back to article LibreOffice 7.6 arrives: Open source stalwart is showing its maturity

LibreOffice 7.6 is the latest – and last – fresh version in the 7.x release series of the FOSS office suite. From next year, the organization is moving to a date-based release cycle. The release notes show an impressive list of changes, and numerous fresh features, albeit relatively small ones. Headline global features are …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Headmaster

    long-form writers...

    I've noticed only recently that with the current version of LO, on the latest Mint/Cinnamon, that for some reason a document with six hundred plus A5 pages turns very slow when deleting characters that cross to the next page (e.g. a series of line feeds). I'm not sure what's going on here, and I don't know when it started doing it - I haven't used LO in this way for some time.

    If I were to add to the wish-list, I'd love to be able to import (and ideally, export) LyX files - or even default styles matching those of LyX. As it is, while you can copy and paste from Lyx to LO, it doesn't preserve styles, and each line of text is a separate paragraph after the paste.

    ---> obvious icon!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: long-form writers...

      I have edited some books with c100 pages but I think a 600 page document would best be split for editing purposes and reassembled.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: long-form writers...

        That applies to Orifice more than LibreOffice.

        I've just finished writing my 4th Novel. 165,298 words over 400+ pages. Orifice (on a 32Gb MacBook Pro) kept crashing as I built the book and got the page/chapter formatting right for print.

        LibreOffice worked very well. After some experimentation I found that a book with more than 61 chapters caused MS Word to go walkies and sit there with its feet in the air like a dog playing dead.

        Then there is this

        Their feature list may not be the longest

        TBH, I don't care. If they were to produce a version that was functionally equal to Office 2003 I and many millions more would be happy. Most of us don''t need all that extra crap that MS keeps stuffing into new versions.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: long-form writers...

          I wonder if these long book layouts would be better handled in Scribus. It's one of the things near the top of my get-to-grips-with list. One of the issues with word processors is that a change which affects a page break will start a chain which may fizzle out after a page or two or turn into an avalanche. How would Scribus handle that?

          1. ianbetteridge

            Re: long-form writers...

            If you're self-publishing, maybe. But if you're working with a publisher, Word format is the de facto standard and what you're expected to submit in.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: long-form writers...

              Our local history group publishes using local printers. PDF is the format.

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: long-form writers...

                And LaTeX was still prominent for submissions to academic journals in technical fields back when I paid attention to that sort of thing, which was not so many years ago.

                In the humanities Word seemed to dominate, unfortunately, which is one reason why I rarely submitted to humanities journals and collections. Just not worth the grief, whether it's done with Microsoft Word or LibreOffice.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: long-form writers...

                  At least one medical/biological journal also wants Word documents.

                2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

                  Re: long-form writers...

                  I still work in LaTeX, and most if not all computer science journals I submit to allow LaTeX, although Word templates are usually available as well. Especially with online collaborative tools like Overleaf, multi-author editing works flawlessly in LaTeX, whereas opening a docx file on a machine with a slightly different install of Office can cause all sorts of changes in layout, and you are suddenly over the page limit for the journal (this was a while ago, maybe Office 365 solves these issues). My last few encounters with journals or books that wanted docx format were not pleasant experiences, especially because I need to use a lot of equations, and need to refer to them easily. Word is fine for many simpler things, but I have sworn never to submit any of my scientific writing in Word. It is not worth the aggravation.

                3. LionelB Silver badge

                  Re: long-form writers...

                  LaTeX is indeed still de rigueur for serious technical/mathematical document preparation - simply because in that domain the typesetting, layout, and cross-referencing/citation tools are vastly superior to anything any WP application has ever mustered*. Plus, modulo an admittedly steep learning curve, it is way quicker and easier to write the markup than faff around with graphical doodahs.

                  * I get to do a lot of technical/mathematical reviewing, and can generally tell at a glance whether a submission has been prepared in LaTeX or a WP; if it doesn't make my eyes hurt, it's probably LaTeX.

            2. Glen Turner 666

              Re: long-form writers...

              Sort of. Book publishers want material in Word format, but they don't want material which uses Word features. As simple example, one wants to see bold text as ***BOLD***example***BOLD***. The killer feature of Word is change tracking, allowing a back-and-forth of chapters with the copy editors, discussing any contested changes.

              In my personal experience, the issue with using LibreOffice with professional publishers isn't the integrity of the .docx formatting (because there is none), but the round-trip integrity of change tracking.

              The reason for this odd use of the Word format is that the pubisher will then mark up the text, get diagrams professionally redrawn, and flow them into a desktop publishing package which works like Scribus, usually Adobe's InDesign. But the publisher wants to do that, as then they can lay out the book according to their corporate look and feel. They don't want glitches like the text in the corporate choice, but the bold text in Arial.

              Obviously if you're doing your own publishing, then LibreOffice and Scribus are a fine combination. You can even re-work any diagrams in Inkscape.

              The big strength of LaTeX is that it sufficiently separates the content from the format so that a corporate format can be applied and the pages generated with very little work. That's why it's still widely used in engineering academic journals.

          2. prandeamus

            Scribus

            I have limited exposure to Scribus, but you don't want to edit content in it. Yes, you can, but it's eyeball-scratchingly messy. In old-fashioned office terms, you don't want to write a book in Publisher. For layout and pre-print, I'm sure Scribus is powerful, but it's not a content editor.

          3. Adair Silver badge

            Re: long-form writers...

            Long form writing is best done in a text editor (including markdown editors) or some member of the LaTeX family. 'Word Processors' such as Office et al are actually pretty abysmal tools for the job of actually just getting words down in some sensible order, i.e. writing is about 'content' NOT 'formatting'.

            The formatting can be done later, via DTP software, and preferably by someone who actually knows how to put a printed book together. This whole business of producing content in 'Word' is bollocks and a massive time sinking distraction from the author's actual job.

            I've recently been transferring a fifty year old typescript (literally an academic text that only exists as a comb-bound book, facsimile printed from the original typewriter pages, with hand drawn tables and graphs) into a digital searchable and reformatted printable document. The author died years ago, but this piece of research is seminal in it's field and needs to be preserved.

            I am not a professional book publisher, and I have to say that I would have given up the task trying to manage via Word/LO/etc. Instead LaTeX has been my friend. The styles preamble is a sight to behold, but it's all set out clearly and the document, with all it's various tables and graphs, and multiple sections and many layered sub-sections, is handled flawlessly, over and over again as it is adjusted.

        2. EricB123 Silver badge

          Re: long-form writers...

          You mean Orifice 360?

        3. Alumoi Silver badge

          Re: long-form writers...

          Office 97 was the pinnacle for MSOffice.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: long-form writers...

            Veritably, the Mount Sunflower of Microsoft's efforts in the land of document creation.

            Word's dominance is proof enough of the mediocracy that governs software.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: long-form writers...

              Word: It's what documents crave

              1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge
                Coffee/keyboard

                Re: long-form writers...

                that is all -->

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: long-form writers...

            Nope. Word 5.1(a) was the last good version of Word.

            It was the last version before they went to a combined codebase for Windoze and Mac.

            Excel has always sucked, and Multiplan sucked before that.

            And Keynote is infinitely better than PowerPoint.

          3. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

            Re: long-form writers...

