back to article Breath of fresh air: v7.3 of LibreOffice boasts improved file importing and rendering

Six months after LibreOffice 7.2, version 7.3 is out with faster and more accurate file importing and rendering for improved compatibility with Microsoft Office. The new release is the latest "fresh" version. The Document Foundation also offers a "still" edition, which is based on an older but more extensively tested release; …

  1. Zolko Silver badge

    I will skip this one too

    I tried 7.2 and it was very bad in many ways, came back to 7.1, which is quite good (= reliable). Will update to 7.1.8 though

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: I will skip this one too

      [Article author here]

      Oh really? Do tell.

      I suppose that is why there are two parallel release streams, though...

    2. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: I will skip this one too

      Yeah, I started skipping so many versions that, I actually started to personally maintain an old Gtk+2 era version (actually OpenOffice before the fork). I have been gradually stripping bloated crap out that I don't like and it is becoming pretty lean.

      I am quite happy with it. Other than Gtk+2 (I don't like Gtk+3 because the themes are gross), I have kept it building on modern platforms like OpenBSD and Linux. Perhaps one day I might formally release it as a "TraditionalOffice" fork.

      I actually did the same with Gimp and a Quake III level editor. No-one else seems to be maintaining good versions of these things (in the case of Gimp, just ruining them more). So I stepped up to the plate.

      1. keithpeter Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: I will skip this one too

        @karl^2

        "I actually started to personally maintain an old Gtk+2 era version (actually OpenOffice before the fork)."

        Most interesting... depends if your bloat = my essential feature of course (drawing tools for me) but well done.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I will skip this one too

      Interesting, I've had no real problems so far.

      The only thing that has been very, VERY annoying is that, despite the fact that they now offers versions explicitly compiled for the Mac M1 they still do not use the system for accented characters that is part of MacOS.

      As someone who has to occasionally work in various languages that is just hard to believe. Personally it's so simple I would want to see this on other platforms.

      The way LO implements accented characters is catastrophically bad. The UI for that is so bad that even Microsoft could not manage to making a worse one.

      1. Irony Deficient

        Re: I will skip this one too

        Is that an M1-only issue? I still use an older version of LibreOffice on an older version of Intel-only OS X, and I haven’t noticed any problems with entering characters in LibreOffice from several languages (using either my default input source with the usual Shift and Option modifiers, a language-specific input source, or my cobbled-together Compose key substitute) in either a text document or a spreadsheet.

      2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: I will skip this one too

        That's interesting. You're right – I just tried, and the key merely autorepeats.

        I use an elderly version of MS Word on macOS and so hadn't noticed. I rarely bother with diacritics in spreadsheets, for which I do use LO Calc.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    7,2,5 is now showing as the more extensively tested version.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Download failed

    Interesting. While reading this article I launched my LibreOffice and checked for updates. It opened the official site with a download button on the latest version, which I clicked on.

    The download progresses to almost the end, then indicates Failed. No file is recorded in my Downloads folder.

    Seems like they have something to correct.

    1. BenDwire Silver badge

      Re: Download failed

      All went well here, but I always download the .deb files and install manually. I did notice that it took a while to download, so I expect their servers are overloaded.

      As a rule I usually skip the x.0 releases, and wait until x.2, but I'm feeling rebellious today!

    2. molletts

      Re: Download failed

      I sometimes get weird download issues with the LibreOffice torrents (I seed all the "current" versions using spare bandwidth on my home server) - they get to 99% then go back to, say, 92% and re-download the last few MB. If one of them does this, it'll likely get stuck doing it repeatedly for hours before eventually completing successfully. I've never had this with other torrents (I also seed a few Linux distros' ISOs and some big X-Plane sccenery files).

  4. Lazlo Woodbine

    Word count inconsistencies

    I imagine this could be important for people who have to write to a strict word count, for me its a minor niggle.

    I'm writing a book, it's currently over 300k words long, but exactly how much over 300k is a mystery, as Word, LibreOffice 7.2, LibreOffice 7.3 and Google Docs all disagree by over 1,000 words.

    I'm guessing they differ in whether they count acronyms and stuff as words...

    1. WolfFan

      Re: Word count inconsistencies

      Well, MS famously can’t count, so one of the others might be more close to being correct.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Word count inconsistencies

        > Well, MS famously can’t count

        "Your document has 9000 words. No, wait, 9001. No, wait, 473,488,200. No, wait, 8999..."

    2. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Word count inconsistencies

      "I'm guessing they differ in whether they count acronyms and stuff as words..."

      I would believe that as well. Take an average?

