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Installing OpenOffice….errr, LibreOffice

January 19, 2013

D – In the Windows world on my various PCs at home I use OpenOffice exclusively and with great success by little problems. I also use it at work, mainly because Excel cannot display more than 1,024 characters in a single cell of a worksheet (it can store more and can display more in the edit bar below the ribbon – one more reason to not use MS Office). OpenOffice Calc does not have such restrictions.

These days an office suite is standard on multi-purpose computer systems and with OpenOffice also easily obtained for everyone who has Internet access. Using Synaptics (I did not want to sign up for the Pi Store yet) I searched for OpenOffice and was presented with an array of packages. It is great and annoying at the same time to be able to slice and dice installations. The great part is that I do not have to clutter the system with help documentation in languages I cannot understand, the annoying part is that there are many packages where the description does not clearly explain if I need the package or not. So my approach is to include them. Most of the packages are labeled as OpenOffice and only a few are labeled LibreOffice.

OpenOffice and LibreOffice are branches of the same office suite. They are very similar, but at time the one has more bug fixes and features than the other. With LibreOffice being newer than OpenOffice I am always a bit skeptical if it will last. For that reason I stick with OpenOffice, which now is a top level Apache project. The installation went without a problem and after the installation completed I found a new entry in the start menu called “Office”. The interesting part here is that all the applications are of the LibreOffice branch and not from the OpenOffice branch. For all practical purposes that is not making much of a difference, but when I ask for OpenOffice and select OpenOffice I expect to get OpenOffice. Aside from that oddity I found no difference between the Pi running Writer or Calc and a Windows box doing the same except for the look & feel to be a bit different. I think the Pi is an excellent platform for office applications as they tend to use not many system resources.

Nest task is to try printing to my network printer. Printing in black and white should be sufficient, but I wonder if I can access more of the printer features. That will be a project for another day….

 

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