Battle of the Office Suites

I have been using OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice since the first releases. They have worked well for me and many others for many years. The bugs are few and far between and the price is right. A recent review found:

“For the most part, LibreOffice and Microsoft Office have the same suite of software with the exception of one thing: Outlook. LibreOffice doesn’t come packed with an email client, so if you need Outlook or an equivalent, you won’t find it here. The rest of the suite is pretty similar.

It’s pretty obvious that if money is tight, LibreOffice is the office suite for you. Even still, if Microsoft Office isn’t actually required at your work (especially with Outlook), LibreOffice has a lot to offer these days. LibreOffice also supports extensions, which means you can customize the look, features, and feel of the suite to suit your needs. Fortunately, the two office suites usually play nice together, so if you want to give LibreOffice a try for a few days you should be able to continue working with documents you’ve already created in Microsoft Office (though as stated above, you may run into a few small issues).”

see Battle of the Office Suites: Microsoft Office and LibreOffice Compared.

The fact is that Outlook is not essential for business. There was a time when Outlook did not exist and the world did continue to rotate. There are plenty of alternatives that work to do the same things available as FLOSS and running on any OS. While M$’s office suites is widely used it is not universal and should not be as it is designed to enforce M$’s monopoly on the desktop OS.

One can judge the ubiquity of M$’s office suite from the numbers. In the last fiscal year, M$ raked in $24billion in revenue for the “Business” division, mostly the office suite. In the same time 300 million desktop and notebook PCs were sold so even if every new PC got a new licence for the office suite, the ASP would be $80, far less than the typical price ranging up to $hundreds. Even assuming that the office suite is moved from one PC to the next and that folks just upgrade their office suites, that amount of money spread over six to eight years average life of a PC, one would be hard-pressed to figure that most PCs run the office suite. There are over 1000million desktop/notebook PCs in use. A renewal cost of $24 per annum times 7 years is still only $168 (Office Pro ~$400, Home and Business ~$200). Certainly, home users and students have better uses for money.

I would recommend LibreOffice to anyone thinking they need an office suite. You will save even more if you can ditch that other OS with GNU/Linux. Without the lock-in of M$’s office suite, you will be halfway to Freedom.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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15 Responses to Battle of the Office Suites

  1. ram says:

    OpenOffice and LibreOffice are FAR superior to Microsoft’s offerings. Try writing a serious engineering or scientific document in Microsoft Office — no (expletive deleted) way. Microsoft enforces stupidity.

  2. oiaohm says:

    bw
    ” What I am saying is that Microsoft is not giving the HP study to the public to criticize because their own salesmen will be using it to present an alternate picture to a client who has seen headlines about Munich and may want to follow suit.”

    The problem here is there is no need to present a fake alternate picture to clients if no clients are thinking about changing or if Munich is a true failure.

    Sorry bw the fact Microsoft has had to do this is evidence of problem. Remember when Munich started Microsoft was not forced to release there closed format document formats or there closed network protocols. If you attempted to open Munich stock pile of documents with current day Libreoffice way less would have to be migrated and fixed.

    The problem here bw is that the HP study was not based off Munich numbers. HP got key things wrong. Like using the same cost numbers for distribution upgrade of Linux has the same labour cost as a installation. In fact a distribution upgrade in a well managed network has very min costs.

    Hell I would hate to see HP costings of Windows if they classed every service pack to Windows as requiring a re-installation.

    Next problem with handing out a fake report it leaks. One party to get the fake report sent it to Munich IT Officer to ask what is the differences and he posted on a public blog. Using a lieing document in sales ends up making you look like a idiot.

    By the way if HP assessment of Munich was presented in a court of law HP would be done for liable since it did not contain any documented facts. HP was a theoretical migration to Linux that they stuck the Munch name on.

    Yes bw there is sales deception. Like a theoretical migration document naming no such location would have been legally fine.

