I'm considering switching from Microsoft Office (too expensive) to an open-source option.
What's the difference between OpenOffice and LibreOffice?
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Compared to OpenOffice.org 3.3, LibreOffice 3.3 has some unique features, including :
- SVG image import
- Lotus Word Pro and MS Works import filters
- Improved WordPerfect import
- Dialog box for title pages
- Navigator lets you unfold one heading as usual in a tree view
- "Experimental" mode that allows users to test out unfinished features
- Certain bundled extensions (including Presenter View in Impress)
- Color-coded document icons
Version numbers are the same as OpenOffice (for now) because it is a fork. The differences are relatively minor at the moment, though the featureset could of course diverge. It's a pretty safe bet that as long as OpenOffice remains free and open source (as in: Oracle doesn't kill it off), enhancements from that will continue to be merged into LibreOffice.
This article is an interesting read.
When SUN was acquired by Oracle, the open source community was afraid that Oracle kills SUN's open source software, which included OpenOffice.org, OpenSolaris, MySQL, etc. While some of these fears turned to reality (with Oracle dumping OpenSolaris), the database giant plans for OpenOffice.org were not so clear and the office suite future seemed in danger.
Some OpenOffice.org developers forked OpenOffice and created LibreOffice. They created a foundation: The Document Foundation and changed the BSD licence (which meant you could develop and commercialize OpenOffice.org the way IBM used to do with Lotus Syphony) to our well loved GPL :)
The foundation quickly raised funds and started by cleaning the code base. From a user perspective, no major UI changes so far. However, for developers the current focus on code cleanup is very important and will increase the number of contributors. Meanwhile, after failing to monetize it, Oracle donated OpenOffice to the Apache foundation (hey IBM ;) )
In a nutshell, and to answer your question, LibreOffice is the brightest future OpenOffice.org could ever had :) LibreOffice 3.4.1 has been already released and packed with stable new features. Google, RedHat, Canonical, Novell and others are showing support for LibreOffice. The GPL office suite even got more serious a while ago with a new heavyweight board. And it already replaces OpenOffice.org in major Linux Distros (ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, etc).
At the moment, LibreOffice has more features than Apache OpenOffice and also more developers involved. About licenses both are opensource but LibreOffice is GPL (more copyleft) license and Apache OpenOffice has an Apache license (more permissive).
In fact in Wikipedia OpenOffice has "Moribund" as Development status
In 2016, only 11 commits from Apache OpenOffice were merged into LibreOffice, representing 0.07% of LibreOffice's commits for the period.
On March 2015, lwn.net published an study of differences between both version, and LibreOffice was the winner. https://lwn.net/Articles/637735/
One more thing - is that in LO You have a much greater option of keys to bind commands to. That is You can bind some functionality to Ctrl-a, Ctrl-Shift-a, Ctrl-Alt-Shift-a - while in OO You don't have Ctrl-Alt, Ctrl-Alt-Shift option. At least it was this way a month ago.
Another thing - LO works way faster then OO. For example it starts MUCH faster.