Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

LibreOffice on Mac

Switch Blayde

Anyone use LibreOffice on a Mac? I just read a review on doing that and it suggested paying for Microsoft's Office suite. It said it was awful and unstable.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I haven't used LibreOffice, but have used OpenOffice on a Mac, however, even then I've only used it to review edits made using OpenOffice. It seems to function fine, but there may be multiple issues I never ran across.

Another reason for using Office, though, is that Office allows you to do some things (searching for files more like a PC than a Mac) that most Mac apps won't allow. Then again, that same inconsistency within Office makes other aspects of the program more problematic.

In other words, no I haven't and have no clue what I'm talking about. 'D

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Considering you can get Libre Office for free, it may be worth getting a copy and trying it before forking out any money. It will only cost a little download and time to try it.

http://www.libreoffice.org/download/libreoffice-fresh/?version=5.1.3

of course, if you like it and want to spend money, they will accept donations.

Edit to add: I've used LO on both Windows and various versions on Unix and Linux and found it superior for my usage than any version of MSO. Also, Mac is a slightly tweaked version of Unix, so it should work, unless Apple have deliberately done something to cause trouble.

John Demille

@Switch Blayde

Only you know if it will suit you or not. It's free, so there is no drawback to trying it at least. Well, unless you're on a metered internet package.

Switch Blayde

The review was from PC magazine http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2412491,00.asp "In this review, I focus on LibreOffice for OS X, and the Mac-specific reasons why you might or might not want it."

"As a Microsoft Office alternative, LibreOffice ranks as fair-to-good, which is a lot better than nothing. It's harder to use, less flexible, less easily automated, and a lot worse-looking. It opens almost any recent Word file with fairly faithful formatting, and does a good job of opening Excel worksheets if they aren't exceptionally complicated and don't use Excel's latest graphic features."

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

As a Microsoft Office alternative, LibreOffice ranks as fair-to-good, which is a lot better than nothing. It's harder to use, less flexible, less easily automated, and a lot worse-looking. It opens almost any recent Word file with fairly faithful formatting,


Considering I've had Libre Office faithfully open older MS Word document files that the latest MS Word turns into crap, I do have to wonder who he really gets paid by. If you love the very latest version of MSO and insist on the ribbon and touch screen operations, then LO is not for you because it doesn't have the useless ribbon. Having used LO and MSO 2007 and MSO 2010 I can tell you it's much faster to organise and set formatting in LO than it is in MSO 2007/2010 unless you have the old keyboard shortcuts to use for MSO. Much less keystrokes for basic word processing activities than in the MSO ribbon.

However, it is very possible the LO for Mac is different to the LO for PC, but I doubt it.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Considering I've had Libre Office faithfully open older MS Word document files that the latest MS Word turns into crap,


He mentioned that as a strength in the article.

"Worth having if you don't want to pay for an application suite or if you need to open legacy formats, but far from the first choice among office suites under OS X."

and

"Also, LibreOffice is one of the few apps running under OS X that give you a fighting chance of importing legacy documents created by old Windows and MS-DOS apps-and even documents created by ancient Mac apps that almost no other current Mac app can open. For example, LibreOffice opens documents created by any version of WordPerfect, including the DOS, Mac, and Windows versions. This matters because law firms and many government agencies still have thousands of documents in WordPerfect format, and these might otherwise get orphaned if the office switched to the Mac.

"LibreOffice also opens Microsoft Works documents that Microsoft Office for Windows can't."

I thought it was an objective review.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

I use Open Office, of which LO is a fork. I agree with Earnest. If the reviewer honestly thinks MSO is easier to use than LO, he's got a few screws loose.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

If the reviewer honestly thinks MSO is easier to use than LO, he's got a few screws loose.


On the Mac.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

On the Mac, on a Back, even in a Sack. He's not playing with a full deck Sam I am.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

However, it is very possible the LO for Mac is different to the LO for PC, but I doubt it.

Apple has made several substantial changes to it's Mac OS recently, so it's possible that the Mac version of LO just hasn't adapted and that's what's causing the middling rating. That would mostly affect opening and accessing files, rather than poor execution or display of M$ files.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Apple has made several substantial changes to it's Mac OS recently


The review was from Nov., 2012 so that wouldn't be a factor. Now what was a problem back then might no longer be a problem. That's why I asked if anyone has experience with LibreOffice on a Mac.

I thought many people here were using a Mac and not a PC. I'm on a PC, but my wife recently bought a Mac. She's playing with Apple's word processor, but said she might want to buy MS Office. She has an iPhone and iPad so she should be used to Apple's word processor, but she's still talking about MS Word. But with Apple, you either buy it and NEVER get updates or lease it and continually pay. I didn't like either of those options.

So for those of you who have a Mac, do you use LibreOffice. If so, do you like it? If not, why?

EDITED TO ADD --

Found a more recent article by PC magazine. This one is dated Aug. 17, 2015. It says:

"Clunky interface. Confusing menu options. No cloud-based or tablet-based versions."

