Although there are free (as in freedom) “office suites” (LibreOffice) I don’t care much for them. Having said that, I do have LibreOffice installed, but that is out of the need to be able to read attachments people send me.
Instead, I have collected a few applications which perform similar tasks for me:
For text editing, vim obviously plays a part, although for writing (not editing) longer chunks of text I use PyRoom.
So what I end up with are plaintext files, which is not always the optimal option presentationally. This is where LaTeX comes into play.
All of a sudden, I have snazzy-looking PDFs instead of plaintext
Historically I haven’t used spreadsheets all that much, but as of late that has started to change. Calc (OO.org/LibreOffice) did the trick, so did gnumeric, but I like stuff that is light on resources. Lighter than gnumeric…
And that is where sc comes into play. It has its shortcomings, for instance, when saving to csv it saves the current value of any formula, instead of the formula itself.
There is a LaTeX class called Beamer, which, when compiled, creates a PDF suitable for presentations.
Of course, depending on the complexity of the presentation, a simple PDF (as created by LaTeX without Beamer) could do the trick, but Beamer adds elegance to the simplicity of an ordinary PDF.
Evince is an ordinary PDF-viewer, and Impress!ve is a Python-powered presentation tool with support for OpenGL and some rather nice effects and features.
I don’t particularly like Access, and I have never tried OO.org’s Base, but the idea of having a database contained in a single file always intrigued me, and for smaller applications it kind of begins to make sense.
Now, if we take that idea, of a database contained in a file, with a small library through which you interact with the database file, and we also think “lightweight”, we… well at least I did, end up with SQLite3.
The SQLite3 library has a CLI which means that even my shell scripts can interact with the database. And that is pretty frakkin cool.
Finally, what office suite would be complete without a calculator?
True, I do most of my calculations in a nearby ipython-terminal, but ever since I discovered qalculate, and the CLI version qalc, it has stuck with me.
Why? Because you can ask it to convert between currencies like this:
$ qalc \$200 to SEK
Obviously this is only useful if you first let it fetch up to date exchange-rates from the web, but there is a setting for allowing it to do that automatically at the beginning of every program start.
And that’s about it. Next post will be about communication tools.