LibreOffice controversy

Today, I read some article around LibreOffice 7.0 and the way it is presented. Basically, it says LibreOffice will be labelled personal edition, but nothing else will change.

This however is a major error. For years, I am advocating the use of LibreOffice in companies. Advocating this against MS Office is tough because most people are not IT people, and they are unable to make a proper judgement when it regards a choice in a domain that is not theirs.

With version 6, what are the pros and contras when comparing the two suites:

  • It is free, you do not have to crack it in order to use it (+).
  • There is no hassle activating. (+)
  • It is truly cross-platform. (+)
  • The user interface is different. (-)
  • The formatting is lost. Especially complex documents or presentations. (-)
  • The perceived functionality is less. (-)
  • Everyone else uses MS Office . If I make a document with LibreOffice, the other guys cannot open my document. (-)
  • There is no-one promoting it as all professionals make their living with something that is paid for, enabling them to hide their fees. (-)
  • What version to select? LibreOffice, OpenOffice, WPS Office, … and all the other variations. Opposed to that you select MS Office based on how much you are ready to pay now and in the future. (-)

As you can see, there are more arguments against LibreOffice as there are against MS Office. I admit, the reality is different, but I am talking about perceived reality.

Yet, now we will give another argument against LibreOffice. The version you get is not for the enterprise, only for the individual. How will we fight this if the distributor is working against us?

I herewith call the ones distributing LibreOffice to label the new version as follows:

Enterprise version with free community support. Personal use and distribution is free.

Recently, I came across a bug that a document I created could not be opened with an older version of LibreOffice. Seems the default file format version number has changed and the new format is not backwards compatible. The file correctly opened on LibreOffice when saving in .xlsx format however…. I believe there are some strange decisions taken that are wrongly communicated to the user base. If you are playing the underdog, you must be better and avoid these kind of issues. Why no say upon saving: save for all versions of LibreOffice or save for users of version x upwards, something in the style of .xls or .xlsx…