If there was any doubt as to the long-term capability of LibreOffice to sprint ahead of Oracle-backed OpenOffice.org, those concerns pretty much just flew out the window. In a wildly successful fundraising effort, the Document Foundation has succeeded in collecting $68,800 (50,000 euros) in just eight days, effectively ensuring a future for the open-source productivity software suite.
Some 2000 donors from all over the world contributed the funds, which will serve as the capital stock necessary to set up the Document Foundation as a legal entity in Germany.
"We still can't believe it," said steering committee member Florian Effenberger. "It happened in such a short period of time and was beyond our wildest expectations."
The funds raised will serve as frozen assets for the foundation, however, which will be able to access just the annual interest they generate. From now through March 21, the group seeks ongoing donations to bankroll costs "for things such as marketing, hardware, infrastructure, attending trade shows, initial financing of merchandising material and, of course, developing new and exciting ideas," it explained.
Canonical Lends a Hand
Also this week, the Document Foundation publicly welcomed the participation of Ubuntu maker Canonical in LibreOffice development.
Canonical, in fact, has dedicated Bjoern Michaelsen to the effort as a full-time team member.
"Bjoern brings deep expertise on the LibreOffice core, and has spearheaded many improvements in his previous role at Oracle," a Document Foundation blog post reads. "We are excited to see his positive impact on LibreOffice, as well as in the Debian and Ubuntu versions of the future."
In the meantime, The Document Foundation has also released the first maintenance release of its productivity package, dubbed version 3.3.1.
Launched on Wednesday, the new micro-release improves the stability of the software and eliminates bugs and crashes affecting Windows, Linux and MacOS X versions. LibreOffice 3.3.1 also adds colorful new icons based on The Document Foundation branding guidelines and includes updates to several language versions.
Another minor release is planned for launch in a month or so, followed by a second feature release in early May. Meanwhile, LibreOffice 3.3.1 can be downloaded for Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X systems from the LibreOffice.org downloads page. The software is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPLv3).
Put it all together, and it looks like LibreOffice is off to an excellent start, with every indication of being in it for the long run. I use LibreOffice every day, and have found its cross-platform compatibility better than that of OpenOffice.org. How about you?
Follow Katherine Noyes on Twitter: @Noyesk .