It is importanat for any organization to have software tools that reduces the time spent by employees and increases productivity thus, fetching good results for an organization.
Office suit is one such tool that helps organization in drafting documents, giving presentations, performing calculations and managing databases.
MS Office suit is the most popular tool and is a proprietary product of Microsoft. It is a paid tool and quite expensive for SMBs, start ups and personal PCs. For example, The cost of Microsoft Office 2013 for home & student is $139.99 and MS office professional costs $399.99. Moreover they work on only 1 PC. If you increase the number of users, the cost multiplies.
OpenOffice and LibreOffice are two office suites that are similar to MS Office. They are open source and available for free. They can be downloaded for free on any number of systems and can be shared among any number of users.
- OpenOffice has gone through many owners like Star, Sun, Oracle and presently Apache.
- It is available only in 32 bit but it is compatible with 64 bit operating systems also. (So, it works comparitively well in older systems than in new configuration systems)
- It has similar ribbon interface as Microsoft Office 2007, which is more user friendly.
- Some sections of OpenOffice is copyrighted and cannot be modified. While, rest of the pages are licensed under Apache License.version 2 (Alv2) and are available for modifications.
- It is a free suite with the support from communities and groups.
- It occupies 136.78MB of memory space and is dependent on Java.
- It supports Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8, Linux and Mac, but does not support Windows 98 and Solaris operating systems.
- Updates are not as regular as LibreOffice.
- More alignment problems while importing and exporting files.
In September 2010, Oracle has taken over Sun. Few people from OpenOffice.org came out and formed a group called “The Document Foundation”. This group used the same base program OpenOffice and developed LibreOffice suspecting that either Oracle will discontinue OpenOffice.org or place restrictions on it.
- Performance of LibreOffice is very low when compared to OpenOffice
- LibreOffice has better opensource license (Lesser General Public License) and whole software is available freely for modifications, extensions, etc.
- It supports many file formats than OpenOffice.
- Two different versions available for both 32 bit and 64 bit operating systems.
- Interface of LibreOffice is not as user friendly as OpenOffice. It is similar to MS office 2003 interface.(not ribbon interface).
- It is compatible on almost all operating systems like Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8, Linux and Mac including Windows 98 and Solaris.
- Need approximately 210MB of memory space and it is also dependent on Java.
- Updates and developments are more frequent in LibreOffice compared to OpenOffice.
- Strong community support base and is growing everyday.
- Less alignment problems while importing and exporting files.
If you can afford it and if it is only for one PC, then MS Office is recommended for its genuinity and professional support. But, for SMBs, where they need Office suite installation on multiple PCs, it is better to adopt the free alternatives in order to be cost effective.