The project was announced and a beta released on 28 September 2010. Between January 2011 (the first stable release) and October 2011, LibreOffice was downloaded approximately 7.5 million times. The project claims 120 million unique downloading addresses from May 2011 to May 2015, excluding Linux distributions, with 55 million of those being from May 2014 to May 2015.
An application designed for creating and editing mathematical formulae. The application uses a variant of XML for creating formulas, as defined in the OpenDocument specification. These formulas can be incorporated into other documents in the LibreOffice suite, such as those created by Writer or Calc, by embedding the formulas into the document.
A database management program, similar to Microsoft Access. LibreOffice Base allows for the creation and management of databases as well as the preparation of forms and reports that provide end users easy access to data. Like Access, it can be used to create small embedded databases that are stored with the document files (using Java-based HSQLDB and C++ based Firebird as its storage engine), and for more demanding tasks it can also be used as a front-end for various database systems, including Access databases (JET), ODBC/JDBC data sources, and MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL or Microsoft Access.
Work is ongoing to transition the embedded storage engine from HSQLDB to the Firebird SQL back-end. Firebird has been included in LibreOffice as an experimental option since LibreOffice 4.2.
Screenshot of LibreOffice 5.3 Writer using the MUFFIN interface running on Ubuntu 16.04
Historically predecessors of LibreOffice, back to StarOffice 3, have run on Solaris with SPARC CPUs that Sun Microsystems (and later Oracle) made. Unofficial ports of LibreOffice, versions now obsolete, have supported SPARC. Current unofficial ports of LibreOffice 5.2.5 run only on Intel-compatible hardware, up to for Solaris 11.
In 2011, developers announced plans to port LibreOffice both to Android and to iOS. A beta version of a document viewer for Android 4.0 or newer was released in January 2015; In May 2015, LibreOffice Viewer for Android was released with basic editing capabilities.
The LibreOffice Impress Remote application for various mobile operating systems allows for remote control of LibreOffice Impress presentations.
LibreOffice Online is the online office suite edition of LibreOffice. It allows for the use of LibreOffice through a web browser by using the canvas element of HTML5. Development was announced at the first LibreOffice Conference in October 2011, and is ongoing. The Document Foundation, IceWarp, and Collabora announced a collaboration to work on its implementation. A version of the software was shown in a September 2015 conference, and the UK Crown Commercial Service announced an interest in using the software. On 15 December 2015, Collabora, in partnership with ownCloud, released a technical preview of LibreOffice Online branded as Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE). In July 2016, Nextcloud and Collabora partnered to bring CODE to Nextcloud users. By October 2016, Collabora had released nine updates to CODE. The first source code release of LibreOffice Online was done with LibreOffice version 5.3 in February 2017. In June 2019, CIB software GmbH officially announced its contributions to LibreOffice Online and "LibreOffice Online powered by CIB".
Comparison with OpenOffice
A detailed 60-page report in June 2015 compared the progress of the LibreOffice project with the related project Apache OpenOffice. It showed that "OpenOffice received about 10% of the improvements LibreOffice did in the period of time studied."
LibreOffice can use the GStreamer multimedia framework in Linux to render multimedia content such as videos in Impress and other programs.
Visually, LibreOffice used the large "Tango style" icons that are used for the application shortcuts, quick launch icons, icons for associated files and for the icons found on the toolbar of the LibreOffice programs in the past. They were also used on the toolbars and menus by default. Later LibreOffice integrated multiple icon themes to adapt the look and feel of specific desktop environment, such as Colibre for Windows, and Elementary for GNOME.
LibreOffice also ships with a modified theme which looks native on GTK-based Linux distributions. It also renders fonts via Cairo on Linux distributions; this means that text in LibreOffice is rendered the same as the rest of the Linux desktop.
With version 6.2, LibreOffice includes a Ribbon-style GUI, called Notebookbar, including three different views.
This feature has formerly been included as an experimental feature in LibreOffice 6 (experimental features must be enabled from LibreOffice settings to make the option available in the View menu).
LibreOffice has a feature similar to WordArt called Fontwork.
The LibreOffice project uses a dual LGPLv3 (or later) / MPL 2.0 license for new contributions to allow the license to be upgraded. Since the core of the OpenOffice.org codebase was donated to the Apache Software Foundation, there is an ongoing effort to get all the code rebased to ease future license updates. At the same time, there were complaints that IBM had not in fact released the Lotus Symphony code as open source, despite having claimed to. It was reported that some LibreOffice developers wanted to incorporate some code parts and bug fixes which IBM already fixed in their OpenOffice fork.
