February 07, 2013, 4:59 PM — With the release of LibreOffice 4.0, the Document Foundation continues to makes strides in preparing the open source office suite for enterprise use, adding the ability to work with many ECM (enterprise content management) systems and updated compatibility with many Microsoft file formats.
"LibreOffice continues to be the chief free alternative to Microsoft Office, and the improvements [in version 4.0] make it more attractive," said Forrester analyst Phil Karcher.
LibreOffice 4.0 provides a way for organizations to link LibreOffice with their content management systems, including Microsoft SharePoint, Alfresco, IBM FileNet P8, Nuxeo, OpenText, SAP NetWeaver Cloud Service and others. The software uses the CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) standard to communicate with these systems.
With CMIS, you can check documents in and out of ECM systems directly from LibreOffice. "Previously you could do this, but you had to use a horrible Web interface," said Michael Meeks, who is a Free Software Engineer for SUSE, and one of the key managers of LibreOffice development.
LibreOffice 4.0 comes with a number of other enterprise-friendly features as well. The suite can now also import documents from the latest versions of Microsoft Visio and Microsoft Publisher. It can also better render text documents written in the Microsoft .DOCX and the RTF (Rich Text Format) formats.
LibreOffice also provides some help for executives making presentations with LibreOffice's Impress. Someone running a slide presentation in a group meeting can use an Android smartphone as a remote control. Impress can now show both the notes and the presentation on the presenter's phone while displaying the actual presentation page on the display for the audience, and keep the two in synch. The remote only works with Linux computers, though a version is being ported to Windows as well, Meeks said.
The Calc spreadsheet is being refined to match the capabilities of Microsoft's Excel. Charts can now be exported as images. New functions have been added, and performance overall has been improved. "The spreadsheet is still not at [Microsoft] Excel's level, but we're trying to improve scalability, storage size and performance in lots of ways, and making good performance there," Meeks said.