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14 February 2012, 15:23

LibreOffice 3.5 sharpens its grammar checking

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The Document Foundation (TDF) has released LibreOffice 3.5.0 for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. The new version continues the developers' plan of iteratively improving the free office suite with enhancements for many areas of the software in each major release. Although none could be described as a major enhancement, the steady stream of improvements, combined with code renovation, has "created some stability problems in the short term but is rapidly leading to a completely new and substantially improved free office suite" according to one of the TDF directors and senior Red Hat developer, Caolán McNamara.

In the 3.5 release, the word processor has a new built-in grammar checker for English and some other languages, improved topography, an interactive word count window that updates in real time, and the new header/footer and page break user interface. The presentation elements, Impress and Draw, are now able to import from Microsoft Visio and are better able to import custom shapes from PowerPoint documents. The Calc spreadsheet is now able to handle up to 10,000 sheets in a spreadsheet and has better performance when importing from other office suites. It also has a new multi-line input area which should make it easier to edit complex formulas, and the spreadsheet's functions now conform to the ODF OpenFormula specifications. Base, the database manager in LibreOffice, has received a native PostgreSQL driver. More information on the changes is available on the 3.5 features and fixes page.

One change in LibreOffice 3.5 is that the online update checker, which will notify users when a new version is available, is being enabled for the first time. With previous versions of LibreOffice, it was recommended that users in enterprises wait a number of minor revisions until it was declared "enterprise ready". But Document Foundation director Italo Vignoli told The H that "With 3.5, we have abandoned the 'enterprise ready' flag, although we suggest enterprises to test the software before any company wide deployment." He pointed out that 3.5 is a more mature release than previous versions but that a "corporate user could easily use LO 3.5 without running into any critical bug". For those more conservative enterprises, a 3.5.1 release is due in March and the previous release continues to be supported.

LibreOffice 3.5.0 is available to download now for 32- and 64-bit Windows, Linux (rpm and deb) and Mac OS X. Release notes are also available. LibreOffice is licensed under the LGPL3.


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