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LibreOffice 3.3 Released Today 470

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-many-offices dept.
mikejuk writes "Only four months after the formation of the Document Foundation by leading members of the OpenOffice.org community, it has launched LibreOffice 3.3, the first stable release of its alternative Open Source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Since the fork was announced at the end of September the number of developers 'hacking' LibreOffice has gone from fewer than twenty to well over one hundred, allowing the Document Foundation to make its first release ahead of schedule The split of a large open source office suite comes at a time when it isn't even clear if there is a long term future for office suites at all. What is more puzzling is what the existence of two camps creating such huge codebases for a fundamental application type says about the whole state of open source development at this time. It clearly isn't the idealistic world it tries to present itself as."
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LibreOffice 3.3 Released Today

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  • by alexandre (53) * on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:52AM (#34993150) Homepage Journal

    I'm pretty sure that we'll be stuck with Office suite for a long long time still...

    But saying that this unmasks Linux as not being perfect is like saying your family is not perfect because you brought your kid to the hospital after he was hit by a car instead of hiding the fact...
    A fork in this case is a wonderful solution to a death by stagnation caused by proprietary idiocy from Oracle.

    • by somersault (912633) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:55AM (#34993192) Homepage Journal

      A fork in this case is a wonderful solution to a death by stagnation caused by proprietary idiocy from Oracle.

      Exactly. If the source was closed, we'd maybe have to find a whole new Office suite, but this way we can just fork Oracle and move on.

    • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:11AM (#34993384)

      It doesn't say "Linux" it says "open source" and they are not the same thing, although it is something of a non sequitur to call this a "puzzling or bad" move (which seems to be the inference) - the project was forked because the community didn't like where it was going, which is one of the major benefits open source code has over closed.

      You seem to have fallen into the trap that any perceived criticism of open source is an attack on Linux, though. I have plenty of open source software on my Mac, including Open Office. If this (and future) releases of LibreOffice [seriously, they need to change the name] can offer a strong alternative to MS Office, then I'm all for it.

      My first question, can it do graphs on new sheets yet? That was my one annoyance with the spreadsheet app in OO.

      I should probably mention that I use MS Office for Mac all the time for writing reports. Word itself I can take or leave - it's a pretty poor and idiosyncratic word processor that drives you mental with its attempts to be helpful. Excel, on the other hand, really excels (ha) at what it does and makes the cost of Office worth it for me (and not just for the graphs on new pages).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      When Mozilla discontinued the Mozilla browser (codename: seamonkey), and the open source community picked it up, everything turned out a-okay. Seamonkey is a nice solid browser/email/newsgroups/composer application. I suspect Oracle's decision to "close" OpenOffice will spur a similar level of development for LibreOffice. In the long term it will all work out.

      So: If I install LO work, how well will it work with DOC files? All my coworkers are using Word 2003 and I don't want to cause any disruption b

      • by PeterBrett (780946) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:30AM (#34993602) Homepage

        So: If I install LO work, how well will it work with DOC files? All my coworkers are using Word 2003 and I don't want to cause any disruption by sending them funky files.

        Things interoperate pretty well, in my experience, particularly if you are using exactly the same fonts. In some cases, LO/OOo seem to manage to open .doc files more reliably than MSO, which seems bizarre; might be due to the way that the import/export filters are implemented in each.

      • In my many years of using OpenOffice, and now ~6 months of using LibreOffice, since the first beta came out, I have never had any problem with converting to and from .doc.
      • by shentino (1139071) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:41AM (#34993786)

        I believe Micro$oft makes its file formats proprietary and obfuscated on purpose to prevent the competition from edging into its dominant market.

    • by sorak (246725)

      Or it could be like replacing an air filter after you find it contains too much crap for anything useful to flow out of it.

      (Does that count as a car analogy?)

    • Yes! The emergence of LibreOffice is an affirmation of the principles of FOSS and a resounding vote of no confidence in Oracle.

      TFA failed to mention that LibreOffice has incorporated a number of significant patches that were available to OpenOffice but were blocked from inclusion by Oracle as they did not fit well with Oracle's agenda. LO appears to have done significant work on fixing what was a broken process for NIH patches and extensions. Good job!