"Bottom Line -- LibreOffice 5.0 provides much of the power of Microsoft Office, but in an outdated and inconsistent interface. Still, it's free and open source, and those who can't or won't use proprietary software won't find anything better."

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

No cloud-based


Feature, not a bug.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I thought many people here were using a Mac and not a PC.

I've got a Mac laptop, but I only use it when traveling (I spend a month in Texas every year). When I'm home, I always use my old PC running Windows 7.

Since I've never liked any new feature in the last several revisions of M$ Office, I'm happy running the old software, and WORD works well on the Mac. As I said before, I've also run OpenOffice on a Mac, but only for edit reviews.

I like the Macs, but I'm also a creature of habit, and having working in Corporate America for a long time, I tend to stick to the old rather than the new. Once my custom build desktop dies, I plan to replace it with desktop Mac (which consists of a screen only) and then I'll be running Macs exclusively. The only other Mac user I remember commenting here on the forum is Lazeez.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

No cloud-based or tablet-based versions

For most people, that's a 'make it or break it' issue, though the 'cloud' consists of so many different competing products, the complaint can mean anything. If that's the source of their complaint, it's not an honest evaluation of the product, since none of the word processing products offer every cloud based option. For myself, I simply save a copy and then manually copy it into dropbox or email it to myself. Easy-peasy and you don't have to worry about continually changing technologies. I'm not about to sign up for M$ free cloud-sharing tool, because once they switch over to a subscription based system, you'll lose all your data! :(

rustyken

I use LO on both Linux and Mac operating systems. When I do presentations they are done from a MacBook using LO Presentations. I've not come across any show stoppers, but then again I generally use just the basics. It works and keeps getting better.

The simple solution is to do as someone recommended try it.

Cheers

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

"Bottom Line -- LibreOffice 5.0 provides much of the power of Microsoft Office, but in an outdated and inconsistent interface.


That tells you the author is biased for a touchscreen style layout. The LO interface and menu layout hasn't changed a damn since it was first created, only a couple of extra icon options on the toolbar. It's menu driven to make it easier to use with a mouse and keyboard while saving screen space. It also uses only a fraction of the system resources MSO does.

Poses

While I sometimes use both Pages and Office (which I need for work purposes), the one writing program I'd really be loathe to give up is Scrivener. If you're doing multi-chapter work, Scrivener is a joy. Every writer friend I know whose switched would never go back.

The main drawback is it doesn't have robust style sheets, but few people use them. I think the price is fairly reasonable, but of course that depends on your bugdet.

graybyrd
Updated:

Regarding any software reviews: consider the fact that advertising pays their bills. Open source products have no advertising budgets. Microsoft and its dependent players do.

How long would a reviewer be employed who bit the hand that feeds his employer?

So, any "review" of an open source product, compared to a proprietary product, cannot be impartial. Common sense.

Before someone screams "editorial integrity," give a moment's thought to the long history of Microsoft openness, integrity, and business practices.

The age of trust is long behind us, if there ever was such a thing in corporate ethics.

The only way to evaluate an open source product is to go to a Linux review site, or download the product and try it out for yourself. It's free; all it costs is a little time. Then, if it meets your needs, the sensible thing to do is to donate to promote further development.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@graybyrd

Regarding any software reviews: consider the fact that advertising pays their bills.


Excellent point. I once bought a Motor Trend Car of the Year and it was the worse car ever made.

But what everyone is missing is that I wasn't making a decision based on the review. I was surprised what I read and was asking the opinion of someone using LibreOffice on a Mac. If it were me, I'd download it and play with it. But it's my wife and she's not like me.

As I said, right now she's using the Apple word processor that came with the Mac. it's the same one she uses on her iPad and iPhone. But she's retiring from the corporate world where she was using Word on a PC. So she feels more comfortable staying with Word. I want to give her an alternative if the Apple product doesn't work out. I don't want to buy a product from MS that won't be supported or pay a subscription forever.

But it seems that only Lazeez uses a Mac and he must use the Apple word processor.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Switch Blayde

But it seems that only Lazeez uses a Mac and he must use the Apple word processor.


Personally, I use Pages (the Apple Word Processor) when I'm on the iPad and for small documents as it works seamlessly with iCloud and documents are available everywhere.

For actual writing, I use Scrivener (which is available for windows too, but not available for the iPad yet).

I use LibreOffice when I need to open Word documents. But I won't use it full time as it has a crappy interface (open source, linux with Windows conventions) which is ugly on the Mac and doesn't adhere to the native interface conventions much, so it feels clumsy to me. It's designed to allow people used to MS word on the PC to feel comfortable with it, but for somebody used to the Mac interface and its conventions, it's not good. But I guess one could get used to anything if motivated enough.

Although these days, I spend most of my time coding in Coda and BBEdit. Sometime I do some writing in BBEdit.

Switch Blayde

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

But I won't use it full time as it has a crappy interface


Yeah, that's what the article said.

Thanks for the input. My wife is a very light word processor user. Basically letters and such. So Pages should be okay for her.