    Yes Microsoft sales people got caught with a do not pass go document this is why its not released.

    Who are you to claim they are lying?

    I am not claiming anything. I don’t think you read my post correctly. What I am saying is that Microsoft is not giving the HP study to the public to criticize because their own salesmen will be using it to present an alternate picture to a client who has seen headlines about Munich and may want to follow suit.

    bw
    “I’m only being practical here and from a practical point of view, the truth is what people believe it to be. The earth used to be flat, you know.”
    Truth is truth. That a lot of people believed the world was flat not everyone did. Sun worships of the Americas believed the earth rotated around the sun.

    Normally a percentage will believe in the truth and in time the real truth will become more and more provable. If you have not worked out what is happen to your arguments is the the effect of truth.

  3. bw says:

    Who are you to claim they are lying?

    I am not claiming anything. I don’t think you read my post correctly. What I am saying is that Microsoft is not giving the HP study to the public to criticize because their own salesmen will be using it to present an alternate picture to a client who has seen headlines about Munich and may want to follow suit.

    In your world it would be the Microsoft salesman who was lying. And lying effectively, armed with a scholarly, I am sure, alternate analysis of the Munich case data. It is like a court case with expert witnesses who contradict one another. Unopposed, the expert will be believed, though, and my take on it all is that there isn’t any interested party that can benefit from a Linux decision involved with influencing the buyer. Usually that means that the winner will be the only one that shows up for the battle.

    I’m only being practical here and from a practical point of view, the truth is what people believe it to be. The earth used to be flat, you know.

  4. bw, making up fairy stories, wrote, “that was that IT guy over there trying to paint himself with a smiley face. Here’s the real numbers…””

    Munich was the most public migration in history, studied, debated and restudies ad nauseam. That’s why we know so much about it and so little about most migrations since. Folks didn’t want to be pilloried for doing IT the right way, minimum cost and maximum performance. Elected representatives and employees all had their say. Who are you to claim they are lying?

  5. oiaohm wrote, “Remove limitation on number of copies IT officer can use and IT officer suffers from less Shockley bad hours.”

    A corresponding benefit of FLOSS in schools/non-profits is that no effort has to be put into budget meeting/requisitions/justifications. Schools can just decide to do it and it happens in minutes if hardware is available. I used to enjoy answering teachers’ questions by installing and testing software that met their needs in real time. There’s just no way to do that with non-Free software because the licence does not permit it and the price does not permit it. Even when I was a teacher, I could install and use MySQL on my personal PC without any hesitation, just install and go. In one school, students visited a fair-sized library but could not find anything because there was no full-time librarian and inventory had not been kept. I gave a student a project to catalogue stuff and put it in a database. Instantly, indices by title, subject, even full-text search were available. There was at that library a huge repository of VHS tapes that no one had indexed or if they had it was lost. We made an index in an hour and instantly I had the ability to find a tape relevant to the lessons I was giving in chemistry, biology and physics, review it and present it in class, reducing my preparation time immensely and saving students from hearing me drone for hours. When I left that place, they didn’t want the database any longer (twits, squandering the taxpayers’ monies) but I printed copies and left them in the lectern for the next teacher. That was a strange school. They didn’t want that other OS used to its maximum let alone GNU/Linux… That’s partly why I left. Most schools love any addition to IT that promotes education.

  6. oiaohm says:

    bw there is a catch every year that goes past doing a Munich like Migration gets cheaper.

    Why the incompatibly is reducing.

    IT manager only gets his wage no matter what software is used this is a key point.

    Yes sales person might make more profit. But its the poor IT Manager who has to be out of bed at 1 am fixing a issue that has happened due to lack of budget for suitable fall over redundancy.

    Remove limitation on number of copies IT officer can use and IT officer suffers from less Shockley bad hours.

    bw sleep is quite a highly prised reward. Failures that staff don’t notice so your day off is your day off is also a highly prised reward. Not everything is money.

