"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Robert A. Heinlein)

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Libre Office on Ubuntu Linux (and the EEEPC)

Libre Office is the latest development split from the more known Open Office project. There has been, recently, a lot of talking about it since it seems that it will be shipped in future Ubuntu's releases replacing Open Office. I decided to give it a first person look and install it on the EEEPC, where I usually write my blog posts.

Download and installation

Libre office isn't include yet in Ubuntu's repositories so installing is a little tricky but not difficult. I downloaded installation files from Libre Office download page. Installation files are three archives: a bigger main installation archive and smaller language and help-files archives. The download page properly recognised my operating system and language offering by default the correct files. A torrent download option is also available.
The downloaded archives contain a lot of .deb package files. After extracting all .deb files on the same folder I simply changed directory to where files where extracted and executed the following command on every folder:
sudo dpkg --install *.deb
Once the install process ended all programs of Libre Office suite have been made available in the “Office” folder of Ubuntu's NBR interface.

First impressions

Here is how Libre Office Writer looks like
Libre-office
and here is how Open Office looks like
open-office
comparing the two is like a “find the differences” puzzle: there are no visible differences apart from the name and icons images. Apart from icon differences Libre Office offers its own printer manager program (I haven't been able to find its equivalent in Open Office so I suppose it's new).
Libre-office printer manager
I didn't test Libre Office printer manager extensively but it appears to be an interesting first step in the differentiation process from Open Office.

Conclusions

So, is Libre Office worth installing? From a practical point of view no, if  you already have Open Office installed. Libre office is just a small move in the chess-play between Oracle and Open source community. In the future, especially with Ubuntu support, this move might lead to a new and different office suite but for the moment it is only sort of a “duplicate entry”.