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The Document Foundation, the non-profit that looks after the open source office suite LibreOffice, has expanded its advisory board recently with the addition of three new members.

AMD was the most recent entrant. Prior to that, the Document Foundation opened its doors to King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) of Saudi Arabia, and MIMO, the working group of the French government including several ministries and administrations. MIMO has a total of 500,000 desktop users.

LibreOffice is a fork of the OpenOffice.org suite which Oracle owned as part of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in January 2010; Oracle hived it off to the Apache Foundation in June 2011.

KACST sponsors the National Program for Free and Open Source Software Technologies (Motah in Arabic)which has been contributing to LibreOffice for almost one year, to enhance the Arabic language and the RTL (right-to-left) support, and to develop new features.

MIMO concentrates on the free desktop, and is one of a number of working groups focusing each one on a specific area of the information system under the guidance of the DISIC (French state CIO). Together, the working groups are creating an official set of free software for the ministries, with a specific application for each task.

MIMO has standardised on LibreOffice, developed by the Document Foundation, and is contributing to the development of the office suite through a commercial support agreement provided by certified developers.

SUSE distinguished engineer and Document Foundation board member Michael Meeks said AMD contributed development resources to LibreOffice. "AMD funds the most significant re-factoring of the LibreOffice calc core code in the last decade, AMD makes spreadsheets better for everyone," he told iTWire.

Of AMD's heterogenous system architecture (HSA), which is expected to make life faster for users of advanced spreadsheets, Meeks said: "The HSA thing is really a very simple concept: current GPUs use a subset of physical memory addresses mapped through a small aperture in some complicated process.

"The new HSA APUs will share a beautiful flat, virtual memory address space with the CPU: that means the same structures and data (eg. a linked list) can be shared between CPU and GPU - and makes all sorts of much faster, much simpler interaction possible."

The advisory board of The Document Foundation now has 11 members: AMD, Google, Red Hat, SUSE, Intel, Lanedo, the King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST), the Inter-Ministry Mutualisation for an Open Productivity Suite (MIMO), the Free Software Foundation (FSF), Software in the Public Interest, and Freies Office Deutschland e.V.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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