Skip to comments.OpenOffice celebrates turning 2.0
Posted on 10/20/2005 7:06:32 AM PDT by decimon
Programmers released version 2 of OpenOffice.org on Thursday, a major overhaul to an open-source software suite that has recently become a more serious rival to Microsoft Office.
OpenOffice.org includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation creator and--with version 2.0--a database. Project organizers had hoped to release the upgrade last week, on the fifth anniversary of the creation of the open-source project, but a last-minute bug derailed the plan.
Advocates have ambitious hopes for the software. "OpenOffice.org is on a path toward being the most popular office suite the world has ever seen," Sun Microsystems President Jonathan Schwartz said in a statement. Sun is the primary sponsor of the project, but other programming help comes from Red Hat, Novell, Intel, Propylon and independent developers.
OpenOffice's roots lie in Sun's $73.5 million acquisition in 1999 of Star Division, a German company that built an office suite called StarOffice. Sun kept the StarOffice product line, but in 2000 also released it as the open-source OpenOffice.org project.
Nearly 50 million copies of OpenOffice have been downloaded, but only recently has the software become a more serious threat to long-dominant Microsoft Office. Version 2.0 brings some significant new features, and Google has pledged to help distribute OpenOffice through a high-profile pact with Sun. But perhaps more significant, OpenOffice.org uses the standardized OpenDocument format that stands in stark contrast to Microsoft's proprietary formats.
Microsoft is adding support for one open file type, Adobe's Portable Document Format, in the upcoming Office 12. But Microsoft Senior Vice President Steven Sinofsky said earlier this month that it would be difficult to add OpenDocument support to Office and that "we've had no demand from our customers for this feature."
Massachusetts has required support of OpenDocument, and Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president of standards and open source, has urged computer users to pressure software companies, governments and corporations to support OpenDocument.
OpenOffice runs on Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and Sun's Solaris. Programmers are working on a version that will use Mac OS X's native user interface as well.
Among the other features in OpenOffice 2.0:
The user interface has been changed. People can use the software with a multipane view that divides the user interface into tool and work areas, while toolbars can be customized.
Password-protected Microsoft Office files can be opened, as long as the password is known.
A mail merge wizard is designed to make it easier to create different versions of the same letter intended for a large number of recipients.
There are more-sophisticated options for export of files into Portable Document Format.
The Calc spreadsheet software supports twice as many rows--65,536, the same number as Microsoft Excel.
The Java-based HSQLDB database is included.
Documents can include digital signatures.
WordPerfect files can be imported.
There's support for different operating systems' native installation formats--MSI files for Windows and RPM files for Linux, for example.
I will definitely have to get this. I have used OpenOffice 1.1 for over a year now on my home PC, and like it quite a bit. It has a few rough edges, and doesn't always import Word or Excel documents properly, but overall it's worked great for the relatively simple spreadsheet and text document work I've needed it for (nothing more complex than a threefold brochure with pictures). And the price can't be beat.
I doubt that many people need what is offered in the pricy office suites.
Does the spreadsheet have macro or VBA capability? Most of our more sophisticated spreadsheets depend on these procedures to operate.
I've never tried anything with VBA or macros, sorry. Their website is at http://www.openoffice.org, if I remember right; they may have some more information on it there.
If you are interested in the OSS ping list please mail me
I downloaded the RC a few days ago... *WHAT AN IMPROVEMNT* the clunkyness is pretty much gone and it seems to much more responsive than 1.1
It's bundled with the latest release of Ubuntu Linux - really good, causes no problems.
All I really need is an equivalent to Microsoft Project.
I'm on dial-up so they'd be on 3.0 before I got a download. :-)
If youll cover the shipping ill burn you a CD and mail it to you..
I appreciate the offer but I'm due for a whole new system. When I take the plunge I'll probably buy a package including OpenOffice.
Open Office has had macro and a programming language since at least 1.1
It isn't VBA as far as I know, but looks to be just as good. It even has a Windows Forms designer. Check it out! All it costs is your time and it might save you a bundle.
I consider the real-time spelling and grammar checking in MS Word to be worth the pricy price. If they add that sort of thing, and more compatibility to MS Office, to OpenOffice and someone comes up with a really viable Outlook clone and a viable MS Project clone, then Microsoft should start sweating. It's not the desktop that is keeping corporations away from Linux. It's the applications. Specifically, MS Office, MS Outlook, and MS Project, that businesses don't want to give up.
> Does it have a good spelling and grammar checker like Word does?
The spell check is excellent. I *never* make mistakes in grammar, so I couldn't comment on that :)
Don't know what area of the country you live in, but you should look into the combination I have.
Road runner *LITE*. 29.95 per month.
Broadvoice VOIP(phone) 10 per month.
so 40 per month will get you high speed and phone. With the old telecoms raising their prices, and taxes, it might be only a few dollars difference.... and chances are, worth it.
The only thing is that broadvoice doesn't do 911. That's fine. Keep a phone hooked up to the old phone line but don't order service from your local provider. That's what I do. They legally can't totally shut off the line. It will only call two places. My provider, and 911.
I'll be very interested in the above feature. Has anyone used it in the RC releases? Does it use PGP/GPG keys?
For later reading
I can't get any DSL or cable modem service where I am. Not really in the boondocks but not near enough to whatever you need be near.
Thing is, does anyone know by chance if there's a Slackware TGZ or a Slax .mo available?
Thanks, I'll check it out.
Spelling is great, no grammar checker.
I should point out that the grammar checking on the Microsoft products is not worth the powder to blow it to hell.
I rejected OpenOffice out of hand in an earlier version because it did not have "on-the-fly" spell correction. But OOorg has had it since 1.1 as far as I recall.
When one is writing fiction, it is handy to tell AutoCorrect to automatically change any occurrence of xg to Giselle, or xp to Pascal, for example. Who wants to keep typing Arromanches when the word processor can be easily trained to substitute every occurence of xa with Arromanches, on the fly?
If you really want broadband, a friend a couple miles away with DSL or cable could feed you with directional wireless. You can make the antennas at home real cheap.
Mostly ringed with hills. No TV antennas on my block. Some sort of broadband will come in time.
In the wrong hands, autocorrect can be evil.
One computer at our student paper had common words flagged, so they automatically became obscenities. It was funny until someone turned in a story that they didn't fix.
I've heard of such things. That's just ice-cold evil.