OpenOffice Scores a Triple

An excited — and apparently somewhat overwhelmed — OpenOffice community released the next major version of the office suite — 3.0 — into the wild yesterday, sparking a near-instant rush to be the first on ones block to have the much-anticipated application.

Besides taking down the OpenOffice website by stampede, the latest version brings a number of new features, including some long-desired features. According to the marketing gurus at Sun — OOo's sponsor-in-chief — the release's best features include Writer's multilingual support and multi-page display during editing, a new equation solver, increased column capacity, and collaboration features in Calc, three-square meter graphics in Draw, and a new table designer in Impress. Also of high "Ooh!" factor is the addition of support for several new document formats, including Access 2007, VBA macros, and the much-maligned OOXML.

The release also takes a stand against feature bloat, offering instead better integration with third-party extensions, providing those that require features including PDF import, business analytics, and enhanced controls the opportunity to gain them without overloading the base software. As always, the software is available for free download from the site, as of this writing is still recovering from the traffic surge caused by the release, but which usually provides access to extensions and documentation as well. The full release notes are available on the OOo developers site, and for those tickled by a peek behind the scenes, Sun has posted some interesting statistics on the development of OpenOffice 3.

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