  7. bw says:

    I wonder why

    Isn’t there a proverb that goes something like “Blessed are the unknowing for they will never know what hit them!” ? Maybe not.

    Imagine, though, a real company with plenty of feet on the street calling on organizations that are contemplating doing something along the lines of Munich in order to save that €10M. I would imagine that their story goes along the lines of “Yeah, that’s what they _said_. but that was that IT guy over there trying to paint himself with a smiley face. Here’s the real numbers…” Do you think that that report is so full of holes that some prospect would immediately see through it?

    Whether you agree with the findings or not yourself, you can count on it being a work of presentation artistry, done by pros at the game, and will be extremely compelling to the recipient.

    So why don’t they show it to the world so that every two-bit tin horn with an attitude like yours can write a bunch of equally obscure bullcrap about it and so lessen the credibility of the one presenting it to a client? Silly boy.

    The man holding the Microsoft cards sitting at the table has just pushed a tall stack into the pot and it is up to you to call or fold. Linux advocates are really few and far between and there is essentially no one out there making much money off a system like Munich. If some internal soul wants to face up to the daunting task, another Munich or similar will happen again, but there is no real reward for going to all that trouble. The IT manager involved only gets his salary whereas the salesman who succeeds at the other site gets a fat commission and can buy a new summer house or yacht. The most extra that the inside working stiff gets is a pat on the head.

    Go, now, and think up another fairy tale to tell about how you went into some major corporation and slew the dragon, convincing them to dismiss their high paid IT staff and choose the good side of the force instead, dealing Microsoft its comeuppance one more time.

  8. dougman says:

    Just deploy Linux, roll out Google apps and boot your M$ loving IT people, they need to get a REAL job.

    $5/month per user, it makes for SMART IT.

    http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/

  9. dougman says:

    Again, Broken Windows not being truthful.

    Munich migration was preempted by M$, stepping in and offering discounts to keep Munich’s business, so one can understand the delays in such a venture. The switchover was not just for an Office suite, but for the entire desktop.

    I don’t smoke, but moving to Linux from M$ is like quitting smoking. You just have to commit to taking the first steps and then it’s really easy.

    “As previously reported on Slashdot, in November of last year, the city of Munich reported savings of over €10 million from its switch to Linux. Microsoft subsequently commissioned a study (conducted by HP) that found that, in fact, ‘Munich would have saved €43.7 million if it had stuck with Microsoft.’ Now, Microsoft has said it won’t release the study, saying that ‘[it] was commissioned by Microsoft to HP Consulting for internal purposes only.'”

    http://www.itworld.com/open-source/337658/microsoft-wont-release-study-challenged-success-munichs-linux-migration

    Geeeee…I wonder why?? LOL……

    “I would struggle to see how a Windows deployment would be cheaper than a Linux installment,” said Roy Illsley, principal analyst at Ovum, who added that he couldn’t imagine why Microsoft wouldn’t release a study that actually proved that Microsoft is cheaper than Linux. “I would suspect that they read it and they suspected that there are some errors in there,”

    I will say it, someone outright lied, thats why. If they release it someone could criticize it, if not they can keep making claims you can’t refute. Unwillingness to release it is a sure sign they’ve got something to hide. If it’s true, than what would they be afraid of? Surely it would hold up to scrutiny, right?

  10. oiaohm says:

    bw of course you miss that thunderbird these days can connect to exchange. This integration only exists since more and more managers are using it.

    The reality your arguments are turning into garbage. Bw you have to stop recycling the same arguments time has moved on.

  11. bw says:

    it fills a checkbox on some mindless manager’s list

    The checkbox doesn’t just read “mail client”, it reads “Outlook Exchange client”. More succinctly it reads “Doesn’t rock the boat”.

