LibreOffice 4: A new, better open-source office suite

LibreOffice 4: A new, better open-source office suite

Summary: LibreOffice 4 has just arrived and, at first glance, this popular open-source office suite looks really good.


Some people love Microsoft Office, which just jumped to Office 2013; some like cloud-based office programs such as Google Docs and Office 365; but me, I'm still partial to LibreOffice, the popular open-source office suite. And, at first glance, the latest version, 4.0, looks better than ever.

Want a great old-school, open-source office suite? Then you want LibreOffice.

The Document Foundation, LibreOffice's parent organization, proclaimed that "LibreOffice 4.0 is the first release that reflects the objectives set by the community at the time of the announcement, in September 2010: a cleaner and leaner code base, an improved set of features, better interoperability, and a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem."

While most of LibreOffice 4's changes are under the hood, there are several major changes that make it a worthwhile upgrade to anyone who's already using LibreOffice, or its ancestral parent office suite, OpenOffice or, for that matter, Microsoft Office.

As for the latter, LibreOffice still uses an Office 2007-style fixed menu interface instead of a ribbon. If you, like me, never warmed up to the Office ribbon, LibreOffice is the program you should try.

That aside, the biggest changes in LibreOffice for end-users in the 4.0 release are:

Content Management Interoperability Service (CMIS) Integration:

With CMIS functionality, you can use LibreOffice in document work-flow and storage systems such as Alfresco, IBM FileNet P8, Microsoft Sharepoint 2010, Nuxeo, OpenText, and SAP NetWeaver Cloud Service.

Interface customization with Firefox Personas:

Firefox Personas are easy to use themes you can use to customize Firefox, and, starting with this release, you can use them with LibreOffice as well.

Improved Microsoft Office and application interoperability:

Besides improving interoperability with Microsoft's DOCX and RTF formats, which is par for the course for any LibreOffice release, this new edition also includes the ability to finally import and export comments attached to document text ranges. For users trading edits across documents with co-workers using Microsoft Word this will prove an invaluable update. LibreOffice can also now import Visio and Microsoft Publisher files.

Want to give it a try? It's free. You can download LibreOffice for Linux, Mac OS X (including Tiger on the Power PC), and Windows. Enjoy!

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Topics: Open Source, Software

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  • LibreOffice 4: A new, better open-source office suite

    Time to move forward get away from that over priced Microsoft office. Get a true suite like Libreoffice and it will fullfill all your needs. You Windows people will have to suffar because your stuck in the Windows world. More progressive IT thinking people move on to a good Linux operating as well and get things accomplished in a timley manner.

    People who use Linux are forward thinking people of our times...................END OF STORY
    Over and Out
    • Can you say changes are in the wind

      Just see what softpeda has to say about Libreoffice and what Microsoft thinks about it?

      Very interesting possibility
      Over and Out
      • As Linus Torvalds said

        If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.
        Alan Smithie
        • Then, Linux HAS already won

          Case in point: Skype for Linux

          P.S. Skype was acquired by Microsoft and previously supported GNU/Linux. However, Microsoft chose not to discontinue GNU/Linux support.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • SKYPE was "purchased" by Microsoft (not written by)

            Like so many other software products, Microsoft did NOT "write" SKYPE. They "purchased it".

            One of SKYPE's biggest selling points is/was that it works on "everything"! You can use SKYPE in UNIX, LINUX, Mac's and Windows.

            It's time we all woke up and realized that it's no longer a "Windows shop". "The World" is using whatever the world wants to use ... and that may be Mac's, or other flavors of UNIX, LINUX, or still using Microsoft. But locking into just one OS is 20th Century Thinking - Neanderthal. The future is transportability ... able to work across platforms. That's why "The Cloud" (The Internet) marketing is becoming so popular - it works on anything!

            LINUX will eventually be "THE OS" as the user-interface continues to be improved and enhanced. And as it becomes more user-friendly and able to "easily" work with other systems/platforms, other vendors will begin to consider it. LINUX already reads/writes to just about "any" file system. IT - IS - COMPATIBLE-MINDED.

            But until people begin to go to LINUX as their personal workstations, the battle is still "on".
        • why has linux won ?

          By what logic do you or Linus make that assumption ?

          What would your definition of WINNING be ?
          • Closed vs Open

            MS strategy is fundamentally opposed to Linux or any open source software. MS wants to limit the users solely to their closed system and then control the global market from their monopoly position. They want to make sure there are few options and NO CHOICE. Linux is open and promotes open software and standards.
            Windows porting apps for an open platform would mean that the MS strategy to own and control has failed.
            That is how I get it.
          • ... and your "right on" too!

            Microsoft left the OpenSource Community years ago, with the stance that it needs to be "paid" for it's software. The idea of developing something to better mankind, with free OS versions and software to go with it, was a "one-eighty" with Bill Gates thinking.

            The sad thing is, both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had wonderful ideas and creativity that could have benefited a whole lot more in the OpenSource Community had they chosen to go that route.
    • Stuck in the Windows world

      The one with the integrated spell checker that you don't have apparently ;-)

      I'm glad that there's a safety net for people who don't want to pay for Office or get it free with a Surface RT, but it really is time to move that Office 97 clone into the next millennium.
      • Yet Tony shows up

        You still do not follow your own advice, do not respond proclamation..
      • I'm not a wizard...

        so I don't need it to check my spells. ;-)
        • a little ettiquette, if you please?

          If you're going to point your comments to a particular individual, please use the standard "@username" in front of your comments so the rest of us know "who" or to what comment, you are referring to.

          If ya' don't mind ... please.

      • Just how integrated is MS Office?

        Can i open a spreadsheet from Word's open dialogue and seamlessly load excel yet? MS Office is integrate on the marketing material and the installer but not in its execution.
        Its been a while since i used MS Office, have never missed it so it may have come into the 21 century of real app integration since i last used it.
    • Is Word Deletion

      an option or is a 'systemic' problem?
    • Forward thinkers?

      Then why does using Linux feel like I'm using Windows 95 again?
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • You must be using... old version.
      • You are only supposed to use DSL if you need it

        Go ahead and try the latest Linux Mint, or Ubuntu with Kde 4.10 (just released)
      • Probably Don't Know It

        You are probably using Linux and don't know it. Android for instance, maybe in some of your TV gear etc. Even iOS is Unix the Linux cousin. MS is the past, start looking at the future.
      • A "powerful" OS ...

        LINUX, like UNIX, is a very, very powerful OS. It has been for years, and continues to grow, with input, tweaking and enhancement from developers around the world!

        Your experience has most likely been with the GUI interface, which in the LINUX (and UNIX) world is commonly referrred to as the "X-Windows" GUI, or graphical interface.

        If you were to login to a standard LINUX system, without the automatic X console, you'd see a command line. Then, with a simple command like "startx" or "gnome-session" or whatever command works on your release, and you'd have an instant graphical workspace to work with.

        The cool part about this is that LINUX is not "GUI-based". You can SSH (formerly "Telnet") to another system across the Internet, login, and launch an X session from your workstation! You'll see everything just like you'd see it if you were at the console on that remote system. BUT ... the performance would be fantastic, because LINUX is not trying to send all of that graphical imaging, etc. down the pipe - just the needed data/text. This greatly enhances performance.

        I recommend trying the latest version of Ubuntu LINUX, or maybe openSUSE LINUX. You'll love it!
    • Cost can not be the reason to switch....

      Microsoft Home Use Program sells Microsoft Office in as little as 8 GBP in UK for both PC and Mac. So cost is not the driver here. OEM Office price is