Saturday, January 15, 2011

Trying out LibreOffice on Ubuntu 10.10

LibreOffice PPA packages for Maverick and Natty are already available for early adopters. If all goes as planned, we'll be using this as the default office suite starting with Natty's release so it's a good opportunity to check out what can be expected from this "new" office suite.

The current release is LibreOffice RC2 but the Document Foundation already has a RC3 release so that will likely be available from the PPA soon.

It's still early days so don't expect too much of a difference from OpenOffice.org (OOo). As a first version release since the fork from OOo, there really shouldn't be much of a difference from OOo 3.2 at this point. The LibreOffice developers are probably more concerned with getting things up and running at this point.

To install LibreOffice, add the ppa to your repositories list if you haven't already.

~$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa

Then, it's just a matter of installing the libreoffice package.

~$ sudo apt-get update
~$ sudo apt-get install libreoffice libreoffice-gnome

KDE users should install libreoffice-kde instead of -gnome.

It's a pretty hefty download at 120MB. Users will slow Internet beware. It also conflicts with OOo so the OOo packages in Ubuntu will be removed as part of the install process.

LibreOffice Writer main window
LibreOffice Writer
Removing LibreOffice

PPA packages aren't for everybody. They sometimes don't work well. It's the nature of PPA repositories. Expect the occasional breakage due to bugs, instability, etc. Only thouroughly tested packages make it into the official repositories so that users face as few issues as possible. If you require a stable office suite then stick to the OOo that came with Ubuntu 10.10 for the moment.

Use ppa-purge to remove LibreOffice (and revert to OOo) if you no longer want to use it.

~$ sudo ppa-purge libreoffice
~$ sudo apt-get install openoffice.org openoffice.org-gnome

The ppa-purge utility fails to reinstall OOo so you'll have to do it manually. Again, KDE users should install openoffice.org-kde instead of -gnome.

Related posts:

Reverting PPA packages