Selecting Appropriate Office Tools

Linux office productivity suites vary in complexity, completeness, compatibility with the ubiquitous Microsoft Office file formats, and other features. Most Linux office tools are open source, although a few, such as the now-defunct Corel WordPerfect Office for Linux, are not. This section presents an overview of some of the most popular and capable packages: OpenOffice.org, KOffice, GNOME Office, and LaTeX. This section concludes with a brief look at running other operating systems' office productivity tools under an emulator.

Most office productivity suites are broken into multiple components, each of which handles one task. Typical components are a word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation program, and a graphics editor. Most suites include additional components, but the details of what's included vary from one suite to another. LaTeX is an exception to this rule; it's a document preparation system that's very different from a typical office suite. I describe LaTeX in this chapter because it's an extremely flexible tool, and because it's very useful in preparing scientific and technical documents.

Tip You can mix and match components from different office suites, although you'll lose some cross-tool integration abilities.

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