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LibreOffice 3.5 Released 205

Posted by timothy
from the because-it-is-awesome dept.
First time accepted submitter wrldwzrd89 writes "The Document Foundation, the team behind the free and open-source office suite called LibreOffice, has released their latest and greatest version. As is typical with major releases of LibreOffice, there are significant new features making their debut in this version. The component with the biggest upgrade is Calc, which now has support for up to 10,000 sheets per workbook among its new features. Also noteworthy among the new features is support for importing Microsoft Visio files in Impress and Draw. The full feature list is available in a PDF hosted on Dropbox; LibreOffice itself can be downloaded here."
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LibreOffice 3.5 Released

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  • by Quantum_Infinity (2038086) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:15AM (#39033629)
    10000 sheets per workbook? Yup, lack of sheets was exactly what was stopping me from using Calc.
    • by Anrego (830717) *

      Haha, yeah.. had the same thought.

      Was like when wikipedia came out saying the reason they were losing contributors was the editing interface was too complicated.

      Although I have seen some terrifying excel workbooks .. maybe there are some corporations on the fence about open source, and the ability to have their entire employee management system contained in a spreadsheet was a sticking point.

      • by mspohr (589790) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:50PM (#39034897)

        I guess it's time for me to repeat my rant about people using spreadsheets to do work which properly belongs in a database.
        It's really impossible to properly audit or verify a spreadsheet. They are so easy to corrupt with improper references and random data entry. Spreadsheets are only widespread because most office drones don't have a clue about proper data management. I shudder whenever I see someone using a spreadsheet to make important business decisions because I know there are errors in every non-trivial spreadsheet.

        • by Anrego (830717) * on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:57PM (#39034965)

          I think we see this use so prevalently because it’s quick and cheap. Most business-calculation type stuff revolves around taking tables of numbers, doing calculations, and producing other tables of numbers / graphs. Excel gives you most of that right out of the box. Throw in a little VBA and you can do in an hour what would take a month to do properly.

          Even I’ll admit to using spreadsheets from time to time for things that really deserved a proper app.

        • by Abreu (173023)

          Dude, I have seen people using Excel to write letters!

          • by mspohr (589790)

            If all you know how to use is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.

          • by jbengt (874751)
            Worse, I have seen a college educated mechanical engineer take out his calculator, do a little arithmetic on it, and type the results into spreadsheet cells.
            • to be fair, I'd likely do the same thing. If only because I usually work in degrees and Excel thinks in radians, so I'd have to apply the correct conversion functions, something easy to do wrong.

          • by turgid (580780)

            Dude, I have seen people using Excel to write letters!

            I've seen senior accountants use pocket calculators to sum columns of numbers in Excel.

        • Spreadsheets are only widespread because most office drones don't have a clue about proper data management. I shudder whenever I see someone using a spreadsheet to make important business decisions because I know there are errors in every non-trivial spreadsheet.

          What do you define as non-trivial? I think a spreadsheet template which has been used a couple hundred times will have all but the most corner-case bugs worked out. As well, business decisions are made by humans, not machines. They rely on things not easily quantifible like customer service, past performance, future projections of costs, etc. Databases are also prone to data entry errors, design errors and the like. Just because you use a database does not mean it does not have to be tested throughly.

          • by mspohr (589790)

            I agree that a spreadsheet which has been well used and tested will have most of the obvious bugs worked out of it. However, it can't really be shown to be free of errors in the same way database procedural logic can be tested. It is also easier to do proper data input checking on a database to avoid "loose nut behind the keyboard" problems. You are right, though, that you have to test everything. It's just much easier to do properly with a database.

          • I think a spreadsheet template which has been used a couple hundred times will have all but the most corner-case bugs worked out.

            Then you are the most at risk - you think the spreadsheet might actually yield reliable data when used by people who did not actually write it themselves.

            While I don't say this is impossible, I have been known to bet on the lottery. The fact is that, unless you wrote the spreadsheet yourself (and often even then), its very hard to be sure what it is actually doing with your da

        • by Yo Grark (465041)

          Blame the lack of easy use of Access.

          I routinely wanted to share out a simple sheet, allowable for anyone to edit easily, but have always fallen flat on my face by the complexity of simple tasks.

          Yes I'm a novice user, however like Excel, I can use Calc or any similar thing because the interface is similar and or easy to use. I cannot use a database and have people interface with it to updated it without having to create a form, create a web interface or other complex things which are beyond my ability.

          Now,

        • by rbrander (73222) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @01:33PM (#39035453) Homepage

          Where I work, Access is forbidden. Not a copy in the corporation (8000 seats) except where they could not (yet) replace it with an Oracle app. The problem is that people muck up a user-controllable database in painful ways.

