Platforms and Formats

 
 
By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2008-10-02 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Platforms and Formats

As in previous versions, OpenOf??ífice.org 3.0 runs on Windows, Linux, Solaris x86 and Solaris Sparc. Both the Windows and Linux flavors of OpenOffice.org are available in both 32- and 64-bit x86 editions.

New in OpenOffice.org version 3 is native support for Apple's OS X. Previous OpenOffice.org itera??ítions required the X11 server to run, which made OpenOffice.org a bit of a misfit on the OS X desktop.

OpenOffice.org supports the new??íest version of the OpenDocument file format, ODF 1.2. The latest ver??ísion of ODF includes accessibility and metadata enhancements, as well as a means of specifying spreadsheet formulas that's more detailed than what was laid out in ODF 1.0.

The lack of formula specificity in ODF 1.0 meant that certain aspects of storing spreadsheet formulas were up to the application developer to define, which could lead to incompatibility between documents created with dif??íferent ODF implementations.

The formula issue hasn't been a major problem so far, since OpenOf??ífice.org/StarOffice has been the pri??ímary ODF implementation, but the formula improvements in ODF 1.2 lay the groundwork for broader adoption of the document standard.

Also new in OpenOffice.org 3 are import filters for Microsoft Office 2007-formatted documents. The XML-based .docx, .xlsx and .pptx formats in which Microsoft's suite now save documents by default.

I tried out OpenOffice.org 3's Office 2007 format support with a few documents and found the fidel??íity fairly good overall, but marred by enough small errors to disrupt roundtrip, cross-application docu??íment collaboration. OpenOffice.org 3 fares much better at this point with Microsoft's older, binary Office formats.

When maintaining file format fidelity is paramount, I suggest that users opt for Adobe's PDF format, which OpenOffice.org has supported well as an export format. New in OpenOffice.org 3 is limited support for importing and editing PDF docu??íments, through a freely download??íable extension.

The marketing materials at the OpenOffice.org project site describe the PDF import option as a resort for making small changes to PDFs for which the editable originals have gone missing; in other words, users should keep their expectations for this feature fairly modest.

Indeed, after spending a bit of time testing the suite's new PDF import function, I'd be hard pressed to imagine many circumstances in which I'd find the feature useful. Imported PDF documents open within the suite's presentation appli??ícation, Impress, and text is editable on a line-by-line basis.

I was able to import a PDF I had created using OpenOffice.org with fairly good fidelity, but when I opened one of eWeek's production PDFs created in Adobe InDesign, the result was too mangled to be exported again into PDF form and pressed back into service.



 
 
 
 
As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at jbrooks@eweek.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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