The latest build of open-source productivity suite LibreOffice, version 4.2.0, has been officially released and brings a new feature that spreadsheet junkies should be very interested in: the option to boost formula calculation speed through OpenCL.
LibreOffice 4.2 adds a new spreadsheet calculation engine which, for the first time, allows complex formulae to be offloaded to the GPU via OpenCL.
Developed in conjunction with AMD and OpenCL specialist MulticoreWare, the new formula interpreter allows for massively parallel calculations of selected types of equation on a system's graphics processor, vastly speeding up the performance. Compatible with any graphics card that supports OpenCL - including, naturally, the integrated GPUs found in AMD's accelerated processing unit (APU) products - the new engine promises to make LibreOffice 4.2 a popular choice for those with highly-parallelisable calculative requirements.
The new build also includes improved compatibility with Microsoft's Open Office eXtensible Markup Language (OOXML) to reduce issues with sharing documents between Microsoft Office and LibreOffice, combined with a simplified custom install dialogue and support for Group Policy Object-based management for corporate use. Coupled with improved integration with Windows 7 and 8 - including the grouping of taskbar thumbnails and a recent document list showing on hover - and a better start-up screen, it's clear The Document Foundation is looking to encroach on Microsoft's territory.
The Foundation warns, however, that as the very first release from the 4.2 branch the new edition may have bugs and glitches and as such is only recommended for 'early adopters and private power users.
' If you fit that profile, the latest version can be downloaded for Windows, OS X or Linux at the official website