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Ubuntu Ditches OpenOffice For LibreOffice

The April Linux release will include the Document Foundation's productivity suite instead of Oracle's software.
When it becomes available in April, Ubuntu will include the Document Foundation's LibreOffice -- not Oracle OpenOffice -- as its office suite.

Previously, the popular Linux distribution used OpenOffice -- and continues to tout the features of this application suite on its Web site. But rumors of a switch began swirling in October, a month after the Document Foundation took over development of the newly renamed LibreOffice following Oracle's acquisition of Sun.

Sun had been the steward of OpenOffice and Oracle purchased OpenOffice along with Sun's other assets.

When Canonical released the first alpha version of Ubuntu 11.04, dubbed Natty Narwhal Alpha 1, in December, that version of the software included OpenOffice. However, Canonical -- as well as Google, Novell, and Red Hat -- was an early supporter of the open source office suite.

On Tuesday, LibreOffice is scheduled to release version 3.3 of the suite, only five days after unveiling a release candidate. The software, available in 30 languages, supports all major operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Linux such as Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, and Suse. New features include a new common search toolbar; an enhanced print interface; redesigned thesaurus; improved chart defaults; faster Excel imports; same-case auto-correction; and online help.

The Document Foundation on Sunday also kicked off its LibreOffice design team, a group that focuses on enhancing the software's user experience, visual identity design, accessibility, and user support and training, said Christoph Noack, user experience co-lead at the Document Foundation.