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OpenOffice.org 2.0 released


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Corinne McKayOpenOffice.org celebrated its fifth birthday on October 13; the fifth anniversary of Sun Microsystems' release of StarOffice's source code. Auspiciously, the long awaited OpenOffice.org 2.0 was released this month as well, and you can get your free new version (Windows, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD or Mac OS X, languages ranging from Arabic to Welsh) at the OpenOffice.org website.

Open Source Update hasn't tested this release yet, but following are some highlights of the package's new features as reported on the project's website:

OASIS OpenDocument format. This open standard format (file extension .odt) is OO.o's new default file format

  • Multi-pane view, which makes the look and feel of OpenOffice.org Impress very similar to that of Microsoft PowerPoint
  • More slide transitions and animation effects in OpenOffice.org Impress
  • Improved capabilities in the PDF export tool that was introduced in OO.o 1.1. For example, you can select the compression level of an embedded image, and the PDF export will also support thumbnail images and hyperlinks
  • Embedded HSQLDB database tool, which allows OO.o users to create databases without using a back end program like MySQL. Database creation is now supported simply by selecting File>New
  • Mail merge wizard. This was one of the least intuitive features of OO.o 1.1, now greatly simplified with a wizard that guides you through the process
  • Improved word count tool, which includes the ability to count words in a selected area
  • WordPerfect filters

For those of us in the United States especially, the OpenDocument standard has gotten a lot of recent press thanks to goings-on in the always cutting-edge commonwealth of Massachusetts. In September, Massachusetts' Chief Information Officer Peter Quinn announced that by January 1, 2007, all of the state's agencies will be required to run applications that support OpenDocument, a format that is currently not supported by Microsoft Office or most other proprietary applications. In an interview published on EWeek, Quinn commented, “Microsoft has remade the desktop world. But if you've watched history, there's a slag heap of proprietary companies who have fallen by the wayside because they were stuck in their ways. The world is about open standards and open source. I can't understand why anybody would want to continue making closed-format documents anymore.” OSU gives Mr. Quinn a “well said” for this one!










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