The Document Foundation has announced the release of LibreOffice 4.4 with what is claimed to be a completely overhauled user interface which ditches the 90s aesthetic of previous versions.
Launched in 2011 as a fork of the OpenOffice.org project following community displeasure with Oracle's control, LibreOffice has become the most popular open source productivity suite around. Its code base has undergone considerable revision since the fork, but its user interface - heavily inspired by the Microsoft Office releases of the late 90s and early 2000s - has been relatively stagnant. Its latest release, LibreOffice 4.4.0, is the Document Foundation's attempt to change that.
'LibreOffice 4.4 has got a lot of UX [user experience] and design love, and in my opinion is the most beautiful ever,
' claimed Jan 'Kendy' Holesovsky, leader of the design team at the Document Foundation. 'We have completed the dialogue conversion, redesigned menu bars, context menus, toolbars, status bars and rulers to make them much more useful. The Sifr monochrome icon theme is extended and now the default on OS X. We also developed a new Colour Selector, improved the Sidebar to integrate more smoothly with menus, and reworked many user interface details to follow today's UX trends.
While the most obvious changes are visual, the underlying software is much-improved as well. The quality of the code base has been boosted following an analysis by specialist Coverity, while compatibility with the Microsoft OOXML file format has been improved. OpenGL acceleration of slide transitions is now supported in the Windows build of LibreOffice Impress, while all platforms can enjoy significantly boosted media capabilities.
A full list of release notes is available on the official website
, as is the free download