LibreOffice gains momentum

When Oracle announced it had finally bought out Sun Microsystems last year it not only meant the end of Sun as we knew it but it also meant that Oracle took ownership of a number of top open source projects. One of those was OpenOffice.org, the open source Office alternative that Sun had been sponsoring since open sourcing the code for Star Office in July 2000.

Fearful that Oracle would close down OpenOffice, or simply allow it to wither, developers in the open source community created a new version of the office suite’s code called LibreOffice in late September 2010. The idea was to secure the future of an open source office suite under the guidance of the Document Foundation.

Since then LibreOffice has quickly gained momentum, releasing the first beta on launch date. The first stable version is expected to be released shortly.

Now it looks likely that most popular Linux releases will include LibreOffice as the default office suite in future releases, leaving Oracle with very little.

Leading the LibreOffice migration will be Ubuntu, which has now decided to drop OpenOffice in favour of LibreOffice. Already a version of LibreOffice is included in the development release of Natty Narwhal, the Ubuntu release planned for April 2011. The release date means that Ubuntu will probably be the first major Linux distributor to make the move to LibreOffice.

Close on its heels will be the Red Hat-backed Fedora release. The Fedora 15 release is expected in May 2011 and already the developers have said that they plan to include LibreOffice by that date.

With Fedora 15 including LibreOffice there is every chance that Red Hat will also include LibreOffice in its next release.

Not to be left out, OpenSuse, the Linux version backed by Novell, has also said it has plans to switch to LibreOffice in future releases. Already a version of LibreOffice has been packaged for OpenSuse and will be included in the next release.

Perhaps the first Linux distribution to officially include LibreOffice was Pardus, which with its latest release just last week included the office suite. Pardus is a Linux version developed in Turkey.

Also coming to the LibreOffice party is Go-OO a version of OpenOffice.org which includes a number of enhancements to the standard release. Go-OO has announced that it will throw its lot in with LibreOffice and integrate its improvements into the mainstream LibreOffice release.

Although the next release of OpenOffice.org, version 3.3, is expected early this year, the future of OpenOffice.org now looks very uncertain as more and more developers switch their allegiance to LibreOffice.

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LibreOffice gains momentum