A timeline of major derivatives of StarOffice and OpenOffice.org with LibreOffice in green
ooo-build, Go-oo and Oracle
Members of the OpenOffice.org community who were not Sun Microsystems employees had wanted a more egalitarian form for the OpenOffice.org project for many years; Sun had stated in the original OpenOffice.org announcement in 2000 that the project would eventually be run by a neutral foundation and put forward a more detailed proposal in 2001.
Ximian and then Novell had maintained the ooo-build patch set, a project led by Michael Meeks, to make the build easier on Linux and due to the difficulty of getting contributions accepted upstream by Sun, even from corporate partners. It tracked the main line of development and was not intended to constitute a fork. It was also the standard build mechanism for OpenOffice.org in most Linux distributions and was contributed to by said distributions.
In 2007, ooo-build was made available by Novell as a software package called Go-oo (ooo-build had used the go-oo.org domain name as early as 2005), which included many features not included in upstream OpenOffice.org. Go-oo also encouraged outside contributions, with rules similar to those later adopted for LibreOffice.
Sun's contributions to OpenOffice.org had been declining for some time, they remained reluctant to accept contributions and contributors were upset at Sun releasing OpenOffice.org code to IBM for IBM Lotus Symphony under a proprietary contract, rather than under an open source licence.
Sun was purchased by Oracle Corporation in early 2010. OpenOffice.org community members were concerned by Oracle's behaviour towards open source software,[unreliable source?] the Java lawsuit against Google and Oracle's withdrawal of developers and lack of activity on or visible commitment to OpenOffice.org, as had been noted by industry observers - as Meeks put it in early September 2010, "The news from the Oracle OpenOffice conference was that there was no news." Discussion of a fork started soon after.
The Document Foundation and LibreOffice
On 28 September 2010, The Document Foundation was announced as the host of LibreOffice, a new derivative of OpenOffice.org. The Document Foundation's initial announcement stated their concerns that Oracle would either discontinue OpenOffice.org, or place restrictions on it as an open source project, as it had on Sun's OpenSolaris.
LibreOffice 3.3 beta used the ooo-build build infrastructure and the OpenOffice.org 3.3 beta code from Oracle, then adding selected patches from Go-oo. Go-oo was discontinued in favour of LibreOffice. Since the office suite that was branded "OpenOffice.org" in most Linux distributions was in fact Go-oo, most moved immediately to LibreOffice.
Oracle was invited to become a member of The Document Foundation. However, Oracle demanded that all members of the OpenOffice.org Community Council involved with The Document Foundation step down from the OOo Community Council, claiming a conflict of interest.
The name "LibreOffice" was picked after researching trademark databases and social media, as well as after checks were made to see if it could be used for URLs in various countries. Oracle rejected requests to donate the OpenOffice.org brand to the project.
LibreOffice was initially named BrOffice in Brazil. OpenOffice.org had been distributed as BrOffice.org by the BrOffice Centre of Excellence for Free Software because of a trademark issue.
End of OpenOffice.org and beginning of Apache OpenOffice
The act of creating The Document Foundation and its LibreOffice project did no demonstrable harm to Oracle's business. There is no new commercial competition to Oracle Open Office (their commercial edition of OO.o) arising from LibreOffice. No contributions that Oracle valued were ended by its creation. Oracle's ability to continue development of the code was in no way impaired. Oracle's decision appears to be simply that, after a year of evaluation, the profit to be made from developing Oracle Open Office and Oracle Cloud Office did not justify the salaries of over 100 senior developers working on them both. Suggesting that TDF was in some way to blame for a hard-headed business decision that seemed inevitable from the day Oracle's acquisition of Sun was announced is at best disingenuous.
In March 2015, an LWN.net comparison of LibreOffice with its cousin project Apache OpenOffice concluded that "LibreOffice has won the battle for developer participation".
