LibreOffice Debuts, Beating OpenOffice.org by a Whisker

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In the open-source movement, the forking of a project is often a contentious matter, and can lead to the demise or mothballing of the applications that spawn from the original software. In many ways, it’s a “nuclear option” as developers choose their allegiances and take their skills with them. Often, the result is the loss of momentum as well as mindshare for all the spawned projects. But it’s not an inevitable one: the January release of LibreOffice 3.3 shows that sometimes forking can lead to a positive outcome.

LibreOffice 3.3 is as polished as one might expect in a project that, for all its novelty, has many years of development work behind it. Although it’s probably not going to gain widespread acceptance in the corporate world, any outfit that’s looking for a solid toolset for users who don’t require a lot of handholding, or integration with Microsoft’s Office server applications, could do much worse than to choose it. For many users, this will have everything necessary in a desktop-productivity suite, for an unbeatable price: free, that is.

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