LibreOffice started with the 3.3 release; it then added micro releases with a third number next to the first two digits. As time went forward, so did the releases: 3.4.0, 3.4.1, 3.5.0, 3.5.1, onwards to the 3.6 branch, the last one to carry the number 3 as its major release number, and to the 4.0 and the 4.x.x based releases. This summer we will be releasing the 5.0, and you will hear a lot more about the changes and improvements that are being put into it. But when you think about it, we started our version numbering exactly based on the one of OpenOffice.org . In 2010, it meant something technically and something for the community and more broadly the users of OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice. Fast forward to 2015: does anybody really know what a “4.3” release mean? What message does this numbering scheme convey?
In September 2014, rumors were flying that Apache OpenOffice was floundering and might soon merge with LibreOffice. The rumors were denied, but revived in March 2015 when Jonathan Corbett used development activity statistics to show that OpenOffice was seriously short of developers, and had corporate support only from IBM. Now, OpenOffice's most recent report to the Apache Foundation appears to reinforce these previous reports, and then some.
To be fair, the report is listed as "a working copy and not to be quoted." However, I am discussing it anyway for two reasons. First, much of the report was mentioned in earlier reports, which suggests that its information is accurate. Second, when I contacted Jan Iversen, the new OpenOffice Chair, three weeks ago, he gave the same warning even more strongly. Since then the contents has gone through at least one more draft, but with little change of content, which makes me suspect that the excuse is an effort to delay discussion of the content. If I am mistaken, the fact will eventually become obvious, since the report is, after all, a public document.
The two companies already work together and enable Kolab users to read and write Kolab-hosted documents directly via the Open Standard WebDAV protocol.
Now they are taking this collaboration to the next level. Kolab says in a press statement, “To further improve the user experience and ease of configuration of LibreOffice products, engineers from the two companies will be working on an automated Kolab filecloud setup process at the Kolab Summit in a dedicated development room.”
While we've been looking forward to the new features of LibreOffice 4.5 as the leading open-source office suite, version 4.5 is no more. The next version of LO is now going to be LibreOffice 5.0.
To some surprise, this morning in Git, the version was bumped to 5.0 (188.8.131.52.alpha0+). There was no branching of LibreOffice 4.5 as it seems LibreOffice 4.5 is itself being renamed to LibreOffice 5.0.
One may notice that the points listed above loosely match the main points usually mentioned when discussing the benefits of ODF in the more standard settings of the desktop. This is not surprising, but it was not necessarily intended; if anything this is a testimony to the value of a standard like ODF and its importance. The key point here is that when it comes to the cloud and big data, ODF is both a factor of transparency and innovation. This is something worth promoting and is a potential path to renewed success of ODF in the future.