Linux Means Business – Office Suite – Best Free Software

Best Open Source Office Suite Software

An office suite is the archetypal business software. For end users, it represents the cornerstone of their day, writing documents, updating spreadsheets, devising presentation pitches.

Every business needs reliable office software, and some of the very best suites are completely open source, and cross-platform. Here are the 3 open source office suites that stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

Office Suite - Best Open Source Software

Gold medal awardLibreOffice is the most popular open source office suite. It comprises programs to do word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, drawing, math, and database management. For business users, it offers good compatibility with Microsoft file formats. It's fast, powerful, and the leading free desktop-style alternative to Microsoft Office.

In the last few years, the suite has become increasingly polished. We particularly like the user-friendly interface with no annoying ribbons.
License: MPL v2.0
Silver medal awardApache OpenOffice is a close cousin of LibreOffice. It offers an impressive word processor (Writer), a robust spreadsheet (Calc), a presentation application (Impress), a drawing application (Draw), a formula editor (Math), and a database management application.
License: Apache License, v2
Bronze medal awardONLYOFFICE is a good alternative to LibreOffice and OpenOffice. It's delivered either as a SaaS solution or as an installation for deployment on a private network.
License: GNU Affero General Public License3

There are some quality proprietary free software not eligible for an award but worthy of a recommendation. The best no-charge proprietary suites are Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, FreeOffice 2016, and WPS Office 2016 Free. Propriety solutions but still worth a look for many small businesses given they are no-charge downloads.

About Office Suites

An office suite is a collection of related software for knowledge workers. The software is distributed together in a single package, with a consistent graphical interface, and typically with strong integration between the different components.

The types of software included in an office suite often consist of word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, database and more. For many users the office suite (together with a web browser and email client) represents the cornerstone of their computing day, particularly in the business field. A high quality office suite is therefore a basic necessity for any computing platform to prosper.

Microsoft Office still dominates market share of office suites. Businesses have often rejected free Office alternatives. However, whether this will continue is uncertain. With the cost of a price plan for Microsoft Office, the average small business will welcome a free alternative.

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