A new version of the free, open-source OpenOffice.org desktop productivity suite has hit the web, and it brings a slew of improvements big and small, from new font-size buttons in the database package to major spreadsheet performance increases.
The OpenOffice.org 3.1 New Features page examines the changes in great detail, but highlights include improved graphics appearance (thanks to the magic of "a technique called anti-aliasing," the page says), better cross-platform file locking, an enhanced comment system, and easier-to-access extensions for grammar checking.
The spreadsheet module has benefited greatly from the update, too, with better-looking charts and performance going up by a factor of 20 in some tasks (or so the OpenOffice.org community says). On top of that, developers have added a zoom slider to the status bar and "hot hints" to the formula bar.
You can grab OpenOffice.org 3.1 right from this page for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris in English and a handful of other languages. The U.S. English download for Windows with the bundled Java Runtime Environment weighs in at 148MB—not too bad considering the suite includes apps for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, vector graphics, and math formulas.