LibreOffice vs OpenOffice: All You Need to Know?

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

libreoffice vs openoffice

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.

LibreOffice vs OpenOffice: All You Need to Know?install OpenOffice on Linux.

LibreOffice vs OpenOffice: All You Need to Know?you download the installer package and follow the on-screen instructions.

LibreOffice also offers an alternative way (through its partners) to get it, using the Microsoft Store and the Mac App Store. You will have to pay for them, though. Part of it is donated to the Document Foundation and part of it helps the development of LibreOffice.

Not to forget, LibreOffice can also be used on Chromebooks, thanks to Collabora Office.

To sum up, LibreOffice provides better platform availability and easier installation procedure, which can make OpenOffice a tough choice to recommend.

User Experience

LibreOffice presents a pleasing user interface that blends in with modern standards. LibreOffice should look fine on most modern hardware, whether you have a 2K display or a 4K display.

LibreOffice vs OpenOffice: All You Need to Know?
LibreOffice vs OpenOffice: All You Need to Know?
LibreOffice vs OpenOffice: All You Need to Know?
LibreOffice vs OpenOffice: All You Need to Know?
LibreOffice vs OpenOffice: All You Need to Know?
LibreOffice vs OpenOffice: All You Need to Know?LibreOffice wrote an open letter to Apache to discontinue OpenOffice and divert those resources to help LibreOffice development.

Enterprise Support and Online Collaboration Options

LibreOffice vs OpenOffice: All You Need to Know?Collabora Office, you can get enterprise support while being able to use LibreOffice at your workplace. You can also deploy LibreOffice on your servers for a collaborative workspace, thanks to Collabora Online.

Unfortunately, Apache OpenOffice does not have any enterprise support options. So, it is best suited for home users, if at all.

Licensing

There are no licensing issues that would stop you or discourage you from using any of these programs. However, this information could be useful for contributors to the project.

LibreOffice utilizes Mozilla Public License v2.0 while Apache OpenOffice is available under the Apache License 2.0.

LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice: What Should You Pick?

LibreOffice is an easy choice to recommend for its modern design, more functionalities, and support for newer file formats.

OpenOffice can be a solution for users acquainted with older office suite interfaces and who want it to work without hiccups in their 32-bit systems. Otherwise, it should remain an alternative solution in cases where LibreOffice fails to work for some reason.

We could tell you that the choice depends on your personal preferences, but I’d be lying if I do not mention LibreOffice is the better choice if you regularly work with documents.


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