Feeds

Apache OpenOffice 4.0 debuts with IBM code side and centre

Plays better with Microsoft, makes Macs think it's malware

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The Apache Software Foundation has released OpenOffice version 4.0, a leap forward from the previous 3.4 edition let into the wild in March 2012.

The Foundation's talking up over 500 enhancements, foremost among them a new sidebar built with code IBM cooked up for the Lotus Symphony productivity suite*. The sidebar comes in four sizes, each offering more document-manipulating options. The Foundation suggests sidebars are a jolly good ideas because more of us use wide screens these days, but in illustrations of the new feature assumes we're not using those extra pixels to view two pages of a document side-by-side. That space can instead be given over to sidebars.

Also promised is better support for Microsoft Office's file formats when loading or saving documents, with better reproduction of Office's implementation of nested and graphical bullet lists from both PowerPoint and Word promised.

The Calc spreadsheet has new syntax. AVERAGEIFS, COUNTIFS, and SUMIFS are now available. The RAND function has been upgraded and those who fancy a bit of XOR action can now get their thrills open source style.

Greek, Portuguese and Tamil speakers get their first native language versions of the suite, and upgrades have been made to the translations for 20 other languages.

A great many of the enhancements improve the suite's graphics-wrangling abilities, helping the suite to play nicely with tools like The GIMP and also making it possible to make nicer images with the suite. There's even a better, clearer, anti-aliased Print Preview that gets comfortingly closer to WYSIWYG than its predecessor.

The new logo for Open Office 4.0

Apache OpenOffice 4.0 also has this lovely new logo

There's also some bad news: the Gatekeeper security features in Mac OS will identify the suite as malware. There's a workaround for that and a Java compatibility problem under Windows that will require installation of some extra code if you wish to avoid error messages.

The Apache Foundation says OpenOffice 3.4 was downloaded about 57 million times since release and clearly hopes a similar or better reception awaits this new version. One thing in the Foundation's favour is the imminent end-of-life for Microsoft Office 2003, an event the organisation's canned statement on the new suite's release suggests is a good reason to consider the open source alternative. ®

*Your correspondent is a long-time Symphony user, as when IBM was still keen on it, it was utterly free and rather more pleasant to use than open source rivals. I've logged hundreds of hours in its word processor and cannot recall ever using or noticing the sidebar.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?