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Software Upgrades

LibreOffice 4 Released 249

Titus Andronicus writes "LibreOffice 4.0.0 has been released. Some of the changes are for developers: an improved API, a new graphics stack, migrating German code comments to English, and moving from Apache 2.0 to LGPLv3 & MPLv2. Some user-facing changes are: better interoperability with other software, some functional & UI improvements, and some performance gains."
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LibreOffice 4 Released

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  • Damn! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Skiron ( 735617 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @12:30PM (#42820985) Homepage

    I just pre-paid £140.00 for MS Office on Gnu/Linux! :(

  • by Dystopian Rebel ( 714995 ) * on Thursday February 07, 2013 @12:43PM (#42821093) Journal

    For the sake of order on this sadly degenerating News for Nerds site, please add your post to this parent if the essence of your "thinking" is one of the following:

    = LibreOffice is not MS Office, therefore it's crap.
    = LibreOffice uses Java, which everyone know is not as fast and portable as .NET.
    = LibreOffice lacks MS Office proprietary features and misfeatures, therefore it disappoints me terribly.
    = LibreOffice doesn't read or write the constantly mutating, rubbish file formats of MS Office the way only MS Office can.
    = LibreOffice isn't backed by a large corporation that Only Wants The Best For Me.
    = LibreOffice is bloated, and I insist on the lean responsiveness and stability of MS Office!
    = LibreOffice doesn't have ribbons to help me not find features that I used to use.

    • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @12:45PM (#42821115)

      Libreoffice uses very little Java at this point. That's one of the things that's changed since they forked from OO.org.

      • by Desler ( 1608317 )

        It didn't use it much before that point either. It's always been predominately a C++ codebase. It was just mostly ancient and crappily-written C++. Java was only needed for the HSQLDB, accessibility/assistive features and some of the wizards. The vast majority of its users can get away without those features.

        • The resulting code base is rather different from the original one, as several million lines of code have been added and removed, by adding new features, solving bugs and regressions, adopting state of the art C++ constructs, replacing tools, getting rid of deprecated methods and obsoleted libraries, and translating twenty five thousand lines of comments from German to English.


      • How dare you use facts on slashdot! ;)
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      LibreOffice doesn't read or write the constantly mutating, rubbish file formats of MS Office the way only MS Office can.

      While it may not write the file formats developed by the marketing teams to encourage users to upgrade, it certainly reads them quite well, and often more reliable than MS. Not in the sense that it 100% present the random formatting exactly as MS would, but in that it will, in my experience, read 100% of the files and present the text in relatively accurate manner.

      In my experience, MS

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      = LibreOffice doesn't read or write the constantly mutating, rubbish file formats of MS Office the way only MS Office can.

      While I recognize it's perhaps not a fair judge of LibreOffice, life isn't fair. I use LibreOffice and like it, and can handle the quirks when using non-native documents. But when even faced with "it's free vs. it costs you money", even ridiculously frugal people like my father WILL NOT SWITCH. His primary concern is his clients are able to read & use the documents he provides--and that conversely, he's able to read & use the documents his clients provide--without any hassle whatsoever. Let's fac

      • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:46PM (#42821847)

        I have had better luck with LibreOffice being able to read old/odd MS Office formats better than MS Office itself.
        MS often breaks compatibility with itself to force upgrades.

      • If your customers need to be able to veiw your documents properly and consistently couldn't you just save the documents as a pdf which will display properly everywhere?

