OpenOffice 4 vs LibreOffice 4.1 for Mac
October 21, 2013 7:28 AM   Subscribe

I noticed there's a new version of OpenOffice out and was wondering if the hive had determined what the best choice for a free, Microsoft compatible office suite for OS X is: Open Office, LibreOffice, or something else

Stability, MS Office compatibility, and use of OS X UI conventions would be at the top of my requirements list.
posted by gwint to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Libreoffice came with the most recent iterations of Ubuntu, so that's what I've been using for the past couple of years. It's very similar to Office Office (it's a forked project, so no big surprise) but it feels a little better and user friendly to me. Compatibility strikes me as a little better, too. I recently did a pretty heavily footnoted piece and it translated over to MS Word fairly well.
posted by jpe at 7:45 AM on October 21, 2013

I set up LibreOffice on my mom's new PC when I visited her last week. I had some problems with Excel documents that were linked to one another. I fixed the links in person easily enough but now they are apparently broken again and I am out of town. So now I am pretty close to saying 'fuck it' and telling her to just buy Office.
posted by mullacc at 8:01 AM on October 21, 2013

As I understand it, OpenOffice is no longer being maintained, while LibreOffice, which was forked from OpenOffice, is still being actively maintained. I've used OpenOffice for a while now, but I just downloaded LibreOffice yesterday, and, while I haven't tried to do anything more complicated than open .doc files, it seemed at least as good as OpenOffice.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:21 AM on October 21, 2013

Response by poster: No, I think OpenOffice is still alive and well, they just released a major update (v4) and a minor bug release for it (4.0.1)
posted by gwint at 8:46 AM on October 21, 2013

Response by poster: Heck, I dunno, maybe everyone's just using Google Docs nowadays?
posted by gwint at 8:46 AM on October 21, 2013

OpenOffice was owned by Oracle when they bought up Sun. This caused a fork which begat LibreOffice and a migration of many (most?) developers. Eventually Oracle gave OpenOffice to the Apache Foundation but by then momentum had long been with LibreOffice.

LO have cleaned up the codebase and fixed many bugs, I doubt that OO can ever catch up and the best thing they could do IMHO is donate the name to LibreOffice and close up shop.

None of which says much about compatibility. In my experience there isn't even full compatibility between OS X Office and Windows Office. I would keep both (OO, LO) around and test, but devote most of my energies to learning LibreOffice.

If your primary interest is spreadsheets or presentations, then get Office.
posted by epo at 8:58 AM on October 21, 2013

Almost every single developer has moved to LibreOffice.
posted by devnull at 9:03 AM on October 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

LibreOffice is the best-in-class right now.

That said, if I really need compatibility above all else and to be totally assured that nothing will break while sharing an image- and formatting-heavy document among four other co-authors, I use MS Office. (Actually, it's even worse than that since I'm on Linux: I actually virtualize Windows in order to run Office. Ridiculous, I know.)
posted by en forme de poire at 10:55 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I used OpenOffice for years, and didn't want to change to LibreOffice unless I had a compelling reason to.

Then, about a year and a half ago (early 2012) I could not open a PDF in OpenOffice. I tried LibreOffice, it worked flawlessly, and OO has been gathering dust ever since. It's pretty clear that the LO team cleans up the code and makes a lot of under-the-hood improvements. I am not a power user of LO, but I certainly appreciate stability and responsiveness.
posted by Xoebe at 12:29 PM on October 22, 2013

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