LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap?

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LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap?

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:09 am

You know how it is: LibreOffice is always 'getting better'. Bug fixes, performance improvements, UI tweaks, compatibility improvements with MS Office and such, etc. But is it finally good? Are you using it? How do you find it? Yes, it's free, but is it free junk? Or is it actually worth a lot more than $free? Is it good enough to replace MS Office? Good/bad experiences?

You can get LibreOffice here.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:45 am

This question does not have a simple answer. It depends on A) whether you collaboratively edit documents with MS Office users who are unwilling (or unable due to corporate IT policy) to switch to LibreOffice themselves; and B) if so, whether those documents contain more than basic formatting. If the answer to both questions is "yes" then LibreOffice is probably not for you; you'll just end up frustrated.

I use LibreOffice at home, and I'm quite happy with it.

At work I use MS Office a lot because my document workflow tends to fall into the "yes to A and B" group described above. However, given that I spend a significant chunk of my workday in Linux, I also sometimes use LibreOffice at work if I'm producing something for my own use, or a document for distribution that nobody else will need to edit (in which case I export it to PDF before distributing).

It definitely has its quirks, but IMO they aren't really any worse than MS Office's quirks. They are *different* quirks though, so if you're an MS Office power user who's accustomed to making your office suite jump through hoops, the transition is going to be jarring.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:52 am

These titles, Ronch, are incredibly annoying. Just not a good way to start a discussion.

Let's cut to the chase though. Is your definition of "good" really "Have all compatibility issues with Microsoft products been fixed?" and the answer is obviously no. Compatibility is better than ever but it's still a regular part of life as a LibreOffice user who has to deal with documents/spreadsheets created using Microsoft Office. I find it an inconvenience but not an impossibility to deal with. Your mileage may/will vary.

I use LibreOffice every day. I find it meets my needs. The times when some particular spreadsheet created in Excel is completely broken is fairly rare. All the spreadsheet and document editing functions I need/use are available. My only real complaint is that the interface

But then again, all my real needs for document/spreadsheets would be met with Google Docs. So yeah, LibreOffice more than meets my requirements and at this point I've become accustomed to the dated interface.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:03 am

Slowriot, I didn't mean this thread to put LO down, I'm just asking an honest question. I am aware it has a loyal following (heck, I used to be a big fan of LO and still am somewhat of a fan) but I've had problems that don't pertain to interoperability with MS Office.

I remember creating a presentation using Impress not too long ago. I kept saving my work. After hours of work, I close the file, took a break, and when I opened it again (using LibreOffice again, of course), everything's garbled. IIRC I saved my work in .ppt format. Who wouldn't get all riled up after something like that, especially if you're in a hurry and things are piled up? Needless to say, I went back to MSO after that.

The wife's also a lawyer who uses MSO a lot. She hates LO. I tried to replace MSO in our office with LO a few years ago, everyone complained and asked me to revert us back to MSO. Not a problem with LO per se, just saying.

Still, I check LO once in a while. Perhaps in a few more years I can say its kinks (the ones that matter to me, that is) will have been completely ironed out.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:07 am

ronch wrote:Slowriot, I didn't mean this thread to put LO down, I'm just asking an honest question.

If that was really the case, then you would not have used the phrase "still crap" in the thread title...
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:14 am

Why is everyone being sensitive here? 'Crap' is a common expression. And it's not like I'm the only one asking this question.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:20 am

I've used LO and OO for years and have never had need to use MS office. In truth, it is MS Office that causes the issues and people have been brainwashed into thinking that MSO is the only viable suite out there. LO works perfectly with open formats, it just doesn't work well with MSO documents. I remember people saying MSO is absolute crap because it didn't play nice with WP and Lotus. Same thing is happening here, because MSO has the bulk of the marketshare, people are trained on MSO and are familiar with it they call anything else "crap".
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:28 am

ronch wrote:'Crap' is a common expression.

