The race is on… last year Oracle who owns OPENOFFICE lost a number of key people from their OpenOffice team due to the uncertainty of where Oracle was going with the open source software group. These individuals founded “THE DOCUMENT FOUNDATION” which took the open source and released several BETA versions of LibreOffice the last few months.
Today it has been released to the general public and has several new features that you will have to wait for the next release before seeing it in the OpenOffice camp. Ultimately having two groups developing on the same base can only be a positive thing. Competition for the most part can be a very positive thing for the users of the product.
LibreOffice 3.3 brings several unique new features. The 10 most-popular among community members are, in no particular order: the ability to import and work with SVG files; an easy way to format title pages and their numbering in Writer; a more-helpful Navigator Tool for Writer; improved ergonomics in Calc for sheet and cell management; and Microsoft Works and Lotus Word Pro document import filters. In addition, many great extensions are now bundled, providing PDF import, a slide-show presenter console, a much improved report builder, and more besides. A more-complete and detailed list of all the new features offered by LibreOffice 3.3 is viewable on the following web page: http://www.libreoffice.org/download/new-features-and-fixes/.
LibreOffice 3.3 also provides 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 decimal 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; a new easier-to-use print interface; more options for changing case; and colored sheet tabs in Calc. Several of these new features were contributed by members of the LibreOffice team prior to the formation of The Document Foundation.
The home of The Document Foundation is at http://documentfoundation.org. The home of LibreOffice is at http://www.libreoffice.org, where the download page has been redesigned by the community to be more user-friendly.
In doing my research for my last post OpenOffice or LibreOffice – Free Office suite – Open Standards which discussed the future of OpenOffice under Oracle – I found some interesting information that you might be interested in.
In my discussions with business and Educators and why they don’t use this great FREE product, they indicate that support is an issue as well as documentation. I understand these concerns as School District technology people are over worked and can’t afford anything that will increase the work load that is already off the rails.
You really have to look at this a little differently, if you’re using MS Office Suite (Great product) – how much are you paying for this product, how much will it cost you over the life cycle of the product to keep support and upgrades options open. With all that money you spend, you most likely could hire an outside resource to support this part of your business for much less.
Debunking Myth #1: There Is No Documentation. In the case of OpenOffice, there is in fact substantial free documentation for the suite, and there are free tutorials. You can find documentation for specific versions here. You can also find many free OpenOffice books here. You can also find many useful Flash tutorials here.
Debunking Myth #2: There Is No Support. OpenOffice has a very large community of users, and the Community Support option can be sufficient for many users, but it’s not the only option. Inexpensive consultants offer support for OpenOffice, and there are inexpensive third-party solutions for paid support. OpenLogic is just one of the available providers.
READ FULL ARTICLE from OStatic
I am a very satisfied customer of Open Office at home and have been using it for several years. A lot of questions were asked a little over a year ago when Oracle purchased Sun and what they may do with the OpenOffice product. Over this time everything seemed to be moving along, updates coming out about every 4 months or so – Well that might be changing….
Today I believe the future of the FREE OpenOffice might be in question. When key players leave and create a foundation “The Document Foundation” and have a product available for download in BETA that looks very similar to OpenOffice you have to wonder. This foundation stands for what the original group stood for, plus the open source community is very loyal and does not like controls and being told what to do. The press release is available and by the looks of all the support this group is getting from some big companies, they are well on their way.
If your one of many School Districts using OPEN OFFICE rather than MS Office, you might want to keep watch to see what happens next. You really have no real concerns today, but if you want product that will continue to grow and evolve – you might have to consider moving to LibreOffice as I believe this will be the product to have moving forward. As long as legally they have no issue with Oracle, it being open source product I don’t see how, but you never know. I would wait and see how it all unfolds over the next few months.
The press release is dated today – so this has been in the works for sometime – the WEB is up and the download available.
Filed under BETA, Software