OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice Release Candidates Duke It Out

Oracle-owned OpenOffice.org and independent LibreOffice are both nearing their freely available 3.3.0 versions and show their wares with recent release candidates. Commercial OpenOffice.org 3.3 was released by Oracle last month at a licensing fee starting at $49.95 for the Standard Edition, but has yet to release the freely downloadable version for home and small business use. That version has reached RC9, which is said to probably be the last development release before final. On the other side of town, LibreOffice has been releasing development versions as well with the latest being RC3 on January 13, which is rumored to be its last before final as well. LibreOffice has gained popular support probably primarily due to breaking from Oracle control and ownership while offering largely equal functionality.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 RC9 didn't introduce any new features this late in the game, but instead concentrated on bug fixes. OpenOffice.org 3.3 will bring some nice new features since the 3.2 stable branch. Some include new free fonts that will make it more compatible with Microsoft Office prepared documents, password protection for some formats that were previously wanting, increased Calc support for up to 1,048,576 rows and colored tabs, new common search box integrated into toolbar, improved print dialog appearance and added options, expanded dictionary support, redesigned thesaurus, and more options for changing case. SVG image format support will not be included until 3.4.

LibreOffice 3.3 RC3 was released on January 13. In an earlier interview a representative from The Document Foundation stated there would be very little divergence from OpenOffice.org their first release. New developments and features should begin appearing in 3.4. Instead, a lot of work has been going into the foundation and supporting infrastructure.

Charles H. Schulz, former OpenOffice.org contributor and current LibreOffice Steering Committee member, recently outlined some of these developments. The Document Foundation has joined the OpenDoc Society, who promotes free and open standards such as ODF. The LibreOffice Website has received a facelift. Final drafts of the LibreOffice Community Bylaws and TradeMark Policy have been posted. The Bylaws define the internal organization of The Document Foundation such as community contributions, Board obligations, and membership details. Some trademarked terms include The Document Foundation, TDF, LibreOffice and LibO. Work has begun on incorporating The Document Foundation. Plans to attend Open Source conferences such as FOSDEM and SCALE are being made. Finally, OOoAuthors had changed their name to ODFAuthors in preparation for including LibreOffice in manuals and documentation.

A recent poll on Tuxmachines.org found that 37% of respondents plan to switch to LibreOffice right away, 49% plan to at least test it, and only 5% plan to stay with their current office suite.

______________________

Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of tuxmachines.org.

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LibreOffice Retains WikiMedia Export Feature

John Concilus's picture

Hello,

One thing that LibreOffice has retained that Oracle has dumped is the automatic conversion of Word, Excel or ODT / ODS documents into wikitext format for MediaWiki. I don't see this feature listed on the feature tally for either software package, but just verified it again in both.

For those of you working with MediaWiki please be aware that there is no longer even a plug in or extension which allows wikitext conversion for OracleOffice (OpenOffice).

So, our organization is switching across the board to LibreOffice as our recommended Office alternative. We do a great deal of wikifying around here. ;-) Go LibreOffice.

John

Calc

Gonzalo's picture

I really don't know the final differences between OOo and LO 3.3. Maybe in the future they evolve a little different (I doubt, since the code is open, they will both nourish on the goods from each other).
For now, I hope they solve a Calc bug, when applying filters on a large spreadsheet, it freezes all under Ubuntu, at least.
Live long open offices!

features desired

YetAnotherBob's picture

I don't trust Java or Mono. Both are vectors for viruses. If one of these could run all functions with neither untrusted language, it would be my choice. current OOo uses Java. Go-OO used Mono. A lot of the developers who jumped over to the document Foundation came from Novel. If Mono came with them, then I will stick to the other one.

Trusting Java/Mono?

Huggy Bear's picture

Better not trust C, either. It is a vector for viruses and rootkits.

Difference??

jelabarre's picture

I *really* don't get all this fuss about whether LO is stable compared to OOo. It's a fork of EXISTING code, just with a changed product name. LO 3.3 would be just as stable as OOo 3.3 (probably more so, since the major developers of OOo went to LO). It's more a needed political change, not a ground-up rewrite of the entire application.

As for Oracle's pay version of OO; wasn't that what they used to call "StarOffice"? Which is why I didn't understand Oracle's attitude about OOo wanting to move to a more open structure. StarOffice is Sun/Oracle's commercial product, just the same way IBM Lotus Symphony is IBM's commercial product derived from the OOo codebase. If Oracle had been smart (which it appears they aren't) they would have welcomed the chance to step away from the sole responsibility of hosting OOo while also developing their own commercial product. But it appears Oracle would prefer to be a-holes than allw something to potentially benefit anyone else, even though it would also benefit them quite a lot.

Fork

Anonymous's picture

Yes, LO is a fork, I agree. But as such it tends to diverge. Here is my question again: has anyone tried moving really big and complex documents from OO to LO and vice versa?