    You may not see the advantage of adding Thunderbird to Libre Office and there probably is no advantage to doing so. The commercial buyer sees a huge advantage in not having to change anything from what is working today to something else, though. He sees a functioning department’s productivity going to zero for some period of time while everyone is converted and learns to be efficient again with new procedures. You can tell him that will take no time at all and then he reads about how Munich has been in the process for 10 years now and is not quite finished. About that time he quits listening to whatever else you are saying.

  12. oiaohm says:

    Aieee a Ballhogg really this is something that annoys me. Libreoffice-kde package yes a Linux only thing gives me kontact as the PIM with nice interlinking to many other group-wares.

    Libreoffice and OpenOffice still contains thunderbird support.

    There has been a reason to debundle OpenOffice and Mozilla. Please note I said debundle.

    http://ostrovsky.org/libreoffice-new-mork-driver/
    Yes seamonkey code was stuffed inside openoffice and libreoffice so it could read the Mozilla address book up until mid 2012.

    Aieee a Ballhogg so there is a bit of a mess going on from 2012. Mozilla thunderbird is looking at killing off the mork format and moving to sqlite. So yes mozilla out while source base of libreoffice and openoffice are clean from insane interlinks between source bases. It was very much bring in a 1000 ton elephant to move a single chair.

    Of course that mozilla has stated thunderbird will not be getting new features quickly.
    http://blog.lizardwrangler.com/2012/07/06/thunderbird-stability-and-community-innovation/
    Is forcing a lot of rethinking. There is a lot of need for a email client that simply supports encrypted.

    Aieee a Ballhogg yes lack of include encrypted email support is the biggest stall to bundling mozilla.

    http://www.trustedbird.org this is the fence watching at this stage since it still only a beta client.

    Aieee a Ballhogg basically no point adding a email client until it can encrypt.

    Even kontact encrypted email support is messy. http://docs.kde.org/stable/en/kdepim/kmail/pgp.html but at least its include in box.

  13. dougman says:

    I use to think that integrating a mail client to LibreOffice would be a good thing, now I do not.

    The only other application that could also fill a niche would be RedNotebook or Freemind, but integration nah.

    I use Libreoffice, Scrivner and Writer for all my writing these days.

  14. dougman says:

    I had a client ask me about updating their office suite. I said ok, show me some reasons why you need M$ office, they could not. So I had them download LIbreOffice and they saved a bundle. 🙂

    http://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/documentation/

    M$ has OEMs install 60-day trialware of M$ Office on new machines, but stately hide this fact. So when consumers start using the software and the 60-days are up, MS office will not let you access your files, so you are forced to pay up. M$ is sneaky like that.

    Today I read this: In Windows 8.1, M$ is now designating the SkyDrive Documents folder as the default save location for the Documents library. So if you drag a file into your Documents library in Windows 8.1, it ends up on SkyDrive, whether you want to or not. ACK!!

    That would be the same SkyDrive that went down this week along with Outlook.com, which was still experiencing problems syncing email with mobile devices as of Thursday afternoon.

  15. Aieee a Ballhogg says:

    The presence or lack of presence of a mail client in an office suite is an old, tiresome cannard. With all Gnu/Linux distros it is trivial to add a mail client. With graphical installers it is usually just a click or two. Whether the mail client came with the productivity suit or not is not relevant to the ease with which it is installed. Still, M$ and its shills have made a big deal about this. In fact they made so much noise that OpenOffice.org was considering partnering with Mozilla. (sadly Apache OpenOffice seems to have killed its mail archive but here is one summary: http://www.onlamp.com/pub/wlg/5503)

    I don’t see the advantage of providing a default mail client bundled with the office suite. Outlook / Exchange itself is an abomination. I can see how some managers enjoy the benefits of plausible deniability they get from the reams of lost messages. However, every one of us is worse off which Outlook / Exchange continues to exist. If bundling a mail client like Thunderbird with LibreOffice helps end the pain then let’s do that, even if only because it fills a checkbox on some mindless manager’s list.

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