LibreOffice might be coming to Android

In today's Android roundup: LibreOffice might eventually be released for Android. Plus: Android-x86 4.4 KitKat for PCs, and a screenshot tour of Android-x86 4.4 KitKat

LibreOffice is one of the best known and most popular open source office suites available. Millions of people use it each day around the world on their desktop computers. TechRepublic reports that LibreOffice may eventually appear on Android devices.

According to TechRepublic:

There is no set release date at this point. Until the developers get the file size below the Google limit, they are unable to predict a release. Until then, however, we'll just have to sit back and wait -- and hope this happens across the Google landscape. Even though LibreOffice would be in direct competition with Google Docs, it's clear that there are some users who not only need native ODF support, but rely on a more traditional office suite to fulfill those needs.

Although I'll continue my dependence upon Google Docs, having the addition of LibreOffice on Android (and Chromebooks... fingers crossed) would make my life incredibly more efficient.

More at TechRepublic
LibreOffice for Android
Image credit: TechRepublic

The sooner LibreOffice is released for Android, the better. As the article notes, there is a real need for Open Document Format (ODF) support in Android, and a LibreOffice release would go a long way toward fixing that. Unfortunately, there is no release date set for LibreOffice for Android so a final release could be a long way off.

You can see the latest information about LibreOffice for Android on the Document Foundation's Android development page. There's also a Reddit thread about LibreOffice for Android that contained this interesting message that took exception to some comments in the TechRepublic story:

"As someone contributing to LO I really feel that this sensationalist article is doing more harm than good. The author clearly lacks understanding of the LO codebase with nonsense statements such as "The plan didn't include a total rewrite of the code, but repurposing at least 90% of the current code base. That meant the majority of the work was already done. That last remaining 10%? The user interface. The 90% already compiles on Android -- so there is a working model. "

I get it. It's supposed to give the uninitiated a sense of how complete it is and how far they've come. Never mind the fact that amongst other things had they to replace a homegrown build system with standard GNU make in order to at all get a chance at compiling it for Android.

Those 10 % are not just UI, they are the port (and improvement) of their platform abstraction layer, document rendering methods etc.

I'd love if some "tech journalists" would do more than just read blog posts, reinterpret it and drawing their own conclusions.

IMHO you're much better off, reading Michael Meek's blog or following the Document Foundation Planet than reading third-party mangled half-true, uninsightful news articles."

Ouch. Well, at the very least the TechRepublic article has drawn some media attention to LibreOffice for Android. And that's certainly not a bad thing if it helps bring greater awareness to the project.

Android-x86 4.4 KitKat for PCs

Softpedia reports on Android-x86 4.4 KitKat for desktop computers.

According to Softpedia:

Android-x86, a port of the famous Android operating system for the x86 platform, has reached version 4.4 R1 and is now ready for testing.

Android is actually using a modified Linux kernel underneath that interface. Some users even go as far as calling it a Linux distribution, although the consensus seems to be that it's not. In any case, with some tweaking, a few developers managed to port the operating system to the PC, for the X86 platforms.

More at Softpedia
Android-x86 4.4 KitKat for PCs
Image credit: Softpedia

I haven't had a chance to use Android-x86 but it sounds like it could be fun to take it for a whirl and see how well it performs. I can't see using it regularly, but it's still a nice option for those who might choose to use it.

Android-x86 4.4 screenshot tour

Linux Screenshots has an in-depth screenshot tour of Android-x86 4.4 for desktop PCs.

According to Linux Screenshots:

Android-x86.org is glad to announce the 4.4-r1 release to public. This is the first stable release Android-x86 4.4 (KitKat-x86). The 4.4-r1 release is based on the Android 4.4.2 (KitKat-MR1) release. We have fixed and added x86-specific code to let the system run smoothly on x86 platforms, especially on tablets and netbooks.

The key features include: integrate FFmpeg as the stagefright plugin to support more multimedia files; use the latest long-term stable kernel, version 3.10.52, with more drivers enabled, most netbooks can run Android-x86 in the native resolution; OpenGL ES hardware acceleration for AMD Radeon and Intel chipsets; enhance the installer to support upgrade from previous versions.

More at Linux Screenshots
Android-x86 screenshots
Image credit: Linux Screenshots

You can get the latest updates and more information on the Android-x86 site. Also check out the Android-x86 discussion group to connect with other users.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

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