Unless you are a real fan of using proprietary software for your office productivity suite (wordprocessor, spreadsheet, presentations, etc.) just for the heck of it, there is currently no good reason for not trying LibreOffice, especially now that Coverity has certified it contains less than 4 defects for every 1,000,000 lines of code.
LibreOffice was forked from OpenOffice back in 2010, when Oracle took over OOo after buying out Sun. LibreOffice has greatly diverged from the original over these 4 years and currently contains nearly 6 million lines of code.
LibreOffice, which it is distributed for free under LGPLv3 license, comprises Writer, an advanced wordprocessor; Calc, a full-featured spreadsheet application; Impress, used for creating presentations; Draw, a vector design drawing application; Math, used for creating mathematical formulas; and Base, which allows you to visually create and manage databases.
It runs on most operating systems, including Windows, Linux and MacOS X. There are also efforts to export parts of LibreOffice to Android on devices powerful enough as to run them. LibreOffice also imports from, and exports to most common office document formats, including the ODF open format, and Microsoft’s proprietary docx, xlsx, and pptx formats. Also, due to the lack of a license payments, LibreOffice is gradually making its way into enterprises and public organisations, saving companies and taxpayers hundred of thousands, often millions of dollars. Support is readily available via the community and companies that offer the services to help you migrate and maintain the software.
Despite some allegations of the providers of competing products, the fact is that, for 95% of all office work carried out by all office workers, LibreOffice is not only just fine, but excels (hah!). It is also getting better all the time thanks to its rapid development cycle. Apart from all the new features continuously being added to each app, and the bug squashing that goes on, the Coverity suite of tests prove LibreOffice’s code is becoming outstandingly stable and mature, something you want from a productivity suite you work with every day.
Coverity lists as “defects” resource leaks, dereferences of NULL pointers, use of uninitialized data, memory corruptions, buffer overruns, and so on. Although the Coverity tests do not catch logic bugs or errors in the implementation of algorithms, the defects Coverity does catch are commonly used by malware as vectors for attacks, or are associated with application and system crashes. Despite that a large and complex set of programs such as LibreOffice must contain more than just 21 bugs, the Coverity index is a clear indicator of the quality of LibreOffice’s code.
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