Over the last few years, the KOffice team has reworked the framework into an agile and flexible codebase. Our intention was to increase integration between the components of KOffice, decrease duplication of functionality and ease maintenance and development of new features. Furthermore, new approaches to UI design and interacting with the user have been implemented to support the new capabilities.
This is the first release -- we call it a "Platform Release" -- of a long series, much like KDE 4.0 laid the groundwork for what is now a fully mature desktop environment. The developers have so far concentrated on creating a flexible and powerful foundation that we can build on for a long time.
Our goal for now is to release a first preview of what we have accomplished. 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. KOffice 2.0 will be useful for some users, but since it is the first release in a long series it is likely to contain bugs and incompatibilities.
It is noteworthy that KOffice 2.0 does not have all the features that KOffice 1.6 had. These features will return in the upcoming versions 2.1 and 2.2, in most cases better implemented and more efficient. Also, not all applications which were part of KOffice 1.6 made it into KOffice 2.0. The missing applications will return in 2.1 or possible 2.2.
The release team has decided that the following applications are mature enough to be part of 2.0:
The chart application KChart is available as a shape plugin, which means that charts are available in all the KOffice applications in an integrated manner. The desktop database creator Kexi and the formula shape are aimed to be available in version 2.1. Kivio, the flowchart editor, is currently without maintainer and it is not certain when or if it will be released.
Highlights of KOffice 2
KOffice 2 is a much more flexible application suite than KOffice 1 ever was. The integration between the components is much stronger, with the revolutionary Flake Shapes as the central concept. A Flake Shape can be as simple as a square or a circle or as complex as a chart or a music score. With Flake, any KOffice application can handle any shape. For instance, KWord can embed bitmap graphics, Krita can embed vector graphics and Karbon can embed charts. This flexibility does not only give KOffice unprecedented integration, but also allows new applications to be created very easily. Such applications can e.g. target special user groups like kids or certain professions.
Unified Look and Feel
All the applications of KOffice has a new GUI layout better suited to today's wider screens. The GUI consists of a workspace and a sidebar where tools can dock. Any tool can be ripped off to create its own window and later be redocked fo full flexibility. The users setup preferences are of course saved and reused the next time that KOffice is started.
Native Support for OpenDocument
The OASIS OpenDocument Format (ODF) is the ISO standard for office document interchange. ODF has been selected as the national standard for many countries around the world, and continues to grow stronger every month. KOffice uses the OpenDocument Format as its native format. This will guarantee interoperability with many other Office packages such as OpenOffice.org and MS Office. The KOffice team has representatives on the OASIS technical committee for ODF and has been a strong participant in the process of shaping ODF since
All of KOffice is available on Linux with KDE or GNOME, Windows and Macintosh. Solaris will follow shortly and we expect builds for other Unix versions to become available soon after the final release. It is possible that the release of binaries for Windows and Macintosh will occur after some time if other packages that KOffice depend on need more time.
Since KOffice builds on Qt and the KDE libraries, all applications integrate well with the respective platforms and will take on the native look and feel.
At the same time as the KOffice team releases its new version, there is also a new website designed by Alexandra Leisse. It features a new look, and is built on Wordpress. We hope that it will attract more people who are not developers so that we can build up a library of templates, add-ons, and user-generated documentation and tips-and-tricks.