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What do you mean you've never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heaven's sake, mankind, it's only four light years away, you know! I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that's your own regard. Energise the demolition beams! God, I don't knowâ¦ apathetic bloody planet, I've no sympathy at allâ¦
Okay, God forbid, I'm actually going to try and treat this fairly. Firstly, recent incarnations of MS Word work using semantic styling, but don't force you to use it. This is much the same as in OO/LO. In general MS tools load files a LOT faster, and are more visually appealing (granted, eye of the beholder and all that), however they don't handle large files. Try opening a 400Mb
Now, the "basic tasks" concept. Basic tasks for word processing to me include: writing a letter, writing business document (contract, memo, invoice, quote, waybill, meeting minutes), creating/using templates for those standard documents, designing home flyers (lost dogs, bake sales etc) . These generally require the following 'features' from the software: text manipulation, text formatting, image insertion and basic manipulation (resizing, placement, possibly cropping), tables, tab stops, template editing, headers, footers, page numbering, and text->image conversions (e.g. for banner headings). Both OO/LO and MS Word do all these about equally well imho.
Advanced features: Mail Merge, Mathematical equation editing, Track changes/revision control, cross referencing (index, citations, bibliography, table of contents, list of images etc)
As far as the spreadsheets go, excel and gnumeric are very similar in features as far as I've used them. Never used OO/LO Calc, so I can't say. I suppose charts might be a distinguishing factor, but again, I rarely use charts generated from spreadsheets.
Presentation software (Powerpoint, Impress) seems to be where things really start to differentiate. More transitions, and more bling, in general, is available to PowerPoint users, and compatibility is HORRIBLE even between between powerpoint versions, let alone PP and OO/LO.
In summary: as far basic word processing goes, I don't see a marked difference apart from aesthetics. For Maths, they're both pretty horrible. Track changes they're both about the same (revision control in word processing sucks generally), and I'm not sure about mail merge