The road to LibreOffice 5.0

Road to LibreOffice 5.0

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LibreOffice 5.0 will be announced next Wednesday – August 5, 2015 – at noon UTC. It is our tenth major release, and the first of the third stage of LibreOffice development. To show the impressive amount of new features added to LibreOffice since version 3.3, released in January 2011, we have compiled a summary of all previous announcements.

LibreOffice 5.0 will add 64bit Windows builds to already available 32bit Windows, 64bit MacOS and 32/64bit Linux builds, and will be compatible with Windows 10.

A pre-release of LibreOffice 5.0 is available on the download page at the following address:

LibreOffice 3.3, January 25, 2011 – LibreOffice 3.3 was the first stable release of the FOSS office suite developed by the community. In less than four months, the number of developers hacking LibreOffice has grown from less than twenty in late September 2010 to well over one hundred in January 2011. This has allowed to release LibreOffice 3.3 ahead of the aggressive schedule set by the project.

LibreOffice 3.3 highlights:

  • The developer community has been able to build their own and independent process, and get up and running in a very short time (with respect to the size of the code base and the project’s strong ambitions);
  • Thanks to the high number of new contributors having been attracted into the project, the source code is quickly undergoing a major clean-up to provide a better foundation for future development of LibreOffice;
  • The Windows installer, which is going to impact the largest and most diverse user base, has been integrated into a single build containing all language versions, thus reducing the size for download sites from 75 to 11GB, making it easier for us to deploy new versions more rapidly and lowering the carbon footprint of the entire infrastructure.

LibreOffice 3.4, June 3rd, 2011 – LibreOffice 3.4 was the second major release of the FOSS office suite since the announcement of The Document Foundation in September 2010. Contributors were over 120 (six times as many as the first beta released on September 28, 2010).

LibreOffice 3.4 highlights:

  • Calc was reacting faster and offered a better compatibility with Excel spreadsheets, while Pivot Tables – formerly known as DataPilots – could now support an unlimited numbers of fields and named range as data source;
  • The user interface of Writer, Impress and Draw was improved with new features;
  • The visual look of the Linux version was updated with several cosmetic changes, with a better text rendering engine and an improved GTK+ theme integration;
  • Several thousand lines of comments were translated from German to English, and over 5.000 lines of “dead” code were removed from Writer, Calc and Impress.

LibreOffice 3.5, February 14, 2012 – LibreOffice 3.5 was the third major release and was tagged as “the best free office suite ever” as the activity of developers started to surface, after the first two major releases focused on the engine. The release was the result of the combined effort of an average of 80 developers per month, providing a total of over 30.000 code commits.

LibreOffice 3.5 highlights:

  • Writer: a new built-in Grammar checker for English and several other languages; improved typographical features, for professional looking documents; interactive word count window updating in real time; a new header, footer and page break user interface;
  • Calc: support for up to 10.000 sheets; multi-line input area; new functions conforming to the ODF OpenFormula specifications; better performances when importing files from other office suites; multiple selections in autofilter; unlimited number of rules for conditional formatting;
  • Impress / Draw: improved importer of custom shapes and Smart Art from PPT/PPTX; possibility to embed multimedia/colour palettes into ODF documents; new display switch for the presenter’s console; new line ends for improved diagrams; Microsoft Visio import filter;
  • Base: new integrated PostgreSQL native driver.

LibreOffice 3.6, August 8, 2012 – LibreOffice 3.6 was the fourth major release, with a large number of features and incremental improvements over previous versions, ranging from hidden ones – performance – to more visible ones such as user interface tweaks.

LibreOffice 3.6 highlights:

  • Import of Corel Draw files, and PDF export with watermarks;
  • Integration with Alfresco via CMIS and limited Sharepoint integration;
  • Improved auto-format function for tables in text documents, and color-scales and data-bars in spreadsheets;
  • Microsoft Smart-Art import in text documents, and improved import and export of CSV-files;
  • A cleaner look, especially on Windows PCs, a new splash screen, and several new presentation master-pages.

LibreOffice 4.0, February 7, 2013 – LibreOffice 4.0 was the fifth major release, and the first to reflect the objectives set by the community at the time of the announcement, in September 2010: a cleaner and leaner code base, an improved set of features, a superior interoperability, and a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem.

In less than 30 months, the LibreOffice project has attracted over 500 developers – 75% independent volunteers – capable of contributing over 50.000 commits. The resulting code base is rather different from OOo, as several million lines of code have been added and removed, and 25.000 lines of comments translated from German to English.