      I'm not in a position to migrate from OO to LO yet:

    • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @01:57PM (#34996940) Homepage Journal

      It sounds like Tio Paco is annoyed that we actually fight for things that matter. Idealism means that. It doesn't mean that you live in utopia, it means that you fight to improve things.

  • link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:53AM (#34993152)

    link to main site http://www.libreoffice.org/ instead of lame-ass blog talking about it

  • Tried it today (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nicholas22 (1945330) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:57AM (#34993204)
    I tried it today for the first time and I must say, I am impressed :) The UI seems much better than the last time I used OpenOffice (maybe v2) and the graphics seem to have been created by professional designers, as opposed to the developers themselves. I had a DOC that was crashing my Word 2007 and I got it opened with ...LibreOffice. Probably has to do with Microsoft not even keeping up with their own standards (and I'm honestly not trolling).
    • ...crashing MS Word (Score:5, Interesting)

      by coats (1068) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:32AM (#34993654) Homepage

      I had a DOC that was crashing my Word 2007 and I got it opened with ...LibreOffice.

      MS Word's doc-parser has been flaky for <drumroll>...decades</drumroll>.

      Both I at my office (environmental modeling) and my wife (corporate legal) have had abiword and Openffice save the day many times when MSWord declared documents to be corrupt. Frankly, the opensource doc-parser library is much more robust than the one from Redmond. Do you know how much fun it is to be 8 hours from an NSF grant-deadline and have MSWord declare your proposal corrupt when yoo go to do the final printing? Abiword saved us that time -- way back in 1996! (and the situation hasn't improved much since.)

      • by Inda (580031)
        Sorry but I disagree.

        The fault lies with the hidden "Open and repair" feature. It will open 99.9% of corrupted Word documents and list the errors (which are normally referencing errors)
      • by cain (14472) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @12:06PM (#34995004) Journal

        You really should stop the drumroll before you say the word or else no one is going to be able to hear it.

      • by demonbug (309515)

        I had a DOC that was crashing my Word 2007 and I got it opened with ...LibreOffice.

        MS Word's doc-parser has been flaky for <drumroll>...decades</drumroll>.

        Both I at my office (environmental modeling) and my wife (corporate
        legal) have had abiword and Openffice save the day many times when MSWord declared documents to be corrupt. Frankly, the opensource doc-parser library is much more robust than the one from Redmond. Do you know how much fun it is to be 8 hours from an NSF grant-deadline and have MSWord declare your proposal corrupt
        when yoo go to do the final printing? Abiword saved us that time -- way back in 1996! (and the situation hasn't improved much since.)

        Lol, had a similar experience with OpenOffice. Well, almost. I was putting some finishing touches on a grant application in OO, hit save one last time before PDFing and electronic submission... and OO crashed. Re-started it, and it tried to do it's automatic file recovery - and crashed again in the middle of this. Completely killed the document - which, uncharacteristically, I had only been working on on my laptop and didn't have a backup copy (yikes!). The file was toast, couldn't open it in anything - OO

    • I tried it today for the first time and I must say, I am impressed :)

      The UI seems much better than the last time I used OpenOffice (maybe v2) and the graphics seem to have been created by professional designers, as opposed to the developers themselves.

      Professional designers? It looks exactly the same as OpenOffice. This is little more than a repackaging under a different name and some bug fixes.

  • Easy Hacks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {werdnaredne}> on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:59AM (#34993234) Homepage Journal

    Now that they don't have to worry so much about maintaining compatibility with Sun/Oracle's version (like they did with the go-oo fork), they can fix a lot of old cruft. If you want to get involved, there is a list of easy hacks that should provide a starting point for people who want to contribute.

    http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Development/Easy_Hacks [documentfoundation.org]

  • by xnpu (963139) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:59AM (#34993236)

    The fork is good news, the new stable released is better news and the hundreds of devs is great news. Why is the OP insisting to put a negative spin on this?

