OpenOffice.org vs. LibreOffice: Page 2

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In the last few months, many of those working on locales in OpenOffice.org have shifted their work to LibreOffice. Under these circumstances, it is unsurprising that LibreOffice has updated all its languages, and revised the local data for twenty, and updated the dictionaries for another dozen.

Import filters for files from other word processors are also a major feature in LibreOffice. After years of OpenOffice.org users requesting support for MS Works formats, LibreOffice finally provides it. In addition, LibreOffice users can now import Word Pro files, and use an improved WordPerfect import filter. And while OpenOffice.org can only import files from Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010, LibreOffice can also save to them -- a feature that is controversial among free software supporters, but likely to prove convenient for casual users.

Other LibreOffice features offer more flexibility to users of Calc. Under Tools -> Options -> LibreOffice Calc, uses can now choose to use the old familiar OpenOffice.org keybindings, or LibreOffice's enhanced set. For those who want greater compatibility with MS Excel, the options also include a new Formula dialog, where they can choose the default syntax for formulas, choosing from the default OpenOffice.org ones or two Excel-compatible alternatives, as well as the separators between elements within formulas.

Other enhancements in LibreOffice include a new – and, from the viewpoint of a user of page styles, unnecessary – dialog for creating a title page, the bundling of several extensions such as the Presenter Console as part of the standard installation, a couple of additional narrow fonts, and an option for an experimental mode in which you can preview features still in development (not that there appear to be any yet).

Advantage: LibreOffice

Comparing the two releases, you have to conclude that, while LibreOffice developers were not too proud to borrow OpenOffice.org code, OpenOffice.org developers saw no reason to do likewise in return.

That seems short-sighted, because while even LibreOffice's new version is not a major release, it is far more substantial than OpenOffice.org's. With more attention to language support, compatibility, and future developments, the LibreOffice code supports the contention that its developers and organizers have been making for the past few months: LibreOffice definitely seems to be listening to users and considering their needs more closely than OpenOffice.org.

This situation will probably not last. To stay competitive, OpenOffice.org will probably be forced to borrow code from LibreOffice sooner or later. But, at least until the next release, if you want the most advanced free software office suites, then you want to download LibreOffice -- not OpenOffice.org.

ALSO SEE: OpenOffice.org and the Unnecessary Ultimatum

AND: Goodbye, OpenOffice. Nice Knowing You.

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Tags: open source, Linux, enterprise software, Office, OpenOffice.org

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