LibreOffice Alternative

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Beko
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Joined: 08/31/2019

Hi everyone I'm doing some translations and need to send with a .docx extension however even though I save by choosing .docx the formatting is messed up and the person I'm sending it to has to delete extra spaces and tabs where there should be none.

Alternatively does anyone know how to make LibreOffice more compatible where the receiving end is Microsoft Word?

Thanks!

calher

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On 1/18/20 5:48 PM, name at domain wrote:
> Alternatively does anyone know how to make LibreOffice more compatible
> where the receiving end is Microsoft Word?

LibreOffice follows the DOCX definition more strictly than Word does,
ironically.

Microsoft diverges from its own standard on purpose.

nadebula.1984
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Joined: 05/01/2018

Sending the proprietary Microsoft OOXML format means surrendering to Microsoft's social inertia, and forcing others to submit to it as well. That LibreOffice supports Microsoft OOXML poorly is not LibreOffice's fault. It is because Microsoft hoards numerous patents on OOXML format and it refuses to license its patents to free software community. Conversely, it uses its patents as litigation weapons to sue anyone who attempts to implement their proprietary formats.

Here's a workaround that I frequently used to trick such online officing systems which require .doc(x), .xls(x) or .ppt(x) extensions. I still saved my document in ODF formats, i.e. .(f)odt, .(f)ods or .(f)odp, but manually change the extension (which is not really required under GNU/Linux) to said non-free format extensions. This is enough to fool the online submission system. When the receiver tries to open such ODF documents, Microsoft Office could still handle them.

Ultimately, being more compatible with OOXML is a bug, not a feature.

Beko
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Joined: 08/31/2019

Thanks. I really can't help it the person that I'm sending the translation to needs it in .docx and he needs to be able to edit it through word.

I did, in fairness, try and convince him to use libreoffice. He just wouldn't budge.

I can already save in .docx thats not a problem, but perhaps your method will work. I'll try it out today and give an update if it works (after I send a file).

Ark74

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Maybe use the latest release of LibreOffice?

libreoffice.png
Beko
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Joined: 08/31/2019

Oh wow. I am on libreoffice 5, how did you update with Trisquel?

andyprough
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Joined: 02/12/2015

Oh goodness. Yes definitely get on the latest LO. Go to the LO site, download the deb version for your architecture, extract the resulting tar.gz file, change directory into the resulting LibreOffice folder and then into the DEBS folder, and run this command:
sudo apt install *.deb
Or if that gives you an error this should work
sudo dpkg -i *.deb

You may want to remove the LO 5 with
sudo apt remove libreoffice*

before you install LO 6, or you'll end up with menu entries for both 5 and 6. I'm pretty sure both 5 and 6 can be installed at the same time without causing any trouble, so I don't think you actually have to remove if you don't want to.

Beko
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Joined: 08/31/2019

When I installed LO 6, it shows up in the applications menu and when I click it it launches however after seeing the libreoffice splash image it never opens the word processor.

andyprough
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Joined: 02/12/2015

Can you try to start writer from the command line? Use this command:
$ lowriter

Do you get any error messages?

Beko
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Joined: 08/31/2019

Not an error per se, it says it's not installed. I removed the original libreoffice suite from my machine, then installed the 6.3 version. In the application launcher it says 'libreoffice 6.3' whereas before it was just 'libreoffice'. Replace office with whichever program.

I cannot find the terminal command for my version. I tried

$ lowriter_6.3
$ lowriter-6.3
$ lowriter 6.3

all command not found.

Sorry I couldn't write earlier I wasn't coming to the forums because I'm overwhelmed with work.

Magic Banana

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How do you graphically launch LibreOffice? Double clicking on an executable? Using a "launcher"?

Beko
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Joined: 08/31/2019

I have been testing out KDE Plasma so I may have the incorrect terminology but the application runner 'K' and after that clicking 'Applications', then 'Office' and the 'LibreOffice 6.3' that I had installed shows there. A splash image saying LibreOffice 6 shows for a second then it's window on the bottom bar closes and eventually nothing launches.

To answer your question, it is launcher I suppose.

