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On 04/11/2015 20:58, CVAlkan wrote:
“Although Office 2016 as a whole towers over its competition, it isn't the
best at everything. LibreOffice 5 is a free and open-source suite, so
governments and security-conscious organizations can use it without worrying
about what might be hidden inside Microsoft's code – but it's also clumsy
and unstable.”

“Clumsy” seems to me to be a matter of what one is used to (i.e. de gustibus
non disputandum as Horace said), and Mr. Mendelson doesn't explain what he
means by “unstable” (it's of course easy to find “bugs,” but I consider
“unstable” to suggest frequent crashes, which I haven't experienced or heard

I've not read the article but I have to say that LibreOffice has
been a little unstable for me in every day use. For me, "every day" use
includes mainly letters and labels, and I've seen a number of crashes. I
didn't see this on V4.

As for "clumsy", there are some features of LibreOffice that could be in
my opinion described as clumsy in comparison to certain competitors
(e.g. MS Office). All of the points below are in

In Writer, one such example is the way that you can't get real time
previews of what changes to things like styles, fonts, text size,
colours, etc. will look like to existing text. The way that Word does
this is very handy and *in* *comparison* LibreOffice Writer feels
rather... well, clumsy. If you can get real time previews in LibreOffice
Writer please do let me know. (I note that Calc *can* do this for fonts
but not for text size, colours, or anything else that I've noticed).

Another way in which LibreOffice could be said to feel a bit clumsy is
editing of multi-line cells in Calc. Even if the text in the cell is
bottom aligned, when you edit it the text pops up to the top of the
cell. In other words, when editing you are not getting WYSIWYG. One can
live with it but it's a bit annoying. One could even call it... clumsy.

Another oddity is that the user cannot correct the spelling of
misspelled words in multi-line cells in Calc using the right-click menu.
The automatic spell checker will recognise and red underline misspelled
words in multi-line cells but there is no way to use the right-click
menu to correct them. It works fine in single-line cells, though. (You
can still spell check the entire document with 'Tools|Spelling...' of
course but that's not the point here). One might reasonably call this
annoying little oddity... clumsy.

Oh, another oddity that I've just noticed is that when there is a
misspelled word (underlined in red) on the bottom line of a
bottom-aligned multi-line cell in Calc, then when you edit that cell and
the text pops up to the top of the cell for editing, part of the red
underlining remains, somehow orphaned in the cell border at the bottom
of the cell! This is only a visual annoyance but it does look....
clumsy, one might say, in comparison to, say, MS Office.

Another annoyance in LibreOffice is that as far as I know (correct me if
I'm wrong) you can only select automatic spell checking to be switched
or or off across both Writer and Calc (and I presume other programs in
the suite, although I've not tested). In my case, I want automatic spell
checking to be on in Writer but off in Calc. MS Office can do this.
Again, one might say that lack of this feature in LibreOffice, minor
though it is, is a bit "clumsy".

Sure, one can could argue that these examples are only minor and only
"clumsy" in comparison to MS Office but the fact is that MS Office is
the competitor and key comparison point for office suites.

Given that LibreOffice is FREE, and coded
mostly by volunteers with a wide range of programming skills and experience,
it seems to me that the author's characterization misses the whole value
proposition of LibreOffice.

These are idealogical points. Whilst they will always matter to some people, the majority of users 
and decision makers won't ever care about them; they just want something that works as smoothly as 
possible. LibreOffice is very good but, as I observe above, it does have some features or minor 
bugs that could legitimately be described as "clumsy" in comparison to the major competition.

In summary, I like LibreOffice. I recommend it to my clients. But I think it still needs to develop 
to match the user interface smoothness that MS Office has developed over the years.

Mark Rousell

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