OpenOffice and LibreOffice

Some are calling for OpenOffice and LibreOffice to join forces. Others just want OpenOffice to go away, so that LibreOffice can become the dominant open-source office suite that it deserves. To give you some history why there are two parallel projects, here’s’s explanation of open-source suites:

Sun Microsystems acquired the StarOffice office suite in 1999. In 2000, Sun open-sourced the StarOffice software — this free, open-source office suite was known as The project continued with help from Sun employees and volunteers, offering the free office suite to everyone — including Linux users.

In 2011, Sun Microsystems was acquired by Oracle. They renamed the proprietary StarOffice office suite to “Oracle Open Office,” as if they wanted to cause confusion, and then discontinued it. Most outside volunteers — including the contributors to Go-oo, who contributed a set of enhancements used by many Linux distributions — left the project and formed LibreOffice. LibreOffice was a fork of and is built on the original code base. Most Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, switched their bundled office suite from to LibreOffice.

The original seemed down and out. In 2011, Oracle gave the trademarks and code to the Apache Software Foundation. The project known as OpenOffice today is actually Apache OpenOffice and is being developed under Apache’s umbrella under the Apache license.

LibreOffice has been developing more quickly and releasing new versions more frequently, but the Apache OpenOffice project isn’t dead. Apache released the beta version of OpenOffice 4.1 in March, 2014.

Since OpenOffice is nearing it’s end, others are wishing the two projects to merge.

Or just make way for LibreOffice to be the open-source standard.

OpenOffice Developers Are Leaving

Maybe OpenOffice is on it’s last legs. It’s down to just 16 developers. Compared to LibreOffice’s 268 developers, it pales in comparison. Armed with just a few a developers, OpenOffice releases will be slow and infrequent. I think it’s becoming more obvious to switch over to LibreOffice if you haven’t yet done so. Maybe, the two projects can lay their pride aside and combine their efforts and make an even more solid product.

Remove OpenOffice, Install LibreOffice

If you’re running the latest release of your favorite Linux distro, chances are, you are already using LibreOffice. In my case, my desktop is still powered by Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. It means I still have OpenOffice as the default office suite. I say it’s time to switch to LibreOffice. Here’s a simple set of instructions to remove OpenOffice and Install LibreOffice via Terminal.

Remove OpenOffice

sudo apt-get remove openoffice*.*

Install LibreOffice

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install libreoffice

Install LibreOffice on Ubuntu 10.10 or earlier

The Document Foundation released the first ever stable version of LibreOffice, version 3.3, last Tuesday, January 25, 2011. As you already know, future versions of Ubuntu will use LibreOffice starting with Ubuntu 11.04 scheduled to be released later this spring.

Well, the good news is, you don’t have to wait. You can now install LibreOffice 3.3 on your Ubuntu desktop whether you are using the latest Ubuntu 10.10, or an earlier version. You can start the process by downloading the first stable release of LibreOffice. You need to download the correct deb package. If you are a Redhat or Fedora user, you need to download the rpm package.

1. Download

There are two versions of the deb package: 32 bit and 64 bit. How do you know if you are running 32 bit or 64 bit version of Linux? Type “uname -m” in your Terminal. If it says “x86_64” you are running 64 bit. Otherwise, you are running 32 bit, regardless if you have a 32 bit or a 64 bit CPU.

2. Unpack. Right-click the file and Extract Here.

Once you have the file downloaded the version you need, you need to unpack the file. You can right click the file and choose “Extract Here.” This will unpack the file. It will create a new directory which will be named with something that starts out with “LibO_3.3.0rc4_ …..” I’m not going to type out the entire directory name since its too long.

3. CD to the DEBS directory and install these packages.

From the Terminal, type:

sudo dpkg -i *.deb

4. CD to the desktop-integration directory and install these packages.

From the terminal, type:

sudo dpkg -i *.deb

5. That’s it. You’re done. Access LibreOffice from the Applications > Office menu.

By the way, LibreOffice is also available for Windows and Mac users.

Office Suite For The Mac

I recently bought a 13 inch MacBook Air and I’m loving it. I’ve downloaded several programs, mostly open-source to stay productive, but there is one piece of software glaringly missing. I don’t have an Office suite. Yes, no word processor, no spreadsheet and no presentation software.

Of course, there are many options. There’s Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 which retails for $150. There is also Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business which sells for $280. Apple has a product called iWorks which retails for $80.

Then, there are several open-source options. OpenOffice is available for download. LibreOffice is not quite not there yet. It’s in Beta and is months away from being a general release. Then, there’s Google Docs, which is accessible anywhere, and in any platform.

Currently, Google Docs is currently my choice. I might switch to LibreOffice later when it becomes available. I’m trying to avoid OpenOffice if at all possible, only because it’s Oracle. iWorks is a good possibility. Microsoft Office for the Mac is a long shot and maybe out of the question.

What Office suite should I use?

Document Foundation LibreOffice

Key developers of the OpenOffice suite are bracing for change. Based on what happened to OpenSolaris, the likelihood of OpenOffice having the same fate as OpenSolaris is quite real. As you recall, OpenSolaris was recently abandoned by Oracle.

This week, a community of developers created the Document Foundation LibreOffice in an effort to create independence from Oracle. Although LibreOffice is not a fork, it may happen if Oracle doesn’t change its tune.

As you already know, I have been a proponent of open-source and particularly OpenOffice for years. I’ve used OpenOffice not only in Linux, but on Windows as well. To me, OpenOffice is a great and the only alternative to MS Office.

Based on Oracle’s track record with open-source, I don’t see Oracle jumping in the fray. I don’t see Oracle making contributions to the Document Foundation. The likelihood of LibreOffice forking is probably more real than we think.

What about MySQL?