OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Almost Here - Is It the Last?
OpenOffice.org 3.3 Release Candidate 3 was released on November 1 with many updates and new features that have been in development for the last six months or more. This comes when as many as 33 OpenOffice.org developers are handing in their resignations. While the loss of the German team is unlikely to affect this release, one has to wonder what the future holds for OpenOffice.org.
What's New in 3.3.0
Fonts - Oracle has contributed a narrow font to the Liberation font families making OpenOffice.org more compatible with Arial Narrow font commonly used in Microsoft Office. In addition, standard PDF fonts that were previously only embedded in PDF/A files are now available to any PDF document.
Password protection - A new dialog was added that supports setting passwords to protect Word 97, Excel 97, and ODF documents. Writer and Calc can also now support two password settings: the familiar read protection and the new write protection. With this you might allow one group of workers to modify files while another can only read them.
Million Rows & Tab Colors - Calc now supports 1,048,576 rows instead of 65,536 and users can assign colors to their tabs.
Insert Drawing Objects - Users can now insert objects such as lines, rectangles, cubes, symbols, flowcharts, etc. into Chart projects. Some defaults have been changed as well such as larger size, larger font size, no black borders, better 3D look, and more.
User-friendly Slide Type - the presentation slide start view will now feature icons for popular slide types: table, chart, picture, or movie. The menu will feature options such as duplicate slide, assign layout to existing slide, or create specific slide type.
Document Search - A new search box with next and previous buttons will now be included in the toolbar.
Improved Print Dialog - The new print screen is redesigned to be easier to use as well as incorporating some of the familiar print interface elements seen in many other popular applications. An integrated print preview is also added.
Changing Case - More options will be available in the Change Case menu such as setting to sentence case, capitalize every word, or invert the current case.
The Bad News Is...
Developers have been resigning from the OpenOffice.org project in record numbers. Only the migration from Mandriva to Mageia compares in recent times.
Oracle confirmed its commitment to an open source OpenOffice.org during ODF Plugfest last month, but within days OpenOