LibreOffice Drops An Open Letter to Legacy OpenOffice


The LibreOffice board announced their take on OpenOffice via an open letter today. And it seems a big deal.

Often people get confused about OpenOffice and LibreOffice. There are numerous articles and posts about the difference between them. However many people still today don’t know that OpenOffice is not maintained at all. And LibreOffice which is a fork of OpenOffice is the latest version and should be used instead.

A Little History

There has been a long history of OpenOffice. OpenOffice was great during its peak days and it was a viable alternative to Microsoft Office during that time. But like all software projects, it should have been maintained and feature additions should be incorporated. But the Apache Foundation who is behind OpenOffice decided not to continue the feature additions to it.

Timeline of OpenOffice and LibreOffice
Timeline of OpenOffice and LibreOffice

LibreOffice was forked from OpenOffice around 2010 – 2011 timeframe. The primary reason to give a clear direction and the latest alternative to the users who don’t want to keep paying Microsoft monthly for Office.

LibreOffice – the way to go

Since then, there have been 13 major releases and 87 minor releases of LibreOffice with more features, compatibility with Microsoft Office product. And with the latest LibreOffice 7.x series, it became a more viable free office alternative to the users across the user base.

The Apache Foundation’s OpenOffice is still in version 4.1.7 and gets very minor bug fixes that too relead to Java. There are no feature additions, mobile versions, compatibility with Microsoft Office so on.

As you can understand, there might be security issues still present in the current old OpenOffice version. And users are downloading it today as well making them unprotected on the internet. Because Apache kept it open for download, despite it is not updated.

No one knows why Apache is still maintaining though. And this resonates with the open letter which the board of LibreOffice published.

So the intent of the letter is a request to the Apache team to work together and at least give users information/direction about LibreOffice who lands their website.

Hopefully, there will be an answer from them, rather any steps from them. This whole situation can easily be solved within a day if all concerned parties work together for the open-source and for the users.

You can read the letter here.

Image credit: TDF, feature photo by pixabay

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