LibreOffice 4.1 Beta 1 has finally arrived and once again highlights the exceptional talent of the 600+ developers working under the aegis of The Document Foundation to build one of the greatest office productivity on the open source program.
It is unbelievable that LibreOffice which forked from OpenOffice.org (the first open-source free office suite) when it was committed to Apache, is now backed by the most vibrant developer community allowing to achieve milestone after milestone in open-source history.
In its current version, LibreOffice 4.1 is more stable and comes loaded with a host of features that allow users to embed fonts directly in the editor–Writer, Calc as well as Impress. This helps in quick sharing as well. The most noticeable other feature that this version will provide is a graphic interface. This will then allow the introduction of a sidebar that is sourced from Lotus Symphony.
Incidentally, IBM had committed the Lotus Symphony office suite to Apache and released the source code. Based on this, OpenOffice too will launch AOO or Apache OpenOffice version 4.0x with a sidebar. Though there is a chance of introducing the same sidebar in LibreOffice, it is most likely that The Document Foundation will add to it substantially to improve the integration with the complete office suite.
With the new side bar, LibreOffice is expected to provide increased number of tools that will improve the experience over font management, color management and more.
In fact, it is possible to customize the sidebar to meet individual needs of the end-user.
Some of the great features now available on LibreOffice latest version include support to import HTML files (with more than 64,000 table cells); support 44 new features import and export in Excel 2013; shortcut to create wallpaper collections with Photo Album ; removed nearly 15,000 lines of Java leading to rewrite of Python wizard Agenda.
Additionally new media files will be supported including WMA, AAC and WMC; as well as creation of best list of just used documents along with a drop-down menu and open button. The search bar is also tweaked and will provide ‘perfect match.’ Gallery is hugely improved with new collection in Symphony. Another improvement is the hyphenation feature now available on text cells and figure cells.
As the stable version of LibreOffice is expected by late July 2013, it is expected that the graphical interface will be available. If you want to test this Beta release, you can download it from here.