Note: This review addresses v3.3 of the
Created as a result of the recent split between Oracle and the
OpenOffice.org community, LibreOffice
is a brand-new spin on OpenOffice.org that was just released by the
The software includes Writer, its word processor; Calc, a
spreadsheet module; Impress, for presentations; Draw, for sketching
and diagrams; Base, a database front end; and Math, a simple
Available in more than 30 languages, LibreOffice 3.3 offers
strong support for standards including Microsoft Office, Microsoft
Open XML, Open Document Format, and PDF. A portable version of
the software was recently launched for USB, removable, and cloud
drives, enabling users to take it wherever they go.
software, LibreOffice enjoys the support of a large worldwide
community, including a raft of developers who can be tapped for
Given that it’s the first stable version of the OpenOffice.org
fork, it shouldn’t be too surprising that LibreOffice 3.3 feels a
great deal like the software it’s based on. Much as with
OpenOffice, the interface is familiar for those used to Microsoft
Office, but also easy to personalize. Document, spreadsheet, and
presentation files created in both Microsoft Office and
OpenOffice.org posed no problem for LibreOffice, nor did a document
created in LibreOffice encounter problems in Microsoft Word.
Although the Document Foundation apparently has big plans for
future versions of LibreOffice, it’s readily apparent that this
version is focused primarily on consistency, compatibility, and the
quality of the code, just as the foundation said it would be.
LibreOffice feels like a good, all-purpose office suite–similar in
nearly every respect to OpenOffice–and its portable version comes
as a bonus for users on the go.
Given the many disagreements
between Oracle and the open-source
community in recent months, LibreOffice
is clearly a better bet than OpenOffice.org for any
organization that values open-source software, whether for
philosophical or practical reasons. It’s also a fuller-fledged
option for desktop use than Lotus Symphony is, and the addition of
a portable version is a help for employees on the go. True road
warriors, however, may prefer to go with a suite that offers more
cloud, mobile, and collaboration capabilities.