First LibreOffice Release arrives

First LibreOffice Release arrives

Summary: LibreOffice 3.3, the first version of the OpenOffice fork, is now available for your office work pleasure.

SHARE:

The Document Foundation's LibreOffice, the OpenOffice office suite fork, is on a winning streak. No sooner than Ubuntu lets the world know that LibreOffice is its office suite of choice, than the next day the first full, shipping version of the program, LibreOffice 3.3, is released.

LibreOffice 3.3 includes numerous new features when compared to its OpenOffice parent. To my mind, the most important of these for modern office workers is that it has much better import and export tools for Microsoft Office 2007 and above OpenXML formats. Love them or hate them--I hate them myself--more and more businesses are using these formats and being able to work with them is becoming a business-critical feature. In addition, LibreOffice can also now import Adobe PDF, Microsoft Works, and Lotus Word Pro documents and has better WordPerfect document import facilities.

Screenshots: New features from LibreOffice 3.3

According to The Document Foundation, "LibreOffice 3.3 also incorporates all the new features of OpenOffice.org 3.3, such as new custom properties handling; embedding of standard PDF fonts in PDF documents; new Liberation Narrow font; increased document protection in Writer and Calc; auto decimals digits for 'General' format in Calc; 1 million rows in a spreadsheet; new options for CSV import in Calc; insert drawing objects in Charts; hierarchical axis labels for Charts; improved slide layout handling in Impress; new easier to use print interface; more options for Changing case; and colored sheet Tabs in Calc."

The Document Foundation also states that it will add new features faster than OpenOffice because its "community of developers has been able to build their own and independent process, and stand on their feet in a very short time (in relation to the size of the code and the ambitions of the project)." Indeed, this in part why the fork happened. Regardless of how one sees Oracle's management of Sun's former open-source projects, OpenOffice was long known for being very slow to update compared to more agile open-source projects.

As Michael Meeks, Novell Distinguished Engineer and Document Foundation community member told me, "The growth and output of this community, in just a short period of time, underscores the need for and importance of a truly open project dedicated to creating the best office suite available--period. Now that we have gotten started we only expect the project to pick up steam and there is still plenty of work to do for everyone from developers to artists to translators. With new contributors joining every day, LibreOffice will continue to deliver the innovative features and functionality that users want. "

Looking ahead, Caolan McNamara, Red Hat's Desktop Engineer in charge of OpenOffice.org and now LibreOffice, said in a statement, "We are excited: this is our very first stable release, and therefore we are eager to get user feedback, which will be integrated immediately in the code and released very soon. After February, we will be moving to a real time based, predictable, transparent and public release schedule, according to the desire of the Engineering Steering Committee and the requests of the users". For further details, see the LibreOffice development roadmap.

LibreOffice 3.3 is now available for both direct and BitTorrent downloads. There are versions for Windows; 32 and 64-bits RPM package Linux distributions, such as Red Hat and Novell; 32 and 64-bit DEB package Linux distributions such as Debian and Ubuntu; and both PowerPC and Intel Macs.

Topics: Collaboration, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

121 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

    I don't think there is anything new for me unless there's a major UI change.

    I already got Microsoft Office Professional, though, but just to be fair, I did try out OpenOffice and it is an OK product, but I don't like having to hunt down through menus or toolbars for long just to find what I'm looking for; I mean, I prefer a tab-based UI.
    Grayson Peddie
    • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

      @Grayson Peddie I agree. Plus until MS Office compatibility improves not many people will adopt it. Also, they really need a better name. LibreOffice? Really?
      statuskwo5
      • I'm changing to Libre Right now

        Why use Microsoft, no need to give MS any money. Their products are worth 10 dollars to me. Anything above that its a ripoff. Hey you want to give them yours great.

        Been using OpenOffice since the nineties and haven't had a task I was unable to do. When Oracle behaved as it did, said then OpenOffice had to go.

        Thank you Libre, less ties with Oracle, the better.

        Now if we had a descent opensource autocad alternative life would be great!
        Uralbas
      • No one liked OpenOffice, so we dumped that "experiment"

        and I don't see LibreOffice as anything other then a forked "clone" of OpenOffice, so we won't be going there.

        For us, the cost of MS Office is just a drop in the bucket compared to the functionality we gain by using it.
        AllKnowingAllSeeing
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @statuskwo5
        I love the folks with the "does everything MS Office does" argument. I have many documents, spreadsheets, etc. that have VBA embedded, or macros. I also get such documents from outside sources. These other products don't do what I usually need.
        notinkeys
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @statuskwo5 ... I've just cyhanged to LO 3.3 after a short trip thru it to check out bugs & workarounds in OO.o that drove me nuts, and are now gone. MSO might do a few things better than LO but IMO LO does a LOT of things better than MSO.
        This MSO comparison stuff is silly; the important thing is the cost factors and whether it does what YOU need and want it to do. There are a lot more word processors out there than just MS. Training shouldn't be a necessity, but in case it was, the ROI would still be very short before LO far exceeded any bulk savings of MSO or WP et al. OO.o wouldn't let me throw out Word & Excel; LO will finally allow me to trash the MSO I have and leave it to history.
        I love LO!
        twaynesdomain-22354355019875063839220739305988
    • I haven't used OO recently, but...

