♫ Finally the King is Dead, we cried off with his head
Everything must change (Everything must change), everything must change…♫
Music, Lyrics and Recorded by The Herd.
For those who were fans of the office suite: NeoOffice (for the Mac) or OpenOffice (for Windows), being free open source office productivity suites originally created by Sun Microsystems, you may be downhearted to hear that OpenOffice (and NeoOffice) are now officially dead. Sigh!
However, this is truly a case of "The King is Dead – Long Live the King!". OpenOffice and NeoOffice live on – being open source software – in a new incarnation. LibreOffice.
For one, those of us who were fans can now refer to this new suite by one name – rather than two!
Secondly, this new suite will run under Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, Suse, …). It is also is available in more than 30 languages.
Third, it offers a word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation application, a drawing application, a database and more. The only thing that it does not offer is an email/calendar application similar to MS Outlook.
I can attest to the stated benefits of LibreOffice:
LibreOffice is user-friendly:
- You get a simple-to-use yet powerful interface that is easy to personalize – Microsoft Office users will find the switch easy and painless, with a familiar look and feel.
- Compatible with all major competitors' file formats. You can easily import files from Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint and many other formats, and can easily save to Microsoft Office and other formats when needed.
- LibreOffice is supported by a big worldwide community: volunteers help newcomers, and advanced users and developers can collaborate with you to find solutions to complex issues.
What are the features of LibreOffice?
Writer is the word processor inside LibreOffice. Use it for everything, from dashing off a quick letter to producing an entire book with tables of contents, embedded illustrations, bibliographies and diagrams. The while-you-type auto-completion, auto-formatting and automatic spelling checking make difficult tasks easy (but are easy to disable if you prefer). Writer is powerful enough to tackle desktop publishing tasks such as creating multi-column newsletters and brochures. The only limit is your imagination.
Calc tames your numbers and helps with difficult decisions when you're weighing the alternatives. Analyze your data with Calc and then use it to present your final output. Charts and analysis tools help bring transparency to your conclusions. A fully-integrated help system makes easier work of entering complex formulas. Add data from external databases such as SQL or Oracle, then sort and filter them to produce statistical analyses. Use the graphing functions to display large number of 2D and 3D graphics from 13 categories, including line, area, bar, pie, X-Y, and net – with the dozens of variations available, you're sure to find one that suits your project.
Impress is the fastest and easiest way to create effective multimedia presentations. Stunning animation and sensational special effects help you convince your audience. Create presentations that look even more professional than the standard presentations you commonly see at work. Get your collegues' and bosses' attention by creating something a little bit different.
Draw lets you build diagrams and sketches from scratch. A picture is worth a thousand words, so why not try something simple with box and line diagrams? Or else go further and easily build dynamic 3D illustrations and special effects. It's as simple or as powerful as you want it to be.
Base is the database front-end of the LibreOffice suite. With Base, you can seamlessly integrate your existing database structures into the other components of LibreOffice, or create an interface to use and administer your data as a stand-alone application. You can use imported and linked tables and queries from MySQL, PostgreSQL or Microsoft Access and many other data sources, or design your own with Base, to build powerful front-ends with sophisticated forms, reports and views. Support is built-in or easily addable for a very wide range of database products, notably the standardly-provided HSQL, MySQL, Adabas D, Microsoft Access and PostgreSQL.
Math is a simple equation editor that lets you lay-out and display your mathematical, chemical, electrical or scientific equations quickly in standard written notation. Even the most-complex calculations can be understandable when displayed correctly. E=mc2.
LibreOffice also comes configured with a PDF file creator, meaning you can distribute documents that you're sure can be opened and read by users of almost any computing device or operating system.
I *loved* NeoOffice and I am sure that LibreOffice will continue in its fine footsteps. While everything must change, it is indeed reassuring that a phoenix has risen from the ashes of OpenOffice to carry on..