A skeptic looks at Libre Office

Since MS Office 2003 turns into a pumpkin in April 2014 or so, I decided maybe it’s time to start looking at alternatives. I’ve looked at Open Office off and on over the years but its sluggish performance always turned me off. But I thought I’d give Libre Office, the successor, a look.

And now that I’ve lived with Office 2010, I don’t find Libre Office 3.6 all that bad.

The initial startup is still a bit pokey–I timed it at 15 seconds on my SSD. That’s pathetic compared to MS Office 2003 (all of its apps load in 1-2 seconds) but better than Office 2010. Once it’s loaded the first time, subsequent loads take a few seconds.

I found a couple of tips for improving the startup speed, including disabling the logo, and some options tweaks. Each seems to shave a second or two off the startup time, which is welcome.

It has menus. Glorious menus. I can find my way around in it.

I loaded some fairly complex Word documents into it, and it handled the formatting fine. Office 2010 doesn’t always handle existing documents well, so that’s commendable.

Could it be better? Absolutely. Is it better than Office 2010? Absolutely. Is that a compliment? Not really. But I do think I’ll be keeping a closer eye on it. It’s competent–which is more than I can say for Office 2010–and the price is right.

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