Open-source LibreOffice tells businesses: Get off our Community version, you are hurting development

But The Document Foundation has told enterprises to not use the Community edition of LibreOffice.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Professional programmer working at developing programming and website working in a software develop company office, writing codes and typing data code

LibreOffice 7.1 Community edition brings updates to a range of tools.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Document Foundation has released LibreOffice 7.1 Community, the free and open-source alternative to Microsoft's office suite for Windows, macOS, and Linux.   

LibreOffice Community is an option for those who don't want to use a subscription-based cloud service like Office 365 or for those who would rather steer clear of Google's office suite

LibreOffice 7.1 Community edition brings updates to Writer for documents, Calc for spreadsheets, Impress for presentations, and the Draw graphics editor. There are also interoperability improvements with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. 

SEE: Guide to Becoming a Digital Transformation Champion (TechRepublic Premium)

But the Document Foundation (TDF) also has a few complaints about enterprises that are opting to use the Community version. TDF stressed that LibreOffice 7.1 "Community" is meant for individuals and that means specifically not enterprise organizations. 

But according to TDF, there's growing trend among enterprises to choose the Community version, rather than one of the paid-for versions provided by TDF's partners, such as Collabora, and support partners, such as Red Hat. 

The foundation is concerned a lack of enterprise support is threatening the sustainability of the LibreOffice project because it's slowing down development. 

TDF is urging enterprises to adopt LibreOffice Enterprise from partners that offer long-term support options, professional assistance, custom features and Service Level Agreements. 

"Despite this recommendation, an increasing number of enterprises have chosen the version supported by volunteers over the version optimized for their needs," TDF said in a blogpost

"This has had a twofold negative consequence for the project: a poor use of volunteers' time, as they have to spend their time to solve problems for business that provide nothing in return to the community, and a net loss for ecosystem companies."

SEE: Windows 10's open-source PowerToys: Video meeting mute tool hit by pandemic, says Microsoft

TDF highlights that 73% of commits are from developers employed by these partners, including Collabora, Red Hat and CIB/allotropia, which are made in the course of supporting their enterprise customers. 

"By using the Community label we underline the importance of enterprise customers contributing to our mission, according to their ability, and how much we appreciate their support."

The 7.1 release contains a number of new dialogs, including one (pictured below) for selecting the user interface (UI). LibreOffice has seven flavors to choose from. There's also a new one-click dialog to grab extensions from the web.  

LibreOffice 7.1 also introduces a lot of design changes to its toolbar icons that were made to improve consistency. There are new icons for track changes, navigator, a new zoom slider in Writer and more.    


Selecting the user interface in LibreOffice.

Image: The Document Foundation
Editorial standards