Magic Banana

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Yes, the menu contains launchers. I guess KDE has a utility to edit the menu and you could see with it what is the command that is executed when you click on "LibreOffice 6.3". Otherwise, you may find the launcher (a .desktop file) in ~/.local/share/applications. That is: in the folder "applications" of the folder "share" of the folder "share" of the hidden folder ".local" (your file manager can show the hidden files) of your personal folder. In such a plain text file, the command follows "Exec=".

nadebula.1984
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Joined: 05/01/2018

So you have manually installed latest LibreOffice from terminal. If you run "soffice" from terminal, which version of LibreOffice is started?

It's also possible to launch Writer, Calc, and Impress by commands "lowriter", "localc", or "loimpress", respectively. No version number is included.

nadebula.1984
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According to my experience, the copy of LibreOffice pre-installed by the GNU/Linux distribution and the copy manually installed by the user can co-exist, since they are installed to different locations. I didn't experience serious conflicts between them.

Ark74

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It is available on the Trisquel 9 backports repository.

Cheers!

Malsasa
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Joined: 12/01/2016

Freely as in freedom licensed office suite I know other than
LibreOffice are Calligra Suite (https://www.calligra.org) and
ONLYOFFICE (https://www.onlyoffice.com). Still, I recommend
LibreOffice for you.

nadebula.1984
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Joined: 05/01/2018

First explain politely to him why it is bad to use proprietary formats like OOXML. (To do so, you probably also need to explain why OOXML is not a free/open format, and how did Microsoft get OOXML approved by ISO as an "open" format.)

If he wouldn't listen, then still send him ODF files, until he learns to handle ODF files correctly. This is exactly what I did to my postgraduate students. (I unconditionally rejected any proprietary format. Of course, when I replied students' mails, I always politely explained that I couldn't open their attached files using free/libre software.)

Saving your documents in OOXML (or other proprietary formats) defeats the very purpose of using free/libre software. Free software doesn't exist to serve non-free formats. By doing so, you put your documents in grave danger. Since they are in proprietary formats, they are only readable when the owner of their secret formats still maintains them. For example, when Microsoft bankrupts (not absolutely impossible), all its proprietary formats such as OOXML go to the Digital Dark Age. Therefore, using non-free formats is far worse than using non-free software.

calher

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I really don't know what to say with regards to using OOXML for work,
when I have to run a lot of proprietary JavaScript just to find and
apply for a job.

We're doomed.

nadebula.1984
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Joined: 05/01/2018

Before the doomsday, fight it. This shows that we are not willing to accept our doom. This also adds some bitterness to our enemy's victory.

Beko
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Joined: 08/31/2019

"Then still send him the ODF files, until he learns to handle ODF files correctly."

I would love to, but he's my uncle and I can't really be that way with him. I'm not a professor or anything I don't have that clout.

An MIT-Professor and Father of Free Software Stallman can by all means enforce free software wherever he goes because he has a level of respect. I can't be forcing people to use libre software, I'll tell them politely and explain the benefits and leave it at that.

I think that Free Software should be able to coexist as an alternative, but if using free software allows users to only publish to other free software users then what is the point? Libreoffice must be compatible with non-free Word so as to not push me, the user, to use Word instead.

Not trying to go off-topic so I apologize, but I do not have the means to make anyone else go libre other than myself.

nadebula.1984
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Starting version 2007, Microsoft Office should be able to handle ODF files, although it always try to persuade users to convert them to Microsoft's "open" format.

Using free software and free formats allows users to publish their works to everyone, because only free/open formats are interoperable. This doesn't require the accepters to install any non-free software to read them.

According to my experience, switching to free formats such as ODF is the most important (and most difficult) thing.

Malsasa
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Joined: 12/01/2016

What xliang said was true. I have a long article I name it "Support
Open Document Format" presenting several the importance of ODF, why we
all should avoid OOXML, danger of software patents, and many
references & organizations that support ODF too. you can read here
https://linuxdreambox.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/support-open-document-format.

fict10n
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Joined: 12/20/2019

Your approach is incorrect and perverted (no offence).

Sending file in _standard_ Open Document format is all right, decent and
respectful. It should be even an imperative if you believe in and
respect freedom in communication.

You are not forcing anyone to anything when you send a file in standard
format. Sending a file in non-free format means disrespect to a
receiver/reader and to a community you live in.