What will it be like 5 years from now? Oracle's behavior is indeed regretable. But is the forking the right answer, rather than trying to somehow unite the forces?

"Commercial OpenOffice.org

larsen's picture

"Commercial OpenOffice.org 3.3"

Official name for commercial product is "Oracle OpenOffice 3.3", so without ".org" extension.

Switching Now

Anonymous's picture

It's in the ArchLinux repos so I'm pacman -S ing it now.

emk

Just switched two days back

Srini's picture

Just switched two days back and its been a sort of relief.

MS ribbon

Anonymous's picture

Most everyone says they hate the ribbon toolbar, and I do too, but the younger generation LOVES it. They absolutely hate working in MS Office 2003. Like was suggested, someone will have to come up with a nicer fancier way of doing things to capture the 'looks title.'

My biggest problem with MS Office is that there is no menu. How can I help someone over the phone with no menu? FF4 took it off, but it's back now in beta9 - big relief there for me.

MS ribbon

Anonymous's picture

That one with the phone support is quite a clever argument. Of course the Ribbon is the most stupid thing under the sun!

MS ribbon

Anonymous's picture

Most everyone says they hate the ribbon toolbar, and I do too, but the younger generation LOVES it. They absolutely hate working in MS Office 2003. Like was suggested, someone will have to come up with a nicer fancier way of doing things to capture the 'looks title.'

My biggest problem with MS Office is that there is no menu. How can I help someone over the phone with no menu? FF4 took it off, but it's back now in beta9 - big relief there for me.

Hmmmm

flywheel's picture

I'll switch when my distribution does the switch - which is later this year, according to the plan.

This also means that my girlfriend will switch on her WinXP machine - well she has no choice :o)

Live long and prosper...

Live long and prosper...
flywheel

What about compatibility?

Anonymous's picture

Who knows how well you can transfer documents between LO and OO? Who has tested it? I have had problems even between various versions of OO in the past. MS, of course, is by no means better.

To test it, you need to take documents with lots of complex tables and graphics.

One sure way to crash ANY office program is try to copy and paste a web page to it.

Have fun!

One sure way to crash ANY office program is try to copy and past

The Mad Hatter's picture

Never had any problems doing that with either Open Office, Libre Office, Pages, or even Word back when I was still working, and it was the company standard.

Just curious - what OS are you using?

Crashing

Anonymous's picture

I am using alternatively Windows XP and Linux. Windows more often (at my employer).

Mind you, it is the application which crashes, not the OS. Either Word or OpenOffice. I have never tried LO yet.

I print web pages very often, more than anyone else and when it does not work, I copy them to Word or OO, tidy up and print or even archive as a file. They do crash quite often, both Word and OO. So I think this is an easy acid test.

When the text processor crashes and I want that web page badly, I try another one until I succeed. So sometimes I even get to the trivial ones like WordPad or AbiWord.

Just print to PDF

MacManLinuxLova's picture

When using Linux you should be able to just "print to file" and select .pdf, this works for sure in ubuntu/Linux Mint. On the Windows side you can use a FREE tool called "CutePDF". My question is: "Why not just print to a PDF?" I really believe this should make your life a lot easier. For the record I use Windows 7 & Linux Mint 10 (@ work), Mac OS X 10.6 & Linux Mint 10 (@ home). Hopefully this helps.

does everything I need before

ofis koltuklari's picture

does everything I need before I leave OpenOffice behind.

for the Free Software

ofis koltuklari's picture

for the Free Software community.

Wayne aka The Mad Hatter

http://www.casella.com.tr

http://www.guzelsozlerrehberi.com

Both are running fine, with

ofis koltuklari's picture

Both are running fine, with LibreOffice having no problems with any opened archived documents and installed extensions.

Let me repeat: NO RIBBON please

apexwm's picture

The ribbon in MS Office stinks. It is a waste of space, and mainly all it does is create huge buttons for things we already know about. Microsoft tries to innovate, but sometimes this can backfire which in this case I believe it did, again. I can do without the fancy buttons. The classic toolbar with rollover hints is perfect. Menus have been around since the 1980s, they work great, let's not ruin a good thing here.

I am hoping that if the team decides to implement a ribbon interface, that there be an option to switch the view back to the regular menus with toolbars.

New Features LibO 3.4

Iveen Duarte's picture

Multi-level sorting is very much needed, now only a 4 level sort is supported, find duplicates, subtotals with different formula per group, as opposed to a single formula currently implemented. Better support for MS compatibility, now some formatting is lost when docs are open in MS.

That and some bug fixing an we will be good ...

something has been around a

ofis koltuklari's picture

something has been around a long time doesn't mean it is wrong, I love the old interface/toolbars as is. It works, it is clean and it is what we already know.

