Libre Office, is an open source and standards based implementation of the Office productivity suits (Word processing, Presentations, Drawings, Spreadsheets, Databases and even Mathematical equations). Its very similar to Open Office & MS Office and is inter-operable with the file formats supported by both these major applications. Lets see the top ten reasons on why you should implement Libre Office in your organization, in this article.
Hitherto, Open Office (promoted by Sun Corporation) was very popular among the free open source based office productivity suits. But with Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Corporation, there is a concern on the pace of future development and maintenance of Open Office. Libre Office is actually a fork of the Open Office application but it promises to build more features and better compatibility. A lot of major companies and important contributors of the Open Office project have backed Libre Office, and hence we could hope to see it adopted by a lot of organizations in the coming years.
To know how to pronounce Libre Office, click on this Google Translation page and then click on ‘Listen’. Its pronounced more like Liib Rii office. It seems Libre Office a combination of the French/ Spanish word ‘Libre’ meaning liberation/ freedom & Office is the English word ‘Office’.
Top ten reasons for implementing Libre Office in your organization:
1. The first one is a no brainer – Libre Office is Free to use and distribute. You can use it on multiple computers – as many as you like, without having to worry about any licensing costs. Imagine a small organization with 250 employees – If all of them could use Libre Office instead of commercial office productivity packages, you could easily calculate the cost savings. Libre Office is free, as in both free speech and free beer!
2. Libre Office uses open document format for office applications (shortly known as ODF). ODF is an xml based file format, whose standards are published by an organization called OASIS, which is backed by a lot of major companies. Since it is an open standard, the ODF files can be opened edited and saved by any application supporting the open document format. So, the document extensions/ documents are not tied to a particular vendor developed application.
3. Libre Office is an Open Source project and is licensed under LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License). This enables complete access to the source code of this application, and hence it enables a lot of developers/ volunteers from around the world to introduce new features/ expand the application easily, and they do.
4. Libre Office is available for all the three major Operating Systems - Linux, Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac.
5. Libre Office supports the file formats used in MS Office applications. So, you can (for example), create a word document (.doc) in MS Word, open it in Libre Office, edit it, and save it back in the same format to be opened with MS Office again. Its possible, and it works. There might be some formating errors if some special characters/ features are used, but on the whole the inter-interoperability is quite dependable.
6. You can run both Libre Office and MS Office in the same computer. You can choose any of the two as the primary office application that should open the files when you click on them and you can open the files in any of the two programs by right clicking and choosing ‘Open with’. It seems that you are required to un-install Open Office to install Libre Office, through.
7. You can save files in a lot of formats with Libre Office. Two noteworthy mentions include the ability to import and save drawings using the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format and the ability to save documents as PDF files directly from the Libre Office application.
8. You can encrypt documents using a password directly from the ‘Save As’, in the menu. With Write (Word processing) and Calc (spreadsheets), you can even password protect files which cannot be edited without a password, but can be viewed without one. Ain’t that cool?
9. You can join in the mailing lists of the Libre Office project and request the implementation of some additional features that might be useful to your business. There are developers waiting for new ideas that could be implemented. You can even send a mail requesting some help/ support. Anyways, there is exhaustive documentation for the Libre Office project that could be referenced if you want to know/ use all the features available with individual applications.
10. If you have used Open Office, you are already familiar with Libre Office. And for MS Office users, it takes only sometime to get familiarized with Libre Office!
Its your duty to support standards and standards based implementation of applications. A lot of Governments and organizations around the world have already made it mandatory to use ODF standards (Default with Libre Office/ Open Office) for all their members/ employees. Moreover, why would anyone want to use pirated softwares when free and perhaps better options are available?
In case you have already implemented Libre Office in your organization or planning to move to Libre Office en masse, do consider donating to help in their efforts of trying to set up a foundation for Libre Office at Germany to protect the long term interests of the users/ community.