  • by vossman77 (300689) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:59AM (#34993238) Homepage

    I find LibreOffice much more usable than OpenOffice.org on the Mac, but it still not to the point of reliable. Especially when it comes to mouse clicks.

    I have also found that when I file a bug report on OpenOffice.org I get a response to clarify the bug or reject my bug, but with LibreOffice, I feel like my bug just sits there unread.

    Oh, well perhaps they will get better in the future. At the LibreOffice community is will to make patches that improve the package, OO.org seems to reject any Mac based usability improvement patches, so NeoOffice was formed (but has been stuck at version 3.1 forever)

    • The Windows 7 taskbar integration is... idiosyncratic at best.

      I started out by launching Writer and Calc and pinning both to the taskbar. When I open a document, the taskbar shows a task with the appropriate app. When I open another LibreOffice document, a second window is added to whichever program I started - even it's a Calc document and I launched Writer the first time.

      That's what happens if I launch an app first and then load documents.

      If I just cold-start an app by opening a document when nothing's ru

  • Biased Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ltap (1572175) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:01AM (#34993270) Homepage
    Somehow, the news that LibreOffice is right on track is spun into a negative diatribe against FOSS. We should be happy that we dodged a bullet and ditched an Oracle-controlled project. As well, this is another piece of proof that a major project can be forked without too much trouble. To me, this is nothing but positive, yet it's been spun into something else.
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:28AM (#34993576) Journal
      I was trying to keep my mouth shut as the end of this summary nearly caused me to fly off the handle. I agree with your post (after all, I recently moved to LibreOffice after inquiring that same question about Oracle [slashdot.org]). But I would like to add that the author of the summary seems to apply a different standard to FOSS than they apply to closed source or COTS applications. Nowhere does the author comment on the hundreds of proprietary 'camps creating such huge codebases for a fundamental application type' in word editing software or any other multitudes of software whether they be Microsoft, Apple or Google.

      The logic applied here amuses me greatly but more so the Glenn Beck-ish puzzlement about what this says about open source:

      It clearly isn't the idealistic world it tries to present itself as.

      Define 'clearly' because having tons of options sounds really really awesome to me. You make it sound like everyone has to throw their lot in together or this effort is for naught. Everyone knows that isn't true. Secondly, who presents open source to be 'idealistic?' And how do you figure that people working on what they want equates to anything sub-optimal?

      • by Ltap (1572175) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @11:35AM (#34994486) Homepage
        Indeed, the "splitting up" is part of how free software is (theoretically) supposed to work -- instead of a one-size-fits-all bloated suite, have small, specific programs for usage circumstances. The point of forking is supposed to be to provide a new design direction or to aim your software at a slightly different userbase. However, forks often attract bad legal issues and disputes, as the developer of the original software (especially if they are a commercial outfit) might want to hold onto it and control it even if it was GPL'd.

        The fact that this is a major project that has been successfully forked is very significant and shouldn't be ignored.
      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        The logic applied here amuses me greatly but more so the Glenn Beck-ish puzzlement about what this says about open source:

        It clearly isn't the idealistic world it tries to present itself as.

        Define 'clearly' because having tons of options sounds really really awesome to me.

        One of the rules of writing that my mother (who teaches college-level writing) taught me: When an author precedes a conclusion with words like "clearly" or "obviously", expect bunk. If it were that clear and obvious, they wouldn't have to tell you.

  • by Wolvenhaven (1521217) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:01AM (#34993272) Homepage
    Free Open Office. Then you guys can release a "Ribbon" like MS did, only you can call it the "Bar". That way we can discuss about things the "FOO Bar" can do.
  • by juancn (596002) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:02AM (#34993296) Homepage
    I can't believe that the name LibreOffice stuck.
    I'm a native spanish speaker, and it sounds so goddam awful. Specially when mispronounced by pretty much everyone.
    I know this is a personal opinion, but still.
    • by Atzanteol (99067)

      Same. WTF. As much as I hate to admit it sometimes a crappy name turns people off from trying something new...

