Going forward, Ubuntu's developers decided it is in the best interest of the open source OS to ship with LibreOffice for its productivity suite, replacing the Oracle-owned OpenOffice that previously came pre-installed. That includes Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), which will be available April 28, 2011, ZDNet confirmed.
LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice, which came into being after contributors for the latter became fed up with how Oracle was handling (or not handling) things, and thus LibreOffice was born.
"Oracle needs to see where we're going, and the momentum, and what they can provide," LibreOffice developer Michael Meeks told THINQ last year. "It takes a long time for people steeped in ten to fifteen years of proprietary development to understand free software, and if you look at how that community was structured inside OpenOffice, there were many obvious weaknesses and it's a shame that their experience has been that free software does not provide compelling value [to Oracle]."
The decision by Ubuntu makes it the first major Linux distro to ship with LibreOffice, assuming the due date doesn't get pushed back. Fedora 15, due out on May 10th, will also ship with LibreOffice.
It's hard to deny the power of Google Docs, especially if you don't have the cash (or the wherewithal) to shell out for Microsoft Office. Sure, you could grab OpenOffice.org, but you would trade away the ability to edit your documents from any Internet-equipped location-one of Google Doc's important, Cloud-based features... as well as its ability to allow multiple users to simultaneously edit a document. You just can't get this kind of stuff in an offline word processor!
Of course, that's not to say that you can't use Google Docs offline. Nor are applications like Microsoft Word completely removed from the Internet-there's Microsoft Office Live for that, if you're so inclined.
Anyway, the point of this Freeware Files is not to confuse you in feature-lists or semantics. I'm here to show you just how easy it is to set up your system to use both offline and online word processing tools. Provided you're ready to jump into the wide world of Google Docs, all of the freeware and open-source applications listed below will do much to help integrate online editing and storage into your traditional offline type-type-typing.
Remember the OpenOffice mouse with an insane amount of buttons? The funky peripheral was designed with the help of WarMouse, a UK company who today announced the "18-button freak" will now be known as the WarMouse Meta.
"We were frankly shocked by the overwhelming response to our original announcement of the mouse," said Theodore Beale, Lead Designer at WarMouse, "We sent out three emails and ended up getting three million hits on our website that weekend; no one seemed to believe an 18-button mouse with a joystick could be anything but a joke. But it's real, it's brutal, and it's going to fundamentally change what people expect of their input devices."
The freakish rodent has apparently also been upgraded with a 5600 CPI (counts per inch) laser sensor. It also looks a little different and now sports a black color scheme with gray buttons instead of the white on light-white design previously depicted.
But is it just too much? Beale doesn't think so, who acknowledged that some feel that the Meta is "insane," but says "there are many gamers and power users who want to be able to do more than storke their mouse with two fingers."
The Meta is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS, and will retail for $75 in the first quarter of 2010.
A company called WarMouse has joined forces with OpenOffice to develop a rodent that will come in handy for anyone who hates memorizing keyboard shortcuts. You'll just have to remember what each button does instead, and there are a lot of them. Eighteen to be exact, each one programmable, and each one able to function in three different button modes: Key, Keypress, and Macro.
"You can do far more with this [device] than most people are likely to realize at first," explained mouse designer Theodore Beale. "You can launch applications from the desktop, and in your browser you can fire up a specific Internet site with one button, then close it with a double-click on the same button."
In addition to 18 buttons and support for 52 key commands, the OpenOfficeMouse (OOMouse) comes with an analog Xbox 360-style joystick with optional 4, 8, and 16-key command modes, a clickable scroll wheel, 512K of onboard flash memory, 63 on-mouse application profiles, support for 1024-character macros, and other tricks.
And yes folks, the designers also had gaming in mind when developing the OOMouse.
"In games like World of Warcraft -- even without taking the joystick into account -- you've got 16 commands within one click, 40 within two, and all 72 icons on the six action pages within just two double-clicks or less," Beale added.
OpenOffice.org has made available version 3.1 of its OpenOffice software suite, marking the first major release in the 3.0 series. Several new features have been added to just about every aspect of the open-source office program, making this a must-have update if you roll free with your productivity apps.
As a whole, the 3.1 update sports an improved screen appearance, as it now uses anti-aliasing to smooth out any rough edges. Dragging is made easier by trading in the dotted outline for a shadow of the object you're trying to move. Other non program-specific enhancements include improved file locking to prevent others from overwriting a file, and support for overlining text.
Just a handful of the many program-specific changes:
Carry out a conversation through Comments by selecting 'Reply' (Writer)
Better grammar checker integration (Writer)
Rename sheets with a double-click (Calc)
Significant performance improvements (Calc)
Font size buttons (Impress)
You can view a full list of changes here and download the 3.1 update here.
A new version of OpenOffice is upon us and it’s worth your while to check it out. We’ve long recommended this suite of programs as one of the must-have open-source applications on your PC. Simply put, it’s as close to Microsoft’s Office suite as you’re going to get without plunking down a small fortune. It doesn’t contain any unpleasantries in design and functionality that the idea of a “free office suite” might conjure up. And its newest 3.0 incarnation—all of .6 somethings greater than the last full OpenOffice release—adds even more versatility to the suite.
Hit the jump for an in-depth look at some of OpenOffice 3.0's top new features!
Open Office has been around in one form or another for over nine years now. But the once little known productivity suite known back then as StarOffice has evolved considerably over the years. Today the Sun Microsystems freebee is admittedly a fairly full featured alternative to Microsoft Office. Open Office in fact has become so useful that Maximum PC Editor and Chief Will Smith has admitted its open source charm (and free price tag) has finally won over his home PC for casual word processing. Fans of the platform have another reason to get excited these days with the impending launch of version 3.0. The new version will further improve compatibility when working with Microsoft Office files and will include additional support for the open file format OpenDocument which is to be integrated into Office 2007. For those looking to give version 3 a try, a public beta is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. But for corporate users looking to implement Open Office you should follow the links instead to the version named StarOffice. The retail version will cost you about $69.95, but it includes technical support and intellectual property indemnification. For those keeping track Open Office 2 launched on October 20th 2005 and the latest stable version is 2.4.1 which was released in June.
I ran across a site that’s selling something called Opal Office. The site, OfficeBestDeal.com, says the suite is compatible with Microsoft Office, but in reality it’s just OpenOffice! You can find that out when you open the program and it says on the first line of text, “OpenOffice.” Apparently, they’re charging $11.95 for it. Is this even legal?
— Marion Randall
Good question, Marion! Answer, as always, lies after the jump.