January 23, 2012, 2:43 PM — Hard on the heels of the release of the bug-fixing LibreOffice 3.4.5 last Monday, the Document Foundation on Friday published a release candidate version of LibreOffice 3.5, which will be the next major version of the office productivity software.
More than 150 volunteers helped in a "bug hunt" to refine the free and open source software in late December, identifying and filing more than 70 bugs. Now, continuing that effort, this new release candidate was subjected to similar testing this past weekend in the second official LibreOffice 3.5 bug hunt.
LibreOffice 3.5 is due for release in early February, and it's expected to include "a large number of interesting new features and performance improvements," according to a recent post on the Document Foundation blog.
Want an early taste? Though not intended for production purposes, there's nothing like a release candidate for a fairly reliable glimpse at what's to come, and LibreOffice 3.5.0 RC1 is available for free download for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X from the project's site.
Here are some of the highlights we can look forward to.
1. A Slimmer Package
Earlier this month I noted that LibreOffice developers have been making considerable progress in their effort to eliminate excess unused code, and it looks like that's already going to be noticeable in this new version. To wit: "Large amounts of dead code removal reducing code size & bloat" is explicitly mentioned in the core "Performance" section of the release notes for LibreOffice 3.5.
2. A Smoother GUI
A number of changes have been made to LibreOffice's user interface to make it more usable and attractive, including refined tools for customizing colors and better menu organization. Context-sensitive toolbars have now been moved to the bottom of the screen to prevent them from overlaying important parts of the document, and the dialog box that appears when you save in formats other than ODF has been improved.
3. Better Localization