I may be way out of line here, but I’m sending this post to the user lists
for both LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice. I have both programs on my
computer and regularly use both. Like many of you out there, I have
subscribed to both user lists.
I don’t know the full history behind the Libre/Oracle split, but from what I
have read on various forums and lists, there is considerable emotional pain
resulting from the split. The result is two different FOSS office suites.
Some have pleaded for the two to combine forces. Others have noted that the
competition is good for the end user as it results in more rapid development
of improvements to both suites.
I see both sides, but I’d like to point out one thing I have noticed in my
own use of the two programs. Some computer programs are what I would call
“load and use.” Programs like web browsers and mail clients, etc., require
little to no configuration or customization. One can simply do productive
use without much thought. I can easily bounce back and forth between
Internet Explorer and Firefox, Live Mail and Thunderbird.
Not so with office suites. To get the most out of my office suites, I create
and edit templates, page, character and paragraph styles. I have to set the
autocorrect functions of each program to my liking to prevent a (c) from
turning into a ©. While it’s not essential, I tend to customize my toolbars
and have created helpful macros. Effectively using an office suite requires
a commitment akin to a marriage.
For this reason, bouncing back and forth between two suites is
counterproductive. I find myself importing and exporting settings, styles,
and templates between the two programs rather than simply doing my work.
Why do I put up with this inconvenience? Because each program has essential
virtues over the other.
For example, if I need to properly hyphenate my US English, I use
LibreOffice as (to date), OpenOffice fails to properly hyphenate US English.
But, if I need to create mailing lists, as I just did for Christmas cards, I
use OpenOffice as its Avery 5160 template is more properly aligned than that
found in LibreOffice.
LibreOffice remembers my hierarchical stylelist setting, whereas OpenOffice
does not, but OpenOffice more effectively supports the advanced Graphite
features of the Linux Libertine font.
So, depending on my specific needs, I bounce back and forth. I’m sure many
would suggest that I help out by reporting bugs. I have done so, but even I
get lost keeping track of the bugs of each program that I am most interested
I suspect this situation will only get worse as each program develops
features that will be lacking in the other. And, while I’m not a developer,
my guess is that both programs are so complex that keeping up with each
other will become an increasingly elusive effort. And, the time will come
when decisions will be made NOT to implement features found in the other
I truly like the motivation generated with competition, and sometimes having
multiple programs on my computer to meet specialized needs can be helpful.
But, in the world of office suites, where user commitment is essential to
effective use, it would be very helpful to us end users if TDF and Apache
could somehow overcome their differences and join forces to give us one
glorious office suites rather than two almost glorious office suites.
These are just my thoughts.
I’d be curious as to how many others are using both programs because of
advantages of each over the other.
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- [libreoffice-users] A Tale of Two Office Suites · VA
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