LibreOffice 3.4.2 Now Ready for Enterprises

The Document Foundation announced a slew of fixes in the latest version of LibreOffice productivity suite and said it was ready for the enterprise.

Developers behind LibreOffice have declared the latest version of the open-source productivity software suite to be enterprise-ready.

The latest release of LibreOffice, version 3.4.2, was announced by the Document Foundation on Aug. 1. The previous versions were aimed primarily at early adopters and power users and were not recommended for production environments.

"LibreOffice 3.4.2 fixes the majority of the most-important bugs identified by users in the previous version, and can be deployed for production needs by most enterprises," Italo Vignoli, a member of the Steering Committee, in a post on the Document Foundation blog.

The Document Foundation encourages large organizations to deploy LibreOffice with help from a support partner, who can assess specific requirements, help with document migration and provide custom fixes for any issues.

Purchasing LibreOffice support from a partner "also provides enterprises with an indirect means to contribute financially to the project," Vignoli said, adding, "thereby funding its development, improving its stability and accelerating its growth."

The new LibreOffice features the work of some 300 contributors, including individual developers and teams from Oracle, SuSE, Red Hat, Canonical and other smaller organizations, according to Vignoli. More than 50 issues have been fixed in this release, including bugs found in the Calc spreadsheet program, Impress presentation program and Writer word-processing program.

For password-protected documents, users can now change the encryption password even when the document is open, according to the new features page on the LibreOffice Website. LibreOffice also now has initial support for Unity, the default desktop environment used in Canonical's Ubuntu operating system.

The developers continued to build in performance and stability improvements to make LibreOffice a more efficient version of OpenOffice. The release features a smaller installation file and quicker start-up times. For example, 150 duplicated "missing" icons were removed and 624 localized palette files were removed. Better compression schemes were used to shrink the Windows installer by more than 300MB and a font-related memory leak was fixed.

"TDF was born with the aim of evolving the code to develop a cleaner and leaner free office suite and, after 10 months, we are right on track to achieve this objective," said Canonical developer and steering committee member Bjoern Michaelsen.

The Document Foundation was formed 10 months ago by several members of the project after Oracle acquired Sun. The group formed LibreOffice as a form of OpenOffice to produce a vendor-independent office suite supporting the OpenDocument Format. The suite is backed by heavyweights including Google, Red Hat, Novell and Canonical. LibreOffice is the default software suite in Ubuntu.

Oracle has since then decided to abandon the commercial version of the suite and contributed the entire OpenOffice project to the Apache Software Foundation.

Oracle and SuSE each contributed 25 percent of the commits and Red Hat contributed 20 percent, according to the Document Foundation. "Community volunteers new to the project" also accounted for another 25 percent of the work, the foundation said.

Version 3.4.3, due by the end of August, will have more stability improvements and security fixes, Vignoli said.

Available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X, the latest release is now available for download from the LibreOffice project Website.