LibreOffice plans ports to iOS, Android, cloud

French government says 'oui' to open source

The Document Foundation, which is developing the LibreOffice software suite, has demonstrated the business software working entirely in the browser for cloud applications, and has announced that it will also port it to Android and iOS.

The LibreOffice Online cloud software is built around HTML5 Canvas and the GTK+ framework with JavaScript shims, and was developed by SUSE's Michael Meeks and RedHat's Alex Laarson. It allows complex text layout, large spreadsheets, WYSIWYG editing, VBA macros, and pivot tables, with the server side taking almost the entire processor load.

The Document Foundation also said that Finnish SUSE developer Tor Lillqvist, who has already ported GIMP to Windows, is working on making LibreOffice available to iOS and Android users. A significant redesign is going to be needed for this to work, but he reports that most of the code is compiling as normal.

Both the cloud version and the iOS and Android ports are unlikely to see the light of day before 2012 or possibly 2013, but the announcements seem intended to emphasize how far ahead LibreOffice developers are working.

By contrast, last week the OpenOffice team issued a plaintive request for funds to continue development work, a request which earned a sharp response from Apache, which is now managing that project.

The French government has also thrown its support behind the LibreOffice project, specifying the software for all its future Windows systems, and transitioning 500,000 existing Windows users from OpenOffice. In a single step this increases the Windows installed base of LibreOffice by five per cent, and that figure looks likely to grow after the Paris Metropolitan council district announced it would give away 800,000 USB drives containing the code. ®

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