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openSUSE 11.4 Will Be First To Roll Out With LibreOffice

March 7th, 2011 by

LibreOffice Splash on openSUSEopenSUSE 11.4 is set to release on 10th March 2010. A highlight among many exciting features is the debut of LibreOffice, successor project of the popular cross-platform desktop office suite by OpenOffice.org.

LibreOffice features

LibreOffice comes with many improvements over its predecessor, OpenOffice.Org-3.2.1. The new Search Bar, Title Page, and Print Dialogs are impressive additions. Petr Mladek, long standing LibreOffice and openSUSE contributor (Full interview, comments:
LibreOffice Calc on XFCE in openSUSE 11.4

“I think that users will appreciate the new hierarchical axis labels for charts, RTF export, easier slide layout handling, and all the other features we were able to add thanks to our more open development model.”

LibreOffice provides some unique benefits over other Office solutions beyond simply being free, like Online Help, as well as a host of usability improvements. Different Formula Syntaxes are implemented, including Calc A1, Excel A1 and Excel R1C1. Inline form editing is a lot easier to use. Another useful feature is the ability to use a split view on a sheet, while in multi-lingual documents we now have the ability to change language for a particular sentence. Presentations with LibreOffice will sparkle with the new 3D slide transitions in Impress.

LibreOffice in openSUSE

Mladek notes several advantages of LibreOffice in openSUSE; one of them being a huge group of LibreOffice Developers inside openSUSE benefiting from the suite’s faster development model and no need of any copyright assignment. Another advantage he mentions is the use of the openSUSE Build Service, which helps to keep the packages up-to-date and compatible for older distributions. And finally, openSUSE is the only distribution using the split build (separate packages for each component) which makes it easier to hack on LibreOffice, providing a quicker development path for bug fixes and incremental feature improvements.

Developers and packagers at both LibreOffice and openSUSE have taken special care that the migration and update process from OpenOffice.org to LibreOffice moves on smoothly. Backward compatibility and improved import & export filters were set as top priorities.

LibreOffice receives major contributions from Novell and SUSE hackers, as a recent blog from Cedric Bosdonnat showed. Bosdonnat also notices the growth of LibreOffice:

LibreOffice now counts 133 new hackers and 55 localizers (since the fork).

Michael Meeks, another prominent LibreOffice contributor and openSUSE developer, adds:
LibreOffice Writer on LXDE in openSUSE 11.4

“I’m really excited to have LibreOffice in openSUSE 11.4, and the converse, to have so many great openSUSE developers involved with LibreOffice both in testing and developing. It is great to work together with the wider community to get the best Free Software Office experience possible into users’ hands.”

“openSUSE 11.4 will be the first stable distribution to ship with LibreOffice, a happy accident of timing. If you happen to be an enterprise user of SLED, don’t worry – there will also be updates to LibreOffice across our portfolio of supported products.”


Meeks, who was closely involved with the decision to fork LibreOffice away from the control of Oracle and create the Document Foundation, sees similarities between the Document Foundation and the work going on to set up an openSUSE Foundation:
LibreOffice on GNOME in openSUSE 11.4

“in some ways, openSUSE’s trajectory is close to that of LibreOffice’s with the creation of a truly independent foundation. Surely openSUSE is under the stewardship of a company which is very much open to contributions, unlike OpenOffice.org was, but for sustained growth and a secure future a Foundation is really important.”

Coming soon!

Watch out for LibreOffice in the upcoming scheduled release of openSUSE 11.4 on 10th March, 2011 which besides being the first major distribution to ship LibreOffice in a stable release promises many other new and updated applications, features and extensions, as well as numerous improvements to and stability and performance.

A recent  interview with openSUSE LibreOffice developer Petr Mladek gives additional information.

Article contributed by Manu Gupta

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36 Responses to “openSUSE 11.4 Will Be First To Roll Out With LibreOffice”

  1. Wrong, the first one was Pardus 2011


  2. One feature that makes LibreOffice (or OpenOffice) a must download, even for Windows users, is the ongoing ability to work on multiple open copies of Calc and Impress side by side, reading and copying and pasting from one of your works to another. Amazingly, this is not possible with the newer versions of PowerPoint and Excel – you are only able to open one instance at a time, with multiple spreadsheets and powerpoints nested within the main window. There are some freakishly difficult and unstable work-arounds involving faking Windows into thinking you are two simultaneous users, but for the most part if you enjoy having multiple spreadsheets and powerpoints open side-by-side-by-side, you are going to need to at least add a copy of LibreOffice or OpenOffice to your setup.

    • jared

      @Andrew Prough
      As a matter of clarification, I run multiple copies of Excel 2010 and PowerPoint 2010 on a regular basis. By multiple copies, I mean that I run excel.exe multiple times, causing multiple “master” windows, and spreadsheets in each one, then put different Excel instances on different monitors connected to the same machine.

      If you double-click on a .XLSX, then double-click on a second one, yes it will open in up in the first instance. That doesn’t mean you can’t run a different one.

      I run LibO at home though.

  3. betanux

    Kanotix last week was also released with libreoffice 3.3.1
    so not the first, not the second :)
    But we are happy to see the move in opensuse. earnestly waiting for the realease.

    • Jos Poortvliet

      kanotix is surely not something I would call a major linux distro, no matter how cool it is (I’ve used it back in the day when it was created, pretty cool times for live CD tech)…

      • Ben

        @Jos Poortvliet: Well, the title of the post doesn’t say “First Major…”, and it’s only at the bottom of the post that you see “first major distribution”.

