LibreOffice is replacing OpenOffice because Oracle own OpenOffice and OpenOffice cannot be open if it is owned. How does LibreOffice compare to OpenOffice plus the main alternatives including Abiword and Microsoft Office?
This comparison is based on LibreOffice 3.3.2 on Linux versus OpenOffice 3 on Linux and Windows XP plus Abiword on Linux and Windows XP plus Microsoft Word on Windows XP.
Add comments listing any features you use that are different between LibreOffice and OpenOffice or that are incompatible between LibreOffice and either OpenOffice or Microsoft Word.
Update 2013 I no longer use Abiword. Recent releases of LibreOffice have a faster first start time and recent releases of Abiword have frequent errors. Both applications currently have serious defects but LibreOffice fixes the errors fast due to all the people working on it.
Update April 2013LibreOffice 4.0 is available, has really fast first start time plus better interfaces to Mozilla products. LibreOffice 4.0 produced no errors during my tests. I did not find any gaps in the settings or options for the LibreOffice Writer.
Abiword has several advantages over the competition and they are listed next. The main disadvantage is the lack of fancy features you need when you build a big document.
I do use Abiword for one off documents because Abiword loads faster than anything other word processor. I do use abiword because it runs on every useful operating system. I sometimes switch to OpenOffice because a feature is missing from Abiword.
Abiword does have a new collaboration feature to help several people edit the one document at the same time. I have not tried the feature.
- Fast. Small. Light. Efficient programming.
- Compatible. Reads almost everything.
- Collaboration. Multiple people editing one document at the same time.
- No Java.
The original king of word processing was Word Perfect then Microsoft Word knocked out Word Perfect. OpenOffice is starting to push Microsoft Word away but OpenOffice is severely limited by some political and commercial decisions. LibreOffice might reduce the political resistance to OpenOffice.
Not open. OpenOffice was owned by Sun then Oracle purchased Sun and owns OpenOffice. Some people trusted Sun but do not trust Oracle. LibreOffice was started as a reaction to the oracle ownership of OpenOffice.
OpenOffice uses Java. Java was owned by Sun then Oracle purchased Sun and Oracle now owns Java. Hopefully LibreOffice will remove all traces of Java from OpenOffice.
LibreOffice is now the default office application for the Ubuntu and Fedora distributions of Linux. The change appears premature due to the lack of LibreOffice languages and some advanced features. Ununtu 11.4 is still at the beta stage and might be depending on LibreOffice catching up with Ubuntu. Fedora has LibreOffice planned for a new release that will be months after Ubuntu and will use all the work performed on LibreOffice for the Ubuntu release.
Features to test
The last time I compared Microsoft word and OpenOffice for a large project, there were some incompatible features stopping us from mixing the two on the one project.
Microsoft Word had a revision marking system so long ago that I cannot remember the first time I used them. The first OpenOffice writer, the word processing part of OpenOffice, did not have a revision marking system. Then OpenOffice gained a revision marking system but not a compatible one. When you switched the same document in Microsoft Word and OpenOffice, the revision marks disappeared.
The tests for revision marking would include the following documents. The latest Microsoft Word is supposed to open the OpenOffice open format file.
- Create a Microsoft Word document (old format), add revision marks, then open the document in LibreOffice 3 and OpenOffice 3.
- Create a Microsoft Word document (new XML format), add revision marks, then open the document in LibreOffice 3 and OpenOffice 3.
- Create an OpenOffice 3 document (default format), add revision marks, then open the document in Microsoft Word and LibreOffice 3.
- Create a LibreOffice document (default format), add revision marks, then open the document in Microsoft Word and OpenOffice 3.
In each case you could try multiple switches between applications with some revision mark changes in each application.
Repeat the revision marking tests and insert images instead of revision marks. Insert an image in each common format, JPEG, PNG, and TIFF.