LibreOffice

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LibreOffice
LibreOffice logo.svg
LibreOffice 4.0.1.2 Start Center.png
Start Center in LibreOffice 4.0.1
Original author(s)StarDivision
Developer(s)The Document Foundation
Initial release25 January 2011 (2011-01-25)
Stable release4.1.3[1] (1 November 2013; 47 days ago (2013-11-01)) [±]
Written inC++, Java, and Python[2]
Operating system
PlatformIA-32, x86-64, PowerPC (project);[4] ARMel, ARMhf, MIPS, MIPSel, Sparc, S390, S390x, IA-64 (additional Debian platforms)[5]
Available in110 languages[4][6]
TypeOffice suite
LicenseLGPLv3[7]
Websitewww.libreoffice.org
 
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LibreOffice
LibreOffice logo.svg
LibreOffice 4.0.1.2 Start Center.png
Start Center in LibreOffice 4.0.1
Original author(s)StarDivision
Developer(s)The Document Foundation
Initial release25 January 2011 (2011-01-25)
Stable release4.1.3[1] (1 November 2013; 47 days ago (2013-11-01)) [±]
Written inC++, Java, and Python[2]
Operating system
PlatformIA-32, x86-64, PowerPC (project);[4] ARMel, ARMhf, MIPS, MIPSel, Sparc, S390, S390x, IA-64 (additional Debian platforms)[5]
Available in110 languages[4][6]
TypeOffice suite
LicenseLGPLv3[7]
Websitewww.libreoffice.org

LibreOffice is a free and open source office suite, developed by The Document Foundation. It was forked from OpenOffice.org in 2010. The LibreOffice suite comprises programs to do word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows, diagrams, maintain databases, and compose math formulae.

It is designed to be compatible with other major office suites, including Microsoft Office,[8] though some Microsoft Office layout features and formatting attributes are handled differently or are unsupported.[9] LibreOffice is available in over 110 languages[10] and for a variety of computing platforms,[8] including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or newer, and Linux. It is the default office suite of most popular Linux distributions.[11][12][13][14]

Between January 2011 (the first stable release) and October 2011, LibreOffice was downloaded approximately 7.5 million times.[15] During 2012, the office suite was downloaded about 15 million times.[16]

Features[edit]

Included applications[edit]

ModuleNotes
LibreOffice 4.0 Writer Icon.svgWriterA word processor with similar functionality and file support to Microsoft Word or WordPerfect. It has extensive WYSIWYG word processing capabilities, but can also be used as a basic text editor.[8]
LibreOffice 4.0 Calc Icon.svgCalcA spreadsheet program, similar to Microsoft Excel or Lotus 1-2-3. It has a number of unique features, including a system which automatically defines series of graphs, based on information available to the user.[8][17]
LibreOffice 4.0 Impress Icon.svgImpressA presentation program resembling Microsoft PowerPoint. Presentations can be exported as SWF files, allowing them to be viewed on any computer with Adobe Flash installed.[8][18]
LibreOffice 4.0 Draw Icon.svgDrawA vector graphics editor and diagramming tool similar to Microsoft Visio and comparable in features to early versions of CorelDRAW. It provides connectors between shapes, which are available in a range of line styles and facilitate building drawings such as flowcharts. It also includes features similar to desktop publishing software such as Scribus and Microsoft Publisher.[19]
LibreOffice 4.0 Math Icon.svgMathMath: An application designed for creating and editing mathematical formulae. The application uses a variant of XML for creating formulas, as defined in the OpenDocument specification. These formulas can be incorporated into other documents in the LibreOffice suite, such as those created by Writer or Calc, by embedding the formulas into the document.[20]
LibreOffice 4.0 Base Icon.svgBaseA database management program, similar to Microsoft Access. LibreOffice Base allows the creation and management of databases, preparation of forms and reports that provide end users easy access to data. Like Access, it can be used to create small embedded databases that are stored with the document files (using Java-based HSQLDB as its storage engine), and for more demanding tasks it can also be used as a front-end for various database systems, including Access databases (JET), ODBC/JDBC data sources, and MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL or Microsoft Access.[8][21]

