03:27PM (#35223936)

          I agree that the UI puts things in odd places, and some things are done in un-obvious ways. But basically I disagree with the author's "amateurish" assessment. That is pure Microsoft speak there, which translates into "Not all the things learned from years of swearing at Word translate to either of these packages".

          Comical, but fair. User interface design is so often done poorly in the computing world that calling terrible usability amateurish is not really fair. Individual mileage may vary. I'm, perhaps, overly harsh because I use OS X as my default desktop, only resorting to Ubuntu or Windows when I need specific software for that platform or that only runs well on that platform, or when testing on multiple platforms. As such, most of the software I use inherits a lot of good usability defaults from the dev tools and native UI widgets. OpenOffice has always ignored OS X native UI, however, concentrating instead on consistency across platforms and ignoring both the UI issues this causes and the functionality offered by OS X to native programs, which OO and LibreOffice cannot use (system services for example). This makes it seem like a usability disaster on OS X, when in truth it is just another poor to average usability program, badly ported to an OS it was clearly not designed for.

          As for OO versus MS Office, I had a fun interaction at work where a co-worker was demanding MS Office because they did not like the supplied OO. When they obtained it, it was the new version with a completely different interface than they were used to and they ended up switching back in short order. Personally, I've used both about the same amount and curse at both equally. Word probably takes the cake for hellish UI design choices, but Calc is pretty close.

          • by Belial6 (794905) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @04:49PM (#35224752)
            Don't kid yourself about OSX. You may like it, but it has it's own share of UI disasters. Some like having the Trash and Eject be the same UI target were a dumb idea from day one. Some, like having all of the menus at the top of the screen made sense when we were on low resolution single screen systems, but are detriments in multi-monitor high resolutions systems, and some of them are brand new bonehead decisions like choose to use a green plus for a button that will shrink the screen.
            • by cforciea (1926392)
              I personally am enraged every time I hit enter on an application and it sets me up for renaming the icon. I mean, really? That's what I am going to do so frequently that it deserves one of the biggest buttons on my keyboard? That's what passes for intuitive?
        • Interestingly, LO crashes randomly when saving a document while OO does not. Maybe it's a fluke on my system, but that's how it is. Drove me crazy until I decided to try OO, not believing that it would actually help. Using OS X SL.
        • by gad_zuki! (70830)

          >Downloading a JRE doesn't seem that big of a deal. Most people have that installed already.

          Its a huge deal. Most people don't have it installed. There's very little reason for more end users to have java.

          On top if it, if you read about the main vectors for malware, you'll see java vulnerabilities top the list. Having to install java and increasing your attack surface by a ridiculous degree isn't worth it for any office product. Imagine if MS forced people to install silverlight, slashdot would be havin

      • If you had RTFA you'd note the discussion of needing to download the JRE if you used LibreOffice in order to get some features to work. So, no, there is still a dependency. You'd also note the JRE comes bundled with OpenOffice, but is an out of date version.

        Can it not run with OpenJDK? IIRC that's what I installed to get it running on my Ubuntu laptop...

        • Can it not run with OpenJDK? IIRC that's what I installed to get it running on my Ubuntu laptop...

          I don't know as I haven't tried. Google says there are some fairly serious bugs doing so, but it may depend upon your OS.

    • by jfengel (409917)

      The main thing I've seen is that it seems to open a lot faster. That's just anecdotal; I haven't used a stopwatch and I only have a limited set of machines. But I'm used to downloaded Excel spreadsheets taking tens-of-seconds to open, especially the first time. (I don't like fast-starters because they make the already interminable Windows startup even slower.)

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        The main thing I've seen is that it seems to open a lot faster

        Which one opens faster?

        Anybody reading this, can you spare me from having to read the fucking article and just tell me if LibreOffice is better than OpenOffice? I'm in the middle of Dead Space 2 and I don't have time to mess about with reading articles.

        Thank you.

        • by jfengel (409917)

          I found LibreOffice to open faster than the previous version of OpenOffice. But like I said, anecdotal.

          Summary of the article: On a feature basis, they're practically identical. Lots of small changes that matter if you care about that particular bug/tiny feature but no dramatic reason to switch.

