Apache OpenOffice 3.4 makes official debut; LibreOffice makes its case

Apache OpenOffice 3.4 makes official debut; LibreOffice makes its case

Summary: Let the games begin. Tuesday, the Apache Software Foundation announced the first official release of Apache OpenOffice, version 3.4, since Oracle donated it to the ASF in mid 2011.


As expected, the first version of OpenOffice under new management -- the Apache Software Foundation -- has been released.

Apache OpenOffice 3.4 Writer

Apache OpenOffice 3.4 Writer

Apache OpenOffice 3.4, which had been in incubation since Oracle donated the code to the ASF mid last year, offers improved performance and a number of new features and enhancements and is available on Windows, MacIntosh and Linux and in 15 languages as of today.

The list of new bells and whistles -- such as improved ODF support, including new ODF 1.2 encryption option, new spreadsheet functions, an enhanced pivot table support in Calc and enhanced graphics -- is welcome news.

Gallery: Apache OpenOffice 3.4 makes official debut (screenshots)

But for the Apache Software Foundation -- and for long term supporters of the open source Office suite -- this next stage of development , free from vendor control -- offers its best chance to date to attract more users and backers. IBM, which discontinued its own Symphony suite some time ago, is reportedly planning a new product based on the Apache OpenOffice.

As noted by the ASF today, Sun acquired the former StarOffice suite (developed by StarDivision in Germany) in 1999. Oracle renamed it Oracle OpenOffice after acquiring Sun but discontinued its development in mid 2010. Oracle announced its donation to the ASF in mid 2011.

It has been in incubation since then and is being officially released by the ASF under the Apache 2.0 license today free of charge.

Not all would agree with Apache's point of view. The Document Foundation, which developed its own LibreOffice fork of OpenOffice after Oracle signaled its intention to cease development of the office suite, holds that its own organization is independent of vendor control and is the leading open source developer of OpenOffice today.

It has received the support of SUSE , Ubuntu and Intel. The Document Foundation is incorporated in Germany.

One LibreOffice spokesman, a longtime OpenOffiice developer and top SUSE engineer, disputed that the Apache license is the best open source license.

"We find this announcement particularly interesting as, a year after Oracle shuttered OpenOffice.org, the Incubator (also cited as Apache) now have their release out. As we said when this move was announced, this has a positive angle, allowing LibreOffice to adopt a more future-proof copy-left licensing model.  It also goes without saying that SUSE continues to provide a fully supported SUSE LibreOffice product on Windows and Linux built from the same code base.  I have a more detailed comparison on my blog, but let me focus on the great things that are happening in LibreOffice Land.

"We've got our monthly release of 3.5.3 out, steadily increasing quality, and our 3.6 release is one month away from feature freeze and looking great - so we continue to execute on our time-based release schedule. Also, yesterday we announced an exciting certification program to increase the confidence of purchasers of support and services around LibreOffice,” said Michael Meeks, Distinguished Engineer at SUSE.

Let the games begin.

Topics: Oracle, Collaboration, Emerging Tech, Open Source, Software, SMBs

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  • Paula, can you do all of ZDNet's readership a favor?

    Please write every single Linux and Open Source blog article from now on.

    We all thank you in advance.
    • Thank you, Todd.

    • Thank you, Todd

      Loverock Davidson-
    • nonsense

      @toddbottom3 your post is meaningless unless you tell us WHY you want Paula to write them. Is this how you got your "Top Rated" score?
      • Either your new, stupid, or just want to stir up something, the reason

        he has the top spot is - everyone knows why, it doesn't require an explanation.
      • Because when she writes

        it is usually a good, informative article [b]about[/b] the FOSS software itself. When the other FOSS blogger writes, you don't hear much about said software being reviewed, but so much more about how Microsoft sucks out the backside, and why they are so dead next week.
        William Farrel
      • you just keep saying nonsense

        @TheBottomLineIsAllThatMatters Do you mind if I puke? I have no other response to comments like yours.
    • Thank you, Todd

    • Thank you! And AMEN!

    • Well said

      William Farrel
    • Toddy, would you please do US a favour?

      Stick to the Windows and MS fanboy talkback articles.
      Plus take all the other trolls, shills and haters with you.
    • Kudos for brown nosing...

      And the dumb shits in Libre Office / the Open Document Foundation / Apache Open Orrifice, STILL DO NOT HAVE FONT EMBEDDING....
      Wroger Wroger
  • I'm not sure why I should care????

    Open Office, Libra Office, what's the difference? It seems to be just which license is used to which I ask, is there some reason I should care? If I don't have to pay for it either way, what difference does it make?
    • For you it probably wouldn't matter.

      But the point of licenses is that they will constrain how companies like IBM or the Linux distro makers can use them in conjunction with their other products. This will lead some companies to favor the fork with one license. Which could potentially have a much more significant impact on the speed of development, since it will determine which version the supporting companies will want to contribute code to.
      • But...

        Couldn't the LibraOffice folks just take the code from Apache, add their "stuff" and GPL it? The Apache 2.0 license allows this doesn't it?
    • Cause Libre Office is better for now.

      HI! cornpie , For now Libre Office is much more better in document handeling , interoperatiblity and other features compare to Apache OpenOffice.

      Here is a feature comparison : http://people.gnome.org/~michael/blog/2012-04-26-ooo-comparison.html

      Apache with IBM backing might catch up later but the community around libre office is very strong too.
  • Apache OpenOffice 3.4 makes official debut

    Kudos to Apache Software Foundation.
  • So which is now better Open Office or Libre Office?

    So which is now better Open Office or Libre Office? I don't use either myself but friends do.

    And when will either get a user interface update? The ribbon would be fine but frankly anything (i.e - no need to reply saying the ribbon is trash), to change the tired menus and toolbars look.
    • LibreOffice and Menus and Toolbars

      I'm also tired of menus and toolbars as I'd like to use tabs with neatly-organized tools instead. I'd also want to be able to select styles to preview in a document before I do a single click without a drop down menu (font family and size are fine for drop-down menus, but it'd be nice to show a list of fonts in a sidebar).

      And why not show a list of diagrams that I can create in a document under an insertion tab?

      So until LibreOffice have all the features and UIs comparable to Office 2007/2010, I'll continue to use 2010 which I currently have in my system as I found Office 2010 to be more productive for me compared to Office 2003/LibreOffice.

      But leave the menus and toolbars as the default and have us the option to use a ribbon-like interface. Having a choice of what I want to use is a good thing, but right now, with LibreOffice users shouting "NO F*&#ING RIBBON, PLEASE," if I want to use LibreOffice, I don't have a choice of the UI I want to use. That is, I'll be stuck with menus and toolbars forever. It will only make it easier for me to choose Microsoft Office 2007/2010.

      In that case, I use what works for me.



      Grayson Peddie
      • Maybe it works for you, but

        There are literally millions of users out there who disagree with you. They prefer toolbars and buttons over the ribbon interface. AND they either can't afford or don't want to be forced to pay Microsoft's extortionistic fees for software that is going to be obsolete in less than 12 months [when Microsoft 8 goes into final release] and which only has a support cycle of about 5 years beyond that. With either distro built off the original OpenOffice code, users have a choice which allows them to keep their hard-earned money in their pockets instead of increasing Bill Gates' bank accounts.