“The Document Foundation is about documents and the associated software is pivotal to create, exchange, modify, share and print documents”, says Thorsten Behrens, a software developer and a member of TDF Steering Committee. “LibreOffice 3.3 is the first flavour of this long term strategy, but the journey has just begun, and the enormous advantages of our developer-embracing environment are not yet fully reflected in the upcoming software release”.
LibreOffice 3.3 is based on OOo 3.3, with code optimisations and many new features, which are going to offer a first preview of the new development directions for 2011 and beyond. TDF founders foresee a completely different future for the office suite paradigm, which – in the actual format – is over 20 years old, to be based on the document (where the software is a layer for the creation or the presentation of the contents).
TDF developers are working full steam at improving the overall quality of OOo code, which is a good starting point, and making easy testability of the code and quality assurance a priority. . . . In addition, each single module of LibreOffice will be undergoing an extensive rewrite, with Calc being the first one to be redeveloped around a brand new engine – code named Ixion – that will increase performance, allow true versatility and add long awaited database and VBA macro handling features. Writer is going to be improved in the area of layout fidelity and Impress in the area of slideshow fidelity. Most of the new features are either meant to maintain compatibility with the market leading office suite or will introduce radical innovations. They will also improve conversion fidelity between formats, liberate content, and reduce Java dependency.
I will probably wait to install LibreOffice until the final release of 3.3 comes out, but both the Foundation and its software are interesting and exciting developments in the area of open-source technology useful for biblical studies scholarship.