    • by Herve5 (879674)

      This is because you don't understand they pronounce it the french way, without rolling the r ;-)

    • by Ltap (1572175) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:19AM (#34993474) Homepage
      "Libre" (which has now been included in OSS ... oops, FOSS, oops ... FLOSS, for all those free software-loving dentists) is generally used as an alternative to "free" and "open". Despite all of Stallman's efforts, many people associate "free" with cost, and "open-source" has been partially turned into a buzzword by companies. "Libre" is used by others since it implies freedom (liberty, etc.) without really being a term from either "camp". However, I agree that it makes a poor name for a piece of software; while many programs have somewhat descriptive names, "LibreOffice" and "OpenOffice" don't really give much room for competitors and appropriate a term to describe a type of software for themselves (similar to MS Office simply being called "Office").

      OpenOffice was really only renamed that because it would be incongruous for it to continue to be named StarOffice (since StarOffice fit into Sun's astronomy theme with Solaris and such). I think it makes a good introduction to FOSS (heh, here we go again) for users who might not know anything about it.
      • by muckracer (1204794) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:39AM (#34993762)

        > "Libre" is used by others since it implies freedom (liberty, etc.) without really being a term from either "camp".

        So why not LibertyOffice instead?

        Or...since people usually call MS-Office simply 'Office', we could call ours 'THE Office' or somethin' just to mess with them.
        "Dude...you got Office?" "No man...better. I got THE Office! ;-)"

      • by Migala77 (1179151)

        "Libre" (which has now been included in OSS ... oops, FOSS, oops ... FLOSS, for all those free software-loving dentists) is generally used as an alternative to "free" and "open". Despite all of Stallman's efforts, many people associate "free" with cost, and "open-source" has been partially turned into a buzzword by companies. "Libre" is used by others since it implies freedom (liberty, etc.) without really being a term from either "camp".

        I'll probably be modded troll for this, but I think about 0.5% of all office software users in the world care about this 'freedom' version of open source. The cost aspect is much more interesting. Personally I would gladly give up my right to ever change or even see the Open Office source code for one free beer.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:05AM (#34993330) Homepage

    "What is more puzzling is what the existence of two camps creating such huge codebases for a fundamental application type says about the whole state of open source development at this time. It clearly isn't the idealistic world it tries to present itself as."

    How bloody clueless. This is like questioning the fact that we have more than one set of automobile designs and assembly plants, or more than one political party, or multiple soft drink bottling and distribution networks.

    • How bloody clueless. This is like questioning the fact that we have more than one set of automobile designs and assembly plants, or more than one political party, or multiple soft drink bottling and distribution networks.

      Clearly the submitter believes that a planned economy is the best economy!

  • Fork Makes Sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by salesgeek (263995) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:06AM (#34993340) Homepage

    I'm not sure what Oracle's intent was with OpenOffice, but their actions sure caused a lot of very good people to leave in a hurry. Between this and the Android situation, it seems like Oracle really doesn't get free software, or worse, sees free software as the enemy. I'm not sure which. Regardless, I'm thankful that I get to use OpenOffice and now LibreOffice.

  • Pros and cons? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:11AM (#34993390)

    So, what are the differences between OO.o and LibreOffice?

    I've read the new features [libreoffice.org] page. Are there any OpenOffice.org features or bug fixes that won't be included in LibreOffice? Does Oracle still have anything useful to offer or is OO.o effectively obsolete?

  • even if in the form of interfaces interfacing to clouds. google cloud, amazon cloud, this cloud that cloud - dont you think there will come a time when portability and interoperability in between crowds will be required, or even mandated by countries and standards boards ?

    naturally there will be apps fulfilling that multiple-cloud interfacing task.
  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:16AM (#34993434)
    This, once again, makes the question of what Oracle was trying to accomplish when they took the actions that lead to the fork. There are as far as I can see three possibilities.
    1. 1.) Greater control over the development of OO.o
    2. 2.) Gradually convert OO.o into a fully propietary prject
    3. 3.) Kill off OO.o without being obvious about it

    If the first two were their goal, this release means that for all intents and purposes they have failed. If the third was their goal, they have succeeded; OO.o is dead. If they wanted to kill it to get rid of a successful OSS office suite that is a failure. However, if they wanted to kill it because they didn't want to be running an OSS Office sute project, then they got what they wanted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by openfrog (897716)

      --
      "The facts of life are conservative." Margaret Thatcher

      --
      But reality has a well-known liberal bias.

