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Office Suites: LibreOffice or OpenOffice.org?

ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - The office suite has occupied a very strange position in the world of open source. As a key software tool used by practically everyone on a daily basis, it was vital for free software to be able to offer one. And yet what came to be the leading office suite - OpenOffice.org - was widely recognised as deeply unsatisfactory. Its early versions were barely usable, and even in its later incarnations it was hard to get enthusiastic about it.

That was largely a function of the way that it had come into being, starting as the closed-source application StarOffice, and then being open-sourced by Sun, which had bought the product, largely in an attempt to irritate Microsoft. Licensing issues meant that OpenOffice.org never really became a true community project. As a result, there was no real passion behind its development, and it showed.

Things were made even worse when Oracle bought Sun. It soon became clear that the former cared even less than the latter about making OpenOffice.org a vibrant and successful open source project, and the announcement of The Document Foundation and the new LibreOffice - effectively a fork - was probably inevitable at this point. Here's its stated mission: