LibreOffice after one and half-years as an open source office productivity suite has grown from being just a fork of OpenOffice.org (OOo) and emerged as an independent tool for those who prefer the openness and scope of work copyleft offers over claustrophobic copyright licenses and proprietary software. Following the game-changing split and backing by The Document Foundation (TDF) LibreOffice has over 25,000 code commits and 330 contributors. Secondly, it has over 15million Linux OS users, a further 10 million users are split between Microsoft (90-percent) and Mac OS X (5- percent).
Even as these numbers speak of the domination of LibreOffice over the Office tools segment, there is room for thought, that it will soon break critical mass and move and become the most used office suite as Microsoft Office looks traction because of two major aspects – the phenomenal prices at which each version of the suite is sold and the claustrophobic licensing factor. In contrast LibreOffice, encourages and engages in the opposite, offering any number of downloads and use for almost the same set of tools – for spreadsheets, database creation, Math or desktop publishing. Despite paying due credit to Microsoft’s more mature platform and dedicated development input, the increase in contribution and excellent open governance model is fast moving LibreOffice to streamline its suite and offer a great package.
Additionally, there are umpteen limitations Microsoft Office struggles with – Document Sharing, technical support which is handled by trained office desk personnel as against developers who offer hands-on solutions for LibreOffice suite users. Another very vital and potentially dangerous issue is that of security. Every time Microsoft Office has a security-hole, and there have been many, users are typically unaware of the lurking dearth as they are not informed of such issues. Microsoft usually tries to patch them with standard security updates that they offer.
Interface on LibreOffice is its mainstay; frugal, minimalistic but highly functional and easily accessible. Microsoft’s ribbon interface, though now spread over all its products remains an acquired method.
Microsoft Office is limited to running on Windows or Mac. LibreOffice’s advantage is that not only will it run on other platforms, Windows, Linux or Mac, it actually runs on legacy hardware as well, which is simply not possible with Microsoft Office.
Perhaps, where LibreOffice truly delivers is its agility. With great implementation- in terms of algorithm, architecture and language, minimal layers and a integrated minimal program that LibreOffice has truly delivers on the speed over Microsoft’s Office.
LibreOffice 3.5 includes template creator for Writer, tweaked better performing Calc and elliptical arcs; Additionally, LibreOffice is to be available for tablets and a browser launched online LibreOffice suite. And for commercial users, LibreOffice is to offer integrative features for Microsoft SharePoint.
A recent development in this direction is Intel’s open move to encourage LibreOffice code improvement and offers download via Intel website. SUSE, in fact developed the Windows version of LibreOffice. Intel in fact, is considering adding LibreOffice to its AppUp Center providing users a great alternative to use vendor neutral productivity suite.