"The new LibreOffice open-source office suite "proves that
forking isn't always the kiss of death," says this eWEEK review.
New features in the Linux-ready release -- including wider document
format support, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) import into Draw and
Writer, enhanced presentation support, and an improved "save as"
feature -- should give OpenOffice some robust competition.
"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."
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