Operating systems[edit]

LibreOffice is officially developed for Microsoft Windows (IA-32), Linux (IA-32 and x86-64) and OS X (IA-32). Community ports for FreeBSD,[22] NetBSD,[23] and OpenBSD are maintained by contributors to those projects, respectively.[24][25][26] A community port for OpenIndiana is in development.[27]

In 2011 plans were announced to port LibreOffice to both Android and iOS.[28] A-EON Technology announced in 2012 that a port of LibreOffice is underway for their AmigaOne X1000 computer running the latest AmigaOS.[29]

LibreOffice Online will allow for the use of LibreOffice through a web browser by using the canvas element of HTML5. Development was announced in October 2011 and is ongoing. It has not yet been released.[28]

Supported file formats[edit]

Miscellaneous features[edit]

LibreOffice can use the GStreamer multimedia framework in Linux to render multimedia content such as videos in Impress and other programs.

Visually, LibreOffice uses the large "Tango style" icons that are used for the application shortcuts, quick launch icons, icons for associated files and for the icons found on the toolbar of the LibreOffice programs.[36][37] They are also used on the toolbars and menus by default.

LibreOffice also ships with a modified theme which looks native on GTK-based Linux distributions. It also renders fonts via Cairo on Linux distributions; this means that text in LibreOffice is rendered the same as the rest of the Linux desktop.[38]

Licensing[edit]

The LibreOffice project uses a dual LGPLv3 (or later) / MPL license for new contributions to allow the license to be upgraded.[39] Since the core of the OpenOffice.org codebase was donated to the Apache Software Foundation, there is an ongoing effort to get all the code rebased to ease future license updates. At the same time, there were complaints that IBM had not in fact released the Lotus Symphony code as open source, despite having claimed to. It was reported that some LibreOffice developers wanted to overtake some code parts and bug fixes which IBM already fixed in their OpenOffice fork.[40]

LibreOffice Basic[edit]

LibreOffice Basic is a programming language similar to Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) but based on StarOffice Basic. It is available in Writer, Calc and Base. It is written in functions called subroutines or macros, with each macro performing a different task, such as counting the words in a paragraph.[41]

Extensions[edit]

LO supports third-party extensions.[42] As of June 2013, the LO Extension Repository lists more than 118 extensions.[43] Another list is maintained by the Free Software Foundation.[44]

Sifr icon set[edit]

The new LibreOffice flat icons that will replace the current tango icons

To modernise the aesthetics of the office suite, the icon theme is going to be updated. A flat icon set is being introduced in 4.2 that will replace the current tango icons as the default.[45] The goals of this new icon set are to be flat, monochrome, and scalable rather than bitmap icons.[46]

History[edit]

ooo-build, Go-oo and Oracle[edit]

Members of the OpenOffice.org community who were not Sun Microsystems employees had wanted a more egalitarian form for the OpenOffice.org project for many years; Sun had stated in the original OpenOffice.org announcement in 2000 that the project would eventually be run by a neutral foundation,[47] and put forward a more detailed proposal in 2001.[48]

Ximian and then Novell had maintained the ooo-build patch set, a project led by Michael Meeks, to make the build easier on Linux and due to the difficulty of getting upstream contributions accepted by Sun, even from corporate partners. It tracked the main line of development and was not intended to constitute a fork.[49] It was also the standard build mechanism for OpenOffice.org in most Linux distributions[50] and was contributed to by said distributions.[51]

In 2007, ooo-build was made available by Novell as a software package called Go-oo (ooo-build had used the go-oo domain name as early as 2005[52]), which included many features not included in upstream OpenOffice.org. Go-oo also encouraged outside contributions, with rules similar to those later adopted for LibreOffice.[53]