      • by snadrus ( 930168 )
        Look at Apple? No iOS Flash, Little attempt at interoperability outside their walls. No competing apps.
        There isn't a "no hassle" file format except maybe a Google docs link (as it adjusts for various browsers).
      • by westyvw ( 653833 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:49PM (#42825127)

        Except Libre office has much better functionality, even though its less on price. Better integration with Calc, better formatting, better large document handling, the ability to extend it through the language of your choice, the ability to use scripts to update presentations without ever opening them, etc. I had both Microsoft and OpenOffice years ago, and when working on large (3000 + page documents) that I didnt want to use Latex for (mostly due to sharing with my editor), I prefered OpenOffice. In the end, we all use these "office" suites for purposes that are better served in another application. How many of us fought with layout in a word processor, when we all know Illustrator or Inkscape would have been a better choice? In the end LibreOffice has functionality, particularly today, that rivals or exceeds the suites you pay for.

        To address your father, he really should not be sending documents to his clients in a processing format, but rather a PDF or use an online tool for collaboration. In the business I worked for, you could get fired for sharing a document in its raw format: too great a risk of sharing redacted or edited information.

    • Fair points, all. I have no problem with using LibreOffice myself, I find it works as good or better than Office for most things.

      However, the lack of interoperability with MS Office is a major sticking point. You may be correct that this is mainly because of the multitude of crappy and proprietary file formats that MS puts out, but as a practical matter, MS Office is what most people use. When I have a client or my boss that asks me to send them a few power point slides, or someone sends me some power
    • Just because Office is bloated doesnt mean that LibreOffice isnt.

  • I'm having a hard time understanding the difference between GPL and MPLv2 - can anyone help explain, or link me to a resource that's more helpful than the ones I've found?
    • by danhuby ( 759002 )

      GPL: the whole of a derived work, even new components, must remain under the GPL
      MPL: only the code files licensed under the MPL must remain under the MPL

    • by samkass ( 174571 )

      I'm having a hard time understanding the difference between GPL and MPLv2 - can anyone help explain, or link me to a resource that's more helpful than the ones I've found?

      Also note that LGPL is very different from GPL...

      • LGPLv3 is not actually very different from GPLv3. It was rewritten as GPLv3 + some extra permissions. It is compatible with Apache 2.0, but it is not compatible with GPLv2 or LGPLv2.
    • Essentially, MPLv2 is like the LGPL, except it only applies to the same file.

      If you modify a file under MPLv2, you have to release the source code to your modifications. If you add your modifications in a separate file and combine the two, then you don't have to release your code.

      With LGPL, you would have to release the source code in both cases, since both are derivative works.

  • Pre-fork OO (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anne_Nonymous ( 313852 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @12:52PM (#42821191) Homepage Journal

    I have been using the last pre-fork version of OO. It works fine and mostly does what I want.

    Is there any good reason to switch to the latest Libre?

  • Why this dilution? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by trifish ( 826353 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @12:55PM (#42821225)

    OpenOffice is under Apache Foundation now and it is proper FOSS. This activity only dilutes the efforts to develop a FOSS alternative to MS Office. End it. Don't be childish. Thanks.

    • by denis-The-menace ( 471988 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:04PM (#42821341)

      Oracle tossed OpenOffice to the Apache Foundation after LibreOffice took-off in terms of features, bugfixes and mind-share.

      OpenOffice is about 2 years behind thanks to Oracle.

    • by gQuigs ( 913879 )

      LibreOffice is the office suite with the momentum at this point. So I agree in part, except it it is the Apache Foundation that should stop and let the organization created specifically for this purpose, The Document Foundation, to develop the premier FLOSS office suite.

      Oracle had OpenOffice frozen in place for over a year. You can't just freeze a project and expect the community will just sit there doing nothing for that long of a time.

      On another note, I find the LibreOffice name much better. Although p

      • by hardie ( 716254 )

        I think this is incorrect. I use OO at work remote at my home office. Work is in another state, they all use MS.

        I started with LO but ran into a couple of significant issues. This was in the October-December 2012 timeframe, with the then current release.
        1. My tech sent me an Excel file of data and plots. The plots were on the same sheet as the data, four columns of data, four plots. In LO one of the plots has the wrong data--it is plotting a different column than specified in the Excel file. I consider this

    • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:13PM (#42821435) Homepage Journal

      Has there been any significant work on OpenOffice since the split?

