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Google Throws Its Weight Behind LibreOffice

Big-name support and a new release give the free office productivity software suite yet another boost.

LibreOffice gained a fresh burst of momentum last week as the makers of productivity software not only released a new, stable update but also announced the participation of Google and other big-name sponsors in its brand-new advisory board.

Google, SUSE, Red Hat, Freies Office Deutschland e.V., Software in the Public Interest and the Free Software Foundation will all serve for an initial term of one year on the board to provide advice, guidance and proposals regarding the free and open source software. In that role, each sponsor has the right to one representative.

"The creation of the Document Foundation's advisory board is a great step forward for the organization," said Jeremy Allison, co-founder of Samba and a member of Google's Open Source Programs Office. "Google is pleased to be a supporter of the Document Foundation, and to provide funding and advice to advance their work."

'Commitment to User Freedom'

The Free Software Foundation's support, meanwhile, is particularly notable in light of Oracle's recent decision to donate the competing OpenOffice.org suite--from which LibreOffice was forked--to the Apache Foundation instead.

"We applaud [the Document Foundation's] demonstrated commitment to user freedom, and will do our best to help it achieve its free software goals going forward," said John Sullivan, the Free Software Foundation's executive director.

All in all, the new board's composition "shows that LibreOffice is a vendor-neutral, truly-free office suite, and confirms that the Document Foundation has created a solid base to build upon, for the community, for corporations and enterprises, and for adopters and end-users," said Florian Effenberger, a spokesman for the Document Foundation's Steering Committee.

Improved Security

Then there's the Document Foundation's release on Thursday of a new upgrade to the current stable version of its software.

While LibreOffice 3.4--unveiled in early June--is still aimed primarily at community members and power users, the new version 3.3.3 is sanctioned for corporate use and can be downloaded for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X in more than 100 different languages from the LibreOffice site.

"LibreOffice 3.3.3 fixes several bugs and improves the security of the suite to specifically address the needs of corporate deployments, where stability is more important than new features," noted Thorsten Behrens, a developer and member of Document Foundation's Steering Committee. "This branch will be maintained until the end of the year to allow a smooth and safe transition to LibreOffice 3.4.x."

Hardly a week goes by these days without some fresh good news about LibreOffice, which has now been embraced by most major Linux distributions as well. I use it every day as my main word processor. Have you tried it out yet?

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