AutoCorrect exception list function has been extended to avoid auto-capitalization in words like mRNA, iPhone, fMRI
Add "Send Outline to Clipboard" button to Navigator -> Context Menu
New bottom-to-top, left-to-right writing direction in table cells and text frames
Support importing charts from DOCX drawingML group shapes
New interface add Word form controls
New UNO API to let cell anchored graphics resize with the cell
New Russian ruble currency symbol (?) to currency formats
New drop-down widget into formula bar instead old tool Sum
New checkbox to trim input range to the actual data content
Add With replacement and Keep order checkboxes for Sampling
FOURIER function to computes discrete Fourier transform [DFT] of an input array
Impress and Draw:
Various improvements for importing SmartArt from PPTX files
Firebird Migration Assistant is enabled by default
Add palette selection to options charts default colors
Introduce attributes harpoon and wideharpoon for an alternative representation of vectors
Core / General:
LibreOffice TWAIN module can work on both 32-bit and 64-bit on Windows
New UNO command to insert narrow no-break space via keyboard shortcut
Tip-Of-The-Day dialog shows useful information once per day on startup
What's-New infobar pointing to the release notes after update
Sentence selection (triple click) is available for keyboard customization
Support redacting documents
Various improvements on EMF+, PDF and OOXML filters
Tabbed Compact UI is available in public
Contextual Single UI is available in public
This version removed support for Firefox personas.
Since March 2014 and version 4.2.2, two different major "released" versions of LibreOffice are available at any time, in addition to development versions (numbered release candidates and dated nightly builds). The versions are designated to signal their appropriateness for differing user requirements. Releases are designated by three numbers separated by dots. The first two numbers represent the major version (branch) number, and the final number indicates the bugfix releases made in that series. LibreOffice designates the two release versions as:
"Fresh" - the most recent major version (branch), which contains the latest enhancements but which may have introduced bugs not present in the "still" release.
"Still" (formerly "Stable") - the prior major version, which, by the time it has become the "still" version, has had around six months of bug fixing. It is recommended for users for whom stability is more important than the latest enhancements.
LibreOffice uses a time-based release schedule for predictability, rather than a "when it's ready" schedule. New major versions are released around every six months, in January or February and July or August of each year. The initial intention was to release in March and September, to align with the schedule of other free software projects.
Minor bugfix versions of the "fresh" and "still" release branches are released frequently.
Users and deployments
LibreOffice weekly downloads since 2010.
The figure shows the wordwide number of LibreOffice users from 2011 to 2018 in millions. References are in the text.
2011:The Document Foundation estimated in September 2011, that there were 10 million users worldwide who had obtained LibreOffice via downloads or CD-ROMs. Over 90% of those were on Windows, with another 5% on OS X. LibreOffice is the default office suite for most Linux distributions, and is installed when the operating system is installed or updated. Based on International Data Corporation reckonings for new or updated Linux installations in 2011, The Document Foundation estimated a subtotal of 15 million Linux users. This gave a total estimated user base of 25 million users in 2011. In 2011, the Document Foundation set a target of 200 million users worldwide before the end of 2020.
2013: In September 2013, after two years, the estimated number of LibreOffice users was 75 million. A million new unique IP addresses check for downloads each week.
2015: In 2015, LibreOffice was used by 100 million users and 18 governments.
2016: In August 2016, the number of LibreOffice users was estimated at 120 million.
2018: The Document Foundation estimated in 2018 that there are 200 million active LibreOffice users worldwide. About 25% of them are students and 10% Linux users (who automatically receive LibreOffice through their distribution). In comparison, Microsoft Office was used in 2018 by 1.2 billion users.
LibreOffice has seen various mass deployments since its inception:
In 2003-2004, the Brazilian corporation Serpro started migrating its software to BrOffice (the local version of LibreOffice at the time), with estimated value of BRL 3.5 million (approximately US$1.2 million at the time), and became a case study for similar initiatives in Brazil, particularly in e-government.
In 2005, the French Gendarmerie announced its migration to OpenOffice.org. It planned to migrate 72,000 desktop machines to a customised version of Ubuntu (GendBuntu) with LibreOffice by 2015.
In 2010, the Irish city of Limerick gradually started migrating to open-source solutions to free itself from vendor lock-in and improve its purchase negotiation power. One of the key aspects of this move has been the use of LibreOffice.
The administrative authority of the Île-de-France region (which includes the city of Paris) included LibreOffice in a USB flash drive given to students which contains free open-source software. The USB flash drive is given to approximately 800,000 students.
It was announced that thirteen hospitals of the Copenhagen region would gradually switch to LibreOffice, affecting "almost all of the 25,000 workers".
In July, the Spanish city of Las Palmas switched its 1,200 PCs to using LibreOffice, citing cost savings of EUR400,000.
The administration of Umbria, Italy, started a project to migrate an initial group of 5,000 civil workers to LibreOffice.
The city of Largo, Florida, US has been a long-time user of open-source software using Linux thin clients. Originally using OpenOffice.org, the city of Largo switched to LibreOffice in 2013.
