October 13, 2005 2:57 PM PDT

OpenOffice celebrates anniversary by squashing bug

The fifth anniversary of the OpenOffice.org launch seemed like a good day to release version 2.0 of the open-source office software suite, but a last-minute bug forced a delay.

The release date had been timed for Thursday, half a decade after Sun Microsystems launched the OpenOffice.org project. That day brought a new competitive front against the dominance of Microsoft Office, but only relatively recently has OpenOffice picked up significant steam.

Instead of unveiling the final version of an extensive revamp, though, OpenOffice developers stamped out a simple but significant bug that caused some opaque graphics elements to appear incorrectly as transparent, said Louis Suarez-Potts, community manager for the project. The bug is fixed in a new release candidate that should hit download sites Friday, he said.

Unless any other serious problems are found, version 2.0 should be released next week, Suarez-Potts said.

Though Microsoft's rival software remains dominant, OpenOffice can count significant victories. Its file format, in contrast to the proprietary ones used by Microsoft, is being standardized as OpenDocument, a format endorsed by the state of Massachusetts. Google will help distribute OpenOffice, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said earlier in October. And so far, more than 49 million copies of the software have been downloaded, most of them version 1.0 or later, according to the OpenOffice Web site.

OpenOffice 2.0 includes a long list of new features besides the OpenDocument format. Among them:

• 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, a file format Microsoft plans to support with its upcoming Office 12.

• 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.

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Nice anti-open sorce, pro-MS Office article
Brought to you by this Microsoft-sponsored web site. Enjoy.
Posted by Santa Clauzevitz (3 comments )
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A "Business Method" challenged!
It will be quite interesting and intriguing to know at this time if during the last "five" years since of the launch of OpenOffice the "Computerized Business Method" ( <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/matters/matters-0012.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/matters/matters-0012.html</a> ) of converting IRR (Internal Rate of Return to ERR (Economic Rate of Return) particularly now that the world is now gearing up for the wide-spread adoption of the "OpenDocument/OpenXML Format.
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
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65,536?
Didn't OO Calc just catch up to Excel of a *decade* ago? (Well, almost a decade.)

Seeing as Excel's 65,536 row limit has been one of their biggest criticisms for almost as long as I can remember (I'm a spreadsheet guy), isn't it short-sighted to come out with a spreadsheet that has just 1/16 the number of rows as Excel will have in less than a year?

Granted, people don't buy the Office suite for just the spreadsheet, but doesn't it make sense to look FORWARD instead of backwards?

How does the number of columns in OO Calc 2.0 compare to the number of columns in the upcoming version of Excel? If they got that right, that's half the criticism answered, at least!
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
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Web Tables... the "Development Continuum"!
Isn't it a bit of "amateurish" thinking to want to equal the capabilities of a product (Excel) that lacks certain functionalities... from all perspectives one should assume that as in any competition the eventual winner/s would have to better the performances of the other competitors to be judged the winner of a particular competition. For some reason some competitors seem not to do the so well because of "competition rules". In this particular scenario let's change the arena from the "DESKTOP" to the "WEB" and here enters - Lotus SmartSuite! "Lotus 1-2-3 Release 9.8 offers powerful ways to work with numbers. 1-2-3s {Web tables} allow users to bring live Web-based information into the spreadsheet to perform analysis functions". <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://lotus.com/products/product2.nsf/wdocs/123fact" target="_newWindow">http://lotus.com/products/product2.nsf/wdocs/123fact</a> Bordering on the concept of the "D-E-V-E-L-O-P-M-E-N-T C-O-N-T-I-N-U-U-M... shouldn't this have been "spreadSheet" application which once rocked the "cradle" be the one to set the standards for others to follow!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
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Again, a decade behind...
I didn't even know they were making any new versions of 1-2-3 anymore. :-)

The "new" web table functionality in 1-2-3 9.8 was added to Excel about a decade ago. Do you have any idea how far behind you have to be in the software world to be catching up to your competitor of a DECADE ago?

(OK, not quite a decade, but 9 years. 9 YEARS!!!)
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
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