LibreOffice 3.4.0, the second major release of the suite since the announcement of The Document Foundation in September 2010, has been released - but it is not yet recommended for general use.
In announcing the release The Document Foundation noted that this version incorporates the contributions of over 120 developers (six times as many as the first beta released on the launch date) commenting:.
The majority of these contributors have started to hack LibreOffice code less than eight months ago, and this is an incredible achievement if one recalls that the OOo project has attracted a lower number of contributors in ten years.
Italo Vignoli, a Steering Committee member and a spokesperson for TDF explained this success saying:
"Our core developers have invented the mechanism of the easy hacks, which makes it simple and enjoyable for volunteer contributors to get to know LibreOffice code challenging their development skills with basic or elementary tasks".
Accoriding to Michael Meeks, a senior developer working for SUSE:
We spend quite a lot of time mentoring new contributors, in order to increase the number of people working on bug fixing, patches and features. This is soon going to be reflected in the quality of the software and the number of new features of future releases".
LibreOffice 3.4.0 offers several new features for Calc, with faster performances and an improved compatibility with Excel spreadsheets, and Pivot Table - the new name of DataPilot - with support for unlimited numbers of fields and named range as data source. The user interface of Writer, Impress and Draw has been improved with many new features, and several cosmetic changes have been applied to the Linux version, with a better text rendering engine and an improved GTK+ theme integration.
Code wise, several thousand lines of German comments have been translated into English, and over 5.000 lines of dead code have been removed from Writer, Calc and Impress.
As we reported in LibreOffice - release policy clarified, as this is the first release of the 3.4 series, LibreOffice 3.4.0, is targeted to community members and power users, and should not be implemented in a corporate environment.
LibreOffice is looking good as an open source project - perhaps even a model of what a good open source project should be. It is hardly surprising that OpenOffice.org looks sidelined by comparison. Perhaps it isn't that OpenOffice should consider folding its code into the LibreOffice project but it should simply yield to being out open sourced by it.
LibreOffice 3.4 can be downloaded from http://www.libreoffice.org/download and there is also a complete list of new features and fixes.