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LibreOffice 5.0 Delivers Windows 10 Support

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Alternative Office suite bundles Windows 10 support, improved source code, and ‘cleaner’ user interface

LibreOffice has claimed bragging rights over its rivals with a major new upgrade of the open-source office productivity suite.

The new version has had some major tweaks of its “under the hood” code, and also comes with an improved user interface, support for Windows 10, and improved import filters for better file compatibility with Microsoft Office documents.

Major Update

LibreOffice 5.0Version 5.0 of LibreOffice is available here for download on Windows, MacOS X, and Linux based machines.

It is the tenth major release since the launch of the project, after it forked from the project in September 2010.

LibreOffice developers were of course originally behind the OpenOffice suite, but jumped ship after tensions with Oracle and created the independent organisation called ‘The Document Foundation‘ (TDF). It is claimed that LibreOffice has been deployed bymore than 80 million users worldwide.

So what is new in version 5.0? Well TDF says that the new version sports a “significantly improved user interface, with a better management of the screen space and a cleaner look.” In addition, it offers better interoperability with office suites such as Microsoft Office and Apple iWork, thanks to new and improved filters that are designed to handle non standard formats.

The spreadsheet (Calc) has also been tweaked to include complex formulae, new functions, conditional formatting, image cropping, table addressing etc. TDF says Calc is now “an enterprise-ready, heavy duty spreadsheet capable of handling all kinds of workload for an impressive range of use cases.”

But perhaps the biggest changes to LibreOffice are invisible to most users.

TDF said that hundreds of volunteers made improvements “under the hood.” Indeed, it cited Coverity Scan as saying that the number of defects for 1,000 lines of code is now consistently below 0,001. “This translates into an open source office suite which is not only easier to develop but it’s also easier to maintain and debug,” said TDF. “ In fact, the amount of solved bugs is now over 25,000, and is increasing rapidly.”

“In 2010, we inherited a rather old source code, which had to be made cleaner, leaner and smarter before we could reasonably develop the office suite we were envisioning for the long term,” said Michael Meeks, a Director at TDF and a leading LibreOffice developer. “Since 2010, we have gone through three different development cycles: the 3.x family, to clean the code from legacy stuff; the 4.x family, to make the suite more responsive; and the 5.x family, to make it smarter, also in terms of user interface.”

A full list of the improvements in version 5 can be found here.

Office Wars

“LibreOffice 5.0 is such a good product that people used to legacy open source office suites feel overwhelmed by the amount of new features and improvements,” added Thorsten Behrens, TDF Chairman and leading LibreOffice developer. “Switching from any OOo derivative to LibreOffice is a giant leap into the future of free office suites.”

LibreOffice still competes with its open source rival Apache OpenOffice; as well as WPS Office etc. And of course, there is still the undeniable presence of Microsoft Office.

Last month Microsoft released touch-first versions of Office applications for Windows 10 tablets and small screen devices (desktop and mobile versions will follow later in the year).

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