    3. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Word count inconsistencies

      Some companies don't count some words and terms as they obviously don't exist: bug, error, faulty, patch, "bloody ribbon", Vista, Apple, insecure and the like ...

    4. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Word count inconsistencies

      Good nickname. :-)

      I haven't looked into this, but toward the end of my time as a tech-support type, lawyers still used WordPerfect when everyone else had moved to WinWord *because* WordPerfect famously had more accurate word-counts.

      As a humble freelance journo I used to get in the ballpark of a tenth of a penny per word or something. Senior lawyers may get more like 1000x more than that, so for them, it mattered. A lot.

      Word only counted the main body of the document, so footnotes were excluded, as were headers and footers, as were automatically-generated text such as tables of contents and indices. This was (allegedly) intended behaviour and so it never got fixed.

      WordPerfect counted *every word* wherever it was. Since this could add a multi-digit sum to the bill for a longer document, the legal profession strongly favoured WordPerfect. The difference on a single document with a double-digit page count could pay for a WordPerfect licence, even if they had MS Office already.

      I would not be surprised if such vicissitudes still plagued the tools you mention today.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From the article

    "The only restriction is that you can't run old and new simultaneously.

    OK, maybe there is a totally obvious reason that I am too thick to grasp, but why would anyone want to run 2 office suites simultaneously?

    1. Caver_Dave Silver badge

      Re: From the article

      To compare them side by side

      1. BenDwire Silver badge
        Boffin

        The article is incorrect on this point

        RTFM here

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: The article is incorrect on this point

          [Article author here]

          Can you clarify what you feel is incorrect and why, please?

          I wrote the article in LO 7.3 installed in parallel with 7.2.5. I did the install myself and I have both versions installed and working side by side, as I described.

  6. Someone Else Silver badge
    Coat

    From the article:

    Users that like the "fluent" interface in modern Microsoft products can flip between the traditional layout, with a text-based menu bar and multiple repositionable toolbars, and a more modern tabbed, multi-row ribbon.[Emphasis added]

    You say that as if it were a good thing.

    OK, I did see where later you said you abhor the ribbon, so you're forgiven.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Mushroom

      I saw that too, it's lucky the author wrote that as I was just about to borrow one of Mr Putin's finest...

  7. Nifty Silver badge

    Last time I used LibreOffice was getting some sort of file corruption that would lose a row of data (leave it blank) or transpose data in one column downwards one row so it no longer lined up with other data in its original row. Still not sure if this was me doing something wrong, or was it the result of opening an Excel file from the MS version. I'd only notice the issue on reopening a file. For a year now I've been renting Excel n a family licence but am thinking of stopping that.

  8. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Have they sorted the infamous General I/O Error" bug which users have been complaining about for at least eight years? Or do they still not care, because changing icons is soooooooooo much more fun than writing software which works.

    1. buchan

      I've never seen this 'infamous' bug, do you have a link to the bug report?

    2. Noel Grandin

      We actually spend virtually all our time fixing or improving stuff, tweaking icons is done by one or two guys very very occasionally.

  9. rcxb1

    Version numbers

    > OpenOffice – long orphaned by Oracle – its current version is 4.1.11. LibreOffice 4.1 was released way back in 2013, which means that OpenOffice now lags by nearly a decade.

    Right, because version numbers between different things are always equivalent. Version numbers are an objective metric of progress.

    Windows 11 users are primitive cave-men next to my far future Windows 95 installation. At the rate Windows version numbers are increasing, it'll take them centuries to catch up.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Version numbers

      They're forks of the same codebase. That's why the major and minor are comparable.

      As I understand it, OO has been in "security fixes only" mode since the Oracle debacle.

      Whether that's a good thing mostly depends on whether you care about newer file formats, I guess.

      1. rcxb1

        Re: Version numbers

        > They're forks of the same codebase.

        Yes.

        > That's why the major and minor are comparable.

        No.

        There is no external authority which makes LO and OO use similar version numbers for similar milestones.

        I could fork LibreOffice and release version 77.0 of XB1Office tomorrow, almost no effort required. How many years behind would that put LibreOffice?

        Apache OpenOffice 4.1.11 was released October 2021. What it contained is not at all comparable to what the old LibreOffice 4.1.x from 2013 contained.

        > OO has been in "security fixes only" mode

        Fair enough. That's doesn't make the statement about version numbers any more correct, however.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Version numbers

          Look at the timeline in the history section here. It's been stuck on 4.1.x since 2014. Nobody adds features when they bump up the version number by 0.0.1, it looks like nothing more than contractually obliged fixes to me.

