Well, that took the developers over at The Document Foundation long enough. But as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait, and it appears that such sayings do apply to software as well. And users who are bored of Microsoft Office or OpenOffice now have a third office suite to play with: the finalized version of LibreOffice 3.3 has been officially released for public download and is available for all three major operating systems.
Do you remember the news article we posted here a long time ago about a new office productivity suite, located in a page buried deep, deep within the VR-Zone archives? Some of you may have, but for those who have not, here is a very brief history lesson of what The Document Foundation and its product, LibreOffice, is all about.
To keep things short and sweet, Oracle has been making the headlines recently about what the free and open-source software community perceive as somewhat hostile moves, such as the discontinuation of the OpenSolaris distribution and taking legal action against well-known open-source projects. As a result, a group of developers moved to create their own fork of OpenOffice to preempt the day Oracle decides to cease development and distribution of the OpenOffice software suite.
Of course, that move took place way back in September last year, where the only product The Document Foundation had to show was a reskinned beta of OpenOffice. However, developer passion eventually won out, and the result is that the final version of LibreOffice 3.3 is now finally available for all three major operating systems: Windows, Mac OS X and most Linux distributions.
According to The Document Foundation, LibreOffice 3.3, being essentially a libre build of OpenOffice, is compatible with the latter at both the source and binary level. This allows it to achieve feature parity with the official builds distributed by Oracle. However, what differentiates LibreOffice from the official OpenOffice builds are added support for various features such as "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".
However, it appears that The Document Foundation has also got more up its sleeves. In addition to releasing LibreOffice 3.3, the Foundation has also announced the launch of a new LibreOffice Portable, which is a heavily streamlined version of LibreOffice designed to be run off thumbdrives.
Of course, being a fork of OpenOffice, it should come as no surprise that LibreOffice and LibreOffice Portable are free software in both cost and usage. This means that users are allowed to download at no charge, distribute, hack or modify their copies of LibreOffice in any way they see fit, as long as the terms and conditions set forth in the free LGPL license is adhered to. If that has got you interested in giving the OpenOffice fork a go, the suite can be downloaded at The Document Foundation's homepage here.
Source: The Document Foundation