        …what is a “major distribution”, anyway? ;-)

        • James Mason

          Maybe a “major distribution” is one that gets a dozen comments on a news post in one day. ;-) Thanks for your contribution!

          • Gerry

            LibreOffice has been available in 11.3 since I don’t know when.

            openSUSE/Novell are major contributors to LibreOffice. I think that gives them bragging rights.

            I’m curious to know how many Pardus developers contribute to LibreOffice?

  4. Jos Poortvliet

    The full interview with Petr Mladek:

  5. Fran

    Firstly, many thanks to OpenSuse team for their huge work. As for the incorporation of LibreOffice I think is a good decision, but I would like to know what advantages does this suite against the KDE KOffice because I believe that KOffice integrates much better with this environment (obviously),and is packed with features like LibreOffice. Can you tell me why they choose Open / LibreOffice instead KOffice on the KDE environment?? Thanks for your answers and sorry if I dont write well in English, I’m Spanish …

    • Ricardo Chung

      LibreOffice is a complete suite for Office Productivity from The Document Foundation with a lot of features and fully integrated. It works great disregard on which desktop you are using it. KOffice is a complete Office Productivity suite from KDE. KOffice development is great with a lot features and improvements. At this moment, you can use whatever you want for a general purposes. KOffice development is changing its name to Calligra suite with new names and applications version as features. openSUSE gives you the opportunity to test several Office Productivity Applications from one and only installation DVD. So feel free to test them all. ;-)

      • Fran

        Hi Richardo, many thanks for your response. You’re absolutely right, it’s the great thing about GNU / Linux, there are always many posibilities and you can feel freedom to choose ;-) Thanks again and i’ll test the two on OpenSUSE 11.4!! Greetings

    • Ilya

      Libre/Open Office includes Visual Basic. KOffice does not.

  6. EZ1

    It should read “OpenSUSE 11.4 is set to release on 10th March 2011”, not 2010.

  7. Sorry I made that mistake thanks a lot Yes it is 2011 :)

  8. Pardus User

    Pardus 2011 was the first Linux Distro to roll out with Libra Office and I can tell you for a fact, Pardus 2011 is by far the best KDE Distro on the planet. OpenSuse doesn’t even come close to Pardus, OpenSuse looks amateurish in comparison.

    That’s a fact Jack.

    • lol i cant even find a pardus website, real awesome..

    • Ricardo Chung

      As far you can read the title and inside this article it does not mention any other Linux distribution because it is not maybe the first Linux distro with LibreOffice but first openSUSE Linux stable distribution and first major Linux distribution delivering LibreOffice. Yes, openSUSE is a major Linux distribution since several years ago (this is not recent news or one time scored) and contributing with LibreOffice since the early start.

      There is no reason to take another Linux distribution merit. Despite of all openSUSE is a Linux too with a long history right now.

      No flame at all. Other Linux distributions are moving faster to get the right visibility but not making it better starting a holy war. Linux distributions need to start thinking into convergences to make Linux stronger. Differences as personal preferences is OK but not better. Go beyond the imaginary frontier and you will find nice similarities and convergence points to make happy life.

  9. viraj sinha

    hey i just started using suse from 11.3 so can anyone please tell me how to switch from opensuse 11.3 to 11.4

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    The only feature I care about is something that is lacking in the opensuse repo version: can it handle fonts correctly?

    I can’t tell you how many documents lose font information in random places.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I will assume silence means this bug is ongoing, meaning it is worthless.

      • Helen South

        No Rusty, silence means this isn’t the place to resolve technical issues. I don’t know as much about fonts as I should, but I gather many are proprietary/copyrighted so that’s often the reason that they are sometimes substituted with an alternative that might not be quite what you want. Also some software may handle fonts differently or inconsistently. It doesn’t help that proprietary software developers seem to delight in making it hard to use their documents with open source!

        First make sure you have installed any available font packages. Then if you have an issue, ask in the forums – forums.opensuse.org and if you’re sure it’s a bug, file it appropriately:

        With your detailed feedback and bug reporting, hopefully we can make future releases even better for all users :)

        • Rusty Shackleford

          I wasn’t asking a technical question, I was asking if this package in the official repos actually works correctly, BIG difference.

  11. Release tomorrow?? It’s great!

  12. ReadBetweenTheLines

    The title says suse 11.4 (as oppose to subsequent release, like 11.5 etc, and not other Linux distro) is the first to ….

    Its a non issue.

  13. Donald

    I am extremely pleased with 11.4 and I have been using the Beta version. Windows 7, 64 bit works great inside Linux, however, the Microsoft Life Cam 5000 does not appear as a cam instead it only uses the mic portion. I don’t need the cam bad enough to run Windows from the Windows Partition.

  14. frispete

    Congrats for the move.

    Hopefully, the host of usability issues and small nags are getting addressed soon.
    Being responsible of a company installation of openSUSE, OOo could be a real showstopper, when it comes to advanced usage patterns.

    Where do you want me to leave such issues?


  15. My biggest complaint about OpenOffice was that the “keyboarding” was not-at-all compatible with the Microsoft Applications. Formulas in the Spreadsheet also were not the same. These little “nuances” are IMPORTANT to folks who work with it everyday.

    Hope these changes have made it into Libre Office …
    I’ll give ‘er a go!

    Richard A. Allcorn
    IT Networking.info

  16. Microsoft SuSE

    Fedora 15 Alpha did it before open(really?)suse.