...with an extremely negative connotation. If you think it's crap, then fine; you're entitled to that opinion. But calling it crap then saying you "didn't mean to put it down" makes absolutely no sense -- it's a blatant contradiction. Until your second post, I was going to ignore both the "crap" in the thread title and slowriot's comment.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:01 pm

Look guys, be sensitive and anti-negative or whatever if you want to, but I'm asking a question here. If it's good, then say so. If it isn't, then tell me why. I presented two options here. Am I the one being negative here, or someone else who only noticed the other half of the thread's title? And I did tell you guys where I'm coming from and I really got burned using LO. So am I not entitled to say it's 'crap'? What would you have me say instead? Should I still praise it regardless of how my blood pressure shot up on that memorable day? Am I to still feel comfortable recommending it to a friend? Crap. It's not even a serious expletive. What, should I have typed it as '**ap' to avoid offending people? Am I talking to a bunch of Arabs here? Not saying they're easily offended, but someone here in the forums said something about them being so. Didn't come from me, mind you.

Heck, I even linked to the LO download page where one can download it and see for him/herself.

I guess the concept of freedom of speech and expressing one's honest opinion about products has become increasingly stifled around here at TR. Jeez, it's just a product, people. I'm not shooting a person down. It amazes me how some people get offended so easily when someone shoots a product he/she loves.

And as someone who got burned by LO and still wants to give it a chance by checking up on it every few months or so.... that's got to count for something, doesn't it?
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:17 pm

Read my previous post again. I'm not giving you a hard time for calling it crap. I'm giving you a hard time for contradicting yourself.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:18 pm

I didn't find Ronch's title to be leading or exceedingly negative. I understood his intent, and I think it is a valid question. And I'm curious enough that I visited the thread (and was disappointed to see the discussion devolve to the wording of his title rather than answers to his question).

Yeah, the word "crap" is negative. So what. Let's discuss the his concerns.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:26 pm

ronch wrote:You know how it is: LibreOffice is always 'getting better'. Bug fixes, performance improvements, UI tweaks, compatibility improvements with MS Office and such, etc. But is it finally good? Are you using it? How do you find it? Yes, it's free, but is it free junk? Or is it actually worth a lot more than $free? Is it good enough to replace MS Office? Good/bad experiences?

You can get LibreOffice here.


Let's try this over....

But is it finally good? I've considered it good for years. Why haven't you?

Are you using it? Yes, virtually every day.

How do you find it? Good. What would you actually like to know?

"Yes its free, but is it free junk?" Seems you're asking the same "is it good" question.

"Or is it actually worth a lot more than $free?" I don't know what this means. It's worth what I paid for it. Which was/is nothing, that's what you should pay too.

Is it good enough to replace MS Office? Uh... for me yes. What are your needs? Impossible to answer this question in a broad/generic way and it to be useful information.

Good/bad experiences? I shared this above. It does what I need. I do regularly encounter compatibility issues with Microsoft formats. I don't find this so much a negative of LibreOffice but rather the ongoing need for open document formats.

Does this make people happy? Because I feel like nothing was gained here.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:31 pm

ronch wrote:And as someone who got burned by LO and still wants to give it a chance by checking up on it every few months or so.... that's got to count for something, doesn't it?


As someone that got "burned by LO", the only one that can truly say if you will be "burned" again is you and that will only come from trying it yourself to see if is passes your criteria.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:34 pm

ronch wrote:You know how it is: LibreOffice is always 'getting better'. Bug fixes, performance improvements, UI tweaks, compatibility improvements with MS Office and such, etc. But is it finally good? Are you using it? How do you find it? Yes, it's free, but is it free junk? Or is it actually worth a lot more than $free? Is it good enough to replace MS Office? Good/bad experiences?

You can get LibreOffice here.



Honestly, I dunno. I've only tried OpenOffice myself, and it was OK. The problem I would run into is with clients/employers who used MS Office and Sharepoint everywhere, and sometimes things just displayed wonky in OO, or they couldn't open a document I sent in compatability mode...

