LibreOffice and OpenOffice are two popular open-source alternatives to Microsoft Office.
Any of them can be recommended if you are looking for an open-source office suite with a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and a few other programs.
However, to make the best of an office suite, you should know the differences between them to decide what’s best for you.
Should you use LibreOffice or OpenOffice? What are the differences? Here, I explore more about that.
LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice: Origins
OpenOffice.org was a project developed by Sun Microsystems. It was introduced as an open-source version of StarOffice (acquired by them initially) to compete with Microsoft Office.
Later, Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems and eventually ditched OpenOffice.org while submitting the code base to Apache.
When Apache started maintaining it, the name of the office suite was tweaked to “OpenOffice” or Apache OpenOffice.
During this transition period, The Document Foundation forked OpenOffice.org to create LibreOffice, fearing that Oracle would discontinue the project.
So, LibreOffice was created as a replacement for OpenOffice.org.
But, now that OpenOffice still exists and is actively maintained, why should you choose LibreOffice? Isn’t OpenOffice good enough? What are the similarities between them?
What’s Common in LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice?
LibreOffice and OpenOffice have a few things in common.
You can use any of them if all you need is to create a basic document, spreadsheet, or presentation without requiring any complex operations or shortcuts to improve productivity.
Simply put, you can count on both if you require an open-source office suite on Linux, Windows, and macOS.
LibreOffice and OpenOffice are capable enough to open various file formats that include Microsoft’s DOCX, PPT, and more.
Unfortunately, the similarities fade away as you look for various features, user interface, file format compatibility, export capabilities, and other characteristics.
Of course, if you start using them extensively, you shall notice the differences.
But, to save you from the trouble, let me highlight the differences here:
Installation and Platform Availability
The first step to the user experience is the installation procedure and platform availability.
The program is a big let-down if it is tricky to install and not supported for multiple platforms.
In this case, LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice are officially available for Linux, Windows, and macOS.
When it comes to mobile platforms, you can find Collabora Office (based on LibreOffice) on the Play Store (Android) and the App Store (iOS). It comes close to an official port of LibreOffice, considering Collabora is its commercial partner.
While you can also use them or any other community/third-party port as a replacement for OpenOffice on mobiles, it has no official ports available.
Now that you know the supported platforms, how easy is it to install them?
For Linux, LibreOffice is available in the official repositories and listed in the software center and package managers. So, you are a couple of clicks away from setting it up on your Linux system.