The hegemony of Microsoft Office would probably not be such if more users had the opportunity to work regularly with these two freeware alternatives. In addition to having the veteran OpenOffice suite, we have had LibreOffice for a long time.
Although there have always been alternatives to Office; Since the beginning of the last decade, OpenOffice has emerged as the free software office suite par excellence. However, you may have heard of LibreOffice and even had the opportunity to see for yourself that the veteran package has come up with a very serious competitor.
A common past
Both the base software that has been used for the development of both suites and part of its architects are the same. In 2010, after more than ten years of being in charge of the OpenOffice project, the Sun Microsystems company was acquired by Oracle Corporation. Part of the developers, fearing that Oracle would reorient the project in a direction that did not respect the original philosophy and approaches, created a separate group to found LibreOffice, the first version of which appeared in early 2011.
Since then LibreOffice Project has been gaining popularity and followers, as corroborated by the fact that it became the default office suite in various versions of the Ubuntu or Debian Linux distributions, to name just two examples. Probably, the suspicions of those who carried out the split at the time were not unfounded, because the truth is that that same year Oracle ignored the OpenOffice project. Since then, he has been part of Apache Incubator, which maintains and develops a wide range of free software applications under the auspices of The Apache Software Foundation. Hence its full name has changed to Apache OpenOffice.
LibreOffice and OpenOffice are free to download and use. Both are comparable alternatives to Microsoft Office's premium productivity app, but without the associated cost.
Regarding the availability of the platform, both are available for Windows, Linux and MacOS.
OpenOffice, however, has a slight advantage over LibreOffice, its website provides links to additional third-party ports and distributions, which are not endorsed or maintained by Apache Software Foundation.
In case you are using an Android device, a notable port is AndrOpen Office, which is the Android port of OpenOffice. However, be careful when downloading or using these unofficial ports and distributions.
Winner: OpenOffice for very little.
Neither LibreOffice nor OpenOffice have interfaces that are too unfamiliar or difficult to use. That said, your personal preference for either can come down to one factor: Are you a Google Docs person or a Microsoft Office person?
LibreOffice looks a lot like a Microsoft Office application, right down to the menu of buttons and options that line the top of the screen. The icons on the ribbon are big enough, and the overall look is brighter and more colorful, making it easy to search to find what you need.
In contrast, OpenOffice is a bit drab, gray-looking, and has smaller menu icons that line the top of its windows. But, it looks like Google Docs, so if you prefer its minimal design and simple menus, OpenOffice might be the best option for you.
Additionally, OpenOffice offers what it calls a “Sidebar Cover,” which is a series of menus that appear on the right side of the screen. It's packed with many of the same tools and options that you can find at the top of the app, but in a handy menu that's easy to access and features larger, easier-to-see buttons and icons.
LibreOffice also has a sidebar cover, but it doesn't open by default like in OpenOffice.
Winner: a tie. They both feature interfaces that are simple, familiar, and easy to use. It really comes down to deciding whether you want something that looks like Microsoft or a suite that looks like a Google product.
Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice have six different types of documents that you can create: a text document, a spreadsheet, a presentation, a drawing, a formula, or a database.
Both productivity apps offer document templates, but LibreOffice offers them built-in and out of the box. Unlike OpenOffice, you must first search the online collection stored on its website and download the ones you need. That being said, the two options allow your users to add new extensions and features to their software to improve functionality.
Both options include wizards that can help you create unique templates for letters and other types of documents. However, LibreOffice's wizards seem to be easier to use, while OpenOffice may require you to download and install a Java runtime environment first.
Winner: LibreOffice because its templates and wizards seem to be easier to use and access. In general, however, they both have many of the same features and capabilities.
While both programs allow you to save documents in a wide variety of formats, LibreOffice has the upper hand in this category. It offers more modern formatting options, including ODF (Open Document Format), UOF (Uniform Office Format), Word 2007 to 365, Word 97 to 2003, and Rich Text. Also, it allows you to export your documents as PDF, EPUB or XHTML.
OpenOffice, on the other hand, tends to lean towards older file formats when it comes to giving you "Save As" options, including ODF, Microsoft Word 95/97/2000 / XP, Rich Text, and exporting your documents as PDF and XHTML. .
Winner: LibreOffice due to its wider file format range.
In this field Libreoffice Project wins by a lot, it has constant updates, which is good for fixing errors and improving the suite.
In this head-to-head challenge, LibreOffice Project is the clear winner due to its overall ease of use, easily accessible templates and wizards, many more updates, largest community of developers, they can implement what's new in OpenOffice without licensing problems, and support for more modern file formats.
Differences in licenses. The code for the OpenOffice sidebar was copied and incorporated by LibreOffice. The Apache OpenOffice project uses the Apache license, while LibreOffice uses a dual license LGPLv3 and MPL. This means that LibreOffice can take OpenOffice code and incorporate it into your office suite, but not vice versa.
Given that LibreOffice is developed by more people and its larger community, new options and ideas appear earlier in LibreOffice. When OpenOffice has a good idea, LibreOffice can implement it almost instantly and with the same code, something that is not the opposite for license types.
But, as with many other types of software, the choice between LibreOffice and OpenOffice is primarily a personal one and begs the question: which one works best for you?
Ultimately, if you prefer an application that looks like Microsoft Office, has built-in templates and support for modern file formats, then LibreOffice is probably your best option.
If you prefer to use a program that resembles Google Docs and does not use wizards or templates, then OpenOffice is a solid option.
On this page they offer you some tables with a detailed comparison of each one, Libreoffice vs Openoffice
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