Feeds

LibreOffice 4.0 ships with new features, better looks

Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office

The essential guide to IT transformation

What's next after 4.0?

Meeks said that although the LibreOffice developers have been doing lots of QA and unit testing to ensure that the project's code is of high quality, a few minor glitches are always likely to crop up in any major LibreOffice release.

"At least in the free software community, it's relatively expected that there may be a few bugs and rough edges we haven't managed to iron out yet," Meeks told El Reg. "If you're a conservative business user, you should probably be waiting until the 4.02 or 4.03 release – or even better, paying for a commercially supported release that's even more hardened."

LibreOffice operates on a timed release schedule, where a new major point-release ships every six months. In between major releases, a minor point release appears roughly every month – so the more production-ready version of the suite, LibreOffice 4.02, should arrive in two months.

Meeks explained that LibreOffice releases are timed to go out a couple of months before the major Linux distributions ship their new versions, so that LibreOffice 4.02 will likely be the first build of the new version of the suite to ship with Fedora or Ubuntu.

Of course, customers who like to live on the bleeding edge are always welcome to download LibreOffice 4.0 now. Bug reports from those intrepid souls will be particularly appreciated.

And then there's always the future to consider. The Document Foundation has been talking about online and mobile versions of LibreOffice for some time, but although Meeks says these things exist and are still being developed, they still have a way to go before they are ready for wide distribution.

"Fitting into the 50MB limit for the Android app store is a bit of a problem with the whole office suite, even when we start ripping out the UI base code," Meeks said, though he added that the effort gave the LibreOffice developers an incentive to try to shrink down the code, which is good in itself.

Meeks also said that work is being done on a version of LibreOffice that can be streamed from a server and run from inside a web browser window, with broadly identical functionality to the desktop version, though he said this is only at the prototype stage at the moment.

As for developing a complete, integrated suite of office applications and online services, however – the way Microsoft is doing with its Office 365 offering, for example – the Document Foundation's Vignoli says the opportunity is wide-open ... for someone else.

"We do not see The Document Foundation offering the complete solution, as this would be a departure from our objectives," Vignoli told The Reg in an email. "Companies such as large software vendors or ISPs would be able to pick up the different pieces and build the complete solution, provided they accept to become good community players such as Red Hat and SUSE, and give back a portion of their income by paying developers or giving money to support the project."

Neither was Meeks willing to compare the direction of LibreOffice to that of OpenOffice.org, the parallel project now being maintained by the Apache Foundation. Apache promoted its version of the suite to a top-level project in October 2012, but we've heard relatively little of that effort since.

"I don't think there's any great interest in comparing ourselves to Apache, generally," Meeks said. "I think the vast majority of the market is in Microsoft's camp, pretty firmly. We're growing our feature set and our user base pretty vigorously. We're pretty happy with where we are. So I just don't think we need to measure ourselves against anyone except the major competitor." ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Microsoft refuses to nip 'Windows 9' unzip lip slip
Look at the shiny Windows 8.1, why can't you people talk about 8.1, sobs an exec somewhere
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?