Apache OpenOffice 3.4 Makes Official Debut

On Tuesday, May 8, 2012, the Apache Software Foundation announced the availability of the official version of Apache OpenOffice. It is the first official version from the Apache Software Foundation since Oracle donated it to them last year in June.

Apache OpenOffice 3.4 offers improved performance and quality with a number of new features and enhancements. It is available in 15 languages to users of all three major platforms, Windows, Mac and Linux. The office suite bundles word processing, spreadsheets, presentation graphics, databases, drawing, and mathematical editing applications.

In addition to improvements in performance and quality, the latest version comes with improved ODF support, including new ODF 1.2 encryption options and new spreadsheet functions, enhanced pivot table support in Calc, enhanced graphics, including line caps, shear transformations and native support for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).

Apache Software Foundation plans for future enhancements by including support for more native languages, enhanced accessibility, usability and performance improvements, and adopting new features and improvements from the upcoming IBM Lotus Symphony contribution, which IBM discontinued some times ago.

A brief timeline of the office suite as noted by the Apache Software Foundation, the OpenOffice (StarOffice) code base was developed by Star Division in Germany in the 1990’s, which was later acquired by Sun Microsystems in 1999. When Oracle Corporation acquired Sun in 2010, it renamed it to Oracle OpenOffice but discontinued its development in mid 2010. Oracle in mid-2011 submitted the code base to The Apache Software Foundation. It has been in incubation (the home page still displays “incubating”) since then and is being officially released by the Apache Software Foundation under the Apache 2.0 license today.

Apache OpenOffice is not the only office suite today based on the original OpenOffice code base. The Document Foundation incorporated in Germany, developed its own LibreOffice (fork of OpenOffice) after Oracle ceased development of the office suite. The Document Foundationn received the support of SuSE , Ubuntu and Intel, and is the leading open source developer of OpenOffice today.

Here are some screenshots of Apache OpenOffice 3.4 (source: ASF)

On another note, The Document Foundation even announced the Certification Program, to foster the provision of professional services around LibreOffice and to help the growth of the ecosystem of the world’s best free office suite. The program is outlined here.

What are your thoughts about the first official version of OpenOffice from ASF? Which one is better in your opinion ASF OpenOffice or TDF OpenOffice? Let us know through comments below.

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