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Office Suite Evaluation: Introduction

In this study, several office suites for Linux are evaluated. They are:
The freeware successor to Sun's Star Office, which is intended to be a UNIX competitor to the Microsoft product.
A desktop environment with a strong office component.
the GNU desktop environment, also with office components.
Several apps are discussed which are not part of any of these suites.

Microsoft® Office® for Windows® is the market leader in this area, and is used implicitly as a standard of comparison. However, I personally have very little familiarity with the Microsoft products, and I am not going to be making judgments of whether they are better or worse than the Linux competitors. The term Windows competitor means the product generally used at the UCLA Mathematics Department for this function: not implying the absence of additional worthy products for Windows.

The office functions being evaluated are these:

In addition, each suite is evaluated for general appearance and ease of configuration, as well as for resource usage.

All of the evaluated software was obtained as part of the SuSE Linux 8.1 Professional distribution (also available in the Personal edition).

A word is in order about the resource estimates. Installed sizes are generally underestimates, since applications from a desktop suite require extensive libraries and shared components from the suite, which are not included in the size given. On the other hand, the virtual memory and resident set size (RSS) both understates and overstates usage, because shared libraries are included in both figures, which occupy memory only once even though they are counted in the size of every suite member; but often services are provided by separate daemons which cannot be identified and added to the sum.

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