Our challenge is to produce the best office suite in open source.

LibreOffice 3.3 Interview

Olivier Hallot

Olivier Hallot

LibreOffice shipped their first production release earlier this week. JAXenter spoke to Document Foundation steering committee member Olivier Hallot, on reaching this milestone....

JAXenter: The Document Foundation recently released LibreOffice 3.3. What features does LibreOffice 3.3 add to the OpenOffice.org release?

Olivier Hallot: We added a few new features that were long awaited by our users. For example, the new Insert Title Pages dialog to assist users in creating cover pages for their documents. However, since LibreOffice 3.3 is our first release, the set of features is almost the same as OpenOffice 3.3. Most of the changes are internal, that is, we underwent a cleansing job of removing dead code, repackaging the software for distributing, improving performance and even just translating comments in German that still exist in the legacy code into English, so that more developers can now handle and maintain the code.

JAXenter: How is LibreOffice developed in relation to OpenOffice.org? Do you view LibreOffice as a downstream version of OpenOffice.org, or a fork?

Olivier Hallot: It is inevitably a fork. OpenOffice.org source code contribution requires that the code copyright be turned to Oracle, which many developers don't like or want. That means that OpenOffice.org project cannot benefit from the developments of LibreOffice, without asking the developers for copyright. We expect that LibreOffice will quickly take a path that will lead it away from OpenOffice.org.

JAXenter: Can we expect to see increasing differences between LibreOffice and OpenOffice, as the project matures?

Olivier Hallot: Definitely, for the reasons I pointed above. We are confident we will be one of the most dynamic open source project and the software will undergo a drastic change in all aspects of its features: either through new features, increased performance, an innovative user interface, or through vibrant community support, new beautiful icons or increased installed base.

JAXenter: Are there any plans to expand beyond offering a single office suite?

Olivier Hallot: Not at the moment, because of our administrative and technical priorities. But we are a foundation that was created to address many user and developer needs, with an innovative open source software. We are open to embrace other projects, and it is likely that it will happen in the near future.

JAXenter: What are the next steps, for LibreOffice?

Olivier Hallot: Our challenge is to produce the best office suite in open source. This is an enormous endeavour we are all proud to be a part of. At the moment we must start the legal matters of the Document Foundation, work on the funding for our administrative tasks, handle the legal matters, work on the next release of LibreOffice and as a matter of vital importance: take care of our community of developers and end-users.

Jessica Thornsby

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