LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 1 Available, Oracle Unchains OpenOffice

April 15 brought some interesting developments in the office suite front. Oracle's press release announcing its intention of halting commercial interest in came hours before The Document Foundation announced the release of LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 1.

Several developers forked the project last year and formed The Document Foundation to further the office suite in an environment free from the threat of being allowed to wither and die as other Open Source projects acquired by Oracle. Oracle continued development on with remaining developers and released both a commercial version and a free version. Today, only a couple of months after its initial commercial release, Oracle announced that it would move to a purely community-based Open Source project. The only reason given was "the breadth of interest in free personal productivity applications and the rapid evolution of personal computing technologies." This might be interpreted to mean that the commercial offering didn't sell very well since most folks prefer the no-cost option. Oracle may not wish to invest further funding in a product that will not support itself. So, they just gave back to the Open Source community.

Edward Screven, Oracle's Chief Corporate Architect, further stated, "We intend to begin working immediately with community members to further the continued success of Open Office. Oracle will continue to strongly support the adoption of open standards-based document formats, such as the Open Document Format (ODF)."

The Document Foundation has had no comment to the news as of yet.

However, shortly after Oracle's news, The Document Foundation announced their next developmental release for the upcoming 3.4. The short announcement said, "The upcoming 3.4 will be the second major release of the LibreOffice project, and comes with many exciting new features. Please be aware that LibreOffice 3.4 beta1 is not yet ready for production use, you should continue to use LibreOffice 3.3.2 for that."

LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 1 received lots of bug fixes and a few new additions. Some include:

+ added navigation buttons to writer
+ Replaced unhide text button by icon buttons
+ Mouse wheel scrolls whole slides
+ Updated slide sorter icons
+ allow 'select as you type' aka 'quick selection'
+ new 'animated images' for Throbber controls
+ enable human icon theme
+ treat Excel number format 'General' as standard format in Calc
+ change the default sheet print option to "print entire sheet" in Calc
+ don't toggle the calc formula bar when activating and deactivating a chart in Calc
+ fix crash in Impress after printing
+ Allow unused master pages to be deleted in master pages control in Impress
+ enable full width by default for 'Default' style in Impress
+ make user paint settings persistent in Impress
+ autocomplete using the context's case in Writer
+ fixed crash with WriterWeb
+ fixed incorrect double line spacing saving in Writer
+ fixed the dropdown list box form fields in Writer
+ Full Changelog

LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 1 can be downloaded from Instructions for installation are at the wiki. 3.4 Beta was released a day earlier.


Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of


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Linux Flavor

Bill Marshman's picture

Sort of gave up on Ubuntu and ultimately several other versions. Am running a Quad 4 w 8 Gig memory & 1 Gig Video Memory. I liked Ubuntu a lot but kept running into cursor lockup. Would have to reboot from terminal to free up. Frequent checks of help forums kept pointing to a system failure, I must have made a configuration error. Older versions had worked better.

Finding a really knowledgeable person for problem resolution was a sad joke.

Finally, I purchased the 64 bit version of Windows 7. I don't like MS very much. Not because they are large but rather because they can be a little sloppy and predatory with respect to the bottom line. Problem with cursor freeze has disappeared. Amazing!

Will I try Linux again? I do have a few older systems so maybe. Fact of matter, I expected with this newer system, with Ubuntu should have been a screaming bullet.

wow cool. . . thats really

mas raden's picture

wow cool. . . thats really helpful. .
thanks for sharing

why you don't try some new

clarencevalazquez's picture

why you don't try some new product of it....! Nue Science

so helped's picture

really helped me in the field office, the article's great for adding the info, should know the legal application?, learn to reach PR7 from this blog, as you would willingly sign of friendship for a moment to visit my blog ( and commented on it

I think Open Office is really

davidfoltz's picture

I think Open Office is really good for your work I have also use open office so i can say that its really good. Dyazide Side Effects

same old Oracle office

Rick's picture

"...Edward Screven, Oracle's Chief Corporate Architect, further stated, "We intend to begin working immediately with community members to further the continue...."

huh ?
.... ya I'm sure you will Oracle, just like you did with OpenSolaris, mysql, ..., ... ?
;) but atleast, they're gonna give it back -wow, how generous of them.
Oracle just gave "M$-Oriffice" a free plug.
So how's that nice free Redhat working out for you though, eh Oracle ?
yep, my glass is half-empty.
But, hats off to LibreOffice.

