First OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta hits the web

Many users find OpenOffice.org a capable replacement for Microsoft Office, but the software suite isn’t without its quirks, and development has progressed quite slowly over the past few years. With the newly released OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta, the development team behind the software is giving users a glimpse of what’s in store for the next major milestone.

Ars Technica has posted some first impressions of the new beta, and it says OOo 3.0 packs a number of notable changes and new components. Among those are:

A new Solver component makes calculating dependent spreadsheet cells much easier (a bonus for Mac users as Excel 2008 reportedly lost its solving component), and vastly improved cropping features in the Draw and Impress apps are indeed more intuitive. When working in Writer, multiple pages can be displayed at once for a bird’s eye view of a document, and notes (or comments) on a document are now displayed in a sidebar, paralleling the same UI found in many other text editors.

Other new major features include Office 2007/2008 file format compatibility and native support for Mac OS X. Whereas previous OOo versions for Apple’s operating system tapped the X Window System and featured non-native user interface widgets, Ars’ screenshots shows the new version fits right into Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

Of course, being a beta, this release isn’t quite perfect. Ars says support for new Office file formats leaves a little to be desired, and the suite reportedly "crashed at least once" on both Windows Vista and Mac OS X.

You can download the OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta for Windows, OS X, Solaris, and various flavors of Linux from this page. As the software downloads, you can check the official release notes and peruse list of the new features. The final version of OpenOffice.org 3.0 is scheduled for the fall.

Comments closed
    • pikaporeon
    • 12 years ago

    Still slow as mud?
    [Yes I acknowledge wholeheartedly that this is due to it being Java and not due to any fault in the suite]

    OOo is great. For my needs Abiword and…. I can’t remember the name of my free spreadsheet software… fit well enough, but the tradeoff of speed for features is one that easily can be split.

      • stmok
      • 12 years ago

      Is it Gnumeric? (The spreadsheet application)

    • Grigory
    • 12 years ago

    On every occasion OO was used on our documents created with the real Office it completely messed up the formatting. I hope that they fix this some day.

    • zgirl
    • 12 years ago

    Agreed, took me a bit to get used to Office 2007 but now that I am I think it is much better then the old one. The ribbon bar is great.

    • adisor19
    • 12 years ago

    Bye Bye NeoOffice !

    Adi

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 12 years ago

      Yeah I might be saying the same… right when I found a better, cuter icon for NeoOffice, too!

    • herothezero
    • 12 years ago

    O2K7 has been a great investment for us at many levels, even without integration into Sharepoint or OCS.

    That said, OO seems to be getting attention from Sun and that’s not a bad thing.

    • blastdoor
    • 12 years ago

    I’d love to use this, but in the past OO hasn’t provided the level of document compatibility with MS Office (at least not the Mac version) that I need. I’m frankly skeptical that it ever will, but I’ll be sure to check this out once it’s out of beta.

    • liquidsquid
    • 12 years ago

    What’s nice is for those of us who do very occasional documentation at home, but need the compatibility for work, but cannot shell out the cost of MS Office, or unwilling to shell out for Works. Instead of “borrowing” a copy to write 3 docs per year, we can use Oo and be legal.

    This forward progress on Oo must make Microsoft a little worried as you really cannot take office application beyond a certain feature set to make it more compelling than the competition. Oo will eventually be right on top of MS Office in the market space as MS Office really cannot do much more than make its interface more intuitive (or recently, less intuitive).

    I wonder how MS will sue Oo into submission?

    -LS

      • eitje
      • 12 years ago

      once you reach a feature-set limit, you begin working on your interface.

      enter office 2007 and the ribbon. 😉

        • Meadows
        • 12 years ago

        I love the interface of the entire Office 2007 suite, it’s really easy, has some sensible menu branches (and separators) and mutilates the toolbar clutter of previous versions. I found a couple of things that I didn’t know exist.

          • poulpy
          • 12 years ago

          Well the Ribbon may be very good and cute for newbies or occasional users but is a PITA otherwise.
          People who mastered previous versions of Excel have been left out without most of the shortcuts that made them efficient and in place have to clic five times with the mouse (on very cute icons) to get to that same function they would have had to clic once or twice to get..

          As we use it all the time (product is also an Excel add-in) I know for sure that at work everybody (and our clients) are still on 2003 as 2007 just kills productivity big time.

            • Meadows
            • 12 years ago

            It can’t kill productivity. People who “master” Office products use keyboard shortcuts 80% of the time. Keyboard shortcuts didn’t change, your office workmates aren’t proper nuts at this then.

            • poulpy
            • 12 years ago

            Dunno about the whole Office suite but regarding Excel keyboard shortcuts *[

      • SNM
      • 12 years ago

      I actually like the ribbon a lot — that’s the only reason I bought Office (yay college student deals!) instead of just using OOo.

        • Taddeusz
        • 12 years ago

        The only thing that bugs me is that they kept the main Outlook window the same with the old style toolbars. Every other window in Outlook uses the ribbon style. Just a tad inconsistent. I wonder why they didn’t extend the ribbon interface to Outlook’s main window?

          • BenBasson
          • 12 years ago

          Outlook probably isn’t sufficiently complicated to make it worthwhile.

            • Taddeusz
            • 12 years ago

            According to a developer blog entry I read Outlook 2007 actually has the most complicated ribbon structure of all the Office apps. I guess they just couldn’t bother to get around to transforming the main interface. So rather than completing the interface they decided to ship an inconsistent product.

      • stmok
      • 12 years ago

      Microsoft sue? That all depends on how much balls they have, and if they want to risk an all out patent war. (We’re talking “mutually assured destruction” on all sides with the US legal system tied up for years)…Everybody knows patents are a flawed idea when it comes to software.

      The only legal related action MS has done, is throw some FUD in regards to OpenOffice violating some of MS’s patents (Steve Ballmer’s “Open source violates 235 MS patents” nonsense happened this time last year. It had something about OpenOffice violating 45 MS patents)…

      But then, when asked exactly what those potential infringements were, they said nothing about it. No response! It leads many critics to believe that they’ve really got nothing ie: the patents they have aren’t worth the paper its printed on. (won’t survive court if challenged).

      …In the end, it turned out more of a scare campaign (leverage) to get as many companies (commercial Linux providers like Xandros, Linspire, etc as well as companies like Samsung and Fuji Xerox), to sign “patent covenants” with MS.

      Canonical, RedHat, and Mandriva folks didn’t sign with them. They called Microsoft’s bluff.

    • Mavrick88
    • 12 years ago

    It sounds like they have made some really good improvements. Yes many will say “Don’t complain, it’s free” but even free stuff needs to work well if you want people to give it good reviews and to use it more often. Just because it’s free doesn’t allow something to ‘suck.’ So far with the changes and what OOo can do, it seems pretty nice to keep around.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This