LibreOffice 4.0 is right around the bend and today Charles H. Schulz wrote why this particular version is "an existential release." Folks were wondering why the big jump in version numbers, but Schulz says there are two big reasons why the time is now. Besides the additions that will be seen by the users, his reasons go a bit deeper.
Schulz cites major API changes as one of the reasons why this is such an important release. Developers have been cleaning up code since the fork and clears the path for "deeper changes and a more powerful API." Schulz explains that even though this opens tremendous possibilities for developers (and thus, users), more than that it signifies that "LibreOffice 4.0 is becoming a different animal, and that comes with its own distinct advantages while clearly showing our ability as a community to innovate and move forward."
The second major reason is "the rebase ‘for one very, very last time’ on the Apache OpenOffice codebase is enabling Libreoffice to have a very clear and clean story on licensing." Apparently this allows The Document Foundation to develop and release LibreOffice under the MPL and GPL v3+, which are freer than the original codebase license of LGPL. Under the new scheme, LibreOffice can now be sold on apps stores and the like. This, of course, means that LibreOffice is now truly free.
New fonts coming
Some of the new features in the upcoming release include:
* Ability to attach comments to text documents (kinda like side-notes).
* "Allow different header and footer on the first page without using a separate page style."
* Formula and value cache now used in Calc, saves on recalculation.
* "Increased size limit on (uncompressed) ODF documents from 2Gb to 4Gb."
* Enhanced chart rendering and printing
* New icon sets and font families
* Initial work on a Gnumeric import filter
* Much improved performance when working with multimedia
* "Integration of session installer to add missing parts of LibreOffice on the fly"
* "Added Edit with External Tool to Calc, Impress and Draw."
* "Select and copy text from message boxes."
* Lots and lots of import and filter improvements all over the place.
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