  • by HikingStick (878216) <z01riemer@hotmail . c om> on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @10:24AM (#34993518)
    Just as I was getting senior staff comfortable with the idea of giving OpenOffice a try on some of our machines, this fork happened and someone brought in news of it. Now it doesn't matter that both can write to the same formats, and that you can have the programs save by default to MS formats. It introduced uncertainty, and many business leaders associate uncertainty with increased costs. Do you blame them? There's no confidence that a selected open source solution will provide a stable, long-term platform.

    Now, I'm just happy I've been able to get some of our workstations moved over to FF. The entire open source movement has plenty of benefits, but those benefits are viewed as drawbacks by much of the traditional business community.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ledow (319597)

      How does this affect an in-place system?

      You carry on as normal, call it an "update", and then push it to desktops after appropriate testing. Why this should create a problem on a managed system is beyond me. Office changes the ways it operates every year. Windows changes the way it operates with every update. At the very most, all this is is an update provided by a group of programmers - that the programmers aren't the same as the original ones is an ADVANTAGE - it means the software kept moving instead

      • by gr8_phk (621180)
        Totally agree except the part where you the programmers aren't the same - the original fork was done by a bunch of people who left OO.o for Libreoffice, so really only the name has changed.
    • by drooling-dog (189103) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @11:35AM (#34994480)

      but those benefits are viewed as drawbacks by much of the traditional business community.

      Which is why we should all welcome "much of the traditional business community" as our competitors.

      You say what you do knowing full well that you'll be paying forever to keep your office suite up to date, which will hardly be optional as file formats change, often gratuitously.

      The worst case scenario for OO/LO and other FOSS is that a day will come when it's no longer actively developed by a community with critical mass. In that case the code base doesn't disappear, and nothing that you rely upon becomes unavailable. The same cannot be said for when a closed-source software vendor goes belly-up, or sells out to a different company intent on driving a harder bargain with tied-in users.

      As others point out here, this response to the takeover by Oracle is a demonstration of the strength and resiliency of Open Source, not a harbinger of risk.

    • How does rescuing an app from a company that was going to destroy bring uncertainty? If anything, LibreOffice provides certainty by showing that good opensource apps will always be around, despite efforts by some companies to harm them. If you're concerned about uncertainty in your core apps, I'd be much more concerned about the next "ribbon" that Microsoft will throw at you in a couple years than by the ability of open source app to maintain and improve itself despite the best efforts by others to ruin i
  • Multi-stage installations aren't all that unusual, but it's interesting that the first stage says:
    "The LibreOffice 3.3 installation files will be unpacked and saved in the folder shown below. If you would like to save LibreOffice to a different folder, click 'Browse' to select another folder."

    but when you click "browse" the new window says:
    "Select the folder to install LibreOffice 3.3 in:"

    When i saw that i had to go back and double-check that it was indeed an unpacking and not the actual installation.
  • What is more puzzling is what the existence of two camps creating such huge codebases for a fundamental application type says about the whole state of open source development at this time. It clearly isn't the idealistic world it tries to present itself as."

    How exactly is this different from, say, a developer or team of videogame developers, leaving a company they were fed up with, to create their own with new and fresh ideas for innovative and competitive products? Happens [kotaku.com] all [1up.com] the [cubed3.com] time [n-sider.com].

    Ah, yes, almost forgot this tiny difference: with open source software, the LibreOffice guys didn't have to start from scratch...

  • by MagicFab (7234) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @11:41AM (#34994568) Homepage

    If you're using Ubuntu, and want to try LibreOffice, I wrote a few details here:
    http://www.fabianrodriguez.com/blog/2011/01/25/the-document-foundation-launches-libreoffice-3-3 [fabianrodriguez.com]

    Most importantly *don't install .debs manually* and *don't reinstall if you already have 3.3 RC4, it's the same as 3.3 final* :)

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