LibreOffice Sends Open Letter Appealing To Apache OpenOffice

LibreOffice is a free and open source productivity software suite by The Document Foundation. It is a fork of another popular and free office suite, Apache OpenOffice, but with extra features and improved Microsoft Office compatibility.

Yesterday, marking 20 years since the release of OpenOffice source code, the Board of Directors at The Document Foundation put out an Open Letter declaring “LibreOffice is the future of OpenOffice.”

Open Letter to Apache OpenOffice

The letter points out that since 2014, Apache OpenOffice hasn’t had a single major release. In over six years, it has not even received any significant features or updates.

In April 2014, the Apache Software Foundation announced that Apache OpenOffice has been downloaded 100 million times. The following week, it launched a new version, Apache OpenOffice 4.1.0.

Timeline of major releases

Since then, as you can see in the above picture, OpenOffice has no major updates. Although it has received a few minor releases, OpenOffice is still having issues with timely security updates.

Currently, if you go to the official site of OpenOffice, you’ll find Apache OpenOffice 4.1.7 as the latest release, which originally arrived on 18 November 2018. This means it’s been two years since it has not even got a single minor update.

On the other hand, if you look at LibreOffice, the foundation reveals that in recent years, it has gotten 13 major releases and 87 minor releases. Comparing the code commits in 2019, LibreOffice has over 15,000 commits, while OpenOffice has only 595.

Additionally, in 2020, LibreOffice released two major version 6.4 and version 7.0 with a lot of exciting new features and improvements. For instance, a new and native Open Document Format (ODF) 1.3 format support, QR code generator, digital signatures for documents, and better compatibility with DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX files.

That is why after looking at the development activities of LibreOffice and its upstream OpenOffice, The Document Foundation has issued an open letter appealing to Apache OpenOffice to do the responsible things in 2020.

As Apache OpenOffice is already a popular and strong software suite, LibreOffice wants that together they should help new users provide modern, up-to-date, and well-maintained productivity tools into the hands of as many people as possible.