LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 1 Available, Oracle Unchains OpenOffice

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April 15 brought some interesting developments in the office suite front. Oracle's press release announcing its intention of halting commercial interest in OpenOffice.org came hours before The Document Foundation announced the release of LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 1.

Today, only a couple of months after its initial commercial release, Oracle announced that it would move OpenOffice.org to a purely community-based Open Source project. The only reason given was "the breadth of interest in free personal productivity applications and the rapid evolution of personal computing technologies." This might be interpreted to mean that the commercial offering didn't sell very well since most folks prefer the no-cost option. Oracle may not wish to invest further funding in a product that will not support itself. So, they just gave OpenOffice.org back to the Open Source community.

However, shortly after Oracle's news, The Document Foundation announced their next developmental release for the upcoming 3.4.

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Too Little, Too Late

pcworld.com: It's hard to say for certain what prompted Oracle to do an about-face on Friday and release OpenOffice.org to the community. After all, it was only a few short months ago that the company made clear its intentions to keep control of the productivity suite itself, spurring the creation of the Document Foundation and its LibreOffice fork.

It's not yet entirely clear what, exactly, Oracle plans to do with the software. Will it give it to the Document Foundation, for instance? And will it retain rights to the OpenOffice brand? The answers to both questions remain to be seen, and Oracle has reportedly declined to comment about them.

It certainly seems safe to assume that the commercial version of the software hasn't been selling too well--not well enough, anyway.

The World Has Moved On

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