We all stand together
It's great that AOO and LO are still both with us after all this time. Long live both communities and long may a friendly rivalry drive them to better things.
Enjoy the choice, I know I will.
Apache OpenOffice 4.1.4 finally shipped on October 19, five months later than intended, but the software is still a bit buggy. The resource-starved open-source project had been looking to release the update around Apache Con in mid-May, but missed the target, not altogether surprising given persistent concerns about a lack of …
In summary, LO split off from OpenOffice a few years ago mostly over concerns around the development process. OpenOffice then became Apache OO but has it moved very slowly since then while LO has had many incremental improvements in terms of usability, stability and performance. RedHat, Suse, Google and a few others are actively contributing to LO and not to AOO. This is exacerbated by the different licenses which mean that if the LO team like the look of something in AOO, they can use it while the reverse in not necessarily possible.
The net effect is that LO is basically AOO with a few years of polish and attention to detail applied to it and less obviously to the end user, with a much more active dev team so that security issues are much less likely to languish.
LO is installed with Mint, so its the one I know a bit. But in simple lay mans terms how do the two stack up.
No idea how they stack up. but as a Mint/LO user. I would highly recommend downloading the latest version direct from LO. A lot of updates, and fixes have not made it into Mint yet.
It's all well and good saying that, unlike other office suites, you'll support older platforms. But if you barely have enough people to run the project, surely the wise option is the opposite: Only support the current ones (and as few of them as possible)
LWN article on the problems AOO is having.
Lots of us run "legacy" OSes e.g. old Mac kit, amount of RAM available limits what OS version you can upgarde to, but why bin a working machine just because it cannot run the latest OS? .. Yes, users could use Linux instead, but they might want to stay on a Mac OS because they like it
One of the good points about open source is not just pandering to the latest & greatest software / hardware, but allowing older stuff to limp along a while longer (we don't all have cash to burn on buying new kit as other priorities come first, a bit of new shiny is low on Maslow's hierarchy of needs)
"Again, this is due to AOO trying to maintain backwards compatibility with very old versions of OS X (10.7!) and sometimes small variations in libraries can cause some weird interactions."
It came out 6 years ago. It might not be new, but it's hardly ancient. Xcode does most of the heavy lifting for you.
But updates to OSX are free, and as far as I'm aware, anything that Lion can run on, High Sierra can also run on. Certainly, my MacBook originally came with Lion, and apart from a couple of features not being available because it doesn't have the latest bluetooth hardware, everything works fine on High Sierra.
Long term LO user here on mac and linux. Apart from the odd weird bug, like LO affecting video perfromance across the board for some bizarre reason, I prefer it over the MS offering, not for political reasons, but because it pretty much does what I expect it to. MS Excel is just plain difficult to work with. It tries to be helpful, and does weird things to longer numbers assuming it knows better what you want than you do yourself. *
So here is a thing, if you make something so complicated that it starts to second guess you, then the argument goes stop making it that complicated in the first place.
*Excel and phone numbers has long been a bane of my existance...and yes, I know about formatting etc.
Why would anyone be running an unsupported (yes, I know, Apple don't have formal EOL dates) OS with an Office suite on it?
If OO is struggling for Devs the priority should be on delivering builds for supported OSs, not obsolete rubbish used by a tiny minority of their dwindling userbase.
OS X Lion is the last OS X which runs on Intel machines with a 32-bit EFI. The machine still works and shouldn't go to landfill but it probably will if there's no office suite which runs on it.
Apple should push out an EFI update so a later OS X will run, but that's not going to happen.
I, personally, wouldn't run 10.7 if Apple paid me, which they won't. Lion (better known around here as House Cat) stunk up the place. 10.8, Mountain Lion, fixed most of the problems and is much better. I have several older systems running 10.8. The only reason to run 10.7 would be that your hardware can't handle 10.8 or later; that'll be fairly old hardware, or hardware limited by some quirk to 32-bitness, or both.
I was on the OS X 10.7 AppleSeed beta test. The screams you might have heard were when I encountered one or more of the more idiotic bugs. For some reason, possibly including the way I threatened to visit Cupertino with a machete, I was not invited in for 10.8, though I did get back to AppleSeed later.
Any machine limited to 10.7 at max can also run 10.6, IMHO the pinnacle of OS X development. (Yeah, I pointed that out during the 10.7 beta. This was unpopular. If you have a really good microscope you might be able to detect how much I cared.) I'd use 10.6 until the last available software for it finally dies. I have a few 10.7-capable systems running 10.6, 'cause they can't go to Mountain Lion for some reason, usually RAM, and there is no way on God's green Earth that House Cat is going to get its claws into them.
There's a lot to be said for providing simple software that does basic tasks for the IT equivalent of the just-about-managing people. Write a letter, do a simple powerpoint for the WI meeting.
I've used Word since 2.0, and, to be honest, I suspect I could still do 90% odd of my work on that, if it was still available (and that came on a bundle of 3.5" floppies)
What happened to MS Works? OK, it was a pain to use and transfer docs to people using the grown-up Word etc, but it was a great idea. Be nice if AOO can satisfy the needs of the many in a simple way, while still be compatible with the mega stuff.
I phart in it's general direction.
I had that POS on a 1995 WFWG 3.11 machine. A msword addict got a new 'puter and gave me the 2 (really 1 1/2) floppies that came with it with Claris Works 1. A full integrated basic office suite, wp, db basic drawing package, spreadsheet, spell checker, super easy to use, lightening fast in 4 MB of ram .... an it'll do things that LO still cant. AND the instructions came on a couple of dead trees ....
I've managed to get Claris Works 3 (all of 5 floppies) working in wine, but no luck so far with v1 beyond the splash screen. Another retirement project.
Personally, I prefer LibreOffice. However having said that I used OpenOffice.org before Oracle tried to wreck it.
Personally I hope that OO.org survives and keeps going. Why? Simple having more than one option is always a good thing.
You can transfer docs between the two without compatibility issues which is always good. It means you'll never be vendor locked.
Should LO fail or get locked down for whatever reason there would be OO.org has a supported option (or visa versa) which can open/edit your old documents.
This is why Open Source matters. To avoid lock ins and provide a means to continue should something happen to the original project.
(If MS drop all office software tomorrow, it would be a PITA to move to a new software due to the proprietary formats used. Where as if OO or LO fail you can move on easily due to open formats)
"Despite being the subject of a deathwatch – perhaps mainly by fans of rival LibreOffice[..]"
As a LibreOffice user, I kinda object to the language here. I have no death-wish towards OpenOffice. In fact, I wish for them more commitment to the project so that they can survive on a different path. I do not see LibreOffice as a rival. Diversity is good, and stabilizes the whole environment.
it's the same with Microsoft. I am currently working with a Microsoft-free (as much as I can) machine, but I am explicitly not a Microsoft-hater, or wish them to die. I would want to have more options in everything... Operating systems, standard applications, you name it. But Microsoft doesn't make it easy, because they are making bad software, insisting on less interoperability and proprietary formats (the Mac version of Office cannot handle ODF files, for Chrissakes!), and has cleared Windows of proper alternatives to Office (the only full-fledged word processor alternative on Windows I know of is WordPerfect... all the rest, including OpenOffice and LibreOffice, are, pretty much, Word clones as far as workflow and UI are concerned. At least on the Mac we have Nisus Writer or Mellel, among others, which are essentially Word-as-it-should-be. Made me realize how shitty Word is, and I do not use the expletive lightly.)
Backward compatibility with free software?
Support the versions for a year, then force the users to upgrade...
It’s free. There is no excuse no to have the latest version (or stable version).
If you want support/compatibility with ooold versions buy something (MS Office).
Sounds like they are wasting resources trying to be “nice” to everyone...
I use LibreOffice it works fine for the basics, but use MS for work....
"Our research shows that a 'basic,' functional office suite, which is streamlined with a 'simple' and uncluttered, uncomplicated UI, serves an incredib[ly] under-represented community."
I use oOo on my stable Slackware 14.2 install. Just works, and I know where the bugs are. I can get stuff done.
I know and appreciate LO on my test machine - some whizzy stuff and some changes to UI and the detailed behaviour of some of the functions (e.g. drawing tools). This is inevitable when you refactor code that is decades old I suppose.
I seriously hope the compatibility of files between the two versions is maintained.
As others have said, pints to all involved.
Math - short for Mathematics, a noun that is singular even though plural in form. Sorry, but this time those of us on the left side of the Atlantic are correct. Just kidding, not sorry at al. Neener, neener, etc, etc...
It's commercial, not free, though. And has developed further apart from OpenOffice than LibreOffice. Neo-, Open-, Libre- are three different branches from the same root, with some cross-seeding. At some point they'll be three different products.
Which is not necessarily bad, as long as they keep the ODF standard. That's how it should be, anyway. Keep the file format as a standard, and not tied to a specific software package, and let users choose whatever software they like. As far as I observe, it works with binary image formats (pictures), and there's a wide variety of graphics software available that can interoperate quite easily. But not in the infinitely more primitive world of texts ... which still revolves around .doc, which is one of worst file formats for text file exchange imaginable.