Today we are announcing the fifth beta release of LibreOffice 3.4.
In a slight change of communication strategy for our releases, from now on we will use the “announce” mailing list only for announcements of final and stable versions.
LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 5 is being announced on “projects”, “development” and “localization” mailing lists, in order to allow volunteers to perform the QA process. Also, the beta has been pre-announced on the community mailing lists for a first round of QA tests, to avoid the quality problems of the earlier 3.4 betas.
We feel that we need to clarify a few points here:
1. LibreOffice is the result of a collaborative development effort, and adopts a time based release model (such as other collaborative development projects like GNOME and KDE). This is rather different from the past at OOo, where most of the development was happening inside a closed group, and the time based release model frequently slipped.
2. LibreOffice is free software, and is based on free tools. We are working to improve the day-to-day quality of our pre-release builds for Windows, with an ongoing migration to GNU Make as a first step to more reliable cross-compilations from Linux to Windows . Our aim, over time, is to make it easy to build releases for LibreOffice for anyone with some time and a PC. This is rather different from the past at OOo, where release builds came from a proprietary build environment run by a small team of build engineers.
3. Understanding the time based release model is critical to selecting the right release of LibreOffice for each situation:
3.1. For the most conservative users, we recommend a commercially supported version, which enables you to indirectly support the project’s development. Such stable versions will typically be based on a point release, such as LibreOffice 3.3.2 today;
3.2. For those interested in the bleeding edge, who want to enjoy new features and fixes, we recommend LibreOffice 3.4.0, release candidates, betas or even nightly builds, which enable a participation in the development, evaluation and quality control process;
3.3. Of course, as the 3.4 series matures, we will reach a point where we will recommend a 3.4.x release as being suitable even for the most conservative users.
This model should be familiar to many, from other Free Software projects, with vendors providing distinctive releases of the underlying software.
All this said, if you want to help us in building a more stable LibreOffice 3.4, you are kindly invited to join the projects, development and/or localization mailing lists and contribute to the process.
You can find the necessary information at the following links:
Together, we are cleaning up the code-base, improving our build and release process, and adding new features, with the pace of improvement accelerating. It is indeed a rewarding journey for all those who have decided to be part of it.