OpenOffice.org 3.3 Definitely On Its Way

OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org 3.2.1 was released on June 4 and a new master workspace was branched off for the upcoming 3.3 on June 5. The code in this branch will be stabilized and later become the product release that will find its way onto your desktops.

With the feature and UI freeze of June 24, only fixes will go into this new OOO330 release code branch. New features will be merged into the DEV300 development code line as 3.3 is readied for release.

On July 19 the first developmental snapshot from OOO330 was released for early testers and developers and it appears 3.3 will have plenty of new features. One added since 3.2 is a new dialog that supports setting passwords to modify Word 97, Excel 97, and ODF documents as well as other small password handling improvements.

A long awaited Thesaurus context menu will finally make its appearance in 3.3. This feature was first requested in 2005 and on May 22, 2009 when a developer said he wasn't making any promises a user answered, "I demand a promise! I demand that you do nothing else until this is done! No sleeping, no toilet breaks, no blinking until this feature is released. And I want a penguin." This, of course, was in jest, but indeed this feature was verified May 21, 2010. Other smaller enhancements include a "Reset to Default Language" and extended "Change Case" menus.

Chart has been enhanced to allow drawing of text and graphical objects such as lines and rectangles and even more complex shapes such as cubes and flowcharts. Fonts and formatting of text objects can be changed as well. Charts can now include hierarchical axis labels too. Smaller enhancements include larger default size, larger fonts, lines are thinner, and corners are more rounded. 3D charts are created with more realistic look and now have flat floors much like the walls.

Other various improvements include allowing users to choose which dictionaries they want to install at setup. Originally slated for 3.2, a new file handling dialog written to appear at GNOME shutdown is fixed for 3.3. Small enhancements were made to user settings migration, PDF exports can now embed the 14 standard PDF fonts, and metrically compatible narrow fonts are provided in Presentation. Calc now has colored sheet tabs and supports 1048576 rows.

On July 22 the second developer snapshot became available. Later milestone release dates have yet to be determined, but final product release estimates were whispered somewhere around the end of September.

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