LibreOffice 4.0 Beta released ready for a marathon test
The Document Foundation has released the first beta of LibreOffice 4.0, ready for an international 6-day testing marathon in which "everyone" is invited to participate. The stable version of LibreOffice 4.0 is scheduled to arrive in February 2013 and, to give the beta testing a running start, the 6-day test event that starts on 14 December will see users being asked to find and report bugs, notify developers of regressions, confirm bugs reported in 4.0 and verify existing bug fixes. The announcement of the test marathon describes participating in the event as "easy and fun" and, as it lasts a week, "everyone may choose the moments that suit them best".
Changes in LibreOffice 4.0 are widespread. Possibly the most important addition to the core of LibreOffice is support for CMIS, the open standard protocol for access to content management systems such as Alfresco, Nuxeo, Sharepoint and others. As well as adding a new way to easily store, share and manage documents within existing CMS systems, new applications can implement CMIS to provide LibreOffice with managed storage.
There are numerous smaller changes though; in Writer, these include the addition of the ability to import DOCX ink annotations, import/export native RTF math expressions, and have a different header/footer on the first page without creating a page style. Calc adds XOR to the spreadsheet's functions, speeds up document import, and gets a new "Pricing Add-in" for option pricing. Impress, the presentation package, sees media preview performance improved and gets the capability to remember the state of its sidebar, while Draw gets better quality page previewing.
Base, the database component, will be able (on non-Windows platforms) to access Thunderbird's address book. There's also less use of Java within the LibreOffice code, better Visio importing, and a Microsoft Publisher import filter. GUI enhancements include a new layout scheme for widgets and integration with Canonical/Ubuntu's Unity desktop. Other changes are detailed in the release notes. LIbreOffice 4.0 Beta is available to download and is licensed under the LGPLv3.