OpenOffice Beta Improves Usability

OpenOffice.org released a 1.1 beta version of its open-source productivity suite late last month, and I fired up the Linux version for a test drive.

OpenOffice.org released a 1.1 beta version of its open-source productivity suite late last month, and I fired up the Linux version for a test drive. (Versions for Windows and Solaris are also available, but the Mac OS X release is still at Version 1.0.1.)

Among the features in Version 1.1 is support for saving documents in PDF, saving to and opening files from FTP servers, and options for exporting files in XML formats. Also, OpenOffice. org includes support for MySQL databases in its data source dialog.

While running this beta, my appreciation of the role Linux distributors play in improving users software experiences was renewed. I typically use the OpenOffice.org version that ships with Red Hats distribution, in which the suites relatively rough-looking default user interface font is replaced with a more attractive one. You can change the OpenOffice.org interface yourself, by clicking over to Tools, Options, Fonts; checking the Apply Replacement Table box; and substituting the Interface User font for the Luxi Sans one Red Hat uses or to one of your choice.

To download the software, go to www.openoffice.org.