Free, Open Source Office Suite, Coming to Android


Like the idea that one day your Android tablet might do as much as your laptop? Well, we’re getting loser to a time when that is the case. One of the developers on the LibreOffice project is working on bringing the full office suite to Android, including document editing, slides, and graphing.

LibreOffice is a fork of the Open Office software, one meant to bring in better features and stability. It shares much of the same code, but the developers have retooled plenty.

There is a lot of work to do before we see a complete LibreOffice running on Android, but work is coming along. The user interface library that LibreOffice uses, VCL, has been ported to Android. Right now that means that the desktop versions’s interface is splashed on Android, but that won’t always be the case. By porting the libraries that power LibreOffice’s user interface to Android, the team can easily mock up more useful, touch-oriented controls.

The first byproduct of this new project will be a document viewer running LibreOffice’s core. That document viewer will allow for plenty of testing of the rendering engine before the eventual full suite comes out. Hopefully it will work out most of the bugs before editing is even worked on.

Interestingly, the LibreOffice Android project is going to be using some of Mozilla’s code. Mozilla managed a fairly interesting feat, being able to link to an external APK and load libraries from it. The idea is that LibreOffice can have an APK to pull data from only as it needs, loading editing capability, the routines for slide editing, etc, only when needed. This isn’t something that apps normally are able to do, so even if Mozilla’s browser doesn’t live on, this technique probably will.