She thought she could open Word doc files and save them as doc with Pages. If that's not the case I'll introduce her to LibreOffice.

Thanks again.

Dominions Son

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

But I won't use it full time as it has a crappy interface (open source, linux with Windows conventions) which is ugly on the Mac and doesn't adhere to the native interface conventions much, so it feels clumsy to me.


Really, it's just unfamiliar to you.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Switch Blayde

She thought she could open Word doc files and save them as doc with Pages. If that's not the case I'll introduce her to LibreOffice.


Pages opens simple Word documents fairly reliably. Complicated ones, no so much. You can also export as Word documents.

But a simply 'Save' will save as a Pages document.

If the documents are hers only and she doesn't share often, then using Pages as her sole word processor is more than ok. If she shares a lot of documents with Word using people, then constantly exporting can get tedious.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

As I said, right now she's using the Apple word processor that came with the Mac. it's the same one she uses on her iPad and iPhone. But she's retiring from the corporate world where she was using Word on a PC. So she feels more comfortable staying with Word. I want to give her an alternative if the Apple product doesn't work out. I don't want to buy a product from MS that won't be supported or pay a subscription forever.

The key is, if you're running a corporation, you want technical support and you don't want users mucking around with software. On the other hand, if you're a single user, technical support ain't worth much if you know anything at all.

I'd say, if she's retiring, go with an older, unsupported version of WORD/OFFICE. She's comfortable with it, you eliminate all the lame additions which added zero functionality, she'll be more productive and you'll encounter less errors and won't pay a fortune.

If she's like most people, she'll stick with what she's used to, so she'll probably use WORD over Pages. If she's not an old-time techie, she's probably not interested in learning new ways to do the things she's always done in a set way (i.e. no Unix or Linux lessons for her).

She thought she could open Word doc files and save them as doc with Pages. If that's not the case I'll introduce her to LibreOffice.

Unlike Lazeez, I refuse to use iCloud because it's the most expensive and least beneficial cloud program on the market (i.e. you pay through the nose and can't back up what's on a standard iPhone!).

For your wife, I typically email documents to myself from my computer to my iPad and back to my computer. In that case, she doesn't really need cloud support. If she does want it, I typically use dropbox because it's cheap, but more importantly, they DON'T sell information about you to whoever asks! (No other cloud backup program can make that claim!)

Either way, should should be fine with either Pages or the older, non-supported versions of Office.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I typically use dropbox because it's cheap, but more importantly, they DON'T sell information about you to whoever asks!


At least they claim they don't and haven't yet been caught out. :)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Unlike Lazeez, I refuse to use iCloud


Like Lazeez, my wife loves iCloud. All three of her Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac) are synced and sharable.

As to Tech Support, her company's Tech Support will help her migrate from the corporate PC to her personal Mac. And she loves Apple's Tech Support.

My guess is she'll use Pages now that I know it can open and save doc files.

Again, thanks everyone for the input.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

At least they claim they don't and haven't yet been caught out. :)

The key, in my opinion, is that's it's a private company so the decision rests with the owner, as opposed to all the other cloud computing companies which have to answer to thousands of stockholders who want to know why they aren't milking the latest cash cow. Still, I've never gotten ads for anything I've included in a story, something that's happened repeatedly on every other search or cloud sharing site I've used in the past.

@Switch

Like Lazeez, my wife loves iCloud. All three of her Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac) are synced and sharable.

As I mentioned, my issue with iCloud is the exorbinate price and the minimal storage. It would cost a fortune to back up a single 128gb device, and I don't believe Apple even offers that large of a storage option.

If you've got smaller devices, or don't have much that needs backing up on a regular basis, it's not as outrageous. But on a competitive basis with the other cloud storage sites, it's a complete non-starter.

Then again, if you don't want the government searching your private information looking for anything to charge you with on the say-so of a single unnamed judge on a secret panel, then it's worth the extra money!

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

The key, in my opinion, is that's it's a private company so the decision rests with the owner


Yes, well when the current owner dies, his heir might sell out to a corporation or simply be more profit minded than the current owner.

Still, I've never gotten ads for anything I've included in a story, something that's happened repeatedly on every other search or cloud sharing site I've used in the past.


That only means that they aren't selling your info to advertisers. There are all kinds of other data mining operations out there.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Yes, well when the current owner dies, his heir might sell out to a corporation or simply be more profit minded than the current owner.

At which point I'll rescind all my recomandations and go somewhere else. It's a constant worry, but I'm not going to penalize someone doing the right thing because of something his descendants might do in the future.

That only means that they aren't selling your info to advertisers. There are all kinds of other data mining operations out there.

The paranoia is strong in this one! Again, I base my usage decisions on what I can observe, not on what may happen at some time in the future when civilization breaks down. For now, DB is the only cloud source I trust, but sadly, not the only one that I use. I use the others realizing the risks. But because DB is doing the right thing, I'll back his approach as much as I can. Otherwise, I'd suggest you avoid ALL cloud computing entirely on the off-chance the "government" might want to steal your book ideas.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

As I mentioned, my issue with iCloud is the exorbinate price


I just asked my wife. She said iCloud is free. She uses it on her iPhone and iPad. In the settings it asks if you want to use it so she said yes and backs up her photos to it (and I guess it allows sharing across her devices).

