16 January, 2012, Testing LibreOffice

Trying out LibreOffice for the first time so this may not be the most spirited or interesting journal entry that I've ever posted, which is a good way to start these things off, by the way. Don't worry. Nothing to read here. Move along.

Or, stick around. Hear the tale of how I discovered LibreOffice. Got to love that name. Wasn't planned, I understand. Just sort-of happened, but I'm not going to tell you the story of LibreOffice.

I've been using OpenOffice.org for those people who haven't been keeping track. Just didn't want to spend the bucks on the latest and greats version of Microsoft Office. I've been quite vocally of the opinion that Microsoft Office really kind-of peaked with Office 97. It's all been downhill since then what with one improvement and modification after another. Simply can't leave well enough alone. I limped along with Office 97 for years and years and years. Refused to upgrade. Couldn't stand what they had done to the place.

Finally had no choice. Really, they simply were not going to support Office 97 any longer, and it really kind-of wasn't going to work with the new operating system any more. Okay, maybe if I had put some effort into it. Maybe it would have worked. What did I know? Didn't bother trying to find out. Simply didn't bother trying to install it.

Did a bit of searching online. Discovered I had some version or other of Wordperfect installed on my computer. Turned out that it had been installed since the day I had purchased that computer. Remembered the days when Wordperfect had been the best word-processor out there. Tried it out. Yeah, go find the journal entry or two I tried to write using Wordperfect. Didn't go well.

Learned two things in my searching, which actually happened some indeterminate amount of time after I had discovered that copy of Wordperfect on my computer. Probably happened when I upgraded my computer. Can't remember. Probably the same computer. Not important enough to be a significant event in the life of this story.

I learned that there were web-based word-processors. This was just a bit before Microsoft and Google decided they needed to purchase all of the web-based word-processors out there. Not long before. Actually, I may have searched and discovered web-based word-processors at the same time I started experimenting with the copy of Wordperfect on my computer. Again, this is a rather unimportant detail. Just ignore.

Two problems with web-based word-processors especially in the early days but still kind-of continuing in my limited opinion and understanding of how these things work. First, they were awkward and clunky being web-based and all of that. Formatting was little more than what could be done on a standard web page. Very limited. Very slow. Prone to crashing, which I guess I could call a thing onto itself but I simply don't want to. Second, they were web-based. Everything written on them was stored in that wonderfully secure environment known as the world wide web. This really filled me with a great sense of assurance and security. Absolutely nothing ever gets hacked or stolen from out of the web.

I understand that things really have improved in the world of online word-processing and spread-sheeting since those long ago days of experimentation with Wordperfect, and this ends the nested portion of my point making. I just realized that I'm using nested points. Weird. Just the kind-of thing you never think about until you stumble across it. People probably use nested points all of the time and nobody ever notices. I mean. Why should people notice? It's just a natural part of human life. Nested points are good, I guess.

The second thing I learned in my searching after discovering a copy of Wordperfect on my computer and trying out those outdated versions of web-based word-processors was that there were open-source word-processors. Or, one open-source word-processor, anyway. Okay, I probably noticed that there was more than one, but the option that really stood out in my mind was OpenOffice.org. Not entirely sure why. Probably the name. More likely the fact that it was sponsored kind-of like Firefox was sponsored. Is it still sponsored, by the way? I wonder about that on occasion. Is Firefox still sponsored by AOL or was that really just the Netscape 6 version? Maybe, Firefox broke away at some point or something. Maybe, the open-source version of Netscape 6 had another name. Can't remember. I suppose I could look it up on Wikipedia if I really felt like it. Not going to but I know that I could.

Anyway, I checked out OpenOffice.org. It worked okay. Did what I needed. Didn't crash left and right. Had a big company sponsor so I kind-of figured that updates would continue on something resembling a regular basis. Everything was going about as well as these things could be expected to go.

Then, another company bought the first company. Didn't worry too much about this. The new company had as much interest in undermining Microsoft's stranglehold on the word-processing market as the old company. I wasn't overly worried. Noticed when the latest OpenOffice.org upgrade included some basic cosmetic changes to include the new company's name. No big deal. Program still worked. Could have gone on like this forever.

Was reading the comments on a post that Wil Wheaton had posted on his website or blog or whatever in the world they are calling these things nowadays. I swear that's a rant I don't need to get into right now. The whole I'm really rather unimpressed by the word blog rant. People always naming things. But, I shan't digress. The important bit being somebody or other mentioning a little thing called LibreOffice. The fact they were complaining that LibreOffice kept crashing was really rather unimportant. The bit that caught my attention was the basic idea there was another Office suite out there that just might be of the open-source persuasion and just might be free of big company sponsorship. Worth looking into.

Which brings us around to LibreOffice. Not going to get into the story of LibreOffice, but it did make me realize that it had been quite awhile since I had noticed the last update to OpenOffice.org. Started to make me wonder when there would be another update to OpenOffice.org.

Thus began the great debate in my poor overclocked little head over whether I should switch from OpenOffice.org to LibreOffice. Since I'm currently typing up this here little journal entry in LibreOffice, I think we all know how that debate ended.

copyright © 2012 by keith d. jones – all rights reserved