Apache Releases OpenOffice 4.0

Jul 30, 2013

The great open source productivity suite settles into its new home with a new look and a little help from IBM. 

The Apache Foundation has announced the Apache OpenOffice 4.0 productivity suite -- the first major release since Apache took over the OpenOffice project.

OpenOffice has a long history with the Linux community. The software began in 1986 as part of the StarOffice suite, which was developed by the German company StarDivision. Sun Microsystems acquired StarDivision in 1999, releasing the source code as an open source project under the name OpenOffice. When Oracle acquired Sun in 2010, they continued to fund development of OpenOffice, however, many of the principal developers left Oracle to work on the community-driven LibreOffice fork, which has gradually replaced OpenOffice in most Linux distributions. Oracle gave the OpenOffice code and trademarks to the Apache Foundation in June 2011, and OpenOffice graduated from the Apache incubator to become a full Apache project in October 2012.

Since Oracle's exit, the leading force in OpenOffice development has been IBM. The latest release release shows IBM's influence, with a new sidebar adapted from code used in IBM's Lotus Symphony suite. The new sidebar gives one-click access to several editing and document-processing options. According to Apache OpenOffice VP Andrea Pescetti, the sidebar is "The first radical improvement to the OpenOffice user interface in years."

Other changes include improved color management, as well as enhancements to the Calc, Chart, and Draw editor modules. The new release also comes with some new features for better compatibility with Microsoft Office.

Apache OpenOffice 4.0 supports dozens of languages and runs on Windows and MacOS as well as Linux.

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