Monday, 24 July 2017 09:44

LibreOffice nears seventh birthday with no contenders in sight

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As the seventh anniversary of its forking from OpenOffice.org looms, the free office suite LibreOffice has established itself as the most widely used free office suite, winning a race that began in early 2011.

The suite is governed by a body known as the Document Foundation which says in its annual report for 2016 that more and more developers were joining the project.

While LibreOffice is the main project of The Document Foundation, there is another project known as the Document Liberation Project which aims to provide conversion libraries, for a large number of open and proprietary file formats, and make them available to other software projects.

LibreOffice was born in September 2010 as a fork of OpenOffice.org after the latter went into Oracle's ownership as a result of the acquisition of Sun Microsystems. The fork took place when developers decided that it would be easier to develop a separate project rather than depend on Oracle.

(OpenOffice.org has since been handed over to the Apache Software Foundation and is known as Apache OpenOffice.)

An online version of LibreOffice is being developed by Collabora allowing it to be used in the cloud. This provides basic collaborative editing of documents in a browser by re-using LibreOffice desktop's "core engine".

There are native language LibreOffice projects in Japan, Taiwan, Albania, India, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Brazil and Paraguay.

The 2016 report said that development during the year saw close to 300 committers active, with about 80 being active contributors every month. Four hackfests were organised during the year - in Brussels, Turin, Ankara and Brno - to add new features, fix bugs, and improve file format compatibility.

The report has detailed accounts of the development process, the people involved and plans for the future.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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