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03 June 2011, 14:41

LibreOffice 3.4.0 arrives for power users and early adopters

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LibreOffice logo The second major release of LibreOffice, 3.4.0, has been announced by The Document Foundation and, as per the recent clarification of version numbering, it is aimed at community members and power users. It is not recommended for production use and "should not be implemented in a corporate environment"; a later version of the 3.4 series will be recommended for corporate deployment.

Zoom LibreOffice's Ubuntu Unity and global menu integration
Source: The Document Foundation
LibreOffice 3.4.0 brings a range of new features, implemented by the 120 developers the Foundation says are working on the code base. All components will see GUI changes, with initial support for Unity and global menus added, internationalised font previews, text rendering with subpixelling on Linux being performed using Cairo, better GTK+ theme integration and a Firefox-style in-window popup find dialog. Performance improvements include the earlier display of the splash screen on Linux, a fix to a memory leak in the Linux fontconfig, a 30MB smaller Windows installer and removal of pre-Unicode Win32 API support. It is also now possible to change the password on a document when it is open.

Calc now performs faster. The DataPilot functionality has been renamed to Pivot Table and now supports unlimited fields and named ranges. Other changes include a redesigned move/copy sheet dialog, a reworking of the drawing layer and external reference handling, and the preservation of OLE links to other documents when importing Excel documents (previously LibreOffice would ignore the links).

Writer has new gradients and drop shadows, greek characters can be used in bullets and numbering, and colour and line styles can now be applied to column and footnote separators. There has also been a rewrite of the smart font rendering which is "at least ten times faster" and more stable.

Other changes include a rewrite of the flat ODF import and export filters from Java to C++ and the conversion of StarOffice's pre-2000 binary file format filters to read-only. Impress has also had HTML export improved with the addition of an image thumbnail gallery. It is also possible to add and remove colour charts from the colour selection dialogs. Users can now install LibreOffice 3.4 in parallel with LibreOffice 3.3 and share user configuration, but it is not possible to have both versions running at the same time.

The new features are listed in 3.4 New Features and Fixes. The release notes include further details and note issues that are expected to be fixed in the upcoming bug fix release, including a number of incompatibilities with Microsoft Office, issues with restoring deleted text when change tracking is enabled and problems with radio buttons in forms. LibreOffice 3.4.0 is available to download and is licensed under the LGPLv3.


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