Italo Vignoli

LibreOffice just got a major update with the release of version 5.0 — and developers claim it will give other productivity suites a run for their money.

Italo Vignoli, a director at The Document Foundation (DF), which develops the popular open-source office suite, told CMSWire the same source code will be used for the desktop version as well as the Android and the cloud versions. That means users will have a similar set of features, regardless of platform.

Vignoli called that a first. "Other office suites are rather different in term of features, according to the platform. LibreOffice 5.0 represents the office suite that the project founders were envisioning in 2010, capable of offering a superior interoperability experience to end users, especially corporate ones, and to compete head to head in term of features with the market leaders,” Vignoli said.

The new version also offers a better interface, better management of screen space and better interoperability with other office suites like Microsoft Office and Apple iWork, he continued.

He described version 5.0 as a muscular suite that should rival enterprise offerings from Google and Microsoft.

A Loyal Audience

LibreOffice was developed by The Document Foundation and forked from OpenOffice.org in 2010.

LibreOffice, which claims 120 million unique downloading addresses in the four years ending this past May, is available for Windows, Mac and Linux desktops and Android mobile devices.

There are also virtualization solutions to bring LibreOffice to Chrome OS and iOS, although these are not optimized for mobile. An online version will be available late this year or in early 2016.

This is the 10th major release since the launch of the project and the first of the third development cycle, Vignoli said. While it hasn’t received the same attention as Google Apps or Microsoft Office, it has continued to build its audience, which has grown along with its functionality. 

In term of specific features, LibreOffice 5.0 offers "interoperability features without par and a number of Calc [the OpenOffice spreadsheet app] improvements which reduce the difference with Excel to a negligible number of specific features,” he said.

Version 5.0 also includes:

  • Mobile clients on Android and Ubuntu Touch (the Ubuntu operating system for mobile)
  • New icons and  improvements to menus and sidebars
  • Improvements to document import and export filters, for an enhanced document conversion fidelity

So what now? “I would say, business as usual. We are sticking to our original vision, to provide the best open source office suite — capable of offering a viable alternative to every kind of user — on every platform,” Vignoli said.

You can download LibreOffice 5.0 here, free of charge.