OpenOffice.org, the open-source office desktop productivity software development project, today released a new developer version of OpenOffice.org 1.0 for the Solaris, Windows and Linux operating systems.
The new release, which charts the path for future user versions, is ready for developer use and testing and can be downloaded at www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/source/643. Its release follows the May release of OpenOffice.org 1.0.
Ed Peterlin, a contributor to OpenOffice.org, told eWEEK that among the new features of the 1.0 developer release are the ability to save files directly to PDF; some new filters for new file formats, including preliminary DocBook support; and a new macro recording facility.
Sam Hiser, who is involved in the marketing side of the project, said other additions include a central Java configuration for network installations; GUI improvements; numerous developer kit adjustments that make development and integration work more efficient; the introduction of new or upgraded developer tools; Mozilla 1.0 address book support, with improved integration with KDE (K Desktop Environment) and GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment); and keyboard and accessibility features.
In addition, integration improvements with Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint have been made. “The features in this developer build reflect the heavy lifting that goes into behind the scenes toward the constant improvement in features and integration of the suite.
“These features will be tried, viewed and debugged by the developer and deep user communities and will likely end up in the next user release. I cant say precisely when that will be, but they will continue to come on a regular basis,” Hiser said.
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OpenOffice.org on Monday also released a beta release of OpenOffice.org 1.0 for Mac OS X, using the XWindows system, which can be downloaded from http://mac.openoffice.org.
The release, which is targeted primarily at developers, “marks a major milestone in providing the stability and functionality necessary for daily use on Jaguar, the newer version of the Mac OS X operating system,” Peterlin said.
“A significant amount of the OS X interest I have seen has been across the entire user base, with particular interest from educational markets and European users. There have also been some 8.5 million downloads since the project started, with about 5 million of these being since the release of OpenOffice.org 1.0 in May,” he added.
Hiser said that, since May, some 70 percent of those downloading OpenOffice.org binary files have been Windows users, with 20 percent being Linux users. Many corporations have also been expressing interest in open source and Linux.
“Here in New York City, companies like Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse First Boston, Dreamworks, Disney and others are admitting that this software has an important place in their infrastructures and are planning accordingly,” he said. “You will see the adoptions mounting over the next 18 months. Its going to be impressive. Companies understand open source.”
Several Linux vendors, including Red Hat Inc. and SuSE Linux, have already dropped Sun Microsystems Inc.s branded StarOffice 6.0 offering in favor of OpenOffice.org.
Josh Berkus, an OpenOffice.org volunteer in San Francisco, said OpenOffice.org will soon accomplish in six months, and for a couple million dollars in donated funds and a couple of thousand hours of volunteer contributions, the same amount of software development that took Microsoft Corp. two years and $1.5 billion to develop Microsoft Office.
“I believe that by the end of the year we will be bundled with all major Linux distributions, including Debian and Lindows. No wonder open source has Microsoft worried,” he said.
There are also now more than 70,000 registered OpenOffice community members, hundreds of developers and dozens of active projects, and the ongoing strong symbiotic relationship with Suns StarOffice 6.0 remains in force, Berkus said.
StarOffice 6.0 uses the OpenOffice.org 1.0 code base, and functionality is similar except where Sun has added value for enterprise customers around fonts, linguistic functionality, the Adabas D database, clip art, some file filters, spell checking, boxed manual, paid training and support options.
“OpenOffice.org will likely support more languages in the long run, but the big message is that there is a symbiotic relationship between our two suites,” Hiser said.
Peterlin added that Sun–the founding member of the OpenOffice.org community–continues to make significant contributions to the OpenOffice.org project. “I would expect that they will continue their present contributions to the effort and donate back as much of the functionality they develop as long as it can be covered by an open-source license,” he said.
OpenOffice.org 1.0 runs today on the Solaris, Windows, FreeBSD and Linux platforms, and is available in 23 languages.
There are also many user-sponsored projects, including the native-lang project, which offers information, resources and a communication forum in a members native language. These are currently available in French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Brazilian, Portuguese and, shortly, Japanese and Danish.
A localization community effort to translate and localize OpenOffice.org 1.0 to all supportable languages is also under way. Some 23 languages are currently available.