            [Author here]

            > Office 97 was the pinnacle for MSOffice.

            You know what, apart for a couple of things, I'd go back even further.

            I still have a copy of Office 95 knocking around, and it not only does all I need, but it works fine on WINE. (And on Win8.1, last time I tested.)

            It has all the features I need, and it's considerably smaller and faster than Office 97.

            *But* it uses the old Word for DOS document format, not the newer .DOC format introduced in 97 (in order to chivvy people to upgrade, natch.) It's called `.DOC` but it's a different file format, and that doesn't work with most modern apps that can import and handle Word .DOC format. Some of them crash.

            LibreOffice is about the only contemporary app that _can_ handle it Word 1.x-6.x DOC files.

            I also have Office 4.3, the last Windows 3.x version. Works fine on 32-bit Windows, but can't be installed or run on 64-bit Windows. Causes WINE problems. But it doesn't understand long file names.

            Word 6 is also perfectly fine for me but I do want long filenames and long directory names. So I spent years searching for Office 4 for Windows NT, the fabled 32-bit version. (Only Word and Excel; PowerPoint wasn't expected to handle files big enough to cause a problem on 16-bit Windows or need a 32-bit edition.)

            I found it. It installs, on Windows anyway. It runs, and it opens in an eyeblink on kit from the early 21st century, and it handles long file names. It was designed for machines in the 33-100MHz range, with 4-8MB of RAM. It has about 95% of the features and functionality of Office 97.

            But it doesn't understand scroll mice. They hadn't been invented yet. And it only shows a square scrollbar thumb, at least on modern Windows. The thumb doesn't indicate the size of the document, which I found I relied on a lot: a 1-page doc shows the same size as a 100-page doc.

            So, for me, Office 4.x is fine but for 2 niggles. Office 95 is fine except for the file format.

            Office 97 is the sweet spot for interop with 21st century computers, but the bloat was setting in. The fact that it needs SR1, then SR2a -- note that "A", it's important -- is an indictment.

            1. I don't know, stop asking me.

              Re: long-form writers...

              I mostly agree, having used Word since 4.x (4.1 I think) on DOS, and before that WordPerfect and WordStar.

              Addmittedly, I am not a professional writer, more a typical business user, I think.

              Word 95 had every conceivable feature that 99% of user would ever need, and more. Just like Google Docs (is it still called that?) has today.

              Word 97 only added more unnecessary stuff, which did not improve the user experience.

              The main problem with Word 95 was that it crashed. A lot.

              I think it had more bugs than any other version of Word.

    2. -maniax-

      Re: long-form writers...

      > I've noticed only recently that with the current version of LO, on the latest Mint/Cinnamon, that for some reason a document with six hundred plus A5 pages turns very slow when deleting characters that cross to the next page (e.g. a series of line feeds).

      How long are the paragraphs?

      Someone on Reddit was moaning about LibreOffice Writer performance a few months back and after a bit of digging it turned out they had one long continuous paragraph (using shift+enter to get new\blank lines) and as soon as they broke the single paragraph into proper separate paragraphs (using just enter for new\blank lines) the problem went away

      1. Alien Doctor 1.1

        Re: long-form writers...

        one long continuous paragraph

        Oh Cthulhu, Lovecraft is back.

      2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: long-form writers...

        Not long; a few dozen words in most cases. I'm proofreading some scanned/ocred books and magazines. For writing longer books I've preferred LyX but I find LO is better for proofing - and plus it outputs to epub which is handy.

        Tesseract is _extremely_ good at OCR but its output needs an amount of massaging before it's usable, or at least friendly, as an epub.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: long-form writers...

          "I find LO is better for proofing"

          I dump the OCR as plain text and fix a lot of the errors with vi, especially mangled punctuation and the multiple spaces you get on OCRing justified pages.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: long-form writers...

            I use a simple C program to eat the line feeds (based on line character count against the average length, and whether the line ends with punctuation) but there are often random characters detected (or occasionally characters dropped) in the shade of the gutter at the spine of the book which have to be hunted down and sorted out individually. Italic or bold text is unmarked, so that needs doing manually, as does the re-insertion of vertical space which is silently dropped by Tesseract.

            It also occasionally decides that a line or a paragraph is elsewhere in the detected page order than a human might, particularly if there is any skew in the image.

            Work I did fifteen years ago suggests that this is exactly the sort of statistical task that Artificial Stupidity ought to be good at, but at the time I was more concerned with the noise model of OCR (at the time, ABBYY) and what weird words it would produce if it wasn't correct. ABBYY also produced a per line segmented output but in one mode that included markers for the position of each line, and that simplified reinserting white space. Tesseract is a lot better at recognising individual characters, though.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: long-form writers...

              Ah, yes. Should have said I use a Lazarus/Pascal program to process the data first. I copy a paragraph's worth of text from Okular, paste it in, the program reassembles it and a quick inspection lets me spot and correct a few typos at that stage.

              1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

                Re: long-form writers...

                I have edited some books with c100 pages but I think a 600 page document would best be split for editing purposes and reassembled.

                (From an earlier comment of yours)

                It occurs to me that a 600 page document is around 600k *characters* (in A5, twice that in A4) which is a ridiculously small proportion of the gigabytes available on any current system - or even a ten year old system. I wonder if LO is doing something really odd when the pagination changes, like actually reformatting the entire document as a foreground task, when all it needs to do is display the current view that's visible - generally not more than a page or two?

                The odd thing is that this slowdown is usually only noticeable when unwanted white space between pages is being deleted.

                It's curious that LyX, which of course does its formatting on demand, doesn't even blink at books of this length and indeed, significantly greater.

      3. lamp

        Re: long-form writers...

        ...as soon as they broke the single paragraph into proper separate paragraphs... do you mean started using the program properly? Doing this and only using styles for formatting makes LO sing.

    3. Random person

      Re: long-form writers...

      Here are some pointers to ways to import and export between LyX and LibreOffice.

      Have you looked at this LyX wiki page that discusses importing and exporting between LyX and LibreOffice + Word? https://wiki.lyx.org/FAQ/ImportExport#word-read

      More detail on exporting on this old page also on the wiki https://wiki.lyx.org/Tips/ExportingOpenDocumentLibreofficeOpenofficeAndOfficeOpenXMLMSWordWithPandoc

      Also see this equally old tutorial on exporting from LibreOffice https://latex.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=27764

      I have no experience of using these options.

      Before doing this bit of research, I had assumed that you would have to convert to RTF and then import that into LibreOffice or LyX.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: long-form writers...

        Useful pointers there; thanks.

  2. Lil Endian Silver badge

    LO 7.6 - Outline View

    I'm not sure if this is the functionality required: https://help.libreoffice.org/latest/en-US/text/swriter/01/outlinecontent_visibility.html?DbPAR=WRITER

    This seems to bring outlining to the main edit rather than within Navigator, but I can't test as I'm not on 7.6 yet.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: LO 7.6 - Outline View

      [Author here]

      The folding functionality is the very rudiments of a start, yes, but it's so extremely vestigial so far that it's no use to me.

      It's a bit like comparing MS-DOS 3.3 `EDLIN` with a heavily-customised Vim setup. They are the same core model, yes, but one is so minimal it's very little use, and the other is a rich sophisticated tool with 30 years of effort and investiment into refining it.