LibreOffice 4.0 highlights:

  • Integration with several content and document management systems – Alfresco, IBM FileNet P8, Microsoft Sharepoint 2010, Nuxeo, OpenText, SAP NetWeaver Cloud Service and others – through the CMIS standard;
  • Better interoperability with DOCX and RTF documents, thanks to new features and improvements (like attaching comments to text ranges);
  • Import of Microsoft Publisher documents, and improvement of Visio import filters with the addition of the 2013 version;
  • UI incremental improvements, including Unity integration and support of Firefox Themes (Personas) for a personalized look;
  • Introduction of the widget layout technique for dialog windows, which makes it easier to translate, resize and hide UI elements, reduces code complexity, and lays a foundation for an improved user interface;
  • Different first page header and footer on a Writer document, without the need of a separate page style;
  • Additional performance improvements to Calc, plus new features such as export of charts as images (JPG and PNG) and new functions defined in ODF OpenFormula;
  • First release of Impress Remote Control App for Android;
  • Significant performance improvements when loading and saving many types of documents, with particular improvements for large ODS and XLSX spreadsheets and RTF files;
  • Management of code contributions through Gerrit: a web based code review system, facilitating the task for projects using GIT.

LibreOffice 4.1, July 25, 2013 – LibreOffice 4.1 was the sixth major release, with a large number of improvements in the area of interoperability with proprietary office suites.

LibreOffice 4.1 highlights:

  • Many improvements to Microsoft OOXML import and export filters, as well as to legacy Microsoft Office and RTF file filters;
  • Font embedding in Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw, to helps retain the visual aspect when fonts used in documents are not installed on the target PC;
  • Import and export functions new in Excel 2013 for ODF OpenFormula compatibility;
  • Symphony sidebar from AOO, which will be further integrated with the widget layout technique to make it dynamically resizeable.

LibreOffice 4.2, January 30, 2014 – LibreOffice 4.2 was the seventh major release, with a large number of performance and interoperability features especially appealing to power and enterprise users, and better integrated with Microsoft Windows.

LibreOffice 4.2 highlights:

  • Large code refactoring of Calc, giving major performance wins for big data (especially when calculating cell values, and importing large and complex XLSX spreadsheets);
  • Optional new formula interpreter enabling massive parallel calculation of formula cells using the GPU via OpenCL, optimized for the AMD HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture);
  • Round-trip interoperability with Microsoft OOXML files, especially for DOCX, as well as for legacy RTF documents;
  • New import filters for Abiword and Apple Keynote documents;
  • Simplified custom install dialog to avoid potential mistakes, and ability to centrally manage and lock-down the configuration with Group Policy Objects via Active Directory (Windows specific);
  • Better integration with Windows 7 and 8, with thumbnails of open files grouped by application and a list of recent documents showing on the task bar;
  • New Expert Configuration window added to the Advanced Options tab;
  • New Start screen with a clean layout that improves the use of available space even on small screens and shows a preview of last documents;
  • Impress Remote Control for iOS – in addition to the app for Android – which allows visual management of presentation delivery on the laptop using the screen of an iPhone or iPad;
  • Windows (IAccessible2 based) accessibility feature developed by IBM;
  • New beautiful monochrome “flat” icon theme: Sifr.

LibreOffice 4.3, July 30, 2014 – LibreOffice 4.3 was the eighth major release, to a point of maturity that makes the software suitable for every kind of deployment, when backed by value added services by the growing ecosystem.

LibreOffice 4.3 highlights:

  • Interoperability: support of OOXML Strict, OOXML graphics improvements (DrawingML, theme fonts, preservation of drawing styles and attributes), embedding OOXML files inside another OOXML file, support of 30 new Excel formulas, support of MS Works files, and Mac legacy file formats;
  • Comments can now be printed in the document margin, formatted in a better way, and imported and exported in ODF, DOC, OOXML and RTF documents, for improved collaboration;
  • More intuitive behaviour of Calc spreadsheets, thanks to the smarter highlighting of formulas in cells, the display of the number of selected rows and columns in the status bar, and the ability to select text export format at user level;
  • Support of “monster” paragraphs exceeding 65.000 characters, thanks to the solution of an 11 years old OOo bug based on the modernization of the source code by developers.

LibreOffice 4.4, January 29, 2015 – LibreOffice 4.4 was the ninth major release, with a large number of user interface improvements, plus better interoperability with OOXML files and outstanding source code quality (based on Coverity Scan analysis).

LibreOffice 4.4 highlights:

  • Support of OpenGL transitions in Windows, with an implementation based on the new OpenGL framework;
  • Installation of free fonts Carlito and Caladea to replace proprietary Microsoft C-Fonts Calibri and Cambria, to get rid of font related issues while opening OOXML files;
  • Addition of several new default templates, designed by volunteers;
  • Visual editing of Impress master pages, to remove unwanted elements, adding or hiding a level to the outline numbering, and toggling bullets on or off;
  • Better Track Changes – with new buttons in the Track Changes toolbar – and AutoCorrect features in Writer;
  • Improved the import filters for Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Works and AbiWord, and added the import filters for Adobe Pagemaker, MacDraw and RagTime for Mac;
  • Digital signing of PDF files during the export process.

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