        • by melikamp (631205)
          I use calc only, and I found that LO already fixed some small annoying shit, like erasing cell content instead of bringing up a wizard when I press Delete. Small things like that in UI, and numerous improvements under the hood [libreoffice.org] make LO a clear winner in my eyes already.
        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @06:10PM (#35225552) Journal
          LibreOffice incorporates all of Novell's patches. A lot of these were related to improving startup time, mostly by turning static initialisers into lazy initialisation, but also by tweaking the linkage so the dynamic loader doesn't have to spend so much time resolving symbols. Most of the others are related to improving MS compatibility, and depending on who you listen to are either vital to adoption or are a MS-spawned patent trap.
    • Did LibreOffice get rid of the Oracle Java parts, replace them with something, or what?

      The article says that LO does support Java, but you need to download it separately (licensing issues?). Certain features (database for one) require Java, but for basic Word/Excel clone stuff, you probably don't need it.

      • by Machtyn (759119)
        I was surprised that I had to get the JRE after installing LO on Windows 7. That was just to open LO's Writer.
    • I have a few different versions of OO 3 and recent proof that more than paranoia keeps me from updating all to Oracle's.
      Why? My much-changed resume is a native Oracle OOo 3.2 file created in Ubuntu is having a problem I never saw while it was Sun's property. I just spent the last quarter hour seeking help for cross-platform corruption but found no relevant bug reports or solutions. It's the third time that the native format and the exported DOC file can't be opened in Windows' OOo and MS's Viewer --PDFs are

  • Tl, dr (Score:2, Informative)

    by Noughmad (1044096)

    To summarize the summary of the summary: They're the same.

  • Outlook (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:16PM (#35223156)
    Neither has an equivalent to Outlook. I would think that the corporate lock-in to Outlook would be a strong message to OS writers that this is a big opportunity. I keep hearing from MS Office users that they'd ditch Office in a nanosecond if there was a competitor to Outlook, but since there isn't they don't bother moving to the OpenOffice/LibreOffice half-offering.
    • by jbolden (176878)

      There are lots. Zimbra in particular and many more [wikipedia.org].

    • Mozilla Thunderbird or Mozilla seaMonkey or Mozilla Classilla (mac) or Mozilla Spicebird are all alternatives to MS Outlook for email and usenet access.

      • Re:Outlook (Score:4, Informative)

        by 0racle (667029) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:30PM (#35223314)
        Outlook is more then just a e-mail reader. Corporate support for Outlook and nothing else is from running Exchange as their collaboration suite. Nothing works better with Exchange than Outlook and replacing all the functionality of Exchange/Outlook is not easy.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by icebike (68054)

          replacing all the functionality of Exchange/Outlook is not easy.

          Nor even remotely necessary.

          • Nor even remotely necessary.

            While I agree with you. Try asking your boss if he/she can work without outlook/exchange. Or you could just try taking it away form the "suits" and see how fast you hit the unemployment lines.

            Just to get back on topic. Here is a shout out for my favorite exchange replacement Kerio connect. http://www.kerio.com/connect/download [kerio.com]

            • by icebike (68054)

              Well, what I was getting at is there is a lot of functionality in Exchange/Outlook that is not needed, seldom used, designed for specific markets. Like every other Microsoft product, everything thrown at it sticks, and crappy functionality leads to code bloat.

              Kerio and several others try to cut to the core needs. Instead of replacing everything they provide the essentials.

              • by Vancorps (746090)
                Given the topic being Exchange/Outlook, would you care to enlighten us as to what functionality is seldom used or designed for specific markets? Let's be clear, we're talking about current solutions of which only the Oracle collaboration suite I've seen can hold a candle to it, maybe.... maybe by a long shot Notes but they both have many of the same problems and in the case of the collaboration suite don't even attempt to remove Outlook from the equation.
          • Re:Outlook (Score:5, Informative)

            by BitZtream (692029) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @03:05PM (#35223696)

            It is if you want to replace Outlook.

            My company makes sells a service which can be used from within Outlook via an COM addon. A couple things I can tell you about Outlook users.

            They aren't using it for email only. Those people quickly go switch to something that doesn't suck at reading email.

            Sales people LIVE in Outlook. Contacts, notes, scheduling, reminders, workflow, document management, CRM and sales process are just the first and obvious things that come to mind. Every one of our customers that uses Outlook in a corporate environment has multiple plugins installed before we even get to them. These plugins make Outlook a client for some other system in their company and typically roll it all into one client reasonable well for the more well established plugins.