Sun's contributions to OpenOffice.org had been declining for some time,[54] they remained reluctant to upstream contributions[55] and contributors were upset at Sun releasing OpenOffice.org code to IBM for IBM Lotus Symphony under a proprietary contract, rather than under an open source licence.[56]

Sun was purchased by Oracle Corporation, the deal being concluded in early 2010. OpenOffice.org community members were concerned at Oracle's behaviour towards open source software,[57] the Java lawsuit against Google[58] and the lack of activity on OpenOffice.org — as Meeks put it in early September 2010, "The news from the Oracle OpenOffice conference was that there was no news."[59] Discussion of a fork started soon after.[60]

The Document Foundation and LibreOffice[edit]

LibreOffice Writer

On 28 September 2010, The Document Foundation was announced as the host of LibreOffice, a new derivative of OpenOffice.org. The Document Foundation's initial announcement stated their concerns that Oracle would either discontinue OpenOffice.org, or place restrictions on it as an open source project, as it had on Sun's OpenSolaris.[61][62][63][64]

LibreOffice 3.3 beta used the ooo-build build infrastructure and the OpenOffice.org 3.3 beta code from Oracle, then adding selected patches from Go-oo.[65] Go-oo was discontinued in favour of LibreOffice. Since the office suite branded "OpenOffice.org" in most Linux distributions was in fact Go-oo, most moved immediately to LibreOffice.[66]

It was originally hoped that the LibreOffice name would be provisional, as Oracle was invited to become a member of The Document Foundation. Oracle rejected requests to donate the OpenOffice.org brand to the project[67] and demanded that all members of the OpenOffice.org Community Council involved with The Document Foundation step down from the OOo Community Council, citing a conflict of interest.[68]

LibreOffice was initially named BrOffice in Brazil. OpenOffice.org was distributed as BrOffice.org by the BrOffice Centre of Excellence for Free Software because of a trademark issue.[69]

End of OpenOffice.org[edit]

As a result of the fork of OpenOffice.org into LibreOffice, Oracle announced in April 2011 that it was ending its development of OpenOffice.org and would release the majority of its paid developers.[70] In June 2011, Oracle announced[71] that it would donate the OpenOffice.org code and trademark to the Apache Software Foundation, where the project was accepted for a project incubation process within the foundation, this becoming Apache OpenOffice.

History after the establishment of The Document Foundation[edit]

In June 2011 Google, Free Software Foundation, Red Hat, SUSE, SPI and Freies Office Deutschland e.V. each contributed one representative to The Document Foundation's Advisory Board to serve for an initial term of one year.[72]

By 2013 the founding aims of The Document Foundation were achieved. Hosting infrastructure had been set-up and enlarged to cope with increased demand. The Document Foundation was officially set up as a German non-profit foundation.

As of July 2013 the advisory board of The Document Foundation has 11 members: AMD, Google, Red Hat, SUSE, Intel, Lanedo, King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST), Inter-Ministry Mutualisation for an Open Productivity Suite (MIMO), Free Software Foundation (FSF), Software in the Public Interest, and Freies Office Deutschland e.V.[73]

Versions[edit]

Two different major versions of LibreOffice are available at any time. The latest version is available for users looking for the latest enhancements while the previous version caters to users who prefer stability.[74]

Release schedule[edit]

LibreOffice uses a time-based release schedule for predictability, rather than a "when it's ready" schedule. There has been a major release approximately every four to eight months, aiming for six-monthly. A minor bugfix version of the current and previous release branches is released each month.

