Happy 5th Birthday, LibreOffice! You aren't as good as Microsoft Office, but that's OK
Not everybody, or everything, can be the best. In the Olympics, for instance, somebody wins the Gold medal, while someone gets the Silver. In other words, second place is still rarefied air, albeit less impressive than first, but still celebration-worthy.
Today, the runner-up to Microsoft Office, LibreOffice, celebrates its 5th Birthday. Quite frankly, it is an amazing office suite, offering compatibility with Windows, Linux and OS X. The best part? It is open source and totally free -- like, no money needed. Even if it isn't as good as Microsoft's solution, it is more than enough for the average home user, and it deserves to be celebrated.
"LibreOffice was launched as a fork of OpenOffice.org on September 28, 2010, by a tiny group of people representing the community in their capacity of community project leaders. At the time it was a brave -- although necessary -- decision, because it was rather clear to everyone that OpenOffice.org was not going to survive for a long time under Oracle stewardship", says Italo Vignoli, The Document Foundation.
Vignoli explains, "after five years, LibreOffice is acknowledged in the marketplace as the sole Microsoft Office contender, based on a sheer feature by feature comparison, and on the number of successful migrations. Migrating to LibreOffice has never been easier, thanks to the Migration Protocol drafted by the most experienced people at The Document Foundation, which outlines the best practices adopted by several large projects worldwide".
It is impressive to witness the success of this OpenOffice fork; competing with Microsoft is not easy. With that said, many people simply cannot afford Microsoft Office, so LibreOffice is a godsend, enabling people all over the world to create in ways they maybe couldn't without it. In fact, the open source combination of Linux and Libreoffice is a powerful one-two punch for the world's poor.
To celebrate the event, the The Document Foundation has published a massive book about the history of LibreOffice in PDF format. You can download the 1,300 page behemoth here. If you think that is a bit long, there is a condensed 700 page version here.
So Happy Birthday, LibreOffice! I look forward to celebrating many more.