What's Next for LibreOffice?
LibreOffice 3.3 wasn't even released yet when plans for upcoming versions were being hammered out. A release plan is now in place as well as a development philosophy.
According to the foundation, time-based release plans are more productive than the commonly subscribed "ready when ready" model. They say it "enforces discipline, gives predictability, and allows more regular releasing." The time intervals are uneven because bug fix incremental versions are easier and quicker to ready than a major version with new features. They have also taken in consideration synchronization with some distributions on six-month release schedules to minimize lag between LibreOffice releases and getting into the hands of users. So, their goal is to release every six months. To aid in this and possible accelerate the release cycle, they plan to release daily snapshots and employ an automated build process.
Right now the schedule is penciled in for four months. Version 3.3.1 is expected by Valentine's Day with critical bug fixes, new file-type icons, and improvements in translations. 3.3.2 is scheduled for March 14 with only bug fixes and more improvements in translations.
Version 3.4.0 is expected May 2 with some new features from the main development branch. This will be preceded by the feature freeze on March 21 and weekly beta releases until April 4. At that time an interface freeze will occur with weekly release candidates to follow. April 18 will bring the hard freeze and final testing before release on May 2. 3.4.1 is expected May 23 with critical bug fixes.
The LibreOffice project has grown quite rapidly, probably faster than anyone imagined. As the press release for 3.3 said they now have over 100 developers. The project has over 60 mirrors worldwide, "a mailing list, a wiki, a blog, a planet, localized websites, translation toolkits and much more." Florian Effenberger, founding member of LibreOffice and Steering Committee member, said, "the tasks we already managed successfully was something we could be proud of. We ARE on the right path. Yes, folks, we all do rock!"