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Oracle Updates OpenOffice 3.3 and Debuts Cloud Office 1.0

Forget about forks: Oracle is pushing forward on its own with a new OpenOffice release and the debut of a cloud office offering. LibreOffice 3.3 isn't too far behind either.

Oracle is out this week with the Open Office 3.3 and Oracle Cloud Office 1.0 releases, introducing new features and technologies to users.

The OpenOffice.org open source office suite is a key piece of technology that Oracle acquired as part of its purchase of Sun Microsystems. Open Office is also an area of controversy for Oracle with a fork called LibreOffice already in progress.

Michael Bemmer, vice president of Oracle Office told InternetNews.com that Oracle Open Office 3.3 introduces a number of improvements for end users. Bemmer noted that that the 3.3 release includes enhanced usability for presentation editing and improved slide handling. Additionally the 3.3 release has integration with Oracle Business Intelligence, Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle Universal Content Management solutions as well as overall improvements in performance, stability and compatibility.

Under Oracle, the former Sun Star Office team, which helped to lead OpenOffice.org development, now operates as the Oracle Office Global Business Unit.

"Oracle Office is the product family name for our products that include Oracle Cloud Office and Oracle Open Office," Bemmer said.

While Oracle now leads Open Office development, the codebase includes contributions from other vendors, including Novell. Michael Meeks, distinguished engineer at Novell, told InternetNews.com that his company contributed code for the Calc spreadsheet that enables it to handle up to 1 million rows. Novell also contributed an automatic decimal digits feature in addition to improved CSV support.

"Around half of the new calc features are our work," Meeks said. "These were implemented before the creation of LibreOffice, and were assigned to Oracle for inclusion there."

Going forward, Novell's contributions are not likely to be going to Oracle Open Office development any more. Meeks noted that with the advent of LibreOffice the practice of contributing code to Oracle Open Office will cease.

"So we expect to diverge more rapidly, and be more effective too, freed from the OO.o (OpenOffice.org) process burden of getting that code included," Meeks said.

LibreOffice is currently at its 3.3 release candidate one (RC1) stage, though Meeks stressed that LibreOffice 3.3 is not the same as Open Office 3.3.

"It is a different and increasingly distinct application," Meeks said. "There is a large amount of work flowing into LibreOffice in addition to what is in OpenOffice 3.3."

Oracle Cloud Office

In addition to the Open Office 3.3 release, Oracle is also debuting a new cloud offering called Cloud Office.

"Oracle Cloud Office is an entirely new developed code base," Bemmer said. "Both products, however, are based on the ODF open standard."

Bemmer noted that there is no open source version of Oracle Cloud Office. Currently, Cloud Office is available via perpetual or subscription license for on-premise or on-demand deployment.

In terms of the cloud hosting infrastructure used for Cloud Office, Bemmer explained that it's up to customers.

"Cloud Office is a standard Java server application with HTML/AJAX frontend deployable on various setups," Bemmer said. "It is also available for Telco/ISP SaaS deployments."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.




Tags: open source, Oracle, cloud computing, cloud deployment, OpenOffice


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