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Apache OpenOffice 3.4 Arrives. Does Anyone Care?

Apache OpenOfficeFrom the 'Too Little, Too Late' files:

The first release of the 'new' Apache OpenOffice project is out today.

Forgive me for my lack of excitement.

Apache OpenOffice 3.4 is however a milestone as it does mark the successful transition of OpenOffice to Apache. It's a process that began in June of last year. I wasn't particularly fond of that move at that time either (yes I'm consistent in this opinion).

Oracle and/or Sun no longer run OOo, it is (in theory) a fully open source project run under the standard rule of Apache governance. This means there is proper governance and oversight and a commitment  to the Apache Way of developer meritocracy. It's important to note that Apache is still an incubated project at Apache and isn't yet a full project.

 "The release of Apache OpenOffice 3.4 shows just how successful the project has been: pulling in developers from over 21 corporate affiliations, while avoiding undue influence which is the death-knell of true open source communities; building a solid and stable codebase, with significant improvement and enhancements over other variants; and, of course, creating a healthy, vibrant and diverse user and developer community," Jim Jagielski, ASF President and an Apache OpenOffice project mentor said.

While I'm a huge fan of the ASF and Jagielski in particular, the divergence between LibreOffice and OOo at this point is very clear. Others (read Michael Meeks) have done a far better job than I ever could at actually comparing the codebases. From my own personal user perspective Apache OpenOffice 3.4 is a step up from its' legacy Oracle/Sun releases, but as a Linux user it's not a choice for me anymore. LibreOffice is simply faster and is directly tied to all of the leading Linux distros, something that OOo can no longer claim.

That said, for Windows and Mac users and those that don't yet know about LibreOffice and have only ever heard the name OpenOffice - as well as for IBM's Symphony users - Apache OpenOffice 3.4 (download link here) is a worthy alternative to proprietary office suites.



Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.