KOffice 2.3.0 Released
By Cyrille Berger
The KOffice team is happy to announce the 2.3 release of KOffice. This release brings many small improvements to all the KOffice applications, but not as many large new features. Among the most important new features are:
- Krita is now ready for professional artist use. This is thanks to the very focused effort by the Krita team after a meeting which resulted in a clear vision and well defined goals. More details are available in Krita 2.3.0 announcement
- A new slide sorter view in KPresenter, which has been greatly missed by some users. There is also a new shape animations feature for KPresenter.
- Improvements of the core engine and plugins in the support of the OpenDocument Format. Especially text rendering has seen much work.
- Even more improved support for reading Microsoft file formats (doc, xls, ppt, docx, xlsx, pptx).
- A new report engine used in KPlato and Kexi.
A more comprehensive list of improvements is available in the full list of changes.
Readiness for End Users and External Developers
There have been a number of improvements, especially to libraries and plugins which have resulted in most of the OpenDocument standard now being covered for: loading, rendering and saving, which in itself is a big step forward. The most mature productivity application right now is KSpread, which we are willing to recommend for end user production work.
However, for the two other productivity applications KWord and KPresenter, the user interface does still not reach the level of quality that the team wants to achieve for end users. The applications should be stable enough for real use, but there are still many formatting options that cannot be handled through the user interface. For more information about ideas towards this goal for KWord, see our Personas page.
There is also some good news: During the development cycle for version 2.3, we have had the good fortune to get a usability expert, Thomas Pfeiffer, to donate his time and skill. We expect that this will bear fruit for the 2.4 release.
Regarding the creativity applications, the most mature application of KOffice right now is Krita (see above). Karbon was also already usable in 2.2, and has remained so.
Readiness of Kexi for production work depends on the needs of the users application. It is recommended to test the feature set of Kexi against specific needs. Since version 2.2, which was the first release in the KOffice 2 family, Kexi has improved mostly in terms of stability. There are a number of features from versions 1.x of Kexi that are not present in 2.x releases yet, but which are either planned for addition or are discontinued. For example, forms may need manual rework because of missing Auto Fields.
Sponsored Development and OpenDocument Community Work
Like 2.2, release 2.3 has seen significant contributions in development from external companies and organizations. Nokia has sponsored much work on the general improvements and the converters for importing MS file formats for their Maemo office viewers. KO GmbH as well as NLnet have sent participants to the ODF plugfest and OpenOffice.org conference in Budapest, Hungary.
As usual, Google has arranged the Google Summer of Code programme. This year, KOffice had 6 projects of which 5 are in this release:
- Benjamin Port worked on shape animations for KPresenter.
- Cyril Oblikov worked on the tree view shape that is mentioned in the changelog, but still considered experimental.
- Adam Celarek worked on next-generation color selectors for Krita.
- Marc Pegon made a new transform tool with free-form warping for Krita.
- Dmitry Kazakov created canvas mirror/rotation and a new multi-threaded rendering engine for Krita.
- José Luis Vergara Tolosa made a hatching brush, a bumpmap filter, and the beginning of an impasto feature, also for Krita.
Sources and Binary Packages
The source code to KOffice 2.3.0 can be downloaded from download.kde.org. Binary packages of KOffice 2.3.0 will be available and announced separately as soon as the respective distribution provides them.