          But full-blown corporate Oracle apps take this many hours of meetings of the user's time: 10 + analyst_hours * 0.2 + programmer_hours * 0.1.

          That is, an app that takes four hours to explain to a programmer by the analyst and six hours for the programmer to write, test, debug and document, will take about 12 hours of meetings for the user. For a small database (say, two tables of information with several hundred records total, and a few more of column values containing 5-50 values each), that has 1-4 users, you will never, Never, NEVER reach the top of the "to do" pile.

          So these needed apps pile up until somebody somewhat savvy person does something with a spreadsheet and maybe some VBA. I ended up doing our whole budget system ($200M spent per year, across about 230 line-items) with three Oracle tables hit on by an Excel pivot table and couple of spreadsheet pages that was a database entry forms in all but name.

          It's in it's third year and we haven't lost any of the money yet.

        • by tibit (1762298)

          It's really impossible to properly audit or verify a spreadsheet.

          What you mean to say, surely, is that such tools are absent from popular shipping office software suites. In general, though, it's bloody damn easy to do change tracking on a an XML-based spreadsheet file format, at least as far as ODS format is concerned. You need to whip up some XSLT or use an XML parser and write a script using it, but calling it impossible is just silly.\

          I do agree that pretty much all spreadsheet users don't have a clue about any of it because it's not exposed, thus may just as well n

        • Often there is sound business logic behind using (and abusing) spreadsheets where a database would be the technically better answer. Two cases come to mind immediately:

          First, businesses often use spreadsheets to handle one-off situations where the cost of doing things properly by database cannot be justified. This works, if the strategy allows for the possibility of getting it wrong. A first estimate for the cost of taking on a job only needs to be close enough to decide whether it might be worthwhile to

    • by ogrisel (1168023)
      I really don't understand why a programmer would put hard limits on stuff like this (besides limites thats comes from 2*32 for unsigned int in the source code). Anyway the UI for this specific feature would probably make it unuseable far before reaching any kind of limit.
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @01:11PM (#39035163) Journal
        It's a question of speed and simplicity. How do you index worksheets? If people usually create small numbers of them (say, 1-10), then an array of 100 pointers to worksheets is fine. The tab just needs to store an index, and you can find the one before and after trivially by just walking the array. If you keep this approach, you can have a thousand, or possibly ten thousand, without a particularly noticeable memory increase in memory usage (especially for something as big as an office suite), but if you really want flexibility then you need to do something like a tree or a skip list that can be dynamically resized. For small numbers, this just complicates the code and adds overhead for no benefit.
    • by Ginger Unicorn (952287) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:23AM (#39033727)
      i find when i get up to about 100 sheets of no more than a screen full of data each, it takes so long to save the workbook, i just start a fresh one to break it into manageable chunks. 10000 would probably take longer than the heat death of the universe to save.
    • by khr (708262)

      10000 sheets per workbook? Yup, lack of sheets was exactly what was stopping me from using Calc.

      Dang... And while I was waiting for 10,000 sheets my workbook has grown to 10,001 sheets...

    • New features (Score:5, Informative)

      by sakdoctor (1087155) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:18PM (#39034531) Homepage

      Visio .vsd import
      Native PostgreSQL driver
      Java 7 support
      AES encryption .msi Windows Installer - I understand that .msi is a big deal for corporate installs somehow.

      Anyway is it just me or is Libreoffice really really awesome. There seems like a tremendous amount of energy behind the project, and it's all headed in the right direction.

    • Yup, lack of sheets was exactly what was stopping me from using Calc.

      This is a welcome addition, even if I've only needed the feature once ever; but recently. I'm implementing a new subsection for the office management software I wrote for a client. They have been storing all of their information for this new subsection in an Access database with 487 sheets. In order to get the data into PostgreSQL, I wanted to use Calc to load the database and then export it as tab-delimited text. Needless to say, that didn't work since LibreOffice didn't support enough sheets.

      Worse, th

    • 10000 sheets per workbook? Why some arbitrary high number? Why not 65535/6 or 4294967296 or 2^64 on 64-bit builds?
      What exactly makes 10000 important?
      Not that I've ever used more than 2 or 3 per file, but...

  • DropBox? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joehonkie (665142) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:16AM (#39033635) Homepage
    They don't have their own hosting for this stuff? More seriously, how much RAM does this take up.
  • 315ml (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:17AM (#39033649)

    importing Microsoft Visio files in Impress and Draw.

    Somewhat off topic, but visio seems to be one of those killer apps for which there is still no decent open source solution.