      1. Lil Endian Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: LO 7.6 - Outline View

        Thanks for the feedback Liam, I'll stick with vim for now then :D

      2. Ian Bush
        Coat

        Re: LO 7.6 - Outline View

        Indeed - give me EDLIN every time

        Ian (emacs user)

    2. jgarbo

      Re: LO 7.6 - Outline View

      Running LO 7.4, and Outline works well. Activate in Options. Mouse uncovers the "button" to expand or contract levels

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: LO 7.6 - Outline View

        [Author here]

        > Running LO 7.4, and Outline works well.

        I've tried it, honestly. My comments comparing Vim to Edlin stand.

        Remember that outliners used to be an entire product category. Mac presentation package MORE began as an outliner. Lotus made its Grandview freeware:

        https://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/viewt/6291

        In 2016-2017 I single-handedly wrote a ~350 page maintenance manual for a new 3D printer, 100% entirely in Word in Outline mode -- under Linux -- in 6 weeks. When it was done, I took a flyer from the company, made a stylesheet from it, applied that stylesheet to my outline, and the entire doc was instantly styled in the client's look, with the client's fonts, colours etc. because Word automatically applies different, hierarchical styles to the different levels in the outline.

        The company liked it enough they re-hired me to do the second edition for the new model of printer. That meant substantial changes throughout.

        It also automatically generated a Table of Contents for me, dynamically linked to the sections, so that the manual could be reorganized and the ToC automatically adjusted.

        It's a very capable tool indeed, and LO's little navigation thing is a cute little toy, but it's about 1% of the way there so far.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: LO 7.6 - Outline View

          This is what LO styles did IIRC, and back when I used them thus, MS Word didn't seem to have styles like this. (ie usable for post reformatting)

          But I shifted to Latex (lyx) for manuals, partly because I could post reformat it and emit different type of documents (datasheet, manual, book, webpage) from the same source writing, and by batch process, but in large part as it could directly import excerpts from all related PDF's. I could never make LO or Word do that.

  3. abend0c4 Silver badge

    I miss ClarisWorks

    It had just about the right level of functionality for everyday purposes and the ability to embed different document types was quite advanced for the time. I remember writing some XTNDs to generate HTML a very long time ago.

    Back in the day when I worked in an office with typists, they hated being forced to give up WordPerfect for DOS which was pretty much perfect for entering large amounts of text without taking your hands off the keyboard.

    LibreOffice is pretty competent and I find it less buggy than Microsoft Word (or at least the old version I still possess) which seems to get increasingly fragile as the document becomes longer and more complex. But as the use of paper declines (I mainly use it these days for getting the attention of otherwise evasive customer service departments) and the contents that once went on it is destined for multiple different media, WYSIWYG is perhaps not the killer feature it once was.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Missing functionality

      I have not tried this for several years, but when I ran a charity, the one thing I needed MS Word for was mailmerge. Simple and easy with Word, a complete nightmare with LO. The support forums basically said, "Nobody does mailmerge any more."

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Missing functionality

        The support forums basically said, "Nobody does mailmerge any more.

        Fairly typical FOSS developer attitude there: "We know better than you do how you should work." The LO team is exceeded in this attitude only by the GNOME one.

        1. Spanners Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Missing functionality

          "We know better than you do how you should work."

          I find the attitude something that Microsoft learnt from Apple and it is yet another reason why I would prefer to avoid both of them!

      2. jockmcthingiemibobb

        Re: Missing functionality

        Oddly enough, mail merge on my install of Office 2022 crashes when importing an Excel address list. LibreOffice Mail merge works like a champ

    2. Zolko Silver badge

      Re: I miss ClarisWorks

      I have come across FreeOffice recently, and the word-processing part is much better at opening MS-Word documents than LibreOffice. It's not open-source but there is a free (as in beer) variant

    3. ianbetteridge

      Re: I miss ClarisWorks

      LIbreWriter is pretty good, apart from outlining as Liam notes. I don't think I've hit a point where I had to get back to Word instead with it for as long as it's been "libre" rather than "open".

      LibreCalc, on the other hand, is pretty much useless to many users because it lacks tables, the single most useful (and used by normal people) feature in Excel.

      And worse yet, whenever you mention this, some bright spark hops in with "well it's a spreadsheet, not a database, use a database instead". Which of course misses the point by about a country mile: tables are easy to use for normal people, a database is not.

      I remember about 25 years ago someone from Microsoft telling me that something like 90% of their customers used Excel as a database rather than a spreadsheet -- and of course they didn't care, as long as people used it. That's a lesson in pragmatism which some open source developers could handily learn.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: I miss ClarisWorks

        And it's a lesson that the developers of Pandas understood.

        1. Spanners Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: I miss ClarisWorks

          developers of Pandas

          Fiat Pandas? My mum had one of those.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: I miss ClarisWorks

        And how many people use a chisel as a screwdriver?

        There is a vast amount of Excel abuse in the world, true. I'm puzzled by the suggestion that this is a Good Thing. Certainly the ill effects are well documented.

  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    OnlyOffice is worth a shout

    Ought to cover most bases for a lot of people. Open source with a nice GUI toolkit. Desgined around the MS Office paradigm but if you can live with that you might like it.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "the best webmail tool around"

    Damning with faint praise.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > Damning with faint praise.

      Yes, and absolutely intentional. But it is actually competent enough at what it does that I can use it all day with hardly any cursing, which no other webmail I've seen can do.

      It is, like most Google products, getting worse not better over time, though.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "getting worse not better over time, though."

        That applies to just about the whole world and everything in it.

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          [Author here]

          > That applies to just about the whole world and everything in it.

          Ain't that the truth.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
            Happy

            And ain't we all a lot of miseryguts here!

            1. theOtherJT Silver badge

              Well, that's probably because we too are getting worse not better over time...

            2. ianbetteridge

              Welcome to the comments on all Linux posts here, where many posters appear to regret that any software has been created since 1998.

        2. GloriousVictoryForThePeople

          > That applies to just about the whole world and everything in it.

          Except Beer. Beer was swill when I was young, and is infinitely better today. Eye wateringly more expensive too, but still better even at the price.

      2. ianbetteridge

        Have you tried Fastmail's web interface? If not, I would recommend it.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          I regard email as a transmission method to deliver mail ultimately to my own computer, not somebody else's.

          1. VicMortimer Silver badge

            THIS!!!!!!!!

            I have no use whatsoever for webmail of any kind.

            The only reason I'm ok with IMAP is because my mail is on my own server.

  6. Roger Kynaston

    a useful feature

    Improve the formula editor so it is easier to put latex like stuff in documents. It works OK but not brilliantly. I will use texmaker on this MAC for real work but the OU still requires assignemnts to be docx, doc or rtf.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: a useful feature

      I would prefer that LO focus on improving their Office document compatibility - contrary to the clams of their [last] update, LO was still unable to open the most recent version of Word documents.

      1. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: a useful feature

        The talk to Microsoft and tell them to stop tweaking their shit every time somebody else manages to make a 1:1 compatible version.

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: a useful feature

          It's THEIR software. They can tweak it any damn way they like - that's the benefit of making it yourself. DOC is not a standard, is a pseudo-standard, so well known that it has become a de-facto 'industry standard', but no industry standards organization is involved with deciding its structure.