LibreOffice _IS COMPATIBLE_ thanks to support of standard formats.

"_using free software allows users to only publish to other free
software users_"
It is not true. Anybody is able to publish in ODF and read it because it
is standard. Standard requires publically available full format
specification.

Free Software is not an alternative, it is in fact the only right way to
do computing. The reasons are obvious to anybody with understanding and
common sense.

"_Libreoffice must be compatible with non-free Word so as to not push
me, the user, to use Word instead._"
You are wrong. The problem is artificially and knowingly created in
non-free software. Nothing is obstructing Microsoft to implement ODF
support into 'Word' except their bad and harmful intentions. From the
other side Microsoft has been intentionally preventing others to
implement their proprietary, non-standard formats. They do not publish
full specification of their formats and some parts are even covered by
patents. Which means LibreOffice is in every possible way not allowed to
be compatible with proprietary formats!

On 25.1.2020 23:01, name at domain wrote:

> "Then still send him the ODF files, until he learns to handle ODF files correctly."
>
> I would love to, but he's my uncle and I can't really be that way with him. I'm not a professor or anything I don't have that clout.
>
> An MIT-Professor and Father of Free Software Stallman can by all means enforce free software wherever he goes because he has a level of respect. I can't be forcing people to use libre software, I'll tell them politely and explain the benefits and leave it at that.
>
> I think that Free Software should be able to coexist as an alternative, but if using free software allows users to only publish to other free software users then what is the point? Libreoffice must be compatible with non-free Word so as to not push me, the user, to use Word instead.
>
> Not trying to go off-topic so I apologize, but I do not have the means to make anyone else go libre other than myself.

IrishUSA
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Joined: 12/03/2016

What possible reason does your recipient have for supposedly needing the document you send him to be in .docx?

Why not just send it to him in Open Document Format (.odt)?

MS Office can open, edit, and save to ODF formats - no need other than freedom (which is of course huge but set the aside for now) for him to install and switch to LibreOffice.

MS Office will of course try to scare the user into converting any ODF document it opens into MS Office format by throwing up a window between the document and the user saying that the user may lose supposedly wonderful and crucial MS Office format features, etc. if he doesn't convert. He can just reject or dismiss the window and there your document is. It's far less likely to have formatting errors and issues when kept in its ODF format. Your recipient can then continue to edit it, and then save it in ODF (in this case, .odt).

Beko
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Joined: 08/31/2019

For the case currently I do not know. I sent him ODF files once and he was "unable" to open them. I am publishing in .docx still, I adapted and don't use certain features like the floating text-boxes because often they are distorted or moved.

andyprough
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Joined: 02/12/2015

OnlyOffice can usually do it.

nadebula.1984
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Joined: 05/01/2018

I've checked OnlyOffice's license. It's server and desktop client use AGPL v3, so it's barely acceptable.

However, do keep in mind that OnlyOffice is implemented as SaaSS, which has serious freedom and privacy (and maybe also security) issues, even if the server and client are free software.

BTW, I only sent OOXML files once in recent years. That was when I was required to submit my Ph.D. dissertation to my university's library. They accepted only OOXML files, so I extremely unwillingly edited (one copy of) my dissertation in the stupidest possible way. For example, the reviewer didn't know what was a "field", so we had to create TOC using the stupidest method.

Magic Banana

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AGPLv3 is an excellent license. The fact that OnlyOffice saves in OOXML by default is bad.

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Given that there is no Office Suite for Android that is Free Software (other than LO Viewer, which is barebones and not functional in all devices), what would be your position regarding OnlyOffice, for using it in Android?

Thanks for the input.
Also anyone else who has tried it, any feedback is welcome!

nadebula.1984
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Joined: 05/01/2018

There is a "pre-alpha", experimental build of LibreOffice for Android (via F-Droid), but far from being usable.

However, if you want to create or edit documents (text, spreadsheet, presentation) efficiently, you may also need an OTG hub, a keyboard and a mouse.

To make the editing comfortable, you may also need a chair and a desk, and preferably, an external display.

Taking these into consideration, a netbook may be more suitable than a smart phone for document editing. This is why there's not much need for office suite on Android.

Jaret
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Joined: 12/19/2018

Where I live, they only accept OOXML files as well. What a shame.