            To put it bluntly, as much as Outlook sucks for Email, it is in a class all by itself when it comes to being a PIM for someone in a large company.

            Nor even remotely necessary.

            What you utterly fail to understand is while you think Outlook is an email client, you have absolutely no clue how people actually use it in the real world. You're just spouting off random crap because you think you understand what Outlook is used for, when in reality you don't. Its not a email client, its a PIM with a large feature set that you actually DO need to mimic if you expect people to use something else.

            There isn't a Outlook/Exchange replacement, I've been looking for years. If it wasn't needed or people didn't want the features of Outlook, people would use something else in large companies ... but look around, it doesn't happen unless.

            I haven't even touched on server side features.

            With all that said, I freaking hate Outlook and Exchange, they are big over complicated piles of crap that need to be replaced by an open alternative, but thats not going to happen until the OSS world stops trying to change the way people use software like Outlook into their model and instead tries to make software that fits what those users want. That won't happen until someone can make money off it as its a very big project to take on.

            • by Machtyn (759119)
              There are a few things that Microsoft does very well that the OSS world hasn't had the ability to duplicate. Excel is one. It flat out beats Calc for advanced functionality. I still use Calc. Outlook/Exchange for all the reasons the parent just detailed. I still use Thunderbird. I haven't really made an in-depth research for an OSS/FLOSS alternative for shared address books, notes, and calendars that integrate seemlessly with Thunderbird. I've seen a few that have made the attempt and haven't quite s
            • by ckaminski (82854)
              All my issues with Exchange died the minute Microsoft gave up on the whole X.500 addressing bullshit and built decent SMTP support into it. IMHO Exchange has been getting better and better as it ages.

              Something I'm not sure I can say about SQL Server.
              Fricking .Net Enterprise Manager... grumble grumble.
      • Re:Outlook (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529@NOsPaM.yahoo.com> on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:42PM (#35223442)

        *facepalm*

        Zimbra, as has been mentioned before, is among the closest I've seen, but the list you wrote are NOT outlook substitutes.

        I know a LOT of Outlook users, and NONE of them have ever listed Usenet as a necessary feature. If you're going to list Thunderbird as a viable alternative, you'll then by definition have to also list Windows Live Mail, since techncially it does do e-mail. ignoring user familiarity and data lock-in, here's what you're missing:

        -Exchange support - yes, Exchange does POP3 and imap, but device sync, user policy and dozens of other backend features make it a staple in many server rooms. Again, there are FOSS alternatives, but "just because" isn't a good enough reason to ditch a perfectly working exchange server for a product many sysadmins don't know how to use (and "well they should" is a load of crap if their organization isn't using a non-exchange product already, and most of us have better things to do in our day like work on the actual Exchange server). There's also Blackberry server, OWA, and a swath of other things in the exchange ecosystem that the alternatives simply can't compete with yet.

        -Calendar features - Sunbird is great, and has decent Thunderbird collaboration, but it's nowhere near as fluid. Meeting requests, room scheduling, and 'presence' features are just a few things off the top of my head that my office would crucify me for if I switched them to something else.

        -Instant search of large mailboxes - can any of the applications you list do near-instant, as-you-type searches of inboxes that are 20GBytes or larger? heck, how do they handle mail of that volume? It's not as ridiculous as you might think, I've got several users with PST files that large.

        Outlook has its issues (the fact that PST repair utilities exist is telling of one of them), but at the end of the day, I've yet to see an e-mail program of the FOSS variety that can compare to Outlook. Zimbra is pretty close, but it still comes up short - ask anyone in my office.

        • Your argument is reminiscent of those who argue LibreOffice and Ubuntu Linux can not be used as replacements for MS products either.

          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            Outlook gets used as a "all in one" app by many corporations. This does not tend to happen with Excel or Word. As long as you can export a Word or Excel compatible document from whatever alternative you have, you can use that in the corporate world. But email/calendar/contacts equivalents to Outlook don't interoperate very well, especially when someone in IT has decided to add some integration features, use custom Outlook forms, and so on.

        • -Instant search of large mailboxes - can any of the applications you list do near-instant, as-you-type searches of inboxes that are 20GBytes or larger? heck, how do they handle mail of that volume? It's not as ridiculous as you might think, I've got several users with PST files that large

          Yes I do that every single day with Thunderbird on a crappy laptop and it works just fine. I have 9 years of hourly automated test run reports in a single folder. They are all indexed so I can search them all in a snap.

