SoftMaker’s FreeOffice Linux office suite is a LibreOffice look-alike that provides robust overall performance compatibility with Microsoft workplace files.
SoftMaker, based in Germany, gives a line of open supply offerings that compete with its industrial flagship workplace suite, SoftMaker office 2016. it’s a home windows/Linux pass-platform office suite with included programs for word processing, spreadsheets, shows and e mail control.
the economic version is almost same to the loose, open supply FreeOffice model. The FreeOffice line is shipped underneath the Mozilla Public License. SoftMaker office cellular for Android smartphones and SoftMaker workplace HD primary for Android tablets are freed from rate.
each the industrial and the unfastened variations are rapid and strong. They deliver almost complete compatibility with Microsoft office documents and feature very few differences in overall performance or their appearance and experience.
Clearing the Air
all the software program is delivered through down load from the internet site. the economic version is to be had with a 30-day unfastened trial. After that, you need to improve to a proprietary license for US$69.ninety five, which is the same fee as the home and scholar variations of Microsoft office 365.
both the commercial and the open source editions of SoftMaker’s office suite are almost same in capabilities and overall performance. This increases the question for proper-spirited Linux adopters, why choose the purchase whilst you could legitimately get it for free?
I contacted SoftMaker with questions on the licensing and to verify that FreeOffice changed into open source. I asked the developer to explain the differences between the commercial and loose versions. My reason was to down load the open source version for a evaluate.
The organisation responded with down load hyperlinks for all of the products, along side a product key for office 2016 and the serial number for FreeOffice. they’re required after set up to begin using the software.
each the paid product — workplace 2016 — and its unfastened open source counterpart — FreeOffice — are excessive-cease performers. Linux lacks mainstream desktop publishing packages, so i was curious approximately the capability advantages of the usage of the writing module referred to as TextMaker.
among the Linux phrase processing packages are little greater than glorified textual content editors. They typically flub on running with pix.
OpenOffice and LibreOffice are becoming higher at operating with the snap shots that page format needs, however both alternatives may be a warfare whilst outputting to a printer.
That is not the case with workplace 2016 and FreeOffice. both word processors did thoroughly with laptop publishing duties. additionally they accomplished impressively with their spreadsheet and presentation features.
I did now not word differences in how the goods opened documents, rendered formatting or converted diverse report sorts. They labored interchangeably without problems.
I spent a whole lot of my testing time loading current office suite documents from my huge record archive. stored in my series are spreadsheet files, PowerPoint displays, and heavily formatted newsletters and comparable desktop publishing-fashion word documents.
a lot of those files were created in Microsoft word after which edited in open source replacements which includes LibreOffice and OpenOffice. a number of the files had a opposite history that originated with Microsoft workplace.
FreeOffice PlanMaker (spreadsheet module) presentations all of the content material of the original Microsoft Excel, including macros and dad-up mobile records.
Devious file gadgets
The document records changed into no longer an trouble in maximum instances. The files opened with out formatting or show problems in each the seasoned and the loose variations of the SoftMaker line. It did not matter whether the file become a textual content file, a slide presentation or a spreadsheet.
Spreadsheet files posed the maximum difficult test for compatibility. a number of the spreadsheets i take advantage of for commercial enterprise purposes rely upon more than one sheets or tabs inside the same report report. I also use comments that stay hidden in cells until clicked.
those features paintings well in standalone packages however regularly do now not render accurately in different merchandise. both the SoftMaker seasoned and free spreadsheet applications treated the formulation, cell display and widespread formatting exceptional.
relying on the content material, however, the advent did vary, however the integrity of the content material remained valid.
FreeOffice presentations suggests the editing panels of this Microsoft PowerPoint-created file without distortion and plays the slides flawlessly.
This brings me again to the question I posed above. If overall performance isn’t always an difficulty, why pay for workplace 2016 whilst FreeOffice prices not anything — or in my case, way to the developer, which product do i use on account that value turned into now not a component?
the answer to either question comes with spotting even a moderate want that the industrial version satisfies over the free open source product. i found a few minor variations.
The consumer interface became nearly equal in each products. The appearance and sense are nearly equal to different workplace fits consisting of LibreOffice, OpenOffice, and in advance versions of Microsoft phrase before the layout trade centered on the aspect panel and the ribbon bar.
The user interface is identical within the commercial SoftMaker office 2016 suite and the SoftMaker FreeOffice suite version.
a few menu entries are slightly one of a kind. as an example, the seasoned model has a few greater or replacement features. The simplest visible difference is the vertical style panel at the proper facet of the window inside the seasoned version. The free model has a person manual.
For the Birds
SoftMaker office 2016 consists of the open source Mozilla electronic mail module Thunderbird. FreeOffice does no longer consist of Thunderbird.
I locate this to be rather abnormal. you could run Thunderbird one at a time. it’s miles a unfastened Linux bundle whose integration has no cause within the workplace suite which you pay for.
The seasoned model affords numerous templates inside the Presentation module that you do not get inside the unfastened model, which offers four fundamental templates. but, you could access nearly the equal variety of templates for the three modules from in the report/New menu of both the pro and the loose versions.
inside the equipment menu, the seasoned model includes a word list and the Berlitz preferred dictionaries. in case you correspond with colleagues in non-English-talking lands, the ones might be should-have features that justify shopping for the commercial version. The 4 Berlitz translation dictionaries offer smooth translation among English, Spanish, Italian, German and French.
The free version has no thesaurus and no Berlitz dictionaries, but it does consist of a German-language spelling dictionary. The seasoned version has a protracted list of additional ecu languages to pick from.
both variations encompass numerous alternatives within the tools menu associated with tracking changes made to content. Even better is the SmartText function discovered in each the paid and the loose versions.
SmartText helps you to reduce regularly-used names or terms to a quick abbreviation. as an example, you can create a SmartText entry for BR and have it replaced with the aid of “great regards” whilst you press the distance bar.
The naming game for the bundled software program is probably less smart. The word processor is referred to as “TextMaker” and has a T as its icon logo. The spreadsheet utility is known as “PlanMaker” and uses a P as the icon logo. The PowerPoint clone is known as “displays software” and uses an S as its icon logo.
SoftMaker describes each its loose and its industrial workplace suites as intuitive and clean to apply. Neither package deal has anything even mildly extraordinary in the consumer enjoy to justify being intuitive. The menus and operation mimic enterprise standards.
SoftMaker’s declare to reputation with both releases, however, is the 86f68e4d402306ad3cd330d005134dac computer typefaces. enterprise and home users as well as expert designers have an facet with all of the protected typography elements.
FreeOffice is available in five Linux installation alternatives.
A .rpm bundle in both 32-bit and sixty four-bit versions is to be had for Suse, pink Hat and Fedora distributions.
Debian/Ubuntu-based totally .deb packages in 32-bit and sixty four-bit versions help multiarch and nonmultiarch structures.
a third down load alternative is to be had in a .tgz archive with an set up script that works with all Linux distributions. That choice is good for users who lack root get admission to on the system.
FreeOffice is one of the best-performing Microsoft phrase alternative suites for Linux. it is also a incredible replacement for Microsoft home windows run below WINE.
FreeOffice’s layout makes it a close to twin to SoftMaker workplace 2016. The variations are minor. if you have a compelling want for a pay-simplest alternative, then download the 30-day free trial edition to confirm which you absolutely do decide on the office 2016 model.
need to suggest a review?
Is there a Linux software program application or distro you need to suggest for evaluation? some thing you adore or would like to get to recognize?
Please email your ideas to me, and i will bear in mind them for a future Linux picks and Pans column.