Devotees of open sourced do-it-all document suite LibreOffice have been eagerly awaiting an upgrade from the 4-point-something version that’s been available for some time, and now the wait is over. Skipping right over the planned version 4.5, the developers went straight to the 5.0, much to the delight of the folks at The Document Foundation.


In the new version, which still includes the highly user-friendly and free tools Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base, and Math, users will notice two great upgrades, right off the bat. First, there’s been a long-standing bug that has plagued fans of the suite ever since the first version rolled out for Linux eons ago, and that’s finally been tackled and beaten down. Basically, Writer couldn’t handle paragraphs with more than 65,000 characters; while that’s a mighty long paragraph if it goes beyond that, it’s not unheard of in non-fiction and scholarly writing. The next great update is that there’s an even more streamlined morphing of documents created in LibreOffice then transported over to a Microsoft tool.

Back in January, LibreOffice unveiled a facelift of sorts for the user interface, and 5.0’s is just as pretty as ever. Anyone who’s spent any amount of time seriously clunking around in Microsoft’s premium version of its Office suite will be even more at home in LibreOffice, since many of the same options and features are present and are strikingly familiar looking.

While version 5.0 is in beta and available now for download from FileHippo by clicking HERE, it won’t be launched in a widespread way until late July or even early August. The bug-fix-a-thon for this version started today in Berlin and will run through May 24th, so hopefully by the June launch of the second beta test, even more fixes will be available.