I am sick of people going on about MS Office all the time. People ask
for a list of reasons why LibreOffice should be considered but are
never going to listen to any of the reasons. [This started as a
letter to a work-colleague but i think i would get the sack if i sent
it.] Here are a few i've noticed ...
1. Each of the following versions/releases are quite different menus
from each other
2007, 2010, 2013 and then radically different for 365
All those are radically different from 2003 and prior. Prior to 2003
their menus were all quite similar but now the all new ribbon-bar
keeps changing quite a lot. The menus/ribbon-bar is so different
between each one that many, perhaps even most, people need re-training
between each one. People trained in 2010 often have trouble with
2007, 2013 and can't cope with 365. 'IT Training' organisations have
huge books about the different ways of doing things in each version.
People trained in 2010 who go on to get an office job might well find
they struggle to use whichever other version their new workplace uses.
Many of the people doing IT Training are not even looking for work
that would involve using desktop computers. They just need to learn
just enough to write a CV (which could be done using menus in their
own language in LibreOffice rather than first having to learn enough
2. Formats are slightly different. From 2010 they open documents
from other versions in "Compatibility Mode" but that doesn't always
work. Images get moved or corrupted. Paragraphs sometimes have
chunks that are a different font or size.
3. The macro programming language changes between each version so
that macros written for 2007 probably wont work in 2010. Sometimes
people have to buy a different version of MS Office than they already
have, purely to be able to run a particular macro.
One of the reasons the macro language keeps being changed is due to
it's vulnerability to attacks. Apparently it's fairly easy to add
extra code to a macro to execute code, insert trojans, open ports. MS
keep trying to make it safer and keep assuring us it is safe now but
then another attack reaches the news. Many places lock-down MS Office
so that it cannot open or use macros. To move to a newer version of
MS Office macros need to be re-written and that might cost time and
By contrast LibreOffice;
1. keeps the same menu layout for each different version. They just
add new features into the existing menus. Retraining might be needed
1 time when people first move to LibreOffice. After that they need no
new training between different versions/releases.
2. The format stays the same between different versions of the
program. It is the same format used "natively" by many other programs
such as IBM Lotus Symphony, Google-docs, K.Office, Calligra and
others. Even MS Office 2013, and more recent, can open and use the
format which is an ISO format.
3. Macros can be written in proper programming languages such as C++
or Python but people can use a slightly different version of "Basic"
that is not so vulnerable. Macros are run slightly differently so
that they can't cause infections.
Often IT training organisations will put months into learning newer
versions of MS Office and Windows but not put any time into learning
LibreOffice and then grumble that LibreOffice is not identical to "MS
Office" (without stating which version of MS Office they expected it
to be similar to. They don't grumble about changes in MS Office and
don't expect it to be easy to change versions. Even so, one was able
to show me some neat tricks in LibreOffice, that i hadn't realised it
Getting into some petty details. LibreOffice;
1. produces better quality Pdfs more easily and gives more options
for them (such as loss-less compression instead of creating smudges)
2. handles images more smoothly
3. better quality documents faster and more easily
4. more secure and robust. Even if it does run into troubles it
doesn't affect other programs so much.
5. once it's open it's faster
6. works well on much lower spec machines
7. of the 4 main platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, Bsd) MS office only
works on 1, occasionally 2. There wont be a Mac version of 2013.
LibreOffice works on all 4.
8. handles a much wider range of formats from other programs
including many MS ones that have been dropped by MS.
9. Relatively easily switches between different languages so that
non-English speakers can still use it. On Windows you have to
struggle to find an appropriate font and "regionalisation" but on
Ubuntu it loads the font when you load the language.
10. if you want changes you can program them or pay for someone
locally to do the programming. You do not have to sit back and just
hope 1 monolithic organisation takes notice of your own needs.
11. it's a LOT cheaper, especially for individual people (rather than
large companies who may end up employing programmers at a fraction the
cost license fees would have been)
Many companies, especially charities, can buy MS Office for bargain
discount special deals. When an individual person tries to buy MS
Office it can easily cost them over £100 and may be several hundred.
Individuals usually only get some of the programs and may need to buy
Publisher or other things separately.
Is it morally right for a charity to expect it's service-users to
spend so much more money than they need to and thus ensure the charity
can keep getting special discounts?
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- [libreoffice-users] moving to new version of MS Office · Tom Davies
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