LibreOffice 5.2 adds usability, interoperability and security features ahead of greater integration with cloud edition to take on Office 365
Open source office suite LibreOffice has reached version 5.2, adding new interoperability, usability and security options in a bid to encourage more businesses to make the transition from proprietary alternatives like Microsoft Office and Google Drive.
The suite comprises Writer, Calc and Impress applications, which are used for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations respectively. LibreOffice 5.2 has all of the new features, while a ‘still’ 5.1.5 version is intended for more conservative users and for enterprise deployments.
In total, LibreOffice has been downloaded 140 million times since it debuted in January 2011 and by large organisations in every continent, most notably the Lithuanian police with 8,000 desktops.
LibreOffice 5.2 adds default classification for documents, affording greater protection for those containing sensitive information, and multiple signature descriptors are now supported.
All three apps have access to better drawing tools (filled curves, polygons and freeform lines) and most context menus can be customised. Icons have also been added to default toolbars to make it quicker to use frequently used functions.
In terms of individual features, Writer now handles .docx and .rtf files better and there is added support for ‘Word for DOS’. Writer also has a ‘print to file’ option on the print menu and has support for two factor authentication if using Google Drive to save documents.
Calc has more functions, greater spreadsheet interoperability, a new drop down menu for currency, and border removal options. Users can also have multiple status bar functions active at the same time. Impress gets enhanced custom animations and descriptions for effects.
Open source project
LibreOffice forked from the OpenOffice.org project in September 2010. Developers jumped ship after tensions with Oracle and formed the independent The Document Foundation (TDF) in response, with code maintained by thousands of volunteers.
The TDF claims there are 0.00 open issues per 1,000 lines of source code (LibreOffice has 78 million lines), compared to 0.61 for open source software and 0.75 for proprietary software.
The desktop suite will soon be joined by a cloud version, making LibreOffice an even more attractive alternative for businesses keen to reduce their dependency on Microsoft and Google.
“LibreOffice 5.2 is a significant step forward for Free Software on the desktop, and will soon be available as a full featured cloud office suite,” says Michael Meeks, a Director at The Document Foundation (TDF) and a leading developer of LibreOffice Online. “The tight integration between desktop and cloud will provide enterprises a value added experience, with the best of both platforms always available to all users.”
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