When Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems, it acquired a heaping helping of technologies, among them OpenOffice.org, an open source productivity suite that was positioned as a free alternative to Microsoft Office. But some developers who worked on OpenOffice bristled at Oracle's ownership and eventually severed their ties with the open source giant, forming their own group called the Document Foundation.
While Oracle tried to assure users that it would continue to back OpenOffice, the Document Foundation got to work on its own fork of the suite, LibreOffice. Now, less than four months later, it has announced its first stable release, LibreOffice 3.3.
LibreOffice uses the GNU Lesser General Public License and features six basic apps: Writer (a word processor), Calc (for making spreadsheets), Math (equation editor), Impress (presentation creation), Draw (for making diagrams), and the Base database front end. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Version 3.3 has filters for importing such document types as Microsoft Works, SVG, Lotus Word Pro, WordPerfect, and PDF, and it features Experimental mode, which lets users try out unfinished features. A full rundown of the features and upgrades of the suite can be found at the LibreOffice website.
The Document Foundation says the original splinter group of 20 developers quickly swelled to more than 100, which helped the group beat its original release goal. A full release plan is available on the Document Foundation's public wiki.
This article, "Former OpenOffice.org developers offer their first stable OpenOffice competitor," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.