      @Grayson Peddie
      I'd much rather have menus than that god-awful ribbon interface. Microsoft should have made that an option rather than forcing it down users throats. I wouldn't even have a problem with the ribbon interface being the default and having to choose the classic menu-driven interface. No choice = bad move in my opinion. The ribbon interface is the #1 reason why many of the clients I work for still use Office 2003.
      jasonp9
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @jasonp@...
        The ribbon is awesome!!! best thing to happen to MS OFFICE!
        Hasam1991
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @Hasam1991@...
        The ribbon interface sucks, and not in a good way. Again, that's why many of the clients I work for still use Office 2003...they hate it. They don't dislike it, they don't think it's inconvenient, they HATE it. Eventually they may migrate to Office 2010 or whatever the next version winds up being, but then again they may not since support isn't really something anyone worries about when it comes to Office. It's not like Word or Excel 2003 are just going to stop working.
        jasonp9
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @jasonp@... Well then, to each their own. I have zero problems working with the ribbon interface but you do (including your clients).
        Grayson Peddie
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @jasonp@... <br><br>Yep. I hear there are still people using Tex and others never moved from Wordstar <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink"> The rest of us use modern software <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink"><br><br>How long before these Office 97 clones adopt the ribbon interface to try and clone Office 2007? Probably another few years
        tonymcs1
      • Ribbons used valuable screen realstate

        I have them disabled.

        rofl, only die hards would use ribbons as they fail to understand they see less on screen with them.

        The are inconvenient to say the least. And since their implementation Office has more bugs so I stayaway from it as much as possible.
        Uralbas
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @jasonp@...
        I find that in many case, people hate things that mean they have to think or re-learn something new. Goodness knows I am that way. But having become more used to the ribbon than the old menus, now when I face Office 2003, I find I am unhappy.
        notinkeys
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @jasonp@...
        Agreed. I hate the ribbon interface. Now I have to hunt for the actions I want instead of simply navigating to them. If you like the ribbon interface, great. Not having a choice is the real problem.
        gkdubs
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @jasonp@... Above the ribbon icons there is a sort of "title" for each section of the ribbon. Double click that, the ribbon goes away (or minimizes) and it basically turns into a menu.

        That said, you need to teach your brain to be more flexible and be able to learn new ways of doing things. When Office 2007 came along I installed it (the company I worked with had an EA agreement so the software was available) to give it a try. For the first two weeks it was weird because it's a new, different way of working. But once you sort of get used to it, I found I can be way more productive, do things faster, and what I definitely noticed: Some features that were hidden away in menus and I had no idea existed became obviously apparent to me through the ribbon.

        Saying that *everybody* hates the ribbon is just being plain stupid and ignorant. Most people I've encountered like it. My mother was totally used to 2003 and when I installed 2007 on her laptop she was confused at first and a bit frustrated. I helped her through the transition with "trust me on this" words of encouragement. Today she loves the ribbon. She confirms my experience: She can work faster and do more stuff now.

        You may not like it. But also there are people who still think DOS was the way to go...
        fer.paredesb
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @jasonp@...
        I am finding the arguments for and against the ribbon very interesting. When I saw the ribbon, I thought "are you nuts?!" Now, I don't think I really care. It takes a little getting used to but I didn't get into IT off a hobby because I had trouble getting around a PC. For me, the ribbon offers several advantages. I am not sure of all of them. It does look nice. It does feel a little like their new control panel (I don't like that control panel craziness--but at least they give me the option to switch the control back to the icons I am familiar with instead of navigating menus hoping I am following the right "fork"). The biggest thing I think the ribbon does is two fold. It helps make a stark and quick contrast between MS Word and all the rest. It also conditions users to a different method of doing things. How many of us in IT can go relatively easily between OO.o, MS Word, WordPerfect, and so forth with relative ease. Sure, some of the high end features change, but you probably didn't have any trouble finding print, save, spell check, cut, copy, paste, and a whole slew of other simple and standard functions. Why? Because most programs used the menu system. With this branch for MS Office to the ribbon, you will see a whole new set of users who are essentially locked into one program because the interface is unique. Just as people hate the ribbon now because it is change, people will eventually hate anything not the ribbon because to their point of view it is change as well. And for those of us who contemplate the ribbon showing up in other programs, the question I have is their potential for MS to sue others over copying the ribbon?
        dedrizen
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @jasonp@... I have 2007 and 2010 and still prefer and use 2003 .. need the others for the cranial vapor locked "professional educators" and their charges, that whence they matriculated from is a burning question .. will continue kicking LO on Linux as well as CMSFT (crippleware microsoft)
        rickaaa22
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @jasonp@... exactly how I see it! [url=http://www.totalplumbingsf.com]plumber san francisco[/url]
        baconman84
    • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

      @Grayson Peddie : someone please liberate Mr. Vaughan-Nichols of this obsession with sh1tty SW like "LibreOffice" (reminds me of "Cuba libre")
      nomorebs
      • RE: First LibreOffice Release arrives

        @nomorebs:
        If you can READ, then you can see that SJVN's subject is "Linux and Open Source". If you've got a better Open Source alternative for working with office documents in Linux, then I'm all ears.

        If you're addicted to Windoze, MS-Office, it's costly "secret sauce" licenseware, and (worst of all) it's "secret sauce" file formats... Please, just go away. This column is not for you.
        Rick S._z