Monday, October 13, 2008

OpenOffice.org 3 is Released.

OpenOffice.org 3 has been released. It's fast it's sweet, get it. You may have to wait your turn... the demand is so great that the servers have crashed. Here's the message that mailing list members received:
All,

We must apologize. OpenOffice.org 3.0 is proving immensely,
staggeringly popular. And our site is down as a result. While we fix
things, we urge you to be patient and try again later on tonight,
tomorrow, this week. It will still be there.

Oh, by popular, we mean it: figure hundreds of thousands of users,
mostly Windows users, but also Mac OS X and Linux and Solaris users,
all trying to download it all at once.....

Cheers, and thanks for your patience,
Louis
Nevertheless, I was able to download it without much trouble (the website is severely truncated, though... just links to the software).

The installation itself was quick, as is the software. One nice bit I hadn't noticed before is the ability to save to Aportisdoc (.pdb) format for the Palm. My test document opened up just fine in my Palm eReader.

One thing I'm still wishing for is a greater selection of and more flexibility of the shapes in the Draw tool. If they would take this up to the level of, say, SmartDraw version 5 I'd be much happier.



In today's eWeek (written well before the release), Jason Brooks asks "Does OpenOffice.org Still Matter?" He's wondering if, given on-line suites, if OpenOffice.org will matter in the future. He also makes this observation:
"When I think back on my Linux desktop circa 2002, OpenOffice.org is probably the least improved, least innovative and slowest moving major component of the lot."
With all due respect to Jason, this statement is just silly. OpenOffice.org is the least improved because it was a damned good application to start with. You must remember that OpenOffice.org was not a from-the-ground-up effort. It was based on StarOffice, which whas already at version 5 by the time the OpenOffice.org project was started. Five versions, count 'em. When you start close to the top, improvement is incremental.

Also you must remember that Office software is a commodity, and it has been for a very long time. Microsoft Office hasn't much changed in terms of basic functionality since before the turn of the century. Microsoft Office 97 is still perfectly fine for many, many users. OpenOffice.org is much, much better, and compares favorably, feature-wise, with the latest Microsoft Office software.

The bottom line here is that OpenOffice.org matters very much (and I'll elaborate on that in my next post) and version 3 especially so. Try it out.

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