suite: It’s adequate,
come up with significant faults in
the OpenOffice.org suite. It’s polished and user friendly, runs on
a wide range of platforms, and is
well-suited for any organization
that doesn’t want to commit itself to
Microsoft’s ecosystem of Exchange,
SharePoint and related tools.
REVIEW: The open-source office productivity
suite appears doomed for mediocrity.
By P. J. Connolly
The OpenOffice.org suite may be in danger of becoming an also-ran among office pro- ductivity suites, but not for
any lack of capabilities or features.
The 3. 3 release of the suite debuted
at the end of January, shortly after
the release of its fraternal twin, LibreOffice 3. 3. It’s as polished as one might
expect in a set of applications that
have been under development in one
form or another for about 20 years.
To view a slideshow on the new
OpenOffice suite, log on to tinyurl.
com/47a327n. For further details of
the schism between the two open-source office suites, see the review
of LibreOffice 3. 3 in the Feb. 7 issue
of e WEEK, or online at tinyurl.
It should be no surprise—given
the relatively recent forking of the
code base—that most, if not all, of
the improvements in OpenOffice.
org 3. 3 are also available in the
LibreOffice package. These shared
elements range from the mundane (the new search toolbar and
overhauled print interface) to the
exotic (the added locale options and
developer features that include new
grid-control types and the ability to
extend database drivers).
No significant faults
Aside from the debates over
community control and the right
of ownership, it’s hard for me to
One of the more interesting fea-
tures in OpenOffice.org 3. 3 that I
haven’t discussed is the ability to
assign custom document proper-
ties that include absolute date and
If OpenOffice.org 3. 3
fails to gain traction,
it will be because its
potential users decline
to be dependent on
the whims of Oracle,
which assumed leader-
ship of the project with
the acquisition of Sun
time, as well as duration. Document creators
and editors assign these
as pairs of names and
feature is the redesigned thesaurus dia-Microsystems last year.
It didn’t have to be this
way: Had Oracle chosen
conciliatory path, the
LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org projects would
not have forked. Instead,
three of the leading Linux
Novell and Red Hat) have
rallied behind LibreOffice, leaving Oracle as
the only significant supporter of the OpenOffice.
Top: When enabling a filter in
OpenOffice.org’s Calc spreadsheet, selections automatically
fit to the data columns that are
actually used. Right: Password
protection for Writer documents
and Calc spreadsheets has been
extended from merely locking
unauthorized users out of a file
to granting designated users the
ability to make changes.
log, which offers
choices for a synonym. Also new, as
part of the context
menu, is the “
which allows a user
to replace the currently selected word
with an appropriate
The Calc spreadsheet received a
number of usabil-ity enhancements
in this release of