Is it time to abandon LibreOffice/OpenOffice and go back to MS Office instead?
posted by Zelos to Computers & Internet (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Years ago as a student, I abandoned MS Office in favour of OpenOffice because it was free, lighter on resources, and it had a print-to-PDF function. Since then, I've stayed on the ship, switching over to LibreOffice within the past year or so because I've heard the code is updated more often. It's stable, light on resources, and although it has been kind of annoying to consult Google for functions that are located in different menus/places than MS Office, it's been fine. I've heard people extolling its virtues on the Internet as a program coded as a cohesive suite, but it hasn't made any difference in my life as an end-user.
To be fair, my usage has been reasonably light--I rarely use styles or anything at that level; mostly just random typing, a few simple title pages for assignments, columns here and there. Although I know plenty of functions, I haven't found the need to consistently use them. There were some thing I noticed Word (MS Office) did better (snapping to edges for images, neatness of the track changes function), but it wasn't enough for me to consider going back to a software I have to pay for.
Recently, in doing an assignment for a part-time class I'm taking, the instructor required us to do use styles and track changes. I discovered the first problem I had with LibreOffice here.
---Specifics of the bugs I discovered that you may skip--
The instructor sent us a document written in word, we made changes, and it seemed fine after I did track changes and applied styles...but after I saved it, closed it, then reopened it, I discovered that the new words I added in remained along with the old words I deleted, changing a document that was 80% cohesive into a pile of gibberish.
I.e. Imagine that the original sentence said "I ate a hot dog", I changed it to "I ate a delicious
hot dog sausage", and although it looked fine when I SAVED and CLOSED the document, upon reopening it it looked like "I ate a delicious hot dog sausage". This applied to all changes I'd made to the document. No amount of reinstalling, updating versions, reapplying styles, and troubleshooting helped. Headers and footers also tended to disappear/duplicate weirdly (this is a known bug, although Google has not eluded any info on the other problem). Styles, although not problematic, also seemed easier on MS Word.
Anyway, this isn't really a question on bug reports, I just thought I'd give context.
---End bug report---
I had previously edited a friend's Word doc without trouble (to be fair, it was just words, no styles, header/footer, or anything fancy). But after the above debacle, I'm starting to wonder if it's time to go back to MS Office. For better or for worse MS is the standard across all industries. I'm starting to do more writing stuff (starting a grant-writing volunteer gig at the end of the month, hoping to also do more stuff in the future) that may be transmitted to various users, and maybe it's not worth sticking to a software that might have compatibility issues with the standard, open-source love and decent coding be damned. The fact that I might have further assignments using similar functions (and possibly running into similar problems?) is also a concern.
Developers, users, and all professionals: have you seen professional users stick with Open/LibreOffice? Is is viable in terms of compatibility? Do you find distinct advantages of Libre/OpenOffice that MS Office doesn't have? Other thoughts?