LibreOffice Gets Enterprise Release

Ten months after its launch of the LibreOffice project, The Document Foundation (TDF) has released the first version of the open-source office suite which it says is stable enough to be used by enterprises.

“LibreOffice 3.4.2 fixes the majority of the most-important bugs identified by users in the previous version, and can be deployed for production needs by most enterprises,” TDF stated on Monday.

Breakaway group

TDF was formed by several members of the project in September of last year following the acquisition of OpenOffice developer Sun by Oracle. The group created LibreOffice as a fork of OpenOffice with the aim of producing a vendor-independent office suite supporting the OpenDocument Format (ODF).

Partly as a result of the fork and the resulting loss of developers from OpenOffice, Oracle stopped development of OpenOffice and in June contributed the project to the Apache Software Foundation. OpenOffice had been distributed by Sun since 2000 as an open source alternative to Microsoft Office.

LibreOffice 3.4.2 is the result of the activity of 300 contributors with 23,000 commits, adding, deleting or modifying around five million lines of code, according to TDF. Developers came from Oracle, Suse, Red Hat and Canonical, as well as smaller organisations and individual volunteers.

Contributor Bjoern Michaelsen of Canonical said the project is on track for its objective of creating a more efficient version of OpenOffice.

“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,” Michaelsen said in a statement.

The release includes a number of tweaks and stability improvements and features a smaller installation file and quicker start-up times.

Stable release

The first stable release of LibreOffice was version 3.3 in January. At the time the group noted that the number of developers had quintupled since September and said that Canonical would start distributing LibreOffice with its Ubuntu Linux distribution instead of OpenOffice.

That release included the OpenOffice features as well as new and original features of its own, such as the ability to import and work with SVG and Microsoft Works files, a easier way to format and number text blocks in Writer, and improved sheet and cell management in Calc. The developers also bundled new extensions, such as PDF import, a slide-show presenter console, and an improved report builder.

LibreOffice also integrated all the language versions into a single Windows installer executable with that release. In the past, each language had its own installer, taking up over 75 GB on the download sites, which could stress the servers during high traffic. With this integration, the sites need less space as everything fits within 11 GB, he said.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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