But it's free.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

She said iCloud is free


I don't have an Apple device or service, but I can read their terms of service:

https://www.apple.com/legal/internet-services/icloud/en/terms.html

III. SUBSCRIPTION STORAGE UPGRADES


Additional storage is available for purchase on a subscription basis.


A. Payment.


By upgrading your storage on your device or computer, Apple will automatically charge on a recurring basis the payment method associated with your Apple ID (e.g., the payment method you use to shop on the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBookstore, if available) or the payment method associated with your Family account. If you are a Family organizer, you agree to have Apple charge your payment method on a recurring basis for members of your Family who upgrade their storage. Apple may also obtain preapproval for an amount up to the amount of the transaction and contact you periodically by email to the email address associated with your Apple ID for billing reminders and other storage account-related communications.


You can change your subscription by upgrading or downgrading your storage under the iCloud section of Settings on your device, or under the iCloud pane of System Preferences on your Mac or iCloud for Windows on your PC.


The applicable storage fee for an upgraded storage plan will take effect immediately; downgrades to your storage plan will take effect on the next annual or monthly billing date. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TIMELY PAYMENT OF ALL FEES AND FOR PROVIDING APPLE WITH VALID CREDIT CARD OR PAYMENT ACCOUNT DETAILS FOR PAYMENT OF ALL FEES. If Apple is unable to successfully charge your credit card or payment account for fees due, Apple reserves the right to revoke or restrict access to your stored Content, delete your stored Content, or terminate your Account. If you want to designate a different credit card or payment account or if there is a change in your credit card or payment account status, you must change your information online in the Account Information section of iCloud; this may temporarily disrupt your access to the Services while Apple verifies your new payment information. We may contact you via email regarding your account, for reasons including, without limitation, reaching or exceeding your storage limit.


Your total price will include the price of the upgrade plus any applicable credit card fees and any sales, use, goods and services (GST), value added (VAT), or other similar tax, under applicable law and based on the tax rate in effect at the time you purchase the upgrade. We will charge tax when required to do so under the tax

...........................

It doesn't say there is any Free service, but by saying you can upgrade for a fee, I assume they have a small basic service free to users to entice them in to using it and then they just pay for it after they fill it up.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

By upgrading your storage on your device or computer,


It's free unless you upgrade to get more storage.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I just asked my wife. She said iCloud is free. She uses it on her iPhone and iPad. In the settings it asks if you want to use it so she said yes and backs up her photos to it (and I guess it allows sharing across her devices).

You're right. It is free, at least the first 5 gb of data. Unfortunately, that's a small fraction of what most phones now contain. My own iPhone (two years old now), holds 128gb of data--more than you can purchase from Apple in the iCloud--meaning I couldn't back up each of my devices if I wanted to!

Sorry, I just checked their rates, and they've substantially lowered the costs. You can now purchase 100gb of data for only $2.99/month (or $36/year). That's much more reasonable than they originally offered until very recently when I couldn't back up my iPhone no matter how much I paid.

From what I remember previously, the rate was $49.99 for 24 (or was it 50) gb of data, a rate which jumps to $599.88/year to back up only a fraction of my single device.

Given this new rate, I rescind my reservations. I'm not overly fond of recurring fees--mainly because it's SO difficult cancelling recurring fees in most cases, but these newer rates are more reasonable than the older ones.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Crumbly Writer

As I mentioned, my issue with iCloud is the exorbinate price and the minimal storage. It would cost a fortune to back up a single 128gb device, and I don't believe Apple even offers that large of a storage option.


Ok, you've mentioned this multiple times already so I have to respond. I'm no Apple cheerleader, just a satisfied user, but I have to correct errors.

iCloud storage comes in multiple levels. 5 GB are free. If you want more, then you pay. For 50 GB it's $0.99 per month. For 200 GB it's $2.99 per month and finally their largest package is 1 TB at $9.99 per month.

Google Drive: 15 GB Free, 100 GB -> $1.99, 1 TB -> $9.99

Microsoft one drive 5 GB free. 50 GB $1.99 per month.

dropbox: 2 GB free, 1 TB $9.99

Box.com doesn't have a free tier and starts at $6 per 100 GB.

So, as far as I can tell, iCloud is very competitively priced. Only google beats it on the free tier with 15 GB for free vs 5 GB free from iCloud.

So where you got this 'exorbitant' pricing, I don't know.

I'm in Canada and I pay $3.99 Canadian (roughly $2.99 USD) per month for $200 GB, that's more than my iPhone and iPad put together and all my pictures and the sites' back up. At the level that I need, I would have to give google $9.99 per month for 1TB because they don't have a 200 GB package.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

The paranoia is strong in this one!