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Version numbers

      Windows 11 users are primitive cave-men next to my far future Windows 95 installation. At the rate Windows version numbers are increasing, it'll take them centuries to catch up.

      I'm on Windows 2000, good luck catching up

  10. buchan

    > Right, because version numbers between different things are always equivalent. Version numbers are an objective metric of progress.

    No, but in this case they do seem to be.

    Go read the recent release notes for OpenOffice 4.1.11 (e.g. https://cwiki.apache.org/confluence/display/OOOUSERS/AOO+4.1.11+Release+Notes which notes 3 "improvements" and "4 bug fixes") vs. LibreOffice 7.2.5 "This version includes 90 bug fixes and improvements to document compatibility. The changelogs provide details of the fixes: changes in RC1 and changes in RC2." ( https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Releases/7.2.5/RC1 , https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Releases/7.2.5/RC2 ).

    OpenOffice is basically on life support only.

  11. John Sager

    A label saga

    I have an address database on LibreOffice that we only ever use for printing Xmas card labels once a year. The label template (7 X 3 A4) is a Writer doc. Every year I have trouble getting the labels to print properly because LibreOffice changes in some way under me. For 2020 I had to generate the label doc & then export it to PDF to get the registration right. For 2021 that didn't work, the registration was off again with the PDF. However this time, printing direct from LibreOffice was fine! Go figure. What worries me now is a scaling issue converting to PDF. Perhaps it was always there but masked by my ad-hoc fixes to get the registration right.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: A label saga

      I rarely print anything these days, so I can't say I've seen this. I'd had my little home laser printer for about a decade before I needed to put a new toner in, and it was 2nd hand and so not full when I got it.

      Could it be due to the printer drivers changing, rather than LO?

      Are any other apps affected?

      I'm not offering free tech support here. :-) I'm just pointing out a couple of possibilities that sprang immediately to mind...

    2. l8gravely

      Re: A label saga

      Have you tried using 'glabels' instead? It's a niche tool, but it excels at printing labels and data and has a huge database of vendor pre-printed labels. Good stuff.

      Linux/Unix/BSD? only though as far as I know.

  12. PhilipN Silver badge

    “More accurate file importing”

    Good luck with that. “Importing” files from one version of MS Word to another version on another OS is hardly 100%.

  13. Downeaster

    More on Version Numbers

    The version number arguments remind me of a few years ago when Google Chrome started going up one whole number for version numbers, For example, Chrome may have jumped from version 35 and the next browser release was 36. 36 being released a few months later. Firefox was still using the old decimal system. Version 4.1 might be replaced a few months later by Version 4.2. Soon Firefox switched to "go up one whole number approach" to keep up with Chrome. To some there was still the perception that Chrome 36 was much better and improved then the new Firefox 4.2. Apple had OSX for 20 years with different 10.x versions. Now it seems to be releasing on a yearly basis with versions 11 and 12 of their operating system. Microsoft had Windows 10 for many years and not to fall behind is now Windows 11. Trying indirectly to keep up with Apple. Guess Windows 10 isn't the last version of Windows! LibreOffice seems to be having yearly new releases of their upgraded Office Suite. OpenOffice still has the the incremental releases. OpenOffice has few developers and LibreOffice has a lot more so progress is moving faster. Many companies use the whole number version of their software to "show" faster improvement than those who use the old decimal point system.

    1. Jay 2

      Re: More on Version Numbers

      I am reminded when Windows 7 came out Sun decided that Solaris 2.6 would be followed by Solaris 7.

  14. bpfh
    Mushroom

    Does Base finally not suck?

    Looking for a half decent cross platform replacement for MS Access (yeah go on downvote me!), for local data wrangling.

    I tried using Base and gave up after 2 days massive frustration, no decent import functions that I could get working, and only workarounds to get data into the system was writing your own code, and more than a few other niggles on what I would consider basic use cases that should be in the UI and should not require having to glue that all together with custom code, which sort of defeats the object in my opinion.

    In the end I had to abandon the idea, and ended up rolling my own in php and sqlite, works a treat, but not the most user friendly way of doing things.

    Of course, if Microsoft ported Access to Mac, all my problems would be resolved in a heartbeat, but hell will freeze over before that happens...

    1. 502 bad gateway

      Re: Does Base finally not suck?

      If you know a smattering of Python then Pandas and or the SciPy packages are good for data wrangling in Jupyter.

      1. bpfh

        Re: Does Base finally not suck?

        I'll have a look into that. Thanks for the tip!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... "If, like the author, you abhor the ribbon"...

    From the very bottom of my heart, sir.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like