...Long Live LibreOffice :)

Rick's picture

All I can say is, a very deserved, Thank-you to all the people that work on LibreOffice and saving it from Oracle-(aka the "OpenSource" Destroyer).
I remember when Oracle used to be in "competition" with Microsoft, pfft, ... more like in-cahoots with them.
Oracle, once again, shows its true colors.
But hey, that's to be expected from a corporation that, similar to Micro$oft, wants to keep their hands as deep in your wallets as possible without giving you anything extra.
OO, and LibreOffice, over the years, have achieved the un-believeable, and they have done it with a bare minimal of monetary support.
If you compare that to the billions of dollars that the Goliath M$ has made from its Office ?, then I still find (OpenOffice)/LibreOffice to have achieved milestones in Quality, to say the least.

- long live the new LibreOffice.

For a viable Office suite to compete...

Isthmus's picture

IMHO, for a n office suite to be able to compete against MS office and be a viable contender (read, one that users and companies adopt as their default office suite), the software needs to be able to do two things well:

1. It needs to be able to open and save documents created in any standard, especially the current defacto market standard (MS Office); and

2. there needs to be minimal to no degradation when a document is opened on one office suite versus another. In other words, a spreadsheet created in xlsx should look and save the same whether it is opened in excel or calc and whether it is converted from xlsx to another standard.

Right now LO easily saves from one format to another and can even be prompted to automatically save in a default format. What it doesn't do is handle files (other than Doc or docx files) particularly well. There is still a lot of work to be done in order to ensure some sort of consistency. If a client sends me a presentation made in Powerpoint, I want to be able to use presentation to open it and see no difference. OUtside of writer, the other programs in the current version of the LO suite get progressively worse at handling docs created in MSO.

Since MSO controls the market, users have a certain expectation. What LO needs to do is provide users with that expectation without forcing them to adopt a new format. If The document foundation can get LO to do that, I can easily see vendors such as Apple, HP and google adopt it as their default office suite. If you can do that, users the world over will take the choice of major manufacturers as validation of the quality of the software and begin to adopt it (especially since it will be free)

Until that happens, I don't see LO being adopted as a major office suite in any wide numbers, and it will definitely not dislodge MSO.

Aversion Therapy is also Marketing [, the bad kind!]

UNF's picture

Even if it were somehow entirely Oracle-free, moving the project back to OpenOffice (name, offices or funding sources) would IMHO be a mistake. That effable name is indeed widely known, but generally, where it really counts, i.e. in business, for a relatively unhappy user experience, thus, this substantial factor does not necessarily equal unmitigated goodwill ~ for too many people it rings alarm bells as a plague to be avoided at any cost.

LibreOffice will establish its own, far superior, reputation by making the software everything OpenOffice refused to become, i.e. stable, fast, progressive, flexible, intuitive, aesthetically pleasing. It can best do this unencumbered by Larry's legacy name and mindset.

It's the Revolution, remember?

quick hopefully final

geazzy's picture

quick hopefully final release: D

A little off subject....

Lambchopper's picture

But what's with the Comments SPAM? First off, Technical people aren't typically what you'd consider a fashonista... :-) But also, doesn't Linux Journal have some cool Open Source package that would help to block that? Maybe it would be a good idea for a future article...

We get thousands of spam

Webmistress's picture

We get thousands of spam comments per day. Our spam filter successfully blocks 95-99%, but some still slips through, and we have to manually remove it. Sometimes we miss a few, and it takes longer for those to be removed.

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit


Lambchopper's picture

Spanks Mistress ;-)

And this is why I <3 you all.