Not trusting people I've never met is not paranoia. Even if their intentions are good, how good is their cyber-security?

I'd suggest you avoid ALL cloud computing entirely on the off-chance the "government" might want to steal your book ideas.


I avoid almost all cloud computing anyway. I've heard too many stories about people having their data held hostage.

The only thing that remotely resembles cloud computing that I use is an online backup service. Because it's not available live, they use some pretty heavy encryption (each user has a unique key and the key is password locked by the user.) Theoretically they might be able to invade my privacy/steal my stuff, it wouldn't be easy.

I don't have a lot of devices that I use enough to make cloud computing even remotely worth the risks, much less the cost.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Ok, you've mentioned this multiple times already so I have to respond. I'm no Apple cheerleader, just a satisfied user, but I have to correct errors.

I hadn't done my research. When Apple first came up with their iCloud storage, I'd wanted to use it, and waited for 3 years of various upgrades, none of which was satisfactory, before I finally gave up on Apple's ever seeing the light. However, it appears they've belatedly gotten the message--as usual, several years after the rest of the industry settled on a standard. So I rescind my objections.

$2.99 is very resonable, it just wasn't available for my last several iPhone/iPad/Macbook purchases.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

My own iPhone (two years old now), holds 128gb of data--more than you can purchase from Apple in the iCloud--meaning I couldn't back up each of my devices if I wanted to!


Cloud storage is about sharing data across devices, not data backup.

There are online backup services, but that's not "cloud storage" access to the files isn't live and the online-backup services have software to handle doing incremental backups as a background process.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

I avoid almost all cloud computing anyway. I've heard too many stories about people having their data held hostage.


I agree in general, however, due to losing all my data to the thieves in blue, I now support using Dropbox to keep tertiary back-up copies of data on so you can regain them if there is a local problem. The thieves in blue took my system, my back-up external drive, my tertiary back-up drive, and my critical data back-up thumb drive from my pocket. So I was left with no data at all.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Dominions Son


Cloud storage is about sharing data across devices, not data backup.


Sorry, but Cloud Storage

Edit to repeat all that the system ate on my previous reply.

Sorry, but Cloud Storage is what they call it where the data is stored out in the Internet Cloud on a server owned by someone other than you and accessed over the Internet. In general Cloud Storage Services intend you to store the Primary data on their servers and not just back-up data.

Where you have a number of devices accessing the each other or Cloud Storage it's known as synchronisation of the devices or access.

The main downside of Cloud Storage is the huge cost involved with the upload and download of data in places where they don't have free data services over the Internet. The other downside is when that's your primary data storage and you can't get at it for some reason.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Sorry, but Cloud Storage


:-P

:-)

Switch Blayde

We sort of got off topic AGAIN. LOL

I don't have any Apple products (my phone is a Samsung and my laptop a Dell PC). It's my wife who went Apple.

She backs up everything she needs on her iPhone and iPad with the free iCloud. When she bought the Mac she bought an external hard drive (I think solid state) to back up her entire computer. She hasn't hooked that up yet.

I have an external hard drive on my Dell PC which I've had with my last PC (it sure made converting over to the new PC easy). I back up on both my external hard drive and a thumb drive.

I've been against Apple due to the high cost, that they make things "easy" for the user (I sometimes want to get under the covers) and especially because they are so proprietary. But after the nonsense I'm seeing with Windows 10 and the fact my son never got a virus with his Mac, I'm leaning towards Apple for my next laptop. I may even switch to an iPhone if I do that. And that's one reason I was asking about LibreOffice and the Mac, not just for my wife.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


I've been against Apple due to the high cost, that they make things "easy" for the user (I sometimes want to get under the covers) and especially because they are so proprietary. But after the nonsense I'm seeing with Windows 10 and the fact my son never got a virus with his Mac, I'm leaning towards Apple for my next laptop. I may even switch to an iPhone if I do that. And that's one reason I was asking about LibreOffice and the Mac, not just for my wife.


OK, as a Mac user since ever, I am of course biased. So you can take this with a heaping table spoon of salt. Your milage may vary, everybody's experience is different yada yada yada...

Apple's products are expensive; definitely, no argument there. God knows how much money I've spent over the years on them. I've owned Mac Pros since they were PowerMacs. My first professional Mac bought in 1993 ended up costing upwards of $11,000 at the time, my current one cost over $5000 for the little cylinder sitting under my desk in the age of ultra expensive Windows boxes that range up to $2000.

However, that said, over the years, macs have proven to be worth that money. In over 25 years I've never lost a piece of data due to system failure. Yes, early Mac OSes (especially the dreaded 7.5.3) were buggy and had issues. And of course, there are always lemons here and there and I've witnessed some people with macs that wouldn't work right for more than a couple of weeks after I would fix them for them (probably user issues). But a Mac with an external hard drive for Time Machine (Apple's dead simple backup system) almost assures anybody that they don't lose any data.

