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I have tried two different versions of LibreOffice, the "Fresh" version, and the "Still" version.

I love the idea of LibreOffice, but I find it so buggy that it is unusable. I have filed many bug reports, but the bugs do not get fixed. Each new version seems to add more bugs. Their quality control system is clearly not working.

I was thinking about giving OpenOffice a try. I want to ask a question on SuperUser whether or not it is reliable, but I cannot think of a way to do so that is not opinion based.

Can anyone help with a way to formulate the question so it will not get closed?

  • What do you mean by reliable? – random Mar 11 '16 at 0:57
  • LibreOffice is a direct fork of OpenOffice. If you have problems with LibreOffice you likely will have more problems with OpenOffice, LibreOffice secondary purpose outside of being separated from Oracle, was to improve the quality of the product. – Ramhound Mar 11 '16 at 13:38
  • @Ramhound It was part of their goal, but the number of regression errors they have introduced results in tons of crashes. – RockPaperLizard Mar 11 '16 at 20:06
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Good meta question, but I don't think there's a way to ask what you want to ask on the main site without it getting closed.

The reason is that there is no universally accepted definition of "reliable". In fact, depending on exactly what you do with the software, and the platform/version you're running, it may be the case that two users with different use cases have completely different reliability: one person might view it as perfectly reliable with no bugs whatsoever because they simply aren't triggering any code paths that contain bugs, whereas another user might hit every code path that has a bug.

Not only that, but each user's threshold for what is considered to be an acceptable amount of bugs in software is highly variable. I'm sure a LibreOffice developer has a very different idea of how many bugs they can tolerate while still getting work done, vs. a first-time computer user. The former will probably be able to work around even major missing features, whereas the latter would get "stuck" upon a simple problem like the absence of a tooltip.

Finally, since OpenOffice is free to download and use, really the only way to "tell" if it's reliable for you (for what you use it for, on the platform you're running, with the hardware you use, etc.) is to just download and try it. There's really no better way to judge its reliability than to spend some time using the software and see it for yourself. If it were proprietary and expensive to purchase, it would be understandable if you wanted to ask others' opinion of the software before buying it, but even in that case, it would still be off-topic for Super User.

  • Well said and articulated. Thanks. I agree with just about everything you wrote. I was just hoping for an angle I wasn't seeing. I would like to point out that there is a significant time cost to trying any elaborate piece of software, even if the software is free to use. I figured that my cost dealing with LibreOffice exceeded the cost to buy Microsoft Office! That's too bad, because I really like the concept behind LibreOffice. I used OpenOffice in the past, and found it very reliable. I'll have to decide if it is worth the time investment to try it again. – RockPaperLizard Mar 11 '16 at 2:46
  • With the above in mind, based on your excellent answer, it is clear that it would be next to impossible to pose a fact-based question appropriate for SuperUser. All the reasons you provided are very true and helpful. Thanks again. – RockPaperLizard Mar 11 '16 at 2:47

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