It's been less than two months since the Document Foundation announced that it was launching its own "fork" of the OpenOffice.org productivity software suite, but already its new LibreOffice alternative is beginning to take shape.
On Thursday the third beta version of LibreOffice 3.3 was released, and it's available for download for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. While not intended for production use, the current version of the free, fully open source software gives an early glimpse at LibreOffice's reinterpretation of office productivity, and it's an exciting one.
‘Our Code Base Is Getting Old'
LibreOffice 3.3 is based on OpenOffice.org 3.3, but it adds numerous code optimizations and new features that offer a first preview of new development directions for 2011 and beyond.
First, developers are now working full steam at improving the overall quality of the OpenOffice.org code, with a focus on easy testability and quality assurance. New developers and code hackers are handling the bulk of this activity, the group said.
"Our code base is getting old," explained Charles Schulz, a member of the Document Foundation's steering committee, in a recent blog post. "Worse, the whole frigging software looks and feels like we're stuck in the Bush area. Many things were not fixed, some others need a complete rewrite."