10 April, 2012

Libre goodies in LO 3.5

A little under a year ago I wrote a happy post about LibreOffice. The team back then showed a strong focus on cleaning up and re-architecturing LibreOffice to make it ready for the future.

Much work

SUSE's Michael Meeks recently made the awesome graph on the right about the stuff being cleaned up from LibreOffice - besides removing a large amount of unused code there has been translating of comments and much other stuff. As I wrote in my previous post: that was (and still is) much needed. Without a lean and mean code base you can't get and keep contributors and making changes takes forever. As say the 3-months GSOC project needed to just get a multi-line edit in Calc shows... And getting contributors is a major goal of LibreOffice - with over 200 new people commiting code, they're quite good at it!

I've had plenty of complaints during the 3.4 series. Stability has been a serious issue. But I do realize that re-factoring and cleaning up takes time and often causes (temporary) issues so I can live with that. And as Meeks said in the announcement of LibreOffice 3.5, we can "now benefit from a substantially cleaner, leaner and more feature rich LibreOffice 3.5.". So I went and downloaded ~600 MB of Free/Libre goodness which is now packaged for openSUSE...


In part thanks to the substantially cleaned code base a number of big improvements can be found in this release. The coolest is imho the grammar check - I know grammar is hard to test but the grammar check has been tuned to have almost zero false positives so if and when it tells you something is wrong, it'll be wrong. The improvements in typography are very noticable as well, fonts look much nicer. And I greatly appreciate the new header/footer interface. Finally, there is the real time word count - I used to use Calligra Words for this feature and its nice to see LO getting it too. Yes, I mostly use writer - can you tell?

But there are plenty of other improvements in the other apps too, including the multi-line input area in Calc so LO 3.5 is certainly a worthy upgrade. I did find a bug, which I have reported ;-)

Speaking off...

On the note of Words - Calligra is on the verge of releasing Calligra 2.4 and I must say that's another FOSS Office release I greatly look forward to, if only due to its about 10 times smaller footprint on my too-tiny SSD ;-)

That release will be even more packed with goodies but then again, it's taken the team about a year to finish it. I especially look forward to Krita, which is now ready for professional artists and from what I've seen of the beta's and RC's it'll be something good enough to make artists move over to Linux. And I'd recommend openSUSE as you can hear Krita lead developer Boud frequently complain that he'd have an easier time supporting users with issues if they'd all just run openSUSE which works flawlessly with tablets.

Getting it

Muktware wrote an article on how to install LO 3.5 in openSUSE but I wasn't particularly looking forward to downloading and installing RPM files by hand so I've waited until a more convenient installation method was available. It is now, just click the link below, give your password and it'll get installed. This works for openSUSE 12.1, openSUSE Tumbleweed users get the upgrade automatically once it is deemed stable enough - the spoils of a Rolling Release... Awesomeness :D

click here for a convenient one-click-installation of LibreOffice 3.5.2 from the LibreOffice-Unstable branch in openSUSE

On an entirely different note, my google plus stream is full of complaints and praise about GNOME Shell which I'm using on my laptop this week (during travel to Nurnberg and Prague). Certainly an interesting experience.