        • Please learn to space your text properly. Reading your comments is terribly annoying with all that extra whitespace.

          Other than that, I agree with you :)

        • by ckaminski (82854)
          Outlook does not search instantly - it requires a plugin on XP, and the built-in indexing services in Windows 7 to function.

          And Google Desktop seems to search better, though it is uglier.

          Outlook has presense/resource scheduling down, and it's integration with Lync is going to be a killer app for a lot of businesses.

          those businesses that integrate with Outlook via plugins and apps (of the VBA style) - those are the people you'll never be able to migrate and the FOSS world just doesn't have competitors for.
    • Re:Outlook (Score:5, Informative)

      by kabloom (755503) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:28PM (#35223288) Homepage

      Nobody's integrated an Outlook substitute into OpenOffice because Outlook is very different from the other office applications (which are all centered around creating documents of various types). Outlook is focused on connectivity, mainly email, address books, and calendars and the open source world has had a full stack for these capabilities for a long time. The recommended way to replace Outlook is with open protocols (IMAP, LDAP, CalDAV), but if you need Microsoft Exchange support, that's available too. One can use Evolution as a substitute for Outlook.

      • by Byzantine (85549)

        One can use Evolution as a substitute for Outlook.

        Maybe I'm alone here, but I won't use Evolution until it supports recurring tasks. And since that particular bug [gnome.org] has gone unclosed for over eleven years, I'm not holding my breath. Well, not anymore.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        This tends to require that the entire company make a conscious effort to allow alternatives to Outlook. Ie, you need IT buy in, and no one is more pro-Microsoft and anti-user-choice than IT. It requires buy in from everyone so that they don't go and create some automation script that requires others to use an Outlook form. It means that when you hire new IT people you need to make sure that they're ok working in a company that is not 100% Microsoft.

        Sure, everything can start off wholesome. But over time

    • Evolution?

    • by Doomdark (136619)
      And why would an office suite have an email reader? Just because Microsoft thought it a good idea doesn't mean it is...
    • by syousef (465911)

      Neither has an equivalent to Outlook.

      Outlook is terrible. Don't believe me? Try getting a list of your next appointments INCLUDING RECURRING for the next 2 weeks. The only view that does it within Outlook is the clunky calendar itself. The list views do not. The only way to get around this that I know of is to export the data to Excel. And don't get me started on stability (though how much of that is plugins isn't clear to me since I don't run Outlook at home).

      Outlook has to be one of the most over-rated pieces of software on the planet.

    • Agreed. As an open source software advocate and user, I'm always wondering when someone with the skills required will write a proper replacement for Outlook's non-Email capabilities. That is to say, I don't value Outlook as an E-mail platform at all. Its the bundled crap they threw in after the failure of Schedule+ that's become nearly necessary in business circles.

      PS Evolution is terrible in comparison.

  • by commodore6502 (1981532) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:17PM (#35223162)

    They are the same.
    - except LibreOffice doesn't come with Java for the database
    - and LO has some new stuff like SVG and MSworks/WordPerfect file support

    I wonder how GO-oo and LibreOffice compare?

  • by kabloom (755503) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:23PM (#35223240) Homepage

    OpenOffice and LibreOffice are both fully free. The difference between OpenOffice and LibreOffice is who's in charge, and whose contributions are getting accepted.

  • Not looking back (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike (68054) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:26PM (#35223268)

    At work we (and some of our customers) switched to OOO about 3 years ago, and for the types of documents (including some rather large manuals) it works just fine, and imported all of our old documents, from multiple different versions of MSOffice and Word.

    When the devs jumped ship, we jumped with them to LibreOffice, retaining just a few seats of OOO in our customers shop, because they already paid for support contracts. But reports are that they have not been happy with what little help they got. The phone techs knew less than our people.

    There are some missing functions that MS-Office users wish were available, and maddeningly well hidden features as well as stuff that just does not work. But these were not mainstream functionality that we needed in our shop.

    LibreOffice is currently every bit as good as OOO, and in some ways better. Going forward, all the wet-ware is in their corner, and Oracle will probably take a year bringing replacements up to speed before any serious bugs can be addressed, let alone new features. (Although nothing will stop them from feeding off of the efforts of LibreOffice).

