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[tdf-announce] LibreOffice 3.5: the best free office suite ever


The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 3.5: "the best free office
suite ever"

Berlin, February 14, 2012 - The Document Foundation announces
LibreOffice 3.5, the third major release of "the best free office suite
ever", which shows to end users the improvements derived from the
development strategy adopted since September 2010. LibreOffice 3.5
derives from the combined effort of full time hackers - the largest
group of experienced OOo code developers - and volunteer hackers,
coordinated by the Engineering Steering Committee.

During 16 months, an average of 80 developers each month have provided a
total of over thirty thousand code commits, introducing new and
interesting features:

Writer

- a new built-in Grammar checker for English and several other languages
- improved typographical features, for professional looking documents
- an interactive word count window, which updates in real time
- a new header, footer and page break user interface

Impress / Draw

- an improved importer of custom shapes and Smart Art from PPT/PPTX
- a feature for embedding multimedia/colour palettes into ODF documents
- a new display switch for the presenter's console
- new line ends for improved diagrams
- Microsoft Visio import filter

Calc

- support for up to 10,000 sheets
- a new multi-line input area
- new Calc functions conforming to the ODF OpenFormula specifications
- better performances when importing files from other office suites
- multiple selections in autofilter
- unlimited number of rules for conditional formatting

Base

- a new integrated PostgreSQL native driver

In addition, for the first time in the history of LibreOffice, we will
be enabling the online update checker, which informs users when a new
version of the suite is available.

"We inherited a 15 years old code base, where features were not
implemented and bugs were not solved in order to avoid creating
problems, and this - with time - was the origin of a large technical
debt," says Caolán McNamara, a senior RedHat developer who is one of the
founders and directors of TDF. "We had two options: a conservative
strategy, which would immediately please all users, leaving the code
basically unchanged, and our more aggressive feature development and
code renovation path, which has created some stability problems in the
short term but is rapidly leading to a completely new and substantially
improved free office suite: LibreOffice 3.5, the best free office suite
ever."

"In sixteen months, we have achieved incredible results - comments
Michael Meeks, a SUSE Distinguished Engineer, who is also a founder and
director at TDF - with nearly three hundred entirely new developers to
the project, attracted by the copyleft license, the lack of copyright
assignment and a welcoming environment. In addition to the visible
features, they've translated tens of thousands of German comments,
removed thousands of unused or obsolete methods - sometimes whole
libraries - and grown a suite of automated tests. Although we still have
a long way to go, users - who have sometimes complained for the
stability of the software, as they were not aware of the technical debt
we were fighting with - can now benefit from a substantially cleaner,
leaner and more feature rich LibreOffice 3.5."

LibreOffice 3.5 is the first release where the contribution of local
communities and associations, such as ALTA in Brazil, has been
acknowledged. In addition, TDF tried to recognize those volunteers -
where we could easily identify them - who put so much into the 3.5
release, with a "hacking" or "bug hunting" hero badge presented the same
day of the announcement. TDF is encouraging the development of a global,
open and diverse ecosystem where companies, associations, local
communities and volunteers share the common objective of developing the
best free office suite ever.

The Document Foundation invites power users to install LibreOffice 3.5,
and more conservative users to stick with LibreOffice 3.4 branch.
Corporate users are strongly advised to deploy LibreOffice with the
backing of professional support, from a company able to assist with
migration, end user training, support and maintenance. The Document
Foundation will soon provide a list of certified organizations providing
these professional services.

LibreOffice 3.5 is available from: http://www.libreoffice.org/download.
The new features and the improvements are described in the infographic
which can be downloaded from:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/116590/lo35-infofinal.pdf.

Short link to The Document Foundation blog: http://wp.me/p1byPE-eF.

About The Document Foundation (TDF)

The Document Foundation is an open, independent, self-governing,
meritocratic organization, which builds on ten years of dedicated work
by the OpenOffice.org Community. TDF was created in the belief that the
culture born of an independent foundation brings out the best in
corporate and volunteer contributors, and will deliver the best free
office suite. TDF is open to any individual who agrees with its core
values and contributes to its activities, and warmly welcomes corporate
participation, e.g. by sponsoring individuals to work as equals
alongside other contributors in the community. As of September 30, 2011,
TDF has 136 members and over a thousand volunteers and contributors
worldwide.

Media Contacts

Florian Effenberger (based near Munich, Germany, UTC+1)
Phone: +49 8341 99660880 - Mobile: +49 151 14424108
E-mail: floeff@documentfoundation.org - Skype: floeff

Olivier Hallot (based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, UTC-3)
Mobile: +55 21 88228812 - E-mail: olivier.hallot@documentfoundation.org

Charles H. Schulz (based in Paris, France, UTC+1)
Mobile: +33 6 98655424 - E-mail: charles.schulz@documentfoundation.org

Italo Vignoli (based in Milan, Italy, UTC+1)
SIP Phone: +39 02 320621813 - Mobile: +39 348 5653829
E-mail: italo.vignoli@documentfoundation.org - Skype: italovignoli
GTalk: italo.vignoli@gmail.com

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