LibreOffice is officially available in the Mac App Store for the first time ever. After years of manual installs and updates the open source office suite can now be downloaded by Apple users with the perks of automatic updates, long-term maintenance, and support options. Known as LibreOffice Vanilla, the release of the free download in the Mac App Store is a huge achievement by the Collabora community. However, a customized Collabora version can be purchased for $10 (LibreOffice-from-Collabora).
“The difference between LibreOffice Vanilla and upstream LibreOffice is the addition of a small and easy to dismiss nag dialogue that encourages people to support the Document Foundation (since they miss the download page that does this) and also tells people about LibreOffice from Collabora,” said Michael Meeks, VP of Productivity in a conversation with IT World. Meeks is basically saying that LibreOffice Vanilla and LibreOffice-from-Collabora are identical except that the latter costs money and comes with three years of support while Vanilla doesn’t come with the same welcome screen.
The open-source software has also been made available as a document viewer for Android with alpha editing options. Although exciting, the fact that the office suite made it past the Apple thought police overshadows everything else. Getting into the Mac App Store took an insane amount of hard work like sandboxing, changing the behavior of the software to obey rules about read-write access to files within packages, code-signing, and dealing with changes in Apple’s rules throughout the entire process.
Collabora’s LibreOffice already supported a wide-range of third-party apps for Mac OS X (Windows and Linux) before their App Store debut but it is important to note that this doesn’t take away from Collabora’s achievement. Now that LibreOffice has made it into the App Store, Collabora fans will eagerly be awaiting the release of LibreOffice 5.0 in July.
What do you think will happen now that open-source software like LibreOffice has broken into the Mac App Store? Will other organizations think its worth the effort and follow suite or will it all just blow over?