Apache OpenOffice 3.4, New Name, New Version

Martin Brinkmann
May 8, 2012
Updated • Jan 16, 2013

Changing the name of an established product is something that companies do not do very often. There are a number of reasons for that, from losing part of the products visibility and brand, to causing customer and user confusion.

When it comes to Open Office, we have seen quite the confusion in recent time. Back in 2010 when Oracle acquired Sun, the rights to OpenOffice went to Oracle as well. Many developers of the community did not like the move, and Oracle's plan to create a commercial version of OpenOffice, and decided to create LibreOffice, a fork based on the original OpenOffice code.

Oracle back in June 2011 decided to hand over the OpenOffice project to the Apache Foundation. This move made it clear that Oracle was not longer interested in distributing a commercial version of the Office suite, and that the company more or less had no interest in the project.

Today, a new version of OpenOffice was released, and with it came a name change to Apache OpenOffice. The change log lists a lot of changes, including faster startup times, improved CSV export, file size reductions for pdfs containing monochrome bitmaps, improved printing on Unix, enhanced chart visualizations, and a license change to Apache License 2.

The License has changed to our simpler, non-restrictive, Apache License 2. The Apache License will make adoption, distribution and modification of the software easier for all users and developers. Of course the software remains free, and the source code with its updates will continue to be available through the Apache Software Foundation servers.

Interested users can download the latest version of Apache OpenOffice 3.4 at the official website, where it is available for all supported operating systems and languages. The Windows installer has a size of about 145 Megabytes.

What's your take on the new name change? Confusing? Or just an inevitable step that does not really hurt the Office suite further? And while we are it it: which Office suite are you currently using primarily? (via Caschy)


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  1. Roman ShaRP said on May 10, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I had an issue with LibreOffice:

    they made change in code, making Writer Navigator Contents folded by default instead of all-open, and this was not customizable.

    For the documents I work with having contents navigation all-open all time is important, so I stuck with OOO. Functionality I need is preserved in AOO 3.4, so I’m happy to upgrade from OOO.

  2. kalmly said on May 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I use Libre Office on my laptop. It’s nice. I once used OO but it got cumbersome, and I ditched it. On my desktop I use Softmaker Office. Not free, but very nice.

    I guess I shouldn’t care what they call OpenOffice, but AOO, just isn’t as cool as OO. :)

  3. pd said on May 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Does it still require the JRE? If so, stuff that for a joke!

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      I do not have Java installed on my system and it is working fine, so no, it does not.

  4. Dels said on May 9, 2012 at 4:05 am

    So any change any comparisson between the new Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice?

    1. SubgeniusD said on May 9, 2012 at 4:57 am

      This comparison is even better – a 3 way comparison between all of them. As an infrequent office app user (Excel at work) I don’t get most of it but you might find it interesting.


      1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 9, 2012 at 9:02 am

        Great find, thanks Sub ;)

  5. Bart Degryse said on May 9, 2012 at 1:44 am

    I switched to LibreOffice too.
    I wonder however what will happen to the LibreOffice fork now that the sole reason for forking in the first place has totally disappeared. I think it would be good to join forces again and put an end to the existence of LibreOffice.

    1. Jim said on May 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      I second that. I think merging the two would be good for all, especially if the Symphony comes into play.

  6. loon said on May 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I like Lotus Symphony. It is small, fast, and intuitive. Unfortunately you don’t really hear too much about it since development appears to have halted.

    1. Ross Gardler said on May 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      You are in luck. IBM are ceasing their independent development of Symphony, donating the code to Apache OpenOffice, and continuing development there. Expect to see Symphony features arriving in the next release of OpenOffice.

  7. Roman ShaRP said on May 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    As I didn’t like Oracle attitude and policies, – some free Sun software become paid and licenses for other become more restrictive, – I welcome the change.

    As far as I know, software from Apache Foundation was released to common good without restrictions.

    So, it will be much pleasant for me to see “Apache” instead of “Oracle”. Always :)

    Р.S. For those who want to blame me for wanting/preferring free:

    for more than 4 years I work and earn my living testing software which is free for end users. Apps I worked on have thousands of rating marks (with average 4.5 from 5 for most popular ones), and hundreds of thousands installations.

    So don’t tell me that man cannot work and produce something great if it can be used for free.

  8. Ash said on May 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Apache? I never knew!

  9. Morten said on May 8, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    OpenOffice 3.4 opens without a hitch my draft book (150+ pages docx) that systematically crashes LibreOffice… now THIS is a good reason to switch back!

  10. bastik said on May 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    For the name change does not hurt.

    Nice to see a new version of OpenOffice.

    I switched from OpenOffice to LibreOffice as Oracle had control over OO, but wasn’t doing anything and LibreOffice had some improvements. Both don’t differ too much, so I don’t consider to switch back.

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