Logo für Libreoffice von Christoph Noack, CC BY-SA 3.0

In the beginning there was a fork: After the takeover of Sun by Oracle, the future of the free Open Office suite, which had emerged from the proprietary StarOffice, was in the stars. No wonder that the spin-off LibreOffice quickly became standard on Ubuntu (and other Linux distributions). This has not changed, although OpenOffice has recovered under the umbrella of the Apache Foundation.

In version 6, released on January 31, 2018, the “ribbons” inspired by Microsoft Office, which are called “notebookbar” here, are still not available by default and must be activated manually: The first step is to unlock the experimental functions via Tools > Options > Advanced, which requires a restart of LibreOffice. Then the new notebookbar option can be selected under View > View Tabs. The classic menu may also be displayed by selecting the Menu bar option in the top right-hand corner of the hamburger menu.

As of version 6.1, released on August 8, 2018, work on the Notebookbar has been completed for the Writer component, but not yet for the other parts of the program.


Version 6 of LibreOffice has made it into Ubuntu 18.04. It can be installed directly from the package archives, but is only available in the Universe community repository:

sudo apt install libreoffice-gnome

This installs the Gnome flavor of LibreOffice. For Desktops like Mate or Xfce install libreoffice-gtk. For KDE only libreoffice-kde4 exists so far.

Newer versions of the 6 series are available via the LibreOffice Fresh PPA, which is added as follows:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa
sudo apt update

Newer versions of LibreOffice are also available as official Snap or Flatpak.

Help and documentation

LibreOffice has received a revised online help with version 6.1. In addition, a number of application manuals are available for download, most of them are outdated, the shiny exception being the LibreOffice Writer Guide, which has been updated for version 6.


Open Office is open source as well – see above. Softmaker Office is a commercial, constantly enhanced office suite for Linux and Windows. There is also a free version called FreeOffice with reduced features. OnlyOffice is a cloud application whose open source, free community edition can be installed on a private server. OnlyOffice also masters project management, customer relationships (CRM) and teamwork.