What is the best free (open source) Office software for Mac Snow Leopard?
October 7, 2012 1:30 PM   Subscribe

I just installed a new hard drive in my older (early 2008, 4 GB ram) macbook pro laptop and installed Snow Leopard. I need an office application, something like Open Office. What's the best current "stable" version of this OSS software for Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard)?

OpenOffice has been forked and renamed and improved and abandoned so many times by so many teams, it's hard to keep track of which project is the most current one, most stable one (which is not necessarily the same project, LOL). On my older drive I had NeoOffice, but that was installed 3-4 years ago on 10.5.8, and I don't know how to pick which Office version to install on the new drive.
posted by jcdill to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have anything to compare it to, but you could probably do a lot worse than LibreOffice. I was just using it in my grad program's Linux lab, and it was surprisingly nice and full-featured.
posted by The Michael The at 1:36 PM on October 7, 2012

LibreOffice forked out of OpenOffice after Oracle bought Sun. Oracle is known for kind of being a dick, just generally speaking -- so a lot of core contributors left with LibreOffice. I would install LibreOffice.
posted by wrok at 1:45 PM on October 7, 2012

Thirding LibreOffice; I understand it to be the mainstream descendent of OpenOffice at the moment, and I've used it for a few minor tasks on SnowLeopard and been satisfied.
posted by hattifattener at 2:01 PM on October 7, 2012

LibreOffice is the big, well-supported, well-regarded iteration of OpenOffice. I hesitate to call it a fork - technically that's true, but I believe at this point OpenOffice is fading from the limelight and LibreOffice is the big kahuna in a good way. LibreOffice is updated frequently and has a fairly well-laid-out release schedule. It's a very professionally-done software package.

As of today, the stable release of LibreOffice for Mac is 3.6.3. That's a link to the current English (US) version, but they have installers for many platforms in many languages. As a software package that is maintained in a very professional manner, they always make it easy to find the most up-do-date version, rather than the version confusion that used to plague some OSS programs. And I believe that it does a good job of prompting you to upgrade (if you want) when a new stable release comes out.

Side answer: you said "I need an office application." This is not OSS, but give Google Docs a try. I've completely replaced LibreOffice with Google Docs because it's just so much easier to use and makes working on a variety of devices (different OS's, mobile phones) a breeze. LibreOffice was a great MS Office replacement a year ago, but after a month of using Google Docs I don't think I'll ever install LibreOffice again.
posted by Tehhund at 4:39 PM on October 7, 2012

Thanks! I'm downloading LibreOffice now. (I understand the reluctance to call it a "fork" but you all understood what I meant - whatever is the latest current OSS version of what was once OpenOffice.)

Google Docs isn't a suitable solution for me as I don't always have high speed network access. I need to be able to access and work on my files when I'm not online. Plus, I want my files on MY computer.
posted by jcdill at 4:46 PM on October 7, 2012

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