Webmistress's picture

And this is why I <3 you all. :)

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit

uninstalling openoffice ...

angelo's picture

... is the same procedure then uninstalling libreoffice on the abovementioned wiki? replacing "libreoffice" with "openoffice" ?

Don't change the name back!

albinard's picture

If the name of LibreOffice is changed back to OpenOffice, the first thing Oracle will due is sue, claiming that when they bought Sun they bought the rights to the name OpenOffice.

If you don't like LibreOffice, call it TheOffice, call it MyOffice, call it YourOffice, but don't call it by a name someone else grabbed!

Libre Office 3.4 Beta 1

Wayne Borean's picture

It is suggested that everyone skip Beta 1 and wait for Beta 2 which should be released momentarily, there was a problem with the build system, and Beta 1 is not stable.

Before anyone complains, this IS a Beta. The reason for Betas is to find things like this before release. Well, it's been found, and Beta 2 fixes the problems.

No, I'm not involved directly, I just follow the mailing list :)


Free vs commercial

goblin's picture

and released both a commercial version and a free version.

Ouch! "Free" cannot be "commercial" and vice-versa? We better call a lot of open source businesses with this newsflash...


Anonymous's picture

You had you chance and blew it, screw you, we are sticking with LibreOffice.

They knew it will happen

MarcosLuna's picture

I don’t think oracle realize until now that the OpenOffice could not be ruled as an usual business as they intended to. LibreOffice should be kept as the main project and name. OpenOffice marked a point in the life of the project. I still remember StarOffice, with the intention to compete in the productivity suites market lead by Office, but it didn’t work.

And the OpenOffice now should be looked as what it was, a project who gained momentum and a step before LibreOffice. I really would like to see that its in LibreOffice where the effort will be done by the community from now on.

What's in a name?

corfy's picture

Back when LibreOffice and The Document Foundation were announced, I thought's days were numbered. The only thing that would change my mind is if and LibreOffice merged again (but this time, under the direction of The Document Foundation). If that were to happen, I wouldn't mind seeing LibreOffice's name change back to After all, does have 10+ years of name recognition behind it, while LibreOffice has only been around for a few months. Name recognition equals instant marketing, and marketing is an area where I think free and open source software can use all the help it can get. And since Oracle is releasing to the community, I think that re-merging the projects is a real possibility. (Whether it will actually happen is still up in the air, however.)

Barring that exception, I think LibreOffice is the future, and I can't imagine many people continuing to develop instead of LibreOffice.

Laugh at life or life will laugh at you.


obx_ruckle's picture


Validates? Or a result of?

corfy's picture

I can't figure out if this move validates the reasoning behind the The Document Foundation's fork into LibreOffice, or if this is in response to the fork.

And I wonder if LibreOffice will be changing its name back to

Laugh at life or life will laugh at you.

A result

alcalde's picture

Congratulations. The paranoia, suspicion, fantasy and need for villains within elements of the open source community killed OpenOffice. There goes all the funding, and with it most of the future development.


Felix26591's picture

What funding, the The Document Foundation has all the funding that it needs to continue the future development of a future office suite. Or do you think oracle was providing them with money or support, this isn't a villain move or something done out of hatred, it's a company who decided to close a product and was met with force from the other side, a force they didn't expect and one who won and who everybody is happy that they won. Libreoffice is from the community for the community and that's when openoffice lost, when it was all for Oracle. Libreoffice is the future, all the developers that were working in oracle for Openoffice will probably contribute to libreoffice, and more funding will go into libreoffice from open source companies, they already have a list of 100's of companies that support the libreoffice cause and due to this separation and elimation of openoffice, there will be hundreds more that will move to the libreoffice side.

The Shift

KyleW's picture

In the first week that I heard about LibreOffice and all the politics involved in the fork, I removed OpenOffice from all our computers at the office and installed LO instead (4 PC's running WinXP and 1 running Win7).

LO is still a little buggy here and there, but we're all satisfied with our move away from Oracle's tentacles.

The LO project will be very successful and I think these developers made the right decision. We're all waiting for the next stable release.

And you can be free of the

Col. Panek's picture

And you can be free of the clutches of Microsoft...