LibreOffice 4.0 Released

The Document Foundation has announced the  release of version 4.0 of its LibreOffice productivity suite for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.  LibreOffice is a free (as in speech and in beer) and open-source office  suite that is an alternative to, and compatible with, Microsoft Office.  It is distributed under the LGPL license.  (A more complete description is in this earlier post.)

This is a major new release of the software, and incorporates a number of new features.  Some of these are outlined in the release announcement; the project site has a more complete list.  Notable among the improvements are better interoperability with RTF and DOCX documents, and integration with several content management systems (for example, Alfresco, IBM FileNet P8, Microsoft Sharepoint 2010) through the CMIS standard.  This version also reflects a concerted effort to clean up the code base, which had acquired a certain amount of cruft since its origins at the German software firm, Star Division.  In addition to the release announcement and the new features list, there is a brief set of Release Notes.

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.

I’ve been using LibreOffice, and its predecessor, OpenOffice, for several years, both for my own work, and for collaborative work with others who use Microsoft Office.   The degree of compatibility that has been achieved is remarkably high.  If you need an office suite that is available across platforms, or you just don’t feel like sending any more money to Microsoft, I recommend LibreOffice highly.

Ars Technica also has a brief article on the new release.

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