          Your complaint is like complaining that an LG remote doesn't work with a Samsung. With no standards, and self-ownership, you can do anything you want. It is up to everyone else to keep up if they [voluntarily] choose to (in this example, the universal remote makers). It's not pretty, but that's the damn-honest truth of this.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            You must be new around here

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standardization_of_Office_Open_XML

            MS created the original standards doc.

            More than a year after being asked by the European Union to standardize their Office 2003 XML formats,[1] Microsoft submitted 2,000 pages of documentation for a new file format to the Ecma International consortium for it to be made into an open standard.[2]

            But hey... what do I know eh? [nothing]

            1. Snake Silver badge

              Re: MS asked the EU to standardize

              Then answer me this: if true, why can't LO open the latest versions of DOC files??

              I'll wait here.

              1. Mishak Silver badge

                Then answer me this: if true, why can't LO open the latest versions of DOC files??

                That works both ways. I have some LO documents with complex layouts that are are complete, unreadable mess when read in to Word, even though it claims to be compatible.

              2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: MS asked the EU to standardize

                Do you mean DOC or DOCX?

                I've found Word struggling to open DOC files created with a different version. In particular I've seen it hang (i.e. Big Red Switch time) the entire box when trying to open a file containing macros with any other version than the exact one that created it - a version which, unfortunately, I didn't have. IIRC LO couldn't open it either but at least it didn't hang. Other than that I've not seen LO fail to open a DOC.

                I haven't seen LO fail to open a DOCX file but I certainly wouldn't put it past Microsoft to use wriggle room in the spec. (go and read about their shenanigans with ISO committees in getting their "standard" passed) to break compatibility.

                As a matter of interest, if you take a file that LO can't open can it be opened by an earlier version of Word or have they really gone back to their old tricks of making files non-backward compatible because there may be a few of their customers who still haven't been strong-armed into Microsoft 358½?

                1. This post has been deleted by its author

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  OOXML Strict or Transitional?

                  Microsoft pulled a fast one for many years but as of Office 2016, they comply with their own spec for both Transitional (the default) and Strict. In theory. if you’re wanting to guarantee compatibility across apps which claim to fully support the standard, then you should manually save as a OOXML Strict .docx and all the ambiguous legacy cruft will not be permitted. However, LibreOffice ironically enough does not yet support Strict, as it put its efforts into dealing with the common majority (which is saved as Transitional) instead.

              3. Graham Dawson Silver badge

                Re: MS asked the EU to standardize

                Because MS keep extending their file format with proprietary bells and whistles. LO can open documents that conform with office open doc (sans some of the undescribed "act like version X of word" bits). It can't reliably open files that have breaking, proprietary extensions that change how the format is expected to work.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: MS asked the EU to standardize

                  Proprietary? Shame on you sir. Microsoft would have you know it's an open standard, the best openness money can buy.

              4. Alumoi Silver badge

                Re: MS asked the EU to standardize

                OK, Mr. Microsoft, then riddle me this: why MSOffice can't open even its own files sometimes while LO is doing just fine?

              5. Spanners Silver badge
                Boffin

                Re: MS asked the EU to standardize

                Because MS has not yet released the documentation about the latest changes?

            2. t245t Silver badge
              Boffin

              MS created the original standards doc ?

              “Office Open XML” (Apr 2008) not to be confused with “Open Document Format” (Dec 2002). And try and open an OOXML file in ODF and of course it'll be different.

              --

              Anon said: MS created the original standards doc

              More than a year after being asked by the European Union to standardize their Office 2003 XML formats,[1] Microsoft submitted 2,000 pages of documentation for a new file format to the Ecma International consortium for it to be made into an open standard.[2]

              But hey... what do I know eh? [nothing]

              1. Grinning Bandicoot

                Re: MS created the original standards doc ?

                What format was it submitted to the EU?

            3. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

              Re: You must be new around here

              Did even MS ever implement the standard as published? Not that I know of.

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: You must be new around here

                Since the standard is loaded with undefined terms, no one knows.

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: MS created the original standards doc.

              They told you they created a standards doc and you lapped it up. Those of us who were around at the time expected the "standard" to be rejected because it was full of proprietary crap. MS paid a lot of money to get it accepted. Didn't make it a valid standard.

              So yes, in this case, you do seem to know nothing. At least you're good at believing the first result from an internet search....

            5. lockt-in

              Re: You must be new around here

              "But hey... what do I know eh? [nothing]"

              Maybe not nothing, but enough to spread misinformation: Microsoft don't state they support OOXML in their Microsoft Office file format support web pages, they say that support Microsoft XML by default, not OOXML

  7. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

    "it is increasingly difficult to develop entirely new features"

    As an avid Excel user I can only laugh. Calc is still far away from reaching parity when it comes to diagrams, built-in functions and formatting, and I'm not even speaking of the more advanced Excel tools such as Macros and Powerquery. The ability to use it without the mouse just through keyboard shortcuts would also be neat.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: "it is increasingly difficult to develop entirely new features"

      I stopped using Excel about five years ago I've been using LO since then. Calc's OK, but I'm doing simpler stuff these days and I'm happy-ish with it.*

      The statement in the article "...the only open source office suite for personal productivity which can be compared feature-by-feature with the market leader" is correct in the sense that you could compare them feature-by-feature, but if it were done then Calc alone would come up wanting in many areas, whereas I can't think of anything that LO does well that Excel didn't when last I used it five years ago.

      *I'm hoping that the new version won't crash every day, as the last dozen or so have. The way it buggers about with csv files is a pain and its conditional formatting isn't half as good as Excel was in about 2010 when it limited you to three stacked conditions.

    2. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: "it is increasingly difficult to develop entirely new features"

      Sssh! Let 'em get on with those "refinements or improvements of existing ones" for a couple of cycles or so.

      Then sure, we can remind them of all the Excel/Powerpoint/Outlook features still missing.

      Oh, and did someone say "cloud collaboration?"

      No doubt a little "OINE is not an emulator, but you may find it useful", offering of the hooks into proprietary gobshite that make MS Office/Exchange so unputdownable, might not go amiss too.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "it is increasingly difficult to develop entirely new features"

        Oh, and did someone say "cloud collaboration?"

        Yes. I think it must have been https://www.collaboraoffice.com/

    3. ianbetteridge

      Re: "it is increasingly difficult to develop entirely new features"

      Absolutely 100% this. Of the main parts of the LibreOffice suite, Writer is fine, Impress is simple but does the basics well enough, and Calc feels like no one working on it has looked at another spreadsheet since 1998.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: "it is increasingly difficult to develop entirely new features"

        Shrug. I haven't needed a spreadsheet to do anything Lotus 1-2-3 didn't do. No doubt some people need the various bells and whistles in Excel, but I'm willing to bet that in most cases most users would do just fine without them, and the UI/UX wouldn't be such a horrible fucking nightmare.

      2. Stork

        Re: "it is increasingly difficult to develop entirely new features"

        Perhaps that’s why I like Calc, I do simple stuff and it doesn’t get in my way.

      3. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: "it is increasingly difficult to develop entirely new features"

        [Author here]

        > no one working on it has looked at another spreadsheet since 1998.

