OpenOffice.org 3.1 is 65 days away, and developers are finishing up more than 1000 issues targeted for this Microsoft-Office-killer packing an army of new features, enhancements, and bug fixes. Major new features include antialiased drawings, solid dragging, translucent selections in Writer, improvements in Chart axes and labels, improved grammar checking, macros and full support for SQL including syntax highlighting in Base, and many more.
Yesterday we ran a story on how educational institutions defaulting to Microsoft Office may stifle some people who do not own a copy of Office or Windows. A Forrester Research report now states the bloody obvious by claiming that organisations stick with Microsoft Word not out of necessity, but out of habit.
The news of OpenOffice.org's third major release has generated quite a bit of buzz on the internet for many reasons, one of which being that it now runs natively on a Mac (sans X11). ZDnet has posted a screenshot gallery of OpenOffice.org 3.0 for those who have yet to try the hot-off-the-press application.
After three years of development, OOo 3.0 is finally here with a bunch of new features and enhancements. Linux Format looks at the changes and rates the suite's overall performance, and you can try it yourself by downloading a copy from here.
Michael Meeks who leads the OpenOffice.org development team within Novell has taken a detailed look at contributions associated by metrics to OpenOffice.org and makes the case that Sun's tight control over the codebase and the lack of enough volunteer contributors leaves the development slowly stagnating over a period of time. Michael Meeks has recently started strongly advocating the position that Sun needs to setup a more independent OpenOffice.org foundation or otherwise allow more relaxed policies for commit access and be less rigid about assignment of copyright to itself for the development community of Openoffice.org to thrive beyond Sun developers.
Everyone knows that Microsoft Exchange is expensive - but ubiquitous â€“ and plenty of open source projects and vendors have been trying a variety of technical approaches to replace it. While none is yet a drop-in replacement, a PC World article looks at ways that some administrators can get a cost advantage by switching.
Periodically, there's a review of text editors for a particular platform. Linuxlinks' latest post is pretty thorough though, covering 21 different Linux/Unix text editors. "In many users' eyes, a text editor should be lean and mean, fast to start up and shut down, without fancy splash screens or a graphical user interface. The choice of editor has long stirred up strong emotions. To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 21 high quality Linux text editors. There's a mix of graphical and console based applications included.
OpenOffice.org 2.4.0 is a free, open source alternative to Microsoft's Office application suite. It is fantastic if you need basic office applications such as a word processor or spreadsheet at no cost. However, large organisations and power users may be disappointed by its lack of features and support. Read the full review here.
InfoWorld's Curtis Franklin reviews the four leading contenders to supplant Microsoft Office in business and finds that, while Google Docs is not ready to take on the full mantle, OpenOffice and Zoho provide viable alternatives should IT endeavor to wean business off Office.
Ryan Cartwright at Freesoftware Magazine has a hot little tutorial for anyone who wants to master some very fantastically useful (but lesser known) keyboard shortcuts in OpenOffice.org (for Writer). Read the full story at FreeSoftwareMagazine.com.
The battle between the OpenDocument Format and Microsoft's Open Office XML was long, and here and there rather nasty, but it appears as if we finally have a winner. The company behind OOXML already conceded by announcing it would implement support for ODF in Office 2007 SP2, but now it has also said it quite literally: ODF has won.
Michael Crider at Freesoftware Magazine has written a fine, detailed howto on using Mail Merge in OpenOffice, full of useful tips and screenshots. This is one of the better OpenOffice.org tutorials.
Last week, IBM unveiled the first version of their OpenOffice.org offshoot, Lotus Symphony. Symphony is aimed at professional users in a corporate environment, but brings to OpenOffice.org many UI enhancements in an attractive, single tabbed interface. Symphony 1.0 runs on Windows and Linux; while the site used to suggest a Mac version was forthcoming, there is currently no reference to a Mac native version of Symphony. The Lotus Symphony website has been updated to reflect the recent release, however, downloads are very slow at the moment "due to high demand."
eWeek's Debra Donston has penned down five ways the end user desktop in enterprises will look different in five years. While some of her ideas and predictions make a low of sense, there are a few things which are slightly debatable. Mostly, the reliance on virtualisation and web applications.
According to BetaNews, Microsoft has announced that they will support OpenDocument (ODF) and PDF in Office 2007 SP2. This comes as a major victory not only for OpenOffice.org and its offshoots, but also for open source in general. Microsoft is planning on making Office 2007 SP2 available in the first half of 2009.
In a June 2003 Wired Magazine interview, Martha Stewart said, "Bill Gates' house, for example, is totally out of date now. He built it right before wireless happened. The big tunnels for all his wires - he doesn't need any of that stuff anymore." The article wasn't about networking, or even technology, but I was struck by that statement because it was echoed by several people when I was explaining that I was running many thousands of feet of cable in OSNews' "house of the future." "Is all that cable really necessary now that there's wireless everything?" people said. As much as I respect Martha Stewart's business and design acumen, neither she, nor those people who talked to me, know what they're talking about. When it comes to networking, there's no substitute for a wire, when a wire's available. -- This is the latest entry in our 2008 Article Contest.
Microsoft has released the first service pack to Microsoft Office:Mac 2008. The company also said that sales of Office:Mac 2008 have "soared", and that it is "selling faster than any previous version of Office for Mac in the past 19 years". Microsoft also had a surprise announcement about Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) support.
"Which parameters make software applications high-quality? And which parameters or methods, while desirable, are not directly 'quality'?" This is the question the author of this article asks himself. Most of his 'parameters' make a lot of sense, but be aware that the article is about what makes an open source program high quality, and not programs in general. This important bit is stated in the one-sentence 'abstract'.
"Microsoft's embattled Office Open XML document format received ISO fast-track approval after receiving support from approximately 86 percent of the national bodies that participated in the vote. ISO approval will be broadly perceived as a sign of validation for the document format which has received widespread criticism from technical experts and standards advocacy groups."
Version 2.4 of the OpenOffice productivity suite was released on Thursday, boasting enhancements to all its core components. Possibly the most significant alteration in the new version of the free suite is in the description of file types. The 'OpenDocument' description has been replaced by 'ODF', which stands for 'OpenDocument Format' and is becoming a well-known acronym thanks to rivalry with Microsoft's controversial OOXML format.