If LibreOffice is any good, I'll give it a shot. I *despise* MS Office, with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

/And F### Exchange and the demon horse it rode in on.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:04 pm

ronch wrote:You know how it is: LibreOffice is always 'getting better'. Bug fixes, performance improvements, UI tweaks, compatibility improvements with MS Office and such, etc. But is it finally good? Are you using it? How do you find it? Yes, it's free, but is it free junk? Or is it actually worth a lot more than $free? Is it good enough to replace MS Office? Good/bad experiences?


As others have mentioned, if you need to collaborate with people who are using Microsoft Office then you're probably not going to have much success. You can certainly share documents with those folks, but you won't be able to do a lot of the multi-user stuff.

But, if what you need is a solid suite of office programs, LibreOffice is a decent option, and it's been "good" for quite some time now. I've been using it at home for a couple of years, and while it doesn't have all of the features you find in MS Office, it has (for me and I suspect most people) all of the important ones. I've rarely run into problems opening documents from MS Office, and most of the time it's formatting issues.

For me, it's more than adequate to replace MS Office. For someone who needs to collaborate on documents with MS Office users, or needs to produce really elaborate spreadsheets that leverage some of the more powerful Excel features, then it's probably not adequate.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:37 pm

ronch wrote:I guess the concept of freedom of speech and expressing one's honest opinion about products has become increasingly stifled around here at TR. Jeez, it's just a product, people. I'm not shooting a person down. It amazes me how some people get offended so easily when someone shoots a product he/she loves.


I'm going to go ahead and risk censure to respond to this, just because I find it that offensive.

Freedom of speech goes both ways. People are allowed to criticize your choice of your words just as much as you're allowed to make the choice. Don't like other people exercising their freedom of speech? Tough ****.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:52 pm

I'll say this: Everyone who uses Microsoft Word /hates/ Microsoft Word ... until they use something else.

I've use LO recently and find it good, but I'm not collaborating with MS Office users, just using it for my own purposes. I tried using it a year or two ago and was frustrated by crashes that cause data loss. That seems to have been fixed in current versions.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:02 pm

flip-mode wrote:I'll say this: Everyone who uses Microsoft Word /hates/ Microsoft Word ... until they use something else.

Would it be safe to say that the last word processing software that people didn't hate was WordPerfect for DOS? :lol:
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:37 pm

just brew it! wrote:
flip-mode wrote:I'll say this: Everyone who uses Microsoft Word /hates/ Microsoft Word ... until they use something else.

Would it be safe to say that the last word processing software that people didn't hate was WordPerfect for DOS? :lol:

I learned to type in our ancient high school computer lab which consisted of 286 workstations and a 386-25 server, running Wordperfect 5.1. This was in 1996 I believe. A couple years prior, our Jr High still had a lab of Apple IIe's. I didn't live in a poor neighborhood by any stretch, so I'm not sure what the deal was.

Back on topic, OpenOffice/LibreOffice works just fine for home/student use. Aside from compatibility issues, I wouldn't use it in a work/office setting simply because most employees know MS Office and might panic if presented with something else.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:39 pm

Kurotetsu wrote:Freedom of speech goes both ways. People are allowed to criticize your choice of your words just as much as you're allowed to make the choice. Don't like other people exercising their freedom of speech? Tough ****.


Yes. I have the right to call you obnoxious for using obnoxious words.

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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:49 pm

flip-mode wrote:I'll say this: Everyone who uses Microsoft Word /hates/ Microsoft Word ... until they use something else.


A more accurate statement would be that a whole lot of people hate whatever they're using now until they use something else.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:04 pm

just brew it! wrote:
flip-mode wrote:I'll say this: Everyone who uses Microsoft Word /hates/ Microsoft Word ... until they use something else.

Would it be safe to say that the last word processing software that people didn't hate was WordPerfect for DOS? :lol:


Funny you should mention that:

http://www.columbia.edu/~em36/wpdos/

^^^ How to get WP51 or 6.x for DOS working on a modern 64-bit Windows, including with a TrueType font, drag-and-drop, long file names, etc. Completely turnkey, just needs your copy of WordPerfect for DOS.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:17 pm

Of course people got touchy, I can think of no other minority group on the internet with buttons easier to press than the linux/open-source clan.

