Friday, 05 August 2011 11:54

New version of LibreOffice ready for download

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Just a month short of one year since it forked from OpenOffice.org, the free office suite, LibreOffice, has released version 3.4.2 aimed at both private users and businesses.


The fork occurred in September 2010 after the hackers involved in OpenOffice.org realised that Oracle, which had inherited the project as part of its purchase of Sun Microsystems, had little interest in FOSS projects unless there was a chance of adding to the bottom line.

A body named The Document Foundation (TDF) was set up and work began to improve the code. With around 300 contributors at work, LibreOffice 3.4.2 has fixed most of the important bugs identified by users in the previous version.

LibreOffice spokesman Italo Vignoli says the software can now be deployed for production needs by most enterprises.

"The Document Foundation encourages large organizations deploying LibreOffice to do so in conjunction with a support partner, who can carefully assess specific requirements, help manage migration and provide bespoke fixes for identified issues," Vignoli said in a media release.

"Purchasing LibreOffice support from a TDF partner also provides enterprises with an indirect means to contribute financially to the project, thereby funding its development, improving its stability, and accelerating its growth. Users should always refer to the release notes before deploying the new version."


In the 11 months since forking, LibreOffice has seen more than 23,000 commits, with the addition, deletion or modification of around five million lines of code.

"Oracle and SUSE have each provided around 25 per cent of the commits, with a further 25 per cent coming from community volunteers new to the project since our inception, and with a further 20 per cent from Red Hat. The remaining commits came from a combination of pre-TDF contributors, Canonical developers, and organisations like Bobiciel, CodeThink, Lanedo, SIL, and Tata Consultancy Services," Vignoli said.

"TDF was born with the aim of evolving the OpenOffice.org code to develop a cleaner and leaner free office suite and, after ten months, we are right on track to achieve this objective," said Bjoern Michaelsen, one of the four Canonical contributors, and a key member of the Engineering Steering Committee.

"Of course, with such a large code renovation effort, we are aware of the short-term risk of reduced stability, but this is counterbalanced by the long-term improvement in features, speed and - again - stability."

The first LibreOffice Conference will be held in Paris from October 13 to 15. The call for papers is open until August 8, while registration will close at the end of September.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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