There is life beyond Microsoft products. And we are not only talking about Windows, but also about its office suite. Microsoft Office is the most used suite of programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) worldwide. But it is also one of the most expensive programs that we can buy for home use. This makes many users look for cheaper, or free, alternatives to fill the gap in this software. And two of these alternatives are LibreOffice and FreeOffice.
LibreOffice is an office suite that was born as a result of the purchase of OpenOffice by Oracle. This suite is completely free and open source, and seeks to bring users all (or most) of the functions of the Microsoft suite completely free of charge.
On the other hand, FreeOffice is a free (although proprietary) office suite developed by the company SoftMaker. Since this company has a paid office suite ( SoftMaker Office ), FreeOffice is a limited version of the paid version. But it may be more than enough for most users.
Let’s take a look at the main strengths and weaknesses of FreeOffice and LibreOffice to see which of the two suites is better.
Pros and cons of LibreOffice
We can download LibreOffice from its website .
Among the main advantages of this program is the fact that, in addition to being free, it is open source . The Document Foundation, the company behind the development of this software, offers outstanding maintenance, constantly improving its operation and compatibility.
This is one of the most complete free office suites , since it has a word processor, a spreadsheet, presentations and a database administrator. Almost the same that Microsoft offers us in its suite. In addition, we can find it for any desktop operating system , although it has not yet made the leap to mobile operating systems.
LibreOffice is translated into a total of 110 languages, and it also has compatibility with Microsoft Office , being able to open your documents (although some leave a little to be desired) and save them in Microsoft document format. It even has an (optional) tab-based interface very similar to that of MS Office.
It has a large number of extensions to customize the operation and add new functions, a good number of dictionaries and, in addition, we can download it portable to always carry it with us on a USB memory.
One of the first drawbacks that we can put to this software is that, although it is compatible with MS Office, in reality there are many aspects of said compatibility that do not end up going well. The most common is to find that, when opening a DOCX document, the format is not respected .
Another important disadvantage is that the database administrator, Base, depends on Java. This makes the suite much larger than it should be. In addition, due to inheritances from the past, the consumption of resources is quite high.
Many functions are below those of Office . For example, video editing within slides, or spreadsheet functions.
Pros and cons of FreeOffice
We can download FreeOffice for free from this link .
Without a doubt, its main strong point is the excellent compatibility with Microsoft Office documents , something in which LibreOffice fails a lot. This suite allows us to open doc (x), xls (x) and ppt (x) without destroying the format and layout of the original document.
As for consumption, being a reduced edition, it is considerably lighter than other similar suites. Especially on Linux. Plus, it doesn’t depend on Java, which takes up less space on your hard drive and runs faster than other suites.
FreeOffice allows us to customize the appearance of the programs , being able to use a menu-based interface, like the old versions of Office, or a tab-based one like the Office Ribbon interface. We can find this suite available for both Windows and Linux and macOS. In addition, we can also download it on Android.
Comparing this program directly with LibreOffice, the first disadvantage we find is that, although it is free, its license is proprietary . And, in order to use this suite, we must register our email .
Also, we are not facing a full version, but rather a “reduced version” of SoftMaker Office , which is the suite that really competes against MS Office. In FreeOffice we are not going to find, for example, a software to manage databases. And furthermore, the functions of the main programs (word processor, spreadsheets and presentations) are limited. For a very basic use it may be worth, but for a somewhat more advanced use we must go through the box to unlock the extra functions.
Which office suite is better?
Without a doubt, both LibreOffice and FreeOffice are excellent alternatives to Microsoft Office . Both bring us the essential programs to be able to work, such as a word processor, a spreadsheet and a program to present slides. Both programs are compatible with Office formats, and we can use them completely free of charge.
FreeOffice, on the one hand, is a lighter and faster program than LibreOffice, but in return it is a shorter program since it is intended for users to pay for SoftMaker Office, the full version of this suite. In addition, it offers better compatibility with Office documents .
On the other hand, LibreOffice is the quintessential alternative to Microsoft Office : a complete, completely free and open source office suite that will allow us to forget about the Microsoft suite. Unfortunately, this suite is considerably heavier than the SoftMaker alternative, as well as having compatibility issues.
Without a doubt, both programs are excellent. But if we had to choose the option most faithful to Microsoft Office, we would choose LibreOffice, since we can use it without encountering any restriction that we have to pay for a higher edition. Unless we need an office suite for Android, since The Document Foundation has not yet made the leap to this operating system in conditions, and then we can only choose FreeOffice.
|Licenses||MPL, GPLv3, LGPLv3||–|