Ubuntu changes direction on two fronts– What it means to users. 1


The big news in the past few weeks (within the Ubuntu Linux world) has been their decision to use LibreOffice instead of OpenOffice, and allowing Qt applications into the default installation of Ubuntu. But, what does this mean for you, the users?

Actually, it doesn’t mean much. LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice. The main difference between the two is LibreOffice *may* have more support for Microsoft Office formats (.docx .xlsx. etc) than OpenOffice (because Novell was working with Microsoft on “interoperability” within the two suites). Otherwise it’s the same applications. The difference, in reality, is that Oracle controls OpenOffice, and the Document Foundation controls LibreOffice (it’s semantics, because of Oracle’s attitudes towards Google and Open Source in general recently).

What people are overlooking is this minor thing. If you don’t want LibreOffice installed on your computer (because of Novell’s ties to Microsoft), then simply uninstall it and replace it with OpenOffice. It’s not like you’re forced to use the application. You have a choice.

Every operating system makes some applications as their defaults–and they have users who don’t like the choices. Look at Windows 7. They removed Outlook Express/Windows Mail, in favor of Windows Live Mail Desktop. Most of their testers screamed about it, but they did it anyhow. It happens. Life goes on. You either find something else, work out a way to get the application you want installed, or use what they give you.

As for the inclusion of Qt apps in the default installation, it doesn’t really mean anything to users. What it means is that you may see different “default” applications in the next version. It also means that if you find a “Kubuntu” application that you like, it *may* work more seemlessly with Ubuntu than it does now.

Qt is only an issue if you’re a developer. About the extent of the effect on users is this: In the past, you would have to practically install the Kubuntu desktop in order to use some apps that were Qt-based. Now, depending on how the app is built, it may just install. The converse is true (meaning some Gnome/Ubuntu apps may work in Kubuntu, without having to install the entire GTK+ framework).

I’ve been using LibreOffice for a while now. While I’m pro-Open Source, and becoming less and less Pro-Microsoft, I like (and need) the interoperability with Office formats. Why? Because I’m a realist, and I know that at least in the US, Office is the main suite being used. So, EVERYONE has to bend to it (at least until people convince Office users to try something else).

Plus, my college requires papers to be in doc or docx formats.

Hope this sheds some light on a few changes, and hopefully it encourages people to try out Ubuntu, LibreOffice, and other applications (You can use LibreOffice on Windows and Mac as well).

Have a great day:)
Patrick.


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