Support for digital signatures in PDF documents is now included in LibreOffice, the Swiss open source community Wilhelm Tux announced earlier this week.
In October, the organisation had organised a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the development. Sponsors include Swiss Post Solutions, a division of the government-owned Swiss Post.
The project has added trusted timestamping and digital signing. Some of the functionality is already included in current version of LibreOffice (4.4). Wilhelm Tux writes that, under Swiss law legally accepted electronically signed PDFs will be possible in the next version of LibreOffice (version 4.5).
Swiss regulations concerning the exchange of documents with public administrations require PDF signatures and timestamps, says Markus Wernig, president of Wilhelm Tux. “This is important for the Swiss Federal Commercial Register, all of Switzerland’s courts and all tax and real estate offices in the cantons”, Wernig says. “Electronically signed PDFs are useful for anybody sending a legal act or doing contracts, or wherever documents need to be attested by lawyers and notaries.”
According to the Swiss non-profit, LibreOffice is currently the only office suite, proprietary or open source, that offers this.
The new functionality was developed by Collabora, a company based in Cambridge (UK). “These enterprise features are the latest to cater to professional users, and reflect the demanding environments to which LibreOffice is being deployed, the firm writes in a statement.
The signatures that are produced are interoperable with all PDF readers supporting the PDF/A standard, Collabora writes. The new functionality is supported on three different computer operating systems, Windows, Max OS X and Linux.