KOffice 2.1 released, ups Microsoft Office compatibility

Release aimed at developers and testers, not end users

Karbon, the KOffice vector graphics illustrator

Karbon, the KOffice vector graphics illustrator

KOffice, a cross-platform open source office suite, has reached version 2.1 with the import and export of Microsoft Office on the list of big improvements.

The KOffice development team has announced version 2.1.0 six months after the 2.0.0 “platform release” which was intended for developers.

According to the developers, 2.1 brings new features and general improvements in the maturity of the individual applications, however, not all applications in the suite are considered ready for everyday use.

“Import and export of foreign file formats have been given an overhaul, and especially the import filters for Microsoft PowerPoint and Word [documents] have been much improved,” say the developers.

This import filter work is the result of the collaboration with Nokia for its n900 smartphone Office viewers.

Despite the 2.0.0 release being targetted at developers, the KOffice team say the advantages of the “clean and well-structured code base have started to show”.

“This release is a marked improvement of almost all parts of KOffice compared to 2.0. In version 2.1, most applications and components have improved significantly, but should still only be used by early adopters and probably not as the primary work tool.”

Applications considered complete enough are Krita, the image manipulation and painting application; and Karbon, the vector graphics editor.

“Our goal for this release is to show the public the current state of KOffice and create a platform for further improvements,” according to the developers.

“This release is mainly aimed at developers, testers and early adopters. It is not aimed at end users, and we do not recommend Linux distributions to package it as the default office suite yet.”

In addition to better Microsoft Office file format compatibility, support for the OpenDocument Format (ODF) has also been improved.

KWord, the Word processor, now has a new implementation of tables and changes in the document can be tracked and are displayed. Insertions, deletions and formatting changes have different colours.

KOffice 2.2, due for release around mid-2010, is slated as the version 2 release suitable for general consumers.

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