Free alternatives to the juggernaut word processor
Microsoft Word has been the go-to word processor since the early 90s. It’s a program that anyone who’s ever used a computer will recognize and for good reason—it’s both capable and common. Documents with .doc (or .docx) extensions are ubiquitous and widely recognized as the file format of choice for formatted text files. Although it’s relatively affordable in its modern incarnations—$139.99 for home use or $6.99 a month as a subscription service (as part of the Office suite)—freeware alternatives abound and for once, they’re more than capable.
AMD joins the likes of Google and Intel on the Open Office Foundation’s advisory board
Users of open-source productivity suite LibreOffice, which forked away from OpenOffice.org in 2010, will soon be able to make the most of their GPUs when using the Calc spreadsheet app, courtesy of a partnership between Open Office Foundation (the outfit behind LibreOffice) and chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices.
Google Docs and Office Web apps have gone a long way towards offering a compelling solution for storing our documents online, but for those in need of offline access, Open Office used to be the best free alterative to Microsoft around. Fast forward to 2012 however, and Open Office hasn’t just fallen off the map, it has been lapped several times by a new community fork called LibreOffice.
Does the name Tor Lillqvist sound familiar? If you use the free photo manipulation software known as GIMP on your Windows box in place of Adobe's costly Photoshop suite, you have Lillqvist to thank. He's the SUSE programmer responsible for porting GIMP to Windows and was hired by Novell to do the same with its Evolution software, and now he's turning his attention to LibreOffice.
Going forward, Ubuntu's developers decided it is in the best interest of the open source OS to ship with LibreOffice for its productivity suite, replacing the Oracle-owned OpenOffice that previously came pre-installed. That includes Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), which will be available April 28, 2011, ZDNet confirmed.
LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice, which came into being after contributors for the latter became fed up with how Oracle was handling (or not handling) things, and thus LibreOffice was born.
"Oracle needs to see where we're going, and the momentum, and what they can provide," LibreOffice developer Michael Meeks told THINQ last year. "It takes a long time for people steeped in ten to fifteen years of proprietary development to understand free software, and if you look at how that community was structured inside OpenOffice, there were many obvious weaknesses and it's a shame that their experience has been that free software does not provide compelling value [to Oracle]."
The decision by Ubuntu makes it the first major Linux distro to ship with LibreOffice, assuming the due date doesn't get pushed back. Fedora 15, due out on May 10th, will also ship with LibreOffice.
There have been concerns over the future of Sun's open source projects ever since it was acquired by Oracle. But developers of the world's most popular open source productivity suite, Open Office, have decided to take their destiny in their own hands by breaking away to launch the Document Foundation. A productivity suite called "LibreOffice" is now available through the foundation's website.
The Document Foundation has chosen the name LibreOffice, as the trademark "Open Office" is currently owned by Oracle. However, the developers are hoping that “Oracle will donate this to to the Foundation, along with the other assets it holds in trust for the Community, in due course, once legal etc issues are resolved.”