But compared to what I've seen on the Windows side, it was always bliss. On windows I've seen friends and family struggle with viral infections, malware, corrupted registries, hard drives trashed by crappy virtual memory, forced upgrades by Microsoft Office incompatibility with its own file formats, etc... I mean really what kind of system is that which forces a clean wipe and reinstall roughly once per year or you would be using a system that is so much slower than a fresh install due to bloated/corrupted registry?

My younger brother who grew up on the Macs that I owned, once he got his first job and started buying his own computers, went the windows way as the cool and hip thing to mesh with his work environment and then ended up back in the Mac fold after seeing with his own eyes what happens on the Windows side.

Mac are expensive, yes. But they're worth it. Everybody that I've witnessed moving to the Mac ended up wondering why they ever put up with the other crap for so long.

One thing for sure, if I wasn't using macs way back when, I wouldn't have SOL now.

Now over the years, Windows has improved a lot, but is still crappy in some ways. Even now, the malware problems persist and Microsoft faced with the migration to tablets and phones as people's primary computers is resorting to odd behaviours like windows 10 forced installs.

If one would ask me, I would always, always advise them to move to Macs even though they're expensive. Usually the money is made up in productivity and peace of mind.

Edited to add: Of course, every transition is difficult. One has to unlearn a lot of the windows stuff and learn the mac. So moving to Mac won't be comfortable for roughly three months. It takes that long to learn enough of the mac to be as comfortable as on Windows and to find equivalent applications and transfer your data.

Ernest Bywater

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)


Mac are expensive, yes. But they're worth it.


I've always said, and proven, is: if you use all the categories of software you get on a Mac on a regular basis and want to have proprietary software, then a Mac with all that software pre-loaded is actually much cheaper than buying a Windows system and loading it up with all that same proprietary software. However, few people use more than a third of the loaded software.

The Mac is based on Unix, which is one reason it's so stable and secure.
................

I can't afford a mac, and I use about an eighth of the software they come with, so I buy a PC, load it with Unix or Linux and Open Source software for what I need. I get the same security and stability for a fraction of the price of a Windows system. And much less than a Mac system, too.

Having said that, I'll add: If you want a good system and can afford it, buy a Mac.

Switch Blayde

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Of course, every transition is difficult. One has to unlearn a lot of the windows stuff and learn the mac.


I guess that's my biggest fear. Had a PC since DOS in the 1980s before they even had hard drives. (When I upgraded my 2 floppy IBM PC to include a 10mb hard drive I thought I was set for life and never run out of storage.)

Lazeez, thanks for taking the time to respond.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Cloud storage is about sharing data across devices, not data backup.

Apple's iCloud allows you to automatically back up your pictures, data (contacts and app settings) and/or apps. Since I couldn't use iCloud for that (at the time), I instead relied on the old standard of plugging my phone into my computer and backing it up manually--except Apple stories photos in an odd way, in dozens of different random directories. So instead, I transfer my photos using dropbox so I can manually organize them as I want.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

She backs up everything she needs on her iPhone and iPad with the free iCloud. When she bought the Mac she bought an external hard drive (I think solid state) to back up her entire computer. She hasn't hooked that up yet.

If she's using (or not using) TimeCapsule, then beware. Everyone I know who've bought it loves it, until the first time they lose data and realize they can't restore diddly! It's got some serious issues to data retrieval and TimeCapsule is now in a 'semi-retired' state (it's still supported, but they're downplaying it to limit their exposure). I'd suggest you visit a few Mac-support sites and search for 'TimeCapsule bugs' or 'TimeCapsule evaluation' before you decide.

Note: Lazeez seems to have a different experience with it, but I was considering purchasing the TimeCapsule until I researched it's reliability and discovered all the issues users had. Again, it works perfectly--until you can't restore data!

As for LibreOffice for you, I'd suggest going with OpenOffice instead. That's what I've got installed on my Mac, and while I only use it for reviewing edits from editors who use it, I haven't had any negative issues with it.

As for Macs being so expensive, Lazeez has a great point (about Windows being so unreliable), but Apple also has two manor additional advantages: they last significantly longer than any windows machine without requiring periodic cleanups and reinstalls and they're the only remaining personal computer maker who consistently adds new features, so the products get better over time, as opposed to my Windows machines, which haven't significantly advanced in the last ten years.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

If she's using (or not using) TimeCapsule, then beware.


She's not. Whatever came standard on her iPhone automatically backs her phone to the iCloud. Same with her iPad.

It's the same with my Galaxy smartphone. I turned something on and now it automatically backs up my phone.

I've read LibreOffice is much improved over OpenOffice so you might want to consider it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I've read LibreOffice is much improved over OpenOffice so you might want to consider it.

I've got both (on my PC), but as a long-time corporate Office user, I'm just more comfortable with WORD. However, I stopped upgrading after Windows 2010 (which added the "Review" function), as I haven't seen any reason to upgrade.

My point was just that OO might be less problematic on a Mac that LO, though I suspect they both suffer from a lack of development (new features) on Macs.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

My point was just that OO might be less problematic on a Mac that LO, though I suspect they both suffer from a lack of development (new features) on Macs.