    There are a few options that kinda do what visio does (dia, kivio, umbrello etc..) but I’ve never seen anything that even comes close. It’s on of the list of things Microsoft did right (or more likely, whoever actually developed visio initially did right.. I seem to remember they bought it from someone).

    And before anyone says “so go write one yourself” ... I actually tried (and failed). This isn’t an attack on the open source community, more just an interesting observation. Certain software just isn’t interesting enough and as such doesn’t seem to happen unless someone is being paid to write it.

    Also... libreoffice is still a terrible name. Openoffice.org wasn’t great either.. but most people dropped the .org part and it sounded ok. “Libre” just doesn’t roll of the tongue well you feel like a tool saying it out loud. And "office" doesn't compliment it. The whole combination just doesn't work.

    • Re:315ml (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Amouth (879122) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:34AM (#39033907)

      MS did buy Visio from someone else.. but they have also made alot of improvements over the years to it.

      another missing open source solution is something to replace MS Project.

    • Due to licensing policies, I do not have Visio installed on my corporate desktop. I used in past for many purposes the OO Draw and I find it pretty OK for the diagrams and whatnot.

      Many people also praise the Dia [dia-installer.de], though I have no personal experience with it. Specifically, several interns I knew actually complained that for the labs they needed to use the Visio, while Dia was much better tool for the job.

      • by sqldr (838964)

        Many people also praise the Dia [dia-installer.de], though I have no personal experience with it.

        One missing feature is auto-save. Well, actually, the bug report was going to be "I clicked 'select colour' and the windows all just disappeared", or "i selected a shape, and the windows all just disappeared". Autosave might help until they sort that out :-)

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      Well, excel is also one, as is photoshop. Calc and GIMP make for very poor alternatives.

      It's good to know that libreoffice folks are working on it though. One of the main reasons most companies cannot migrate off MS office is the fact that there is just no way to replace excel due to its superior functionality (and conversion problems).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:17AM (#39033655)

    Are those sheet double ply?

  • by jcreus (2547928) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:20AM (#39033687)
    OpenOffice.org is in version 3.3.0 and remarkably worse than LibreOffice. LibreOffice has way more future.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:29AM (#39033809)

      Libreoffice basically shed its skin and left openoffice behind in the dust.
      The new features already put libreoffice ahead of openoffice, but I think the changes that were most significant were under the hood.
      It has been going under a massive cleanup effort making it easier for new devs to contribute and for existing bugs to get squashed.

    • by TheLink (130905)

      Maybe it has more future, but I've resorted to Kingsoft Office: http://www.kingsoftstore.com/kingsoft-office-freeware.html [kingsoftstore.com]
      It doesn't have as many annoying bugs.

      When I last tried LibreOffice, Writer was still very buggy and hung a lot for simple stuff like undoing after a step by step replace within selection (at least the step by step replace within selection finally works, it used to replace the entire selection with the replacement text! And that replace bug was present for years in OpenOffice, so yeah th

      • I've never heard of Kingsoft Office before. How is it?

        I certainly hope it's better than it's website shows. http://www.kingsoftstore.com/windows/professional-office-difference.html [kingsoftstore.com]

        That comparison is absolutely painful to read. The fact that they treat creating, viewing, editing, saving and printing to be separate and unique 'features' implies that the suite really doesn't do very much, so they have to pad their feature list with fluff to make it look good.

        Not being able to make a title page or make adjus

    • OpenOffice.org is in version 3.3.0 and remarkably worse than LibreOffice. LibreOffice has way more future.

      I agree, but I run OpenOffice Portable in Dropbox. LibreOffice is much larger, and OO does what I need it to.

    • Are they better than OpenOffice? I am waiting for LibreOffice to have better format compatibilities. V3.4.3 still didn't show my documents' formats correctly. :(

  • Visio import FTW (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:21AM (#39033705) Homepage Journal

    Visio has long been one of the programs for which there is no satisfying substitute.

    Is there a non-crossing line tool in Draw? :)

    • Re:Visio import FTW (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anrego (830717) * on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:26AM (#39033773)

      Visio has long been one of the programs for which there is no satisfying substitute.

      Indeed. I run a windows VM just to use visio. There really is nothing decent out there (and use of dia for any length of time is bad for your sanity) that even comes close.

      • by ITShaman (120297)

        There's also OmniGraffle...
        http://www.omnigroup.com/products/omnigraffle/ [omnigroup.com]

        • by Anrego (830717) *

          I didn't excplicitly say "open source" or "for linux" so that's fair.

          For that matter, there's lots of proprietary options for windows and I assume mac. Just doesn't seem to be a decent open source one.