        But that was kind of my point, and it's why I mention Office 97.

        For me, and for others commenting in this thread, Excel as well as Word was perfectly competent and did everything I needed by 1997. Since 2003, it's gone sharply downhill and I prefer not to use any version since then.

        A word processor nobody's looked at since 1997 _is what I prefer_ and a spreadsheet to match sounds fine to me. *Definitely* preferable to something the marketing team has been sticking glitter, streamers, bells, whistles, horns, and water-powered spinning wheels to for the last 25 years.

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: "it is increasingly difficult to develop entirely new features"

      Maybe this will help?

      https://extensions.libreoffice.org

    5. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: "it is increasingly difficult to develop entirely new features"

      [Author here]

      > Calc is still far away from reaching parity when it comes to diagrams, built-in functions and formatting

      I am not arguing here, but to me, with respect, that sounds like the surface cosmetic stuff, not the core numerical handling, which I have found perfectly competent.

      Happily for me, the last time I needed to do a lot of significant spreadsheet work as part of my job was in 2013. Excel did the job fine.

      But in the role I had in 2015, I did have to do a fair bit; I was working with a intranet web database, which had a lot of data but limited functionality. Often what I needed to do was run a query, copy and paste the result into a local spreadsheet and then work on that, where I could sort and search and so on, quickly and locally.

      I had Office 365 and LibreOffice $CURRENT thanks to local admin rights.

      If my selection was not perfectly rectangular, Excel 365 crashed on paste, 100% repeatably, every single damned time. Miss the last cell in the last row and there went Excel when I hit Ctrl+V. Including, of course, all open files in all windows.

      LO Calc just took it, coped, and inserted it, and I got on with my day.

      LO Calc saved me tens of minutes a day, every day, because whatever data I threw at it, in whatever format, it worked and handled it.

      Excel is a prima donna which swoons and falls over if everthing is not perfect for it.

      So, YMMV, because I haven't done any serious charting in years, but for me, in recent years, LO has worked better for me, including Calc, and it still has a grown-up UI for literate adults, as opposed to the cartoonish ribbon for those who can't read menus. I do use it and I actively prefer it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Outline View?

    I must admit that I have not found the need for that feature as I tend to use the Navigator - its functionality is better than what can be found (after some digging) in Word. I forgot what it was called in Word as I haven't used Word in what is rapidly approaching a decade, but it was mega useful to keep tabs on where you were in larger document work.

    Ironically, it is exactly because I used this feature so much in Word that it was about the first thing I looked up when I switched to LO.

    As for Word compatibility, given that we focus more on content than looks I have never found the need for it, and yes, I know we're lucky that way :).

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Outline View?

      [Author here]

      > I tend to use the Navigator

      OK, if that works for you, then good. I am not here to dump on anyone's preferences.

      For me, it's like asking a 20-year Vim veteran to switch to using EDLIN from MS-DOS 3.3. It is sort of vaguely recognisable as something roughly comparable, but one is a rich capable tool, and the other is a rudimentary just-about-viable-in-emergency thing that's not really any use to me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Outline View?

        OK, that's a clear comparison :). EDLIN, now *that* brings back some memories, few of which good..

        :)

    2. IvyKing

      Re: Outline View?

      Back in the 1990's, Lotus Manuscript was the go to choice for long documents in the company that I was working for. It was impressive how fast it could switch between outline view and normal view when running on a 4.77MHz 8088 PC. One co-worker used Manuscript for editing Assyst, a FORTH based laboratory software package. The company had a bit of a scare when notified of an upcoming software audit, scrambling to buy the remaining copies of Manuscript still sitting on store shelves.

      On a different tack, having been exposed to Island Write, Draw and Paint, I find the insertion of graphics to be a royal pain in MS-Word and similar word processing software. In IWD&P, the first task is to create a container for the graphic, and then plopping the graphic into the container with options for proportional or non proportional scaling as opposed to treating the graphic like some funny paragraph style.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Outline View?

        [Author here]

        > I find the insertion of graphics to be a royal pain in MS-Word

        It is not just you.

        -----

        @ColIegeStudent -- 3:12 AM · Sep 24, 2017

        -----

        using microsoft word

        *moves an image 1 mm to the left*

        all text and images shift. 4 new pages appear. in the distance, sirens.

  9. Kev99 Silver badge

    Way back in the Stone Age, I used pfs:Professional Write on DOS and Windows 3.0. The only features in word that it didn't have that I can remember were mail merge and easy envelope printing. Between it, pfs:Publisher and Quatro Pro 4 (which had features in DOS Excel didn't have in windows), I ran our multi-million dollar entity. Most of the features in word and excel are just so much bloat.

    Now if I could just get LO to install without throwing repeated 2503/2504 errors.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Way back in the Stone Age

      pro writers used Latex for formatting.

      I still use it for laying out equations. Then I import the jpeg into docs.

    2. CAPS LOCK

      "Now if I could just get LO to install without throwing repeated 2503/2504 errors."

      Try turning off your rendezvous radar...

      1. Kev99 Silver badge

        Re: "Now if I could just get LO to install without throwing repeated 2503/2504 errors."

        Sounds a bit snarky to me. Want to translate that into words of one syllable or less?

        1. PerlyKing

          Re: "Now if I could just get LO to install without throwing repeated 2503/2504 errors."

          I think it's a reference to Apollo 11's repeated computer errors (1201/1202?) during the descent from lunar orbit to the surface, which were (probably?) caused by the crew turning on the rendezvous radar in case they needed to abort back to lunar orbit. I think this was a last-minute (untested?) addition to the flight plan, and the extra computational load caused the aforementioned errors.

          Sort of snarky, sort of a nerdy in-joke.

          1. lockt-in

            Re: "Now if I could just get LO to install without throwing repeated 2503/2504 errors."

            "I think it's a reference to Apollo 11's repeated computer errors (1201/1202?) during the descent from lunar orbit to the surface, which were (probably?) caused by the crew turning on the rendezvous radar in case they needed to abort back to lunar orbit. I think this was a last-minute (untested?) addition to the flight plan, and the extra computational load caused the aforementioned errors."

            Yes, also another unnecessary thing was that Neil adjusted the angle of descent because it didn't 'feel' right, this sloshed the fuel in the tank causing the "fuel low" to try to alarm but it overloaded the computer because they had left the rendezvous radar on to feel safer (it was only supposed to be switched on when leaving the moon). Changing the angle of descent must also have changed the landing place by overshooting. If humans hadn't interfered, there would have been no drama, they nearly crashed by fiddling with it. Still the most amazing superheroes though.

            Unrelated, Apollo 10 almost crashed into the moon when one of the astronauts switched the autopilot on as planned, and the other astronaut turned it off thinking he was turning it on, it started spinning until almost uncontrollable just a few 10s of thousands of feet above the moon before they realised what had happened. So brave and exciting!

  10. Bill Neal

    Meet?

    What is Google meet? I use meet a lot, but didn't know Skype was still a thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meet?

      It's WebRTC based Jitsi, but with the one place where you can tap into the video conference (the server) hosted by Google.

      Thus, not exactly the thing to use if you like to protect your conversations, privacy and intellectual property*.

      * If you don't understand why, read Google's Terms properly for once, or let your lawyer do it.

  11. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Flame

    Nohting left to do???

