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April 2011-Office Suite Alternatives

Member Jan Fagerholm presented several alternatives to Microsoft Office. LibreOffice has been issued as an update to OpenOffice.

Jan reviewed the history of office suites and the development of consistent interfaces and Microsoft’s linking the programs through OLE. Single-sourcing has become a problem for government and businesses. The current issue is not the word processing application per se but formatting and interchangeability. XML coding, current for the past several years, provides a common standard. Microsoft, especially with Office 2010, tries to distinguish itself with special features.

LibreOffice is working very hard at opening from any source. WordPerfect, with the unique View Codes feature, allows editing and repairing documents possible as in no other application.

Where is Portable Document Format (PDF) in all this? As a universal document viewer, it’s probably here to stay.

Spreadsheets, which hark back to VisiCalc, are generally more interchangeable than other applications in office suites. The Open Document Foundation is working on a common interface for all parts of an office suite–even a single application. While documents are becoming more interchangeable, each developer is trying to distinguish itself with features it hopes will attract customers.

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