      I'm not crazy about having efforts diluted, but if they have to pick one and go forward with it, are there any advantages to going with OpenOffice rather than LibreOffice, aside from the less dreadful name?

      • by Ded Bob ( 67043 )

        I am pleased with OpenOffice (v3.4.1). I have not seen any need to try LibreOffice personally. My take is that both are developing new features.

        Regarding new features in OpenOffice, https://blogs.apache.org/OOo/entry/merging_lotus_symphony_allegro_moderato [apache.org] talks about what is being merged into OpenOffice from IBM's Lotus Symphony. As long as IBM continues to develop Lotus Symphony, I think that OpenOffice will benefit earlier than LibreOffice as IBM tends to do a lot with the Apache foundation. I say ea

        • by robmv ( 855035 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:57PM (#42821989)

          I am a Java developer, love the JVM, but if you think merging the Lotus Symphony code base with OpenOffice will be a good thing, you never used Symphony. Symphony is the Eclipse platform with added plug-ins that add old OpenOffice code to it. If an office suite is already a big program, running a big JVM process with OpenOffice inside is an awful monster. In the other hand LibreOffice is removing Java dependencies where it shouldn't be used, like the embedded database and some wizards and using it for what is a good tool, Java APIs for automation and access to core LibreOffice functionality from Java programs

      • Open Office is more or less playing catch up right now to LibreOffice.

        And it kills me that such a good product has such a ridiculous name. It's a complete embarassment to say out loud. /rant

        • And it kills me that such a good product has such a ridiculous name. It's a complete embarassment to say out loud. /rant

          Hey, I didn't realize that they finally renamed OpenOffice, getting rid of the idiotic ".org" at the end of the name. Naming a piece of software after a website made it sound far stupider than "LibreOffice" ever did.

    • Once there was StarOffice, owned by Star Division.

      Star Division was bought by Sun and the bits they owned were open sourced as OpenOffice. It was then renamed OpenOffice.org once they noticed someone else owned the OpenOffice trademark.

      For years, Sun contributed 80% of the new code. Novell contributed about 10% and sulked that they weren't recognised as much as they felt they should be.

      Novell started go-oo.org, containing their own patches to OpenOffice.org, including several things that were of dubiou

  • Great, now I will know what the function with the following comment does:

    "Gott vergib mir, das ist eine schreckliche Hack!"

    • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:31PM (#42821667)

      Great, now I will know what the function with the following comment does:

      "Gott vergib mir, das ist eine schreckliche Hack!"

      And, as we already know, this should speed up builds because your US-made compiler won't have to consult the German dictionary all the time to find out what all the texts actually mean.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      posting AC since I don't have a /. account.

      in fact, not "code-comments" in LibreOffice were german. Rather it were "germanisms" in the code itself. I can't remember specifics ATM, but it was naming of variables and functions that "looked akward" to native english speakers.

      I'm not aiming for informative modpoints, although appreciated :)
      I know the specifics because I speak english & german and considered attacking this bug 1-2 semesters ago.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As someone who did a lot of those translations I may be able to explain the necessity for these:
      First, LO's source code is old and massive. Most of the comments I translated were written somewhere in between 1999 and 2004.
      Second, as anyone who has ever dealt with old, mature, complex code bases will tell you: you need as much information as possible about your code. This is due to bug fixes and quirks that evolved that code over time (=maturing a code base).
      Of course, many of the comments are simple and obv

  • I use LO as my main tool but there's a few things it can't do it should be able to do:

    Embed an OLE object as an ICON
    Paste a spreadsheet table where I put it not where LO anchors it
    Have the same bullets as the document viewed in MSO
    Save ODP -> PPTX better and cleaner than ODP -> PPT
    Show how export to PDF is different from print to PDF, since they are
    Markup-Redline in DOC/DOCX saved as ODF still doesn't work

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes