LibreOffice 3.4 released: Is it a worthy replacement for premium Office Suites?

Posted in:Rationale

Microsoft seems to have a tough ride ahead, they seem to have lost the patent case for its Office suite. Now open source tools from Open Office.Org and LibreOffice Suites are competing aggressively with MS Office for market share. The main reason is the Open Source tag associated with the first two choices. It is inexpensive and enjoys backing from a large community of developers. Today let us take a look at the latest release from the LibreOffice Suite- the LibreOffice 3.4.

LibreOffice-3.4.jpg

This is the second release from the stables of LibreOffice after the origin of The Document Foundation in September 2010. The version 3.4 reportedly fixes bugs associated with the earlier version and has also tweaked up the user interfaces as well. The LibreOffice 3.4 was developed with the help of more than 120 new contributors worldwide which is almost 6 times the number when the Beta version was released.

The LibreOffice has attracted more developers in one year itself, even more than the number of contributors for Open Office.org that is in existence for a decade now.

The new version of LibreOffice has several new changes. Some of them are

* Faster Start up times * Improved GTK theme integration * Improved text rendering through Cairo * Tweaks to apps

Regarding the application tweaks, the major effort was done on the Calc app which has got a better performance and Excel compatibility now. With the new version 3.4 we can use a named range as the data source for Pivot Table. For example, this property allows addition of new rows to the data source and automatic update of the Pivot Table.

Write, the MS word equivalent application has also undergone a beauty therapy as it now sports a sexy and sleek look- the new gradient/drop shadow to page appearance.

Other prominent new features built into the Impress application are an improved HTML export capability and an image thumbnail gallery of the slides on the contents page. There is a redesigned Move/Copy Sheet dialog in the Edit option which has improved the overall ergonomics.

There are also minor tweaks such as the inclusion of Greek characters in bulletin formats and certain new fonts also. A major change in the GUI segment is the standardisation of Ubuntu Unity Application Menu.

Thus LibreOffice 3.4 is expected to be another thorn in the eye for Microsoft Office in the coming days.

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