OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and MS Office -Confused?

OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and MS Office -Confused?

A friend of mine recently posted that she was having problems with OpenOffice not working as well as it could. It surprised me that she was still using OpenOffice. I realized a lot of folks are confused about word processor choices. Here is my take on the history and choices of word-processors.

In the dark ages prior to Y2K for most of us there was only one real word processor -WordPerfect. Then Microsoft came out with Word. While WordPerfect still exists, Word quickly took over the word processing world. Both Word and WordPerfect were closed source and pricey.

In 1999 Sun MicroSystems bought a little known commercial office package called Star Office. In 2000 Sun released it as OpenOffice and made it a freely available opensource application. Development of this replacement for Word, PowerPoint, Excel and etc continued under Suns support. Then Sun was purchase by Oracle. Oracle had no interest in OpenOffice and donated it to Apache Software Foundation. From there the OpenOffice saga gets confusing. If you are really interested in that, you can see the Wikipedia page on OpenOffice.

While the development of OpenOffice became stalled in 2011, A related project LibreOffice continues the legacy of OpenOffice with active development. Right now LibreOffice is compatible with documents created with the current MSWord, Excel etc. Unlike Microsoft Office it is free and intended to be used on your local computer, not from the cloud. There is a full review of LibreOffice at ZDNet The-Best-Office-Suite-Gets-Even-Better

The install process is quite straightforward for users with PC, MAC, or Linux. PC and Mac users can download LibreOffice from their web site. Linux users will likely have it preinstalled or available from their version of the app-store.

So if you would like to stop using cloud software that could be tracking your every move or just dont what to pay a monthly fee – give LibreOffice a try. And if you are still using OpenOffice you should upgrade to LibreOffice. (And yes your OpenOffice format documents should open fine in LibreOffice.)

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