    And then they spout this: "can be compared feature-by-feature with the market leader"

    Well, they'd better put someone on the Mailmerge functionality . Last I looked it was a hot mess.

    Because of the heavy linkage with Base, you can't just get a merge document and a spreasheet of data, and put them together. So even if I (eventually) make a mailmerge of, say, an address list and a form letter, I could not just send you the document and the calc file and expect you to run the same merge.

    1. lockt-in

      Re: Nohting left to do???

      "better put someone on the Mailmerge functionality"

      I used to use the mail merge a lot, I wonder why you struggled. Don't forget, it is essentially a volunteer developed product, you can improve things too. It's fun to see how it scares the pants off Microsoft.

      The Collabora Online suite (that uses LibreOffice Technology) has much more functionality than Microsoft for the web apps, it would be interesting to see these compared...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did they finally fix LO Base?

    Or is it still the only part in LibreOffice which requires Java to work?

    I believe it was 2017 when the LO team decided to remove the dreadful HSQLDB backend with something more modern, Firebird. Firebird was eventually added but because it seems no-one could be bothered to fix the many bugs around it's implementation (not in Firebird itself) they declared it an "experimental feature". And that's where it's been the last several years.

    So we now have two crappy backends in Base, one which has so many bugs that it's hardly useful (Firebird) and one which somewhat works, mostly, maybe, and which requires Java.

    Which pretty much reflects the way things are done in LO.

    And people complain about MS Office.

  13. druck Silver badge

    Back when El Reg was...

    ...still a young publication, newly moved from email newsletter to website. (You can tell by how short those stories are.)

    Short and to the point. Something which would be of benefit today with the ever increasing number of articles.

  14. Nameless Dread

    Old hat here

    I still yearn for Lotus 1-2-3.

    Graphs ('charts') were neat; not klunky like in OL Calc.

    Larry

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Old hat here

      [Author here]

      > I still yearn for Lotus 1-2-3.

      That's why I inserted this bit:

      «

      (We note that ISO images are still out there, and the free Fixpaks to make it as current as it will ever be still are, too. As we verified to help a reader who needed 1-2-3 on 64-bit Windows, it works fine on Windows 11, with a single exception – the online help, and there is a workaround for that.)

      »

      I was very pleasantly surprised. I think in an instance like this, the term "abandonware" is in fact fair. IBM/Lotus said "no more" and stopped developing or selling it.

      Which means, IMHO, and IANAL, and this is a personal statement, not a company recommendation*:

      It's fair game. Go for it.

      I always liked Samna Amí and Word Pro is a pretty good version of it. 1-2-3 for Windows ended up quite decent. And you can still use the old slash commands if you so wish. :-)

      -----

      * If I can think of any more disclaimers I will add them later.

      1. RAMChYLD
        Pint

        Re: Old hat here

        Pretty sure IBM has pretty much said "f**k it" when they allowed a casual tech magazine called PC Knowhow to give away a free, fully functional no-strings-attached copy of Smartsuite 97 (with Smartsuite 5 for those needing Windows 3.1 support!) with the magazines.

        I cherish my copy because I grew up on Lotus 1-2-3. Microsoft Office? Blah! If you were OG you used Wordstar for word processing and Lotus 1-2-3 for Spreadsheets!

        (And if your computer was powerful enough, maybe Harvard Graphics for your presentations).

        Beer. Because I am reminiscing the old times.

  15. Mishak Silver badge

    Office 365 for macOS

    I sometimes have to use that.

    I get frustrated with some of the bugs in LO, but now realise it could be much, much worse...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Office 365 for macOS

      Installing O365 on a Mac is like adding a trailer with 3000kg of cement to a sports car.

      That said, their M series chipset is probably the only one that can run that monstrosity without burning through a Godawful amount of power.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Office 365 for macOS

        If you're on a Mac and have to work with Word files then give Apple Pages a try, as I found it handles Word documents a lot better than any other non-MS word processor.

        1. Zazu56

          Re: Office 365 for macOS

          I’ve recently completed my first cookbook in Pages. Chapter headings and indexing were a breeze. Slowly getting my head around Numbers too, after a near lifetime of Excel and the dreaded VBA.

        2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Office 365 for macOS

          [Author here]

          > If you're on a Mac and have to work with Word files then give Apple Pages a try,

          It's a pleasant little word processor. Very capable.

          Still no Outline View, though.

          I don't need it much for Reg-length stuff, but for longer form, not having outline view for me is like having left, right, and down, but no Up key. It's crippling.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Office 365 for macOS

            I tend to have two windows open on the same text. One I work in, and one which also has the Navigator open on the side so I keep an eye on structure.

            I also do this when people send me convoluted spreadsheets - two windows make it easier to navigate.

            That said, when I do that I am using a 43" screen, it doesn't fit very well on a laptop when travelling :).

  16. Mishak Silver badge

    Trying to help out

    I'm currently trying to fix a couple of issues with LO Writer*, but I've not yet been able to get Doxygen to build the documentation so I can try to navigate the code. I don't stand a chance of "getting in to it" without this, as there are lots of files, lots of classes, and no comments (in the bits I've looked at).

    * Including one where a pdf export of an A4 (21.00 cm x 29.70 cm) document creates pages that are a bit too big (21.01 cm x 29.71 cm), which means they are rejected by the Amazon Kindle Direct Print service as the pages don't fit when you select A4 stock. This looks like it maybe down to be a representation error due to the use of floating-point (yuck)...

  17. Death Boffin
    Headmaster

    Long March

    Google may not be taking on Microsoft Office directly, but is instead going with a longer term plan. For years, my kids have been required by their school to use Google Docs and Drive for their school work. The school also used to issue Chromebooks. The next generation will be quite ready to use Google office apps in the next few years.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Long March

      You know... I hate 'em both with a passion, but I'd much rather my kids use Google than Microsoft.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Long March

      Of course, get them while they're young and impressionable so they don't think about the privacy and IP risks of using Google when they grow up.

      Sadly that works - see alcopops, vaping and Social Media.

      :(.

      1. Smirnov

        Re: Long March

        >> Of course, get them while they're young and impressionable so they don't think about the privacy and IP risks of using Google when they grow up.

        As compared to the even worse privacy and IP risks when using MS365 you mean? Aside from the fact that Google has a much better track record than Microsoft when it comes to security.

  18. Downeaster

    Glad to See LibreOffice 7.6 Improvements

    Glad to see that LibreOffice is getting more refinement and updates. I've used LibreOffice for along time and find it has improved a lot.I also use it in school with my classroom. It is used to teach basic word processing and slideshows. I am at 7.5.5 and will stick with it for a while. New LibreOffice versions tend to be buggy at first. I'll wait for a version 7.6.2 or so.

    I do like the new calendar based version numbers in some ways and not in others. It makes sense in that you know when that version of a software was released. It takes away the impact of a "major release" of a new updated software and the new features. People generally used to be excited when Microsoft Office went from Office 97 to Office 2000 for example. Not so much anymore. Software is becoming more evolutionary vs. revolutionary in many ways. I wish updates for Google Chrome and Firefox would switch to the calendar model. Jumping up a full version number for each new release can be confusing.