          Probably like audocad.. making one is just such a pain in the ass, and not enough users want it, and can easily be run in a virtual machine when needed.. that we probably won't see a decent open source visio clone.

      • by rawler (1005089)

        Try http://www.lucidchart.com/ [lucidchart.com]. Yeah, it's a webapp, but I've found it highly usable, and solves my diagramming needs. (In some cases much quicker and easier than Visio)

    • by xaxa (988988)

      Is there a non-crossing line tool in Draw? :)

      I can't see one, but I've not used Draw before.

      Inkscape has connectors, and a button to "Make connectors avoid selected objects". It works -- but I don't know if it would be reliable with real work (Visio, in my experience, isn't, and gets 90% of things OK, but then requires fiddly tuning to make a few odd connectors not overlap shapes).

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Inkscape has connectors, and a button to "Make connectors avoid selected objects". It works -- but I don't know if it would be reliable with real work

        As you say, since Visio isn't 100% either, it doesn't have to be perfect. If it's not suitable now it's an interface tweak away, most likely. I will give it a look, thank you.

    • by MagicM (85041)

      Visio has long been one of the programs for which there is no satisfying substitute.

      I don't know if it handles all of Visio's use-cases, but I've been using yEd Graph Editor [yworks.com] with great success for all my diagramming needs.

    • by sqldr (838964)

      Visio has long been one of the programs for which there is no satisfying substitute.

      I beg to differ. I draw ALL my diagrams in gnome paint, and anyone who complains just doesn't understand art.

  • As is typical with major releases of LibreOffice, there are significant new features making their debut in this version.

    There's a Mozilla joke in there somewhere.

  • Anyone used this suite's database component? Does it come anywhere near Microsoft's JET DB with the Access front end in functionality? I mean the ability to program "business logic" into the forms.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Unless it's moved on drastically from the days of OpenOffice.org, don't bother. Last time I checked, it was a third-rate clone of Access '97.

    • Anyone used this suite's database component?

      Daily. I actually use it as a middleware layer between our MRP database and some accounting functions I'm responsible for. I use ODBC to get at the tables and then do the actual analysis mostly in a spreadsheet with some custom queries in the Base part. It has worked extremely well, has been easy to use and hasn't cost us a penny in capital expenditures.

      As a standalone database, I think Access is significantly better right now but as a way for your office suite to communicate with another database, Libre

  • Nicely done -- (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:32AM (#39033859) Homepage Journal
    As difficult as it is to deal with the open/libre office fork, it's beginning to become apparent that the governance issues of oo.o were holding it back. As a truly open source project, Libre is already showing that they can work with contributions from a lot of different developers to move the whole project forward a lot faster than oo.o was doing in the past. This is good news because we're now enjoying a world class office suite that is just getting better all the time.

    Of course, now we can expect to hear from all the naysayers who will predictably continue to declare LibreOffice a perpetual failure because they have some weird edge case of an MS Office document that didn't import perfectly...
    • Of course, now we can expect to hear from all the naysayers who will predictably continue to declare LibreOffice a perpetual failure because they have some weird edge case of an MS Office document that didn't import perfectly...

      And if you do have such a document, then please get in contact with me so that we can file a bug and get it fixed:
      http://dotancohen.com/eng/message.php [dotancohen.com]

  • This bug was apparently introduced after 3.2 and is not present in later versions of open office. It's been several months and isn't fixed.

    If you set shape to transparent, the drawing can be exported correctly to PDF but you can't print them- they become pointy-- the curviness of bezier curves is lost. This occurs on multiple printers and in both windows xp, windows 8, and at least some versions of Linux.

    I would like to use Libreoffice but this is a non-starter. Looking forward to when it is fixed.

    • by tibit (1762298)

      Have you filed a bug?

      • Yes with copious examples. I'm at work right now so I can't pull up the bug report.
        But several others have reported it as well and provided examples.

        Then it as flagged as having been entered before some change in procedures and so it had to be revalidated as real and the other users posted more examples.

        It's reported under Draw. Think it may be in the 33000's but not sure.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:46AM (#39034083)
    How hard can it be to add update notifications and downloads to the app?
  • $ yum list libreoffice-core

    Available Packages
    libreoffice-core.x86_64 1:3.3.4.1-2.fc15 updates

    As you can see, I'm on Fedora Core 15. Is it available at other repositories?

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:51PM (#39034899) Homepage

    Have there been enough major releases of LibreOffice to say what's "typical" of them?

  • On Windows 7 x86_64 it, unfortunately, crashes before even starting. This is highly unusual.

    I'll be waiting for the point release.

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