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16 May 2011, 09:41

LibreOffice clarifies version numbering

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LibreOffice logo The LibreOffice developers at the Document Foundation have, for the last time, published an announcement on their main mailing list of a new beta version of LibreOffice. In future, beta releases and release candidates will only be announced on developer mailing lists and the announcements mailing list will only carry news of final and stable versions.

The announcement came with a clarification of which versions of LibreOffice are suitable for which audiences. The beta releases, as is traditional, are versions designed for testing by other developers, QA users and other interested parties in the community who want to seek out bugs in the software. But now, according to the clarified release process, the first releases of a "final" version, e.g. 3.4 or 3.4.0 will be aimed not at all users but specifically at "Innovators, early adopters and power users"; the typical use of this version is described as a "real life test" by the developers.

Over time, as the version matures, there will be point releases (3.4.1, 3.4.2 etc) and at some point the developers will recommend a release as a production version which is suitable for conservative users including big corporate deployments. The developers say that LibreOffice 3.3.2, for example, is such a production level release.

The new advice is designed to help users cope with the change to LibreOffice's time-based release schedule which will see a release at fixed time intervals. This is in contrast to OpenOffice's strategy of multiple betas and release candidates until QA is passed and the community is happy, a process which could lead to release dates repeatedly slipping.

The developers say they also pre-announced this current beta release, 3.4 beta 5, to the community mailing list to enable a round of QA testing to "avoid the quality problems of the earlier 3.4 betas". LibreOffice users interested in building a "more stable LibreOffice 3.4" are invited to join the projects, development or localisation mailing lists and participate. Pre-release versions of LibreOffice will continue to be available on the project's pre-release downloads page.


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