    Liam Proven is right in that people are getting used to keeping their work "in the cloud." Google Docs and Office 365 has become synonymous with working with documents, presentations, and spreadsheets in the modern world. This is also a generational thing. Those say in their 30s and below have grown up this way with living in an online world. Having anywhere and anytime access to your documents is important to them. I being older like having documents on my own computer and having them belong to me. Ownership to me is important and not being tied to an online service. LibreOffice does this fairly well. There are other alternatives though. Online platforms such as Office 365 and Adobe make a lot of money for their companies using the "subscription" model.

    One alternative not mentioned in the article is Softmaker Office. They just came out with a 2024 version. This is a German made office suite that works well. It has a word processor, a presentations program, a spreadsheet, and other software. It is excellent at reading and writing Microsoft Office files. It doesn't have an online version. This is another good tool to use. I also like "owning" the software vs. having it in the cloud.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Glad to See LibreOffice 7.6 Improvements

      [Author here]

      > One alternative not mentioned in the article is Softmaker Office. They just came out with a 2024 version.

      I am planning to review it fairly soon, as it happens.

  19. Binraider Silver badge

    The desire for compatibility is anathema to thinking about better ways to do things. Winning on this front is hard. But MS did it to Lotus, so it is possible.

    Very much a fan of the project, the file recovery features especially are much, much better than Microsoft's counterparts and have saved in my immediate area many days worth of work-and-rework.

  20. Licensed_Radio_Nerd
    Unhappy

    I miss AmiPro 3.0

    Back in the heady 90s, everyone who was anyone, was using AmiPro for their documentation (and we tended to pronounce it Amy-Pro). I absolutely loved the ability to set styles - and they were tied to the function keys. Body text - F2. Title - F7. It made writing technical manuals a breeze - and totally keyboard based once you had your styles configured! Then IBM screwed it up! For what I need these days, I use LibreOffice on Rocky Linux 8 with the MATE desktop. It is mostly creating an address label and the odd letter. I have to use M$ Office for work, and it still annoys me with its helpful oddities of auto-formatting. I have not had the need to use them in sufficient anger since the mid-90s to bother learning their in-depth settings.

    1. Smirnov

      Re: I miss AmiPro 3.0

      I miss WordStar. CTRL sequences, once memorized, were much quicker than newfangled mouse-driven WYSIWYG word processors.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: I miss AmiPro 3.0

        Personally, I hate WYSIWYG anything. It's rarely accurate and a waste of resources, and it encourages fiddling with appearance rather than focusing on content and structure. It's like teaching composition with calligraphy pens.

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: I miss AmiPro 3.0

      I still have a bunch of Lotus AmiPro for OS/2 documents lying around. I haven't been able to read them for many years, so I hope they don't matter. AmiPro's worst bug - for me - was the incredible time it took to save a document with tables in it. More than five tables and the save time was more than the default autosave interval, which was Not Helpful.

      From AmiPro I moved to StarOffice for OS/2, then OpenOffice, then LibreOffice.

  21. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Have they finally dealt with the infamous "General input/output error" which prevents you saving your document and therefore loses any unsaved work? User have been complaining about it for at least ten years and the developers' response has always been "Don't care. Fuck off."

  22. Anonymous IV
    Unhappy

    Where's the "Outlook" feature in LibreOffice?

    > LibreOffice is the only open source office suite for personal productivity which can be compared feature-by-feature with the market leader.

    The absence of an Outlook equivalent is the major reason why I don't convert to LibreOffice.

    Anyone else agree?

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Where's the "Outlook" feature in LibreOffice?

      There will never be an Outlook equivalent in LibreOffice. No one else has cracked the secret of creating an application so terrible.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Where's the "Outlook" feature in LibreOffice?

        Beat me to it.

        No Outlook connection is a feature, not a bug.

    2. RAMChYLD
      Coat

      Re: Where's the "Outlook" feature in LibreOffice?

      And what exactly is wrong with Evolution?

      (Yes, it's not part of LibreOffice, but it is very capable as far as e-mail clients with personal organizers go).

    3. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Where's the "Outlook" feature in LibreOffice?

      [Author here]

      > The absence of an Outlook equivalent is the major reason why I don't convert to LibreOffice.

      Personally, I detest Outlook, and I speak as a former certified MS Exchange Admin who deployed it and supported it in production for over a decade.

      On anything LibreOffice runs on, there is Mozilla Thunderbird, which I personally much prefer as an email/calendar/address book client. And chat too, in version >100.

      GNOME's Evolution is a quite Outlook-like client, if you prefer that.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Where's the "Outlook" feature in LibreOffice?

        "The absence of an Outlook equivalent is the major reason why I don't convert to LibreOffice."

        That's about the daftest excuse not to use something I've ever heard.

    4. lockt-in

      Re: Where's the "Outlook" feature in LibreOffice?

      "an Outlook equivalent" Why does one need to be included? But there are options, why not use webmail or Thunderbird:

      Webmail, well Microsoft web based apps suck compared to competition, so USE the competition if you can think outside of the square.

      Thunderbird: I worked at an MSP supporting 150 companies, 1 in 5 calls incoming calls were Outlook problems (50+ calls per day) there was another company supported that had almost as many users as all of these 150 companies added together, but they used Thunderbird email/calendar, they had 1 or 2 email problems a year, it just worked and didn't interfere with their business.

    5. unaware

      Re: Where's the "Outlook" feature in LibreOffice?

      Happily using Evolution for a decade. Supports oauth . Imports pst fine from the latest office. My mail sources are on google, hotmail, my own webhost and pst's from the long past and forgotten windows/outook era. Everything in the end goes to the local folders/drives leaving nothing in the cloud. I keep and own my own stuff, the cloud is just a temporary storage and exchanger service , thats how it should be. :-). Not sure why there is not more love for Evolution. Rich formatted editing could have huge improvents example though ,example the nasty reformatting and >>>> for replies.

  23. Bitbeisser

    Sorry Liam, but StarWriter was never a CP/M software. Marco founded StarDivision in 1985 (16 years old), when CP/M wasn't really a thing anymore...

    1. NLCSGRV

      Marco first released StarWriter in 1985. One of the first computers it was available on was the Amstrad CPC, running CP/M.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > StarWriter was never a CP/M software.

      «

      1985

      Star-Writer I, written by Marco Börries, is released - initially for CP/M on the Amstrad CPC, and later ported to DOS.

      StarDivision is formed in Lüneburg, northern Germany

      »

      Source:

      https://www.libreoffice.org/about-us/libreoffice-timeline/

      1. jake Silver badge

        I *might* have a working copy of that in the archives.

        No, not "warez", all the stuff in my archives is legit. I think. :-)

  24. ecofeco Silver badge

    Installed

    Not bad. Seems slightly better than the previous version.

    Not really stressed it, but then I hardly used any office suite that much these days.

    So... works for me.

  25. RAMChYLD

    Linux version of WordPerfect

    I'm pretty sure there was exactly one release, and it was bundled with Corel Linux Professional.

    If anyone still have a copy of that, Archive.org would probably like to have a copy of the ISO ;)

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Linux version of WordPerfect

      [Author here]

      > Linux version of WordPerfect

      >

      > I'm pretty sure there was exactly one release

      There were multiple releases, and I have written about them at length:

      https://www.theregister.com/2022/07/20/wordperfect_for_unix_for_linux/

      WordPerfect, the application, was available in at least 3 versions: v7, a text-mode app, and v8.0 and 8.1, both graphical apps for X11.

