LibreOffice 4.0: The Big Changes Will Be Under The Hood

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | ZDNet | January 27, 2013

There's a new major version of open-source LibreOffice office suite on its way, but developers, not end-users, will be the ones who will notice the real changes.

I use LibreOffice as my main office suite every day on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. So, when I saw that there a new major release due in early February LibreOffice 4.0, I was excited. It turns out though that while there will be some improvements for users like myself, the significant changes will be for developers.

As Charles-H. Schulz, one of LibreOffice's founders and a member of its parent group, The Document Foundation, explained, "In a sense, the 4.0 is actually an existential release, as it marks the departure from the past, the inclusion of new technologies and a more coherent and effective story on licensing. … The 4.0 is not just an update, it represents a deep change for LibreOffice and enables us to come closer to fulfilling our mission: to create the tools for knowldedge and the instruments of freedom.

Well that sounds interesting, but what is an "existential" release? It's really two things. First, there are going to be "Major changes in the API [application programming interface]." Taken together this will be " the most important API cleanup that has ever occurred since the beginning of… 1.x." LibreOffice is an OpenOffice fork...