The Document Foundation intends to release new major versions of LibreOffice once every six months (and to eventually do so in March and September, with the intention of aligning it with other free software projects).[75]

Release history[edit]

Overview[edit]

Legend:Old versionOlder version, still supportedCurrent versionLatest preview versionFuture release
BranchVersion Release dateNotesScreenshot
3.xOld version, no longer supported: 3.3 beta28 September 2010Initial release based on OpenOffice.org and Go-oo; 80,000 downloads.[76]
Old version, no longer supported: 3.325 January 2011[77]

First-introduced features unique to LibreOffice:[78]

  • SVG image import
  • New or improved import filters: Lotus Word Pro, Microsoft Works, WordPerfect. PPTX chart import feature[79]
  • Bundled extensions, including Presenter View in Impress
  • Colour-coded document icons
  • Load and Save ODF documents in flat XML[79]
  • AutoCorrections match case of the words that AutoCorrect replaces[79]
  • Vastly improved RTF export[79]
  • Embedding of standard PDF fonts[79]
LibreOffice Calc 3.3
Old version, no longer supported: 3.43 June 2011

New features include:[80]

  • Memory usage improvements[32]
  • Speed and MS-Excel-compatibility improvements to Calc, redesigned Move/Copy Sheet dialog[38][81]
  • Code cleanup: German comments translated to English, dead code removed[81]
  • Improved GTK+ theme integration[81] and font rendering in Linux.[38]
  • Reduction of LibreOffice's dependence on Java[32]
  • Continuing the transition to GNU Make for building LibreOffice[82]
Redesigned Move/Copy Sheet dialog in LibreOffice Calc 3.4
Old version, no longer supported: 3.514 February 2012[31]

New features include:

LibreOffice Impress 3.5.5
Old version, no longer supported: 3.68 August 2012

New features include:[86]

  • Support for color scales and data bars in Calc.
  • Added word count to status bar.
  • PDF Export with watermark option.
  • 10 new Impress master pages.
  • Support for importing Office SmartArt.
  • Import Filter for Corel Draw documents.
4.xOlder version, yet still supported: 4.07 February 2013[87]

New features include:[2]

LibreOffice Writer 4.0 with "GNU - I" Persona showing comment set for text range
Current stable version: 4.126 May 2013 (beta)[92]
25 July 2013 (final)[93]

New features include:[94]

  • Sidebar
  • Improved image rotation[92]
  • Gradient backgrounds
  • Embedding fonts in documents[92]
  • Import large HTML documents with more than 64k table cells
  • Import/export of charts to odc files and export to various vector formats
  • OOXML and RTF bugfixes and enhancements,[92]
  • Basic implementation of EMF+ metafiles.[92]
  • Import legacy Mac formats.[30][95]
  • Layout via Core Text for OSX and HarfBuzz for Linux.[94]
Future release: 4.22 February 2014 (planned)

New features include:[96]

  • Calc performance improvements[97] and OpenCL for calculations via the graphics card[98]
  • The PDF engine has been changed from Xpdf to poppler
  • Improved MathML export
  • Auto Closing of brackets in math equations
  • Added WEBSERVICE and FILTERXML spreadsheet functions to Calc for access to web data
  • Group shapes are now supported when opening RTF files
  • Add "Find All" to the Find bar
  • New set of monochrome icons, "Sifr"

Final release planned for February 2014.[99]

Users and deployments[edit]

The Document Foundation estimated in September 2011 that there were 10 million users worldwide who had obtained LibreOffice via downloads or CD-ROMs. Over 90% of those were on Windows, with another 5% on Mac OS X. LibreOffice is the default office suite for most Linux distributions, and is installed when the operating system is installed or updated. Based on International Data Corporation reckonings for new or updated Linux installations in 2011, The Document Foundation estimated a subtotal of 15 million Linux users. This gave a total estimated user base of 25 million users in 2011.[100] The Document Foundation has set a target of 200 million users worldwide before the end of 2020.[100]

LibreOffice has seen various mass deployments since its inception:

The LibreOffice Conference[edit]

Starting in 2011, The Document Foundation has organized the annual LibreOffice Conference as follows:

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External links[edit]