      But that is not WordPerfect *Office*, the suite, which is what I was writing about in this article.

      WordPerfect Office 2000 did have a single release for Linux, you are correct:

      https://web.archive.org/web/20090106051534/http://linuxpr.com/releases/1470.html

      However, it was not a full native app. WordPerfect the app was portable and did not start out as a PC app; it originally ran on a Data General minicomputer, and I know of versions for DOS, Windows, OS/2, Classic MacOS, AmigaOS, SCO Xenix, OpenVMS and others, as well as Linux.

      However all the other apps are PC native, and either Windows specific or DOS/Windows products.

      So what Corel did was port it to WINE, and embed `winelib` within it so that it would install and execute on Linux -- but it's really the Windows version.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Linux version of WordPerfect

        "it originally ran on a Data General minicomputer, and I know of versions for DOS, Windows, OS/2, Classic MacOS, AmigaOS, SCO Xenix, OpenVMS and others, as well as Linux."

        I have versions that run on Sun OS to about 1988 (a BSD variant), pre-Solaris Sun-3 (BSD), very late '80s-very early 90's Solaris (BSD) and early-late '90s Solaris (SysVR4), and NeXT (also a BSD).

        Absolutely none of which are worth the media they are printed on anymore.

  26. bazza Silver badge

    Multi Platform

    From the article

    LibreOffice itself is now available in a web-based form, via Collabora Online. We really hope that the Document Foundation and Collabora are not getting tired of keeping up just yet, but the writing is on the wall for full-fat local clients.

    The way in which Libre Office has got multiple platform support is actually quite neat. There's their core code for Writer, Calc, etc, but these are all written to a shim GUI library that sits between the core code and whatever it is the OS they're building for offers (GDI on Windows, GTK on Linux, whatever Mac gives you, and whatever it is they're building on for the Web version). And they've done a pretty good job of that.

    As a way of having multi OS support and Web too, it's a worthwhile thing in its own right.

    With that in place, I don't really see a risk to full fat local clients. Producing them is nearly no more work than producing the Web version.

  27. drankinatty

    Bootnote: The missing feature from LibreOffice Writer (not 1, but 2 missing features)

    In addition to outline view, there is one other feature that LO lacks -- the ability to create a table of authorities for legal briefs (appellate briefs). Where word shines is it allows embedding field-codes in the citations within the document identifying which table the citation belongs too. Nothing complicated, simply an index type code that identifies which table to put the entry in. Be that the Table of Cases or Table of Statutes, etc.. By allowing the field-code to be embedded, it matters not if paragraphs or pages are added or removed from the brief or the brief reordered in a significant way, a quick keystroke to regenerate the tables puts everything right.

    This feature goes back in work quite a ways. I don't recall exactly, but I believe it was present in word 1.0f that came on floppies or came soon thereafter. (which means the Reg's recent article about the all time favorite office version installable on XP, was fully equipped for the job...)

    While feature requests have been filed, with both OpenOffice prior to the fork and with LO after the fork, it remains just that, a feature request in LO. While LO can generate tables, bibliographies, etc.. it has no simple way of accommodating changes to the document and then simply regenerating the tables so that the page numbers for the citations are updated in the tables. Instead, searching for each citation, manually checking and manually updating page numbers in the tables is required. It's Achilles heel being the lack of embedded field-codes within the citations themselves identifying the associated table. With 50-100 citations sprinkled across as many paragraphs, if the document is reordered, added to, or deleted from in any significant way, updating the table of authorities in writer quickly becomes an unwelcomed chore.

    So there are at least two significant missing features in writing that the Open Document Foundation needs to add to keep up with the Jones's (or Gates or whoever is in charge now)

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Bootnote: The missing feature from LibreOffice Writer (not 1, but 2 missing features)

      [Author here]

      > a table of authorities for legal briefs

      OK, a good point, well made.

      For a brief period I had some clients in the Inns of Court off Chancery Lane in London: in other words, Barrister Central, Lawyersville.

      At that time -- early 1990s -- the legal trade _strongly_ favoured WordPerfect over Microsoft anything, partly because its word count included headers, footers, footnotes etc., which is very important when you charge way more per word than any writer ever got. A WordPerfect wordcount was guaranteed to count _every word_.

      (I was the company's resident WordPerfect expert.)

      I suspect that this may be what keeps WordPerfect on sale even today.

      But it may well have done what you say, too. Luckily for me I didn't have to support that feature.

      1. Jeff3171351982

        Re: Bootnote: The missing feature from LibreOffice Writer (not 1, but 2 missing features)

        Rule 28(a)(3) of US Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure state that appellant's brief must contain "a table of authorities—cases (alphabetically arranged), statutes, and other authorities—with references to the pages of the brief where they are cited". Have to switch to Word in virtualbox to do a brief like this (and exchange comments on it with others). For regulatory work, which involves drafting comment letters to be submitted to a regulator, LO usually OK to start.

        https://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/federal_rules_of_appellate_procedure_december_1_2022_0.pdf#page=45

        Would sure love to have better outlining ability too.

  28. Mage Silver badge
    Alert

    There is an outline view on LO

    Also Exchange my be corporate must have, but it and Sharepoint are horrible.

    Google's Web mail.

    Why all this space on Wordperfect, MS, Google on an LO article?

    Also there comes a time when new feature are stupid and getting rid of bugs is more important. Compared to 6.x the 7.4 floating / undocked tool windows don't work, but outlining works better as your position is tracked in the Tool Window. You can even right-click and export Outline to Clipboard.

    The idea that Online will replace a local Wordprocessor is bonkers. One is your own computer with your own backups and doesn't need the Internet. Online/cloud is someone else's server. Only makes sense for real time collaboration, Social Media, online ordering, forums, websites etc. Not content creation ever. That's 1960s terminals on rented server time.

    This article tells me very little about LO 7.6. Which presumably runs on Mac, Windows, Linux. But which cpus? What bugs are fixed. We don't care about new features.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: There is an outline view on LO

      [Author here]

      > Why all this space on Wordperfect, MS, Google on an LO article?

      See the article subtitle:

      «

      What comes next, and what the end of the 7.x release series really means

      »

      It's my attempt to explain the context as I understand it.

      The system requirements are the same as before, except for a higher macOS version, which I specified. It supports the same platforms as before. I linked to the release notes, which tell you the bugs and new features.

      Various other IT news outlets covered this version and its release as well, and most of the coverage I have read just rehashed what you could get from reading the Document Foundation announcement. Rather than just rewording the README, which seems like a fairly pointless exercise to me, I attempted to add some more analysis.

  29. Smartypantz

    Cooporation

    Decentralized co-editing and cooperation that is trustworthy and easy to use would be the killer feature!

  30. Reuben Thomas
    Linux

    Why so hard to add features?

    Isn't "code cleaning, code refactoring" meant to ease changes? Or are they saying that they haven't done enough? There're plenty of changes that one can imagine being well-received; unfortunately, most of them are probably in the long tail of features that will delight a limited number of users—in my case, support for MS Office bibliography objects, the main thing that is keeping me on MS Office for academic editing work.

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