Office Applications

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All of the software on this page is FLOSS and can use the OpenDocument format, unless otherwise noted.

The OpenDocument format (ODF) is a cross-platform FLOSS standard. It was created by the OASIS consortium. Instead of locking you into one application, like Microsoft Word does, it allows you to choose what software you want to use on its own merits, rather than simply on necessity of compatibility with one proprietary dominating format.

Office Suite Software

Office Suite software are office applications which are bundled and offered together. They normally include word processors, spreadsheet, database and presentation applications.

Calligra utilizes ODF as it's native format. It runs on all major platforms, but is most stable on GNU/Linux. It is developed by the KDE organization, which also develops the DE of the same name, and it includes office, graphics and project management applications, 9 in total:

  • Words, a word processor
  • Sheets, for spreadsheets
  • Stage, for presentations
  • Kexi, for databases
  • Flow, for flow charts
  • Krita: for painting
  • Karbon, for vector graphics
  • Plan, for project management
  • Braindump, for whiteboards

LibreOffice, a descendant of the StarOffice suite which debuted in 1985, is the most popular office suite on GNU/Linux. It runs well on all major platforms. It's native format is ODF, and it supports a wide-range of other formats as well, including those by Microsoft and even long discontinued software like Apple's ClarisWorks. It comes with the following 5 applications:

  • Writer, a word processor
  • Calc, for spreadsheets
  • Impress, for presentation
  • Base, for databases
  • Draw, for flow charts & vector graphics
  • Math, a Mathematical formula editor

Apache OpenOffice, also a descendant of StarOffice, is very close to LibreOffice; They share much the same code. LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice because of some heavy disputes with its former owner, Oracle. But that is no longer the case, and both suites are feature-rich and FLOSS. This article explains the minor differences between the two.

Standalone Office Software

AbiWord is a word processor which runs on all major platforms. It uses its own FLOSS format, but can read and write ODF and has support for plugins which can extend its functionality.

Gnumeric is a spreadsheet application developed by the same group that is responsible for the GNOME DE. It has its own native FLOSS file format, but can also read and write ODF.

Lyx is not exactly a word processor. It is a "document processor". Rather than being completely WYSIWYG, it is WYSIWYM. This type of application is designed to focus on content, rather than appearance. It also has specialized features for mathematical and scientific writing, though you can use it to write a novel too.

Ichitaro: Made by Japanese company JustSystems, this word processor is widely-used big in Japan. It is proprietary and probably does not use ODF.

Hangul: A popular word processor in South Korea made by the company Hancom Inc from the same country. It is proprietary and probably does not use ODF.

Most of these applications should be available from your distro's Package Manager.