The Document Foundation has announced the release of version 3.6.3 of its LibreOffice suite for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. LibreOffice is a free (as in speech and in beer) and open-source office productivity suite that is an alternative to, and compatible with, Microsoft Office. It is distributed under the LGPL license. The suite has six components:
- Write: for word processing
- Calc: for spreadsheets
- Impress: for presentations
- Draw: for graphics
- Math: for equation editing
- Base: a database front end, with interfaces to many data base packages (e.g., MySQL, Adabas D, Microsoft Access and PostgreSQL)
LibreOffice was created by a fork from Sun Microsystems’ OpenOffice project, after Sun was acquired by Oracle.
As with previous versions of LibreOffice and OpenOffice, the software is able to read documents in many proprietary formats, including Microsoft Office formats, and can also save documents in many of the same formats. It has also had, for years, the ability to save documents in Adobe’s Portable Document Format (.pdf), making them accessible on many different platforms. It is available in more than 80 different (human) languages.
The new version is available for download at the LibreOffice site. The default download page will attempt to automatically detect the system you are using and select the correct download. If this is problematic (for example, if you are using a Mac but want to download the Windows version), use this link to turn off auto-detection. Note that there are two installation packages to be downloaded: the main installer, and the installer for the built-in help.
Some features of LibreOffice still require the installation of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE); they do not require the browser plugin. This dependency, which the project is working on eliminating, was inherited from predecessor projects. The most significant feature still requiring the JRE is the built-in HSQLDB data base engine in Base; if an external data base, such as PostgreSQL is used, the JRE is not needed. (I’ve posted here before about issues with using Java.) The project FAQ has more information on Java usage and requirements.