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16 October 2012, 15:37

Calligra 2.6 alpha previews professional writing program

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Zoom Calligra Author's "Distraction Free Mode"
Source: Calligra
The developers at the Calligra project, part of the KDE community, have released an alpha for version 2.6 of their set of open source productivity applications. In addition to improving and adding new features to existing programs in the KDE-oriented office suite, this preview release is the first to include a new writing program called "Author".

First announced in August, Calligra Author is a writing tool aimed at professional authors and is designed to support the process of creating a new book from conception through to its final publication. The program focuses on two types of users: novelists who write long texts, and textbook authors who "want to take advantage of the added possibilities in eBooks compared to paper-based textbooks". New features developed for Author include support for exporting ebooks to EPUB2 and MOBI formats, as well as improved text statistics such as word and character count. The developers point out that the first version of Author is very similar to the Words word processor as many of the new features introduced in Author have also been added to Words, adding that "future releases may deviate more".

Zoom Version 2.6 of the Krita image editor includes HDR image painting improvements
Source: Calligra
In the Sheets spreadsheet application, a new function optimiser (also known as a Solver) has been added and all of the standard scripts can now be localised. The Stage presentation program now has a new animation framework for creating and manipulating animations in slideshows. Other changes include improved connections in the Flow diagram and flowchart application, and support for user data storage in the Kexi visual database creator. The Krita painting and image editor program has also been updated with support for the latest OpenRaster standard and HDR image painting improvements.

According to Calligra developer Inge Wallin, there are still a few important improvements being worked on that should arrive in the 2.6 beta in about a month. Following that beta, the team will shift its focus to fixing bugs ahead of the final version's release in December. As with all development releases, use in production environments and on mission critical systems is not advised.

An overview of the new features coming in Calligra 2.6 can be found in the alpha release announcement. The alpha of Calligra 2.6, labelled version 2.5.90 and licensed under the GPLv2, is available to download as a compressed source tarballDirect download for self compilation; packages for some distributions including Ubuntu, Arch Linux, openSUSE and Fedora are also available. The current stable release is version 2.5.2 from mid-September.

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