      LibreOffice probably needs to think about a revenue stream for the future. I'm fine with that. Let those who absolutely have to have support contracts in place (for what ever reason) foot the bill.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NortySpock (1966236)

      LibreOffice probably needs to think about a revenue stream for the future.

      They have a funding drive going on right now. [documentfoundation.org]

      They have a lot of people on their side, but the real issue will be paying down the technical debt in the codebase. It really needs an overhaul.

      • They've added some of the debt to their Easy Hacks [documentfoundation.org] page ; I had a crack at some of the more mundane tasks like removing defunct macros with shell scripts.

    • How has the support for vbscript macros been for you? Do you get document that use a lot of vbscript in them? I know from experience that regular files with vbscript built into them keeps a lot of companies tied into MS Office. Usually it's RFPs from vendors that have vbscript doing calculations. These must be used or you don't get the work.
  • Ho Hum article. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:26PM (#35223272)
    I haven't yet used LibreOffice, but I have been using OOo and NeoOffice (the Mac-native version of OOo) for years, and on the whole, I'm pretty happy with both. I'm a bit curious as to why TFA's author doesn't bother to mention NeoOffice. One glaring error I did spot is on the 3rd page of TFA where it is mentioned that Libre now supports SVG. All versions of the code have in fact done so for some time.

    No doubt we shall shortly see posts from the Microsoft shills bagging OOo and variants, but the simple truth is that for 99.9% of purposes, the FOSS offerings are perfectly adequate.
    • by Temposs (787432)

      Open Office(and I assume LibreOffice) have offered a Mac native version for some time. For instance:
      http://download.openoffice.org/contribute.html?download=mirrorbrain&files/stable/3.3.0/OOo_3.3.0_MacOS_x86_install_en-US.dmg [openoffice.org]

      So as far as I know, NeoOffice is a bit obsolete at this point, if its only goal is to provide a Mac-native version of OOo.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Does OO.o (or LO) have support for the Track Changes feature yet? I not only use that multiple times per week at my sfotware development job (for reviewing specifications and test plans), I couldn't even have made it through one of my college English classes without it as the professor used this feature to send feedback to students. They didn't require that you have a copy of MS Office - you could use the computer labs, which included it - but they expected that you could access a reasonably complete set of

      • Track changes, as in who made what alterations to the document (additions, removals, etc.) shown visually? Writer has had that feature for a few years at least.

        As to footnotes, I've never had an issue with those in OOo, but MS Word destroyed entire documents (as in start from scratch because it no longer loads) when editing foot notes, and repeatedly replaced inserted images with big red X's, and other "fun" things to drive me to the brink. OOo has not been flawless, but it's treated me a lot better over th

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:44PM (#35223464) Journal

    As far as I know, Libre Office is based mostly (entirely?) on Novell's Go-oo. So this review compares OpenOffice with the much extended and improved Go-oo, which has better multilanguage support, a larger clip-art collection and better MS Office filters. Yes, this kind of article should have been written a long time ago, way before Libre Office appeared, because Go-oo deserved more exposure.

    Better late than never.

  • by dskoll (99328) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:57PM (#35223588)

    I recently switched from OpenOffice to LibreOffice on Debian. LibreOffice is mostly better, and the SVG import is a killer feature for me.

    However, the one really bad thing about LibreOffice is that "Help" is essentially non-functional. It opens up a LibreOffice help web site that is incomplete and difficult to search. OO's built-in "Help" feature was much better. I don't know why LibreOffice took it out (licensing restrictions, perhaps?)

  • Unfortunately Libre Office still needs some work. While it is now technically possible to save in .docx, saving to .doc causes the application to crash quite often. We have had a number of users that set .doc as their default (for compatibility with their clients outside our office) and they have been reporting that the entire application just quits on save quite frequently. It is able to recover the document the vast majority of the time, but it is definitely an annoyance. We are currently trying to determ
  • FTA "It seems most of the new development for LibreOffice is being done on Linux, with Windows as only a secondary platform."

    And how's that feel?

  • LaTeX (Score:4, Informative)

    by SwedishPenguin (1035756) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @07:02PM (#35226080)

    I've never really seen much of a need for an "office suite". LaTeX is much better at producing documents, spreadsheets may be of use for some minor calculations occasionally but for the things many companies use it for, a database would be better suited for the job. For presentations I recently discovered the powerdot package for LaTeX, it really works great and it's very easy to produce presentations that actually look good unlike the ones I've tried making in OO Impress...

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