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13.7. Office Suites

Office software has long been seen as lacking in the free software world. Users require replacements for Microsoft tools such as Word and Excel, but these are so complex that replacements were hard to develop. The situation changed when Sun released the StarOffice code under a free license as OpenOffice, a project which later gave birth to LibreOffice, which is available on Debian. The KDE project also has its own office suite, called Calligra Suite (previously KOffice), and GNOME, while never offering a comprehensive office suite, provides AbiWord as a word processor and Gnumeric as a spreadsheet. The various projects each have their strengths. For instance, the Gnumeric spreadsheet is better than in some domains, notably the precision of its calculations. On the word processing front, the LibreOffice suite still leads the way.
Another important feature for users is the ability to import Microsoft Office documents. Even though all office suites have this feature, only the ones in and LibreOffice are functional enough for daily use.
LibreOffice and Calligra Suite are available in the libreoffice and calligra Debian packages, respectively.
Language-specific packs for LibreOffice are distributed in separate packages, most notably libreoffice-l10n-* and libreoffice-help-*. Some features such as spelling dictionaries, hyphenation patterns and thesauri are in separate packages, such as myspell-*, hunspell-*, hyphen-* and mythes-*.