From what I've read, OO is what it is while LibreOffice has been enhanced.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
graybyrd
Updated:

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

I purchased a used Mac laptop over ten years ago on eBay; a "Pismo" PPC G3 with a CPU upgrade to G4 processor. I upgraded RAM to 1GB and installed OSX 10.4.11 "Tiger." Anyone familiar with current Mac hardware & systems will tell you that this is now a hopelessly outdated system. So outdated, that I can no longer get updates or upgrades for any of the installed software.

I've never lost data on this machine. I've never had a failure. Today, it remains my PRIMARY writing platform. Although I have Windows 7 gear, and current Linux running dual-boot with the Windows installs, I will state the following:

There is nothing, absolutely NOTHING currently available in either Windows or Linux that can compare with the suite of software or the OS features available to me as a writer, to what I use daily on my obsolete Mac suite. Nothing! And I've searched, knowing that some day the Mac might finally break down. But since it's so bloody easy to keep and update a mirror image of the system, the software, and the files on my Mac... I can restore all of it to a replacement Mac I have in the closet... and keep going.

One secret is a pair of 150GB Firewire external drives that ping-pong backup everything I do on the Pismo. Another secret is the incredibly stable OSX 10 that with simple house-keeping (same as Linux) just runs... and runs.

My experience with Windows is totally opposite. Windows is warmed-over crap. For a couple of decades now, I've honestly believed that Microsoft has held back the evolution of computing progress by a good twenty years. Lately, they've taken us backwards.

There's nothing wrong with X-86 hardware. It runs long and well under Linux. I've an old, old P-III Dell that does very well with Linux. I've also got an old Lenovo Thinkpad T-60, and a newer Lenovo T-400, that are "obsolete" for Windows installs but run very fast with Debian Linux OS and software. None of the three laptops lag or thrash about with Linux, but I can't say that for Windows XP or 7.

Windows OS beats a machine to death! Startups are insane. The drives thrash and thrash, and the graphics card is struggling to keep up. Constant shutdowns and reboots put the computer under an awful stress, and just as I'm in the middle of writing, or enhancing a graphic, or downloading a large file, or composing a string of emails...

Windows barges in, takes over my machine, thrashes the drive insanely, without a clue as to what the HELL it is doing, and then demands a shutdown and reboot. It's as though some sadist in Redmond has hard-wired into my computer to control it despite my screaming protests.

I've not had a computer fail running Linux. I have lost a drive or two running Windows.

As for "expensive" Macs ... the most I ever spent was $3,000 back in the early 80's for a shiny new Mac Plus. Since then, it's all been used eBay bargains. My Pismo cost $300 used, and that works out to about $25 per year, so far.

Get yourself a used Mac, and it will probably come loaded with a full suite of software. Check eBay; hardware and software is always available there.

Be prepared to pay premium "used" prices: people have caught on to the fact that used Macs are just as good as brand, shiny new Windows machines. The ratio seems to be four or five to one, Mac vs. Windows gear.

Or dig around in your closet or basement and dust off that old Windows machine; install Linux and relax. Don't recycle those Windows discs. Melt 'em down and bury the remains.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

LO split from OO when Oracle insisted on making it more dependent on Java and other Oracle products. Since then the LO team has worked at slowly making it Java free. Now Apache own OO they're looking at reducing Java. There is a major crossover of code from LO to AOO and back in late 2013. I wouldn't be surprised to see them align and join forces again at some point in the next few years.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Crumbly Writer

Lazeez seems to have a different experience with it, but I was considering purchasing the TimeCapsule until I researched it's reliability and discovered all the issues users had. Again, it works perfectly--until you can't restore data!


I never mentioned TimeCapsule, I said Time Machine. Time Machine is the software that apple created for easy back up. Time Capsule is a hardware product that Apple makes; it's a wifi router with a builtin hard drive that can be used for backing up all the macs on the network.

I use Time Machine with a RAID box, level 10 (striped and mirrored).

The software is very good and reliable. The hardware product (Time Capsule) is problematic. A friend of mine long ago purchased one and it failed a year later.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

I never mentioned TimeCapsule, I said Time Machine. Time Machine is the software that apple created for easy back up. Time Capsule is a hardware product that Apple makes; it's a wifi router with a builtin hard drive that can be used for backing up all the macs on the network.

The software is very good and reliable. The hardware product (Time Capsule) is problematic. A friend of mine long ago purchased one and it failed a year later.

That's why I initially qualified my statement about backups to say: "If your wife is using TimeCapsule (for her backups), you (Switch) might want to take a second look at it".

It wasn't intended as a general put-down of Apple or backups, just an alert that the single product had a known issue and a bad history with Mac users.

That said, my issue with RAID arrays is that they've failed me in the past. Even on Windows machines, 'bad blocks' have rarely caused issues beyond being unable to read portions of a given file, but I've found a RAID backup unusable because they copy the mistakes/corruptions on one disk to the other disk--defeating (my) purposes in creating the RAID array in the first place. But that's just me and my perspective, and is probably due to my not understanding the purpose of the RAID in the first place.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

but I've found a RAID backup unusable because they copy the mistakes/corruptions on one disk to the other disk


No it doesn't Raid is not a backup, it is primary protection against disk failure.

