By launching LibreOffice 3.3 on 25th January the Document Foundation narrowly beat OpenOffice.org to its 3.3 release, which happened the very next day and introduced many of the same features. Is this the start of a race?
Although the release candidate of OpenOffice 3.3 had been available in December, the final release was made on 26th January - one day after the launch of Libre Office 3.3.
Libre Office 3.3 gained attention by being the first stable release from the Document Foundation, the breakaway group of developers who intend to continue to develop the software independently of Oracle.
In its first four months of existence LibreOffice has already overtaken OpenOffice.org in terms of features so while the list of enhancements includes some very welcome ones OpenOffice already looks as though it is lagging because it doesn't have the headline feature of the Windows Installer or goodies like the ability to import and work with SVG files and import filters for Microsoft Works and Lotus Word Pro documents - although as it is open source software catchup will be quite easy at the next round.
However while there is already a date (2nd May) scheduled for LibreOffice 3.4, the OpenOffice Road map has TBD in place of dates.
We will have to wait and see what existing users of OpenOffice do. Although it is free software there is a choice to be made if you want to upgrade as having two versions of the same product tend to lead to conflicts not to mention confusion.
LibreOffice is however going to be shipped to lots of new users as Ubuntu has decided to use LibreOffice rather than Open Office in future releases.