In June, the government of the Italian province of South Tyrol will be switching 7,000 PCs in administration and "many more thousands" of PCs in health services using LibreOffice and ODF.
In August, the administration of the Spanish autonomous region of Valencia has completed the migration of all 120,000 PCs of the administration, including schools and courts, to LibreOffice.
The German city of Munich announced that it would transition from OpenOffice to LibreOffice in the near future. This is in line with Munich's long term commitment to using open-source software. Munich uses LiMux, an Ubuntu Linux derivative, on nearly all of the city's 15,000 computers. The city of Munich is the second public administration to join the advisory board at the Document Foundation. News appeared in 2014 that the Council is considering migrating back to Microsoft Windows & Microsoft Office but was later denied. Based on a study, the mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, initiated the re-investigation of the scenario of migrating back to Microsoft systems. The trustworthiness of the study is questionable because the company has been "Microsoft's Alliance Partner of the Year" for nine years. Further details were issued by the Document Foundation.
The French city of Toulouse announced it saved EUR1 million by migrating thousands of workstations to LibreOffice.
The Italian Ministry of Defence announced that it would install LibreOffice on 150,000 PCs.
The Italian city of Bari replaced Microsoft Office with LibreOffice on its 1,700 PCs.
LibreOffice was officially made available for all UK Government agencies nationwide. Annual cost saving on a subscription for 6,500 users compared to MS Office is approximately 900,000 GBP.
In July 2015, the IT project manager working for the administration of Nantes (France's sixth largest city) talked about the ongoing switch of its 5,000 workstations to LibreOffice started in 2013. According to the IT project manager, the switch to LibreOffice allowed the administration to save EUR1.7 million.
As of 2015, LibreOffice is installed on almost all of the 500,000 workstations of the 11 French ministries members of the MIMO working group. The MIMO working group was the first public administration to join the advisory board at the Document Foundation.
The Taiwanese county of Yilan would purchase no more Microsoft Office licenses and turned to ODF and LibreOffice.
Lithuanian police switched to LibreOffice on over 8,000 workstations, citing cost savings of EUR1 million.
The majority (75%) of municipalities in the Walloon region of Belgium use open source software and services which include LibreOffice. As of March 2017, over 20,000 public administration staff and many times more citizens use the services.
The Spanish autonomous region of Galicia announced plans to finalize its switch to LibreOffice at several central government services and ministries, making LibreOffice the only office productivity suite on 6,000 workstations.
The city of Rome, Italy, began installing LibreOffice on all of its 14,000 PC workstations, in parallel to the existing proprietary office suite. It is one of the planned steps to increase the city's use of free and open-source software, aiming to reduce lock-in to IT vendors.
Barcelona, Spain announced its transition to LibreOffice from Microsoft Office in January 2018. The change was part of a broader shift from proprietary to open-source software, and the city council aimed to eventually reach "full technological sovereignty" by eliminating its dependency on Microsoft products. During the announcement, Barcelona indicated that it would dedicate 70 percent of its software budget to open-source software.
Collabora supplies the branded and customised LibreOffice versions LibreOffice Vanilla for Mac, GovOffice, Collabora Office, Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) and Collabora Online.
EuroOffice is a derivative of LibreOffice with free and non-free extensions developed by Hungarian-based MultiRacio Ltd.
CIB software GmbH develops and supplies the branded and customized LibreOffice versions called "LibreOffice powered by CIB" and "LibreOffice Online powered by CIB". The software on Microsoft Store is available in two flavours called "LibreOffice Vanilla", with the official The Document Foundation brand and "LibreOffice powered by CIB".
^Meeks, Michael (2 May 2015). "LibreOffice: What's New?"(PDF). OpenSUSE conference 2015 Den Haag. p. 4. Retrieved 2015. Tracking direct download Update Ping origins. Excludes all Linux Distributions downloads ~120m so far ( + Linux ) This time last year @ openSUSE con. was ~65m
^Dölle, Mirko (4 November 2010). "Die Woche: Bad Company Oracle?" [The Week: Bad Company Oracle?]. Heise Open Source (in German). Heinz Heise. Retrieved 2013. Nach der Übernahme von Sun hatte Oracle offenbar etliche Entwickler vom OpenOffice-Projekt abgezogen, was zu empfindlichen Verzögerungen bei der Weiterentwicklung geführt hat. [After the acquisition of Sun, Oracle apparently took several developers off the OpenOffice project, which led to severe delays in development.]