A properly configured RAID, does not copy anything from one disk to another. The file as it exists in memory is written to all drives in the RAID simultaneously in the first instance. There is no copying of anything in a RAID array, unless you are doing it manually.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Poses

@Crumbly Writer

My experience with TimeCapsule has been great. I love being able to find old files I deleted or go back to previous versions relatively quickly. I also use a cloud-based backup system (Backblaze.com-I'm sure there are other good services, but I will definitely recommend them). Sans a robust external back-up, you're vulnerable to theft, equipment failure, or disaster.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

No it doesn't Raid is not a backup, it is primary protection against disk failure.

I understand the theory behind RAIDs, but in practice, I haven't found them to be the least bit useful. My last several HD failures have been with SolidState drives, in which case the drive is dead no matter what the cause is. However, I discovered that data issues would be copied as they occurred (ex. when I open a corrupt file and inadvertently save it, not realizing it's corrupted). Thus the RAID arrays never saved me a lick of effort. I still had to recreate each data failure, despite my investments in the early technology.

For someone with a large database, like Lazeez, I can understand the attraction. But for an author like me, who continually updates stories over time, they don't prevent errors from HD failures, nor data corruption issues or simple human errors. Thus I've never found them to be worth the overhead expense or effort.

I tried them, but didn't like the results (after having to trash both my work and the dual disk system).

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I understand the theory behind RAIDs, but in practice,


In my experience small data uses need only have multiple back-up copies and not a proper RAID system. For a major commercial operation with a heap of data I've only ever seen a full 9 drive RAID system as being worthwhile. That allows them to totally recreate the faulty drive from the remaining drives in the system. However, many people claim the options work for them, and they might, I've just not seen it successful in use.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

For a major commercial operation with a heap of data I've only ever seen a full 9 drive RAID system as being worthwhile. However, many people claim the options work for them, and they might, I've just not seen it successful in use.

That was exactly my point. Since this isn't a disk-management discussion forum, I was suggesting that for individual authors, I found RAID arrays to be unproductive as it doesn't really prevent data corruptions (which occur when copying files or as files age).

Most of us will traditionally use important story files over time as the media degrades, but it's still best to make duplicate copies across old and new external disks (which you separate from your main computer to avoid destroying your backups in a flood or natural disaster!).

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Crumbly Writer

I found RAID arrays to be unproductive as it doesn't really prevent data corruptions (which occur when copying files or as files age).


RAID systems keep a faithful copy of what you save to them. They protect you from hardware failure on the single drive level. Of course, if you save corrupted files to them, the files will stay corrupted.

Using a RAID system for backup requires good backup software. Apple's Time Machine software saves a back up every hour, and doesn't overwrite the older versions. It's called time machine because it allows you to go back in time to a certain day and retrieve the copy saved then.

For example, if you open a file and find that it's corrupted, you click on time machine and you go back to a previously saved version that is not corrupted.

Time Machine with a RAID system protects you only from specific system failures. If your computer fails or its internal drive, then you're safe. If one drive in the RAID system fails then you're safe. However, that doesn't protect you from catastrophes like a fire or flood at your house or business. For something like that you need off-site backup, like in the Cloud.

That's what I do.

The site's data and code is very valuable. I can't risk losing that. So, my policy for keeping that safe is as follows:

My development system (a Mac Pro) has a RAID with Time Machine that keeps an ongoing versioned backup of everything. This mac pro, pulls a copy of all the sites that I have on servers including the data saved in the database every three hours. That creates a first back up for everything on the computer's main drive. Then Time Machine creates another back up on the RAID, so that's three copies of everything. Then a script encrypts all this data daily and uploads it to the Cloud for a fourth safe copy.

If the server dies, I create a new server with the data from my system. If my system dies, I recreate a new back up from the server. If the server and my system die at the same time, I can still recreate everything from the Cloud back up.

It's all about how important things are to you, because keeping multiple backups on-site and off-site can get expensive and inconvenient. For example once per month I create yet another backup on a thumb-drive and keep it in a bank safe. That takes time, effort and financial cost.

For authors, usually, a system with something like time machine with occasional back up to a thumb drive that you keep somewhere out of the house should be enough, unless you're living off your writing, then it's necessary to keep a system similar to mine.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Thanks for that overview, Lazeez. I'd never realized that Time Machine kept multiple copies of each file. Instead, I'd assumed it was like most of the PC's backup systems in that it only kept track of a single copy of each file, overwriting each previous copy with each update. Given that information, I'm more likely to actually use Time Machine on my Mac (since I often want to revert to earlier versions of a particular story as I add or subtract chapters or add or remove subplots).

I still maintain that a RAID array won't buy me much, but Time Machine seems to be an entirely different matter.

Back to Top