Bug in LO

Anonymous's picture

I have been using LibreOffice often, and noted that there are a few differences with regard to OpenOffice 3.2.1. Notably, some table borders defined in OOo do not appear in LO RC3. Although I use OOo/LO intensively, I'm a normal, non-technical user, and I wanted to report this bug. However, I simply do not have the time to read and understand all the protocol for bug reporting. I wish there was a simple, straightforward way for lay people to report bugs, as for example, a simple e-mail address (e.g., bug_reporting@something) to which one would send freely written reports. Technical personnel in LO would then read and select the relevant reports.

go here: bugs dot freedesktop

jdksoe's picture

go here:

bugs dot freedesktop dot org

It's not that complicated but can be quite intimidating at first.
Basically you describe what happens and what you would expect to happen.

The title should be short and succinct so someone looking through a lot of bug reports can easily get an idea of the nature of the problem.

The body should be something like this:

A short description of the problem

Your specific system (os, version, app-version, other possibly relevant info). It you have a specific document that illustrates the problem it can be uploaded.

steps to reproduce the bug (it makes it a lot easier if someone else can just take your description and actually reproduce the problem, rather than guessing at what exactly you did to trigger it.)

The result of those steps (i.e. the bug)

The expected result.

Then, if it's not done automatically, make sure you are notified or keep yourself informed about any update to the bug report. Developers may ask for more information which you should be prepared to provide.

Bug in LO

Anonymous's picture

I have been using LibreOffice often, and noted that there are a few differences with regard to OpenOffice 3.2.1. Notably, some table borders defined in OOo do not appear in LO RC3. Although I use OOo/LO intensively, I'm a normal, non-technical user, and I wanted to report this bug. However, I simply do not have the time to read and understand all the protocol for bug reporting. I wish there was a simple, straightforward way for lay people to report bugs, as for example, a simple e-mail address (e.g., bug_reporting@something) to which one would send freely written reports. Technical personnel in LO would then read and select the relevant reports.

Something to compete

Weatherman's picture

I think that we can all agree that a copy of the MS ribbon is probably not going to be seen, honestly why would we want to cause MS to be breathing down our backs for something else.

One thing I feel does need to be said, we need innovations to compete. After all the resounding "Me too!" argument is used all to much in Linux.

Please GUI designers of LO make something fresh, innovative, and fast.

Simple as this: Where did MS and OO fail in it's GUI design? Can we capitalize on their failures?

All I got, thanks

I'll switch when my

Franknbeans's picture

I'll switch when my distribution makes the switch, which is inevitable. I'm lazy and the easy option is to let it come through a package manager with no extra work on my part. I welcome the change when it gets here.

Ribbon was the stupid idea of Microsoft

Hunkah's picture

I am using LibreOffice. I have installed it on 15 of my friend's computers already. I gave them the "freedom" sermon and they all agreed that they like the idea behind LibreOffice better.

As for the ribbon interface, everyone I talk to hates it. "Confusing" is the general opinion. Just because something has been around a long time doesn't mean it is wrong, I love the old interface/toolbars as is. It works, it is clean and it is what we already know.

Already there

Rubberman's picture

I have already installed LibreOffice 3.3 (build 4) and am about to nuke OOo (go-oo.org version). So far, just fine! Keep up the good work folks! I am going to make a donation to LO as soon as I have a spare dime... :-)

Free Software Darwinism

The Mad Hatter's picture

This is an excellent example of Free Software Darwinism. The competition between Open Office and Libre Office will drive innovation to a newer and higher level. The fork is in my opinion good news for the Free Software community.

Wayne aka The Mad Hatter

Using both...

revdjenk's picture

I have LibreOffice on two machines I use and two other host OpenOffice. I see little difference. Both are running fine, with LibreOffice having no problems with any opened archived documents and installed extensions.

I am anxious to see what differences will spring from this competition!

But please... NO RIBBON!

Value screen state! Say no to

Anonymouses's picture

Value screen state! Say no to "ribbons".

I want a ribbon :(

Anonymous's picture

I want a ribbon :(

The Ribbon rocks! It takes 1

Anonymous's picture

The Ribbon rocks!
It takes 1 day to get used to, and then you never look back. You can hide it with a double click - instant distraction-free environment - and then call it back with a single click when you need controls and formatting. After working with the ribbon toolbars look so clumsy and 20th century. Let users have choice. Some like the ribbon and will use it, others will switch it off and use the toolbars.

OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice Release Candidates Duke It Out

Jean Chicoine's picture

I'm with the 37% who would test out LibreOffice before using it for good. Although I'm a Linux user (I abandoned Windows more than 4 years ago) and I'm all for open source, I still want to make sure that LibreOffice does everything I need before I leave OpenOffice behind.

I agree

BradSmith0101's picture

I agree, I'll definitely be testing it out. It seems it's gaining some real support, so I'll go with the masses.

Oh, and not to be picky, but you're the 49%, not the 37%.

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