THE DOCUMENT FOUNDATION (TDF) has said the final bugs in Libreoffice 3.4 are being worked out, and the open source application suite should be ready for corporate use in two months.
Version 3.4.1 of Libreoffice will come out next month, and will deal with the final bugs created, in part, by a reorganising of software modules. In August TDF would release version 3.4.2, which would be stable enough for widespread deployment in business, co-founder and steering committee member Italo Vignoli told The Inq.
"LibreOffice is going to become a completely different product in time," he said.
"For example we've completely changed the way icons are handed from Openoffice. That had duplication of icons, not a single, central icon repository. Our developers completely changed this."
The development team, which has grown from 20 initial members to over 120, has now got the final download cut down to under 180MB, and has reconfigured the office applications around a more modular framework. It'll be faster to load Vignoli promised, and a number of Java dependencies have also been removed, as they slowed the system down too much.
One of the best tools for recruiting people to the project had been the Easy Hacks page, which allows people to help out in small projects, which can be more easily checked before assigning more onerous tasks like application building. It has also produced some excellent, agile code he said.
Overall Libreoffice was progressing much more quickly than its predecessor and was getting excellent support from Google, Canonical, Novell and Red Hat. Oracle however still isn't playing, and has passed off Openoffice to the Apache Software Foundation.
Oracle would be welcome to get involved in TDF he said, and there was no ill-will between the two groups. Problems with the Openoffice structure were apparent before Oracle came along, with Sun struggling to manage a dedicated team on the project.
At a conference in September 2004 the concept of a foundation for the project, which would fix some of the organisational issues, was being discussed he said. But then when Oracle took over it exacerbated tensions.
"When Oracle stepped in they thought we would be like a regular hacker community, drinking beer, singing songs and writing code," Vignoli said.
"But they discovered it is not like this, it was a longer process. The Oracle takeover was however the breaking point, with things that really pissed off the community - calling a commercial product OpenOffice was one of them."
Openoffice is still being developed, albeit at a much slower rate and with few of the original team. But Vignoli said the new Libreoffice will be a significant step forward from its ancestor. µ
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