In the world of open-source software, LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org are two popular office suite choices. However, you may have noticed that LibreOffice is often the default option in many Linux distributions. This article will delve into the reasons behind this preference, discussing the history, development pace, licensing issues, and feature sets of both software packages.
LibreOffice is the default instead of OpenOffice.org due to several reasons. These include the creation of The Document Foundation and the fork of OpenOffice into LibreOffice, LibreOffice’s rapid development pace and stability, licensing issues with OpenOffice, the better feature set and compatibility of LibreOffice, concerns about Oracle’s reputation, and the lack of motivation for distributions to switch back to OpenOffice.
A Brief History
OpenOffice.org, often simply referred to as OpenOffice, was once the go-to open-source office suite. However, when Oracle Corporation acquired Sun Microsystems, the original developers of OpenOffice, in 2010, many developers and users became concerned about the future of the project under Oracle’s stewardship. This led to the creation of The Document Foundation and the fork of OpenOffice into what we now know as LibreOffice.
Development Pace and Stability
One of the primary reasons LibreOffice became the default over OpenOffice.org is its rapid development pace. The Document Foundation has been consistent in releasing updates, bug fixes, and new features, making LibreOffice a more stable and up-to-date option for users.
In contrast, the development of OpenOffice has been relatively slow, with fewer updates and new features. This slower pace has resulted in LibreOffice offering a more advanced feature set and better performance.
Licensing and Open Source Philosophy
The licensing issue is another crucial factor. When Apache Foundation took over OpenOffice, there were concerns that the next version might change the license, potentially causing issues for distributions that included it. On the other hand, LibreOffice, under The Document Foundation, has remained committed to the open-source philosophy, ensuring that the software remains free and open.
Feature Set and Compatibility
LibreOffice offers better file type support, including older file types and improved support for Microsoft Office’s .doc and .docx formats. This broad compatibility makes LibreOffice a more versatile choice for users who frequently work with various file types.
Furthermore, LibreOffice has a smaller memory footprint, making it a more efficient choice for computers with limited resources.
Oracle’s reputation as a company that is not always friendly to open-source projects also played a role in the shift towards LibreOffice. Changes made by Oracle to several open-source projects, including OpenOffice, led to concerns about the future of these projects. This further encouraged the adoption of LibreOffice as a safer, more reliable choice.
Why Not Switch Back to OpenOffice.org?
Given the faster development pace, better feature set, and stability of LibreOffice, most distributions have seen no reason to switch back to OpenOffice. The development team behind Apache OpenOffice is not in a hurry to catch up, and there is speculation that OpenOffice may eventually be discontinued.
In conclusion, the preference for LibreOffice over OpenOffice.org as the default office suite in many distributions is based on a combination of factors including development pace, feature set, licensing, and the reputation of Oracle. LibreOffice’s commitment to rapid development, broad compatibility, and the open-source philosophy make it a robust, reliable choice for users and distributions alike.
LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org are both open-source office suites, but LibreOffice has a more rapid development pace, better feature set, broader compatibility, and a stronger commitment to the open-source philosophy.
OpenOffice.org’s popularity declined due to concerns about its future under Oracle’s ownership, slower development pace, and licensing issues. These factors led to the creation of LibreOffice and its subsequent adoption by many distributions.
Yes, LibreOffice is completely free to use. It is an open-source software that is distributed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) version 3.
LibreOffice is available for multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux distributions. It is not limited to just Linux.
Yes, LibreOffice has improved support for Microsoft Office formats, including the ability to open and save files in .doc and .docx formats.
Yes, LibreOffice has a mobile version called LibreOffice Viewer, which is available for Android devices. It allows users to view documents created in LibreOffice on their mobile devices.
Yes, LibreOffice can be used in a professional setting. It offers a comprehensive suite of office applications, including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and database software, making it suitable for various professional tasks.
While LibreOffice is not directly integrated with online office suites like Google Docs, it can still work alongside them. Documents created in LibreOffice can be exported to formats compatible with online office suites, and vice versa.
Yes, LibreOffice is capable of handling large documents and complex spreadsheets. However, the performance may vary depending on the resources available on your computer.
Yes, LibreOffice is an open-source project, and contributions are welcome. You can contribute to the development, documentation, localization, and testing of LibreOffice through The Document Foundation’s website.