good replacement for open office

Frank Jahnke jahnke at
Thu Oct 4 18:11:35 PDT 2007

> what would be a good replacement(s) for most of it's functionality
> (word processing and spreadsheets are what matter to me)

You really have to decide what you want to suite to do.  Otherwise, your
problem is underspecified.

1) Collaboration (complex).  If you collaborate with colleagues who use
Word (for example) then practically you have to use Word if you deal
with complex documents.  By "collaborate" I mean exchanging documents
back and forth, with edits in each pass.  Mine are always heavy in
equations and chemistry.

Run it in a virtual machine (VMware, Win4BSD, qemu/kqemu) on XP, W2K or
98SE.  You probably don't need the latest and greatest version of Word
unless you colleagues are very sophisticated.  Word 2000 has been fine
for me.

2) Document creation.  If you only want to create documents, and Office
compatibility is not that important, then there are many options:
Abiword/Gnumeric are quite good if you want WYSIWYG (but do install all
the extensions), the formatters TeX and groff are exceptionally powerful
if you learn them well.  Abiword does not read Word files well; Gnumeric
has many short-comings in reading Excel (particularly for graphics) but
is very good otherwise.  Personally I use the groff family for all my
complex documents, but I have used it for 25 years and know it inside
and out.  (Well, it was troff and friends long ago.)

3) Read-only.  You can use Antiword to get the raw text, but you lose
all formatting.  It is a pretty lousy choice in my opinion.
Textmaker/Planmaker do a very good job for this.

4) Mixture.  If you have a general mixture of these tasks and don't want
to set up a VM, use Textmaker.  The programs are quite good, they are
quite compatible with Office (but choke on obscure files I use
regularly, as does OO.o and all the others), and much better than OO.o
and Aibword/Gnumeric in my opinion if you like Word.  They are also
quite inexpensive -- you can often find them for $20 or so on sale from
the publisher.

Personally, I use groff (with chem, grap, pic, refer, tbl and eqn for
all the heavy text formatting), VMware/XP/Office 2003,
Win4BSD/W2k/Office 2000, Textmaker/Planmaker, OO.o, Abiword/Gnumeric,
and Windows computers.  What I use depends on what I am doing.

Good luck!


More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list