Anyway, not being a open-source partisan, I think I can address ronch's honest question, from the perspective of someone who uses office software intensively and in complex ways for 80% of their day to day job. (I'm currently an operations manager for a manufacturer, with an econ degree behind me that drives me to use analytics to try to gain opportunities for insight and efficiency my, hopefully inferior, competitors do not)

I tried LO, as I do just about every six months, not that long ago. Because, as just stated, anything that can help me and my team work better or faster saves money. Time = money. Little has changed. The UI is on par with Office 2003, if I'm being charitable, in most cases. Office 2007 in others.

Unfortunately for LO, Office hasn't remained in idle. Particularly the Office 365 for Business we've switched to is, in a lot of ways, a big step up from Office 2010. A lot of the collaboration BS that MS has been talking for a decade or more finally works smoothly, and after a little setup even the, uh, weakest links in the office are collaborating in ways via Sharepoint and OneDrive and OneNote in ways they probably don't even understand (and that's not even putting them down very much, MS has started obfuscating whats going on behind the scenes a great deal), but helps a lot of processes go smoother. Having a Sharepoint, and programs that natively and effortlessly interface with it, is something LO can't and never will match. Or shared OneNote agendas, syncing via some mysterious cloud. (I think our Sharepoint, but again, MS obfuscates some of the details, could be the totally separate business OneDrive) We also use Exchange in the cloud, now, as well. Integrated calendars and chat with Lync across the whole company, not just my division. Speaking of Outlook, probably most improved since 2010.

And then, setting aside everything else, there's Excel. AFAIK, it retains the performance crown, and in edge cases I've managed to make Calc mess its pants. Plus, the UI plays a bigger role in Calc then what I'd expect, given how comparatively easy Excel makes it to "beautify" things for "executive" eyes.

Calc's ability to connect to external data sources, from what I can see right now in a VM, looks limited. One SQL server I pull from I have access to, so I write custom views inside the server, but another I don't have admin access to, so I write my SQL queries inside Excel. In Calc, looks like I can just point it at the URL of a data source, and it'll list tables, but SOL for anything fancy. It's a matter of preference but my sheets are complicated enough as it is, I prefer running data through a first level of manipulation before it hits my workbook.

Finally, to get back to the integrated and cloud aspects. I haven't asked my IT guy, but my impression is we're getting 1TB per user, or will be soon. And I can access any file, of any sort, anywhere at any time, including when my plant has a power outage, as happened this past weekend. Because, cloud. And not just my files, reports, data, etc., but that of my entire teams.

But of course, that all comes with a monthly sub. So it depends on how much you, and your team, uses these sort of applications, and how much you can leverage the improved collaborative and cloud aspects. (In our case, losing the cloud-sync and collaborative assets would force a total change in how we coordinate in management) At least in my case, even if I said to hell with everyone elses time, I only care about my own (and my direct superiors), I can easily justify the cost in terms of time (and thus labor dollars) saved/made available elsewhere.

Not every business, or every department of every business, is that way though. I don't install an office suite of ANY sort on the shop or warehouse computers, for example. And our sales team, they might actually be able to get by with LO, because the most sophisticated document my department outputs to them is a PDF (and various CAD files). So YMMV, but as a "heavy user," that's my experience.

Last tidbit: "Access Services" seems to be making writing custom apps easy enough I think my dog could do it, I've seen a friend of mine show me some impressive things he's done in, supposedly, very little time, but haven't experimented personally.. and probably wont. IT guy told me its extra $, and I don't use Access much myself, so, nope.
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Re: LibreOffice - Finally a viable alternative or still crap

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:58 pm

Ringofett wrote:Of course people got touchy, I can think of no other minority group on the internet with buttons easier to press than the linux/open-source clan.


My comment has zero to do with LibreOffice being open source. I would have pointed it out if Ronch said "Microsoft Office - Finally tolerable or still crap." In fact, my reaction was mainly because Ronch had a similar thread with "Steam SUCKS." This isn't a good way to start a discussion in my opinion, even if you've had frustration with the program being discussed. Because like with Steam it's often times a mix of application shortcoming and user error or lack of familiarity.
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