OpenOffice.org 2.0, the first office application suite to feature native support for the OASIS-approved OpenDocument file format, was released Thursday morning, one week following the projects fifth anniversary of its founding.
The 2.0 final follows three beta versions—the latest released only last Friday. RC2 was released Aug. 31 after a review and repair of about 600 software bugs.
OpenOffice.org 2.0 is the first stable version of the open-source office suite able to produce the new XML-based standard ODF (OpenDocument format), sanctioned internationally only last May by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards).
It also features improved interoperability with Microsoft Word formats and a fully accessible, more powerful relational database for use with financial applications, community manager Louis Suarez-Potts said.
In addition to the OpenDocument format, a redesigned user interface and a new database module, OpenOffice.org 2.0 also adds improved PDF support, a superior spreadsheet module, enhanced desktop integration and several other features that take advantage of its advanced XML capabilities, such as the ability to easily create, edit and use XForms.
The OpenDocument format is used to store data from desktop applications, such as word processing, presentation and spreadsheet software. It is meant to enable the free exchange of data between OpenDocument-compliant software packages.
OpenDocument is also supported by Sun Microsystemss StarOffice 8, IBM, the KDE Project, and Red Hat Inc.
ODF is not directly supported by Microsoft Office software. Third-party software is required to share Microsoft Office and ODF documents.
OpenOffice.org 2.0 is available in 36 languages and able to run natively on Windows, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X (X11) and several other platforms.
Although the OpenDocument standard was approved only last May by OASIS, it already has garnered government support. The state of Massachusettss CIO, Peter Quinn, declared as of Jan. 1, 2007, all electronic documents created by state employees could be saved in only two format types: OpenDocument and Adobes PDF.
"OpenOffice.org is on a path toward being the most popular office suite the world has ever seen," said Jonathan Schwartz, president and CEO of Sun Microsystems. "As a member of that community, Id like to offer my heartiest congratulations."
On Oct. 5, Sun and Google Inc. announced a new partnership to distribute each others products. Part of that work will include Google helping to distribute OpenOffice.org. Google CEO Eric Schmidt said: "Well work to make the distribution of it more broad," he said.
OpenOffice.org will be endowed with a Google search box -- assuming the open-source community that develops it can be persuaded, to add it -- Schwartz said. That persuasion shouldnt be too hard; Sun, which made the decision to release the source code for what now is OpenOffice, still has heavy involvement in the project.
Sun Chairman Scott McNealy said Google will become involved in Suns open-source OpenSolaris. "Theres a huge alignment strategy with research and development, (involving) Open Document Format, OpenOffice and OpenSolaris," he said.