There's a new kid in town for folks trying to avoid shelling out a hundred bucks or more for a copy of Microsoft Office 2007. The OpenOffice.org Community has released version 2.4.0 of its namesake office suite, bringing a slew of enhancements, bug fixes, and new functionality.
Among the new enhancements are printing usability improvements, better native PDF file support, and better integration with Mac OS X. Each of the five OpenOffice.org apps has benefited from extra improvements and new features, too. The Writer word processor now has better multi-language spell checking support, more printing options, better search-and-replace options, and new keyboard shortcuts for power users. The Calc spreadsheet app has "streamlined" data and formula entry, a new drag-and-drop feature for blocks of cells, better printing, and an improved charting module. OpenOffice.org's Impress presentation app now supports 3D transitions, and the Base database has gained support for Microsoft Access 2007 files. A more detailed list of new features and improvements is available on this page in the OpenOffice.org Wiki.
OpenOffice.org 2.4.0 is available from the official download page for Windows, Linux, Solaris (x86 and SPARC), and Mac OS X (x86 and PPC). The 2.4.0 release is only available in U.S. English at the moment, though—users looking for releases in other languages will apparently have to stick with previous versions for now. You can check out screenshots of the new version in action here.
Looking ahead, the OpenOffice.org Community is already hard at work on the next major release of the productivity suite. According to the 2.4.0 announcement press release, OpenOffice.org 3.0 is scheduled to come out in the fall of this year.