Delays Version 2.0 Release

Updated: The planned fifth-anniversary release of the ODF-compliant MS Office alternative has been pushed back to allow time for key bug fixes.

Although had planned to release the final 2.0 version of its open-source office suite on Oct. 13—the fifth anniversary of the founding of the organization—the community has decided to hold off due to a "show-stopping" problem with the software, community members said Wednesday.

Instead, will make available a third release candidate, probably by Friday, community manager Louis Suarez-Potts said.

No date has been attached to the final release, but Suarez-Potts said it could be ready as early as next week or as late as the end of the month. released Beta 2 of Version 2.0 on Sept. 1.

"Tomorrow is the fifth birthday for," developer Stefan Taxhet wrote in his Weblog.

"And it would have been nice to release 2.0 at the 13th of October. But in the last minute a serious showstopper (#i55330#) has been brought up. In a discussion on IRC, we agreed that this is reason enough to start work on RC3."

According to information from the community, the i55330 bug caused graphical elements to be saved incorrectly in the OpenDocument format. For example, arrows in a document would disappear when it was saved in OpenDocument.

Specifically, graphics with a transparency of 0 (opaque graphics) were instead saved with a transparency of 100, making them invisible.

Taxhet said the team was able to fix the bug, but that the delay also gave them a chance to fix three other small problems: integrating a patch for printing of text when the user interface language is RTL, and two others involving Mac OS X.

"The release will be pushed out for about a week," Taxhet wrote. "This allows the mirrors to recover from major releases of other large packages."

Suarez-Potts said he learned of this development just after he stepped off a plane in Toronto after giving a presentation in Stockholm.

"We have to support a lot of levels of use—corporations, languages, regional groups," Suarez-Potts said. "It is our responsibility to make sure everything is right before its released. A lot of things can happen at the last minute. Thats the way of open source—you dont release it until its ready." 2.0 will be 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 will feature improved interoperability with Microsoft Word formats and a fully accessible relational database for use with financial applications, Suarez-Potts said.

The OpenDocument format is an XML-based OASIS international office document standard 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 Microsystems Inc.s StarOffice 8, IBM, the KDE Project and Red Hat Inc.

ODF is not directly supported by Microsoft Corp.s Office software. Third-party software is required to share MS Office and ODF documents.

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The OpenDocument standard has already garnered government support. The state of Massachusetts CIO, Peter Quinn, has declared that as of Jan. 1, 2007, all electronic documents created by state employees will be saved in only two format types: OpenDocument and Adobes PDF.

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 "Well work to make the distribution of it broader," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said. will be endowed with a Google search box—assuming the open-source community that develops it can be persuaded, 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.

Editors Note: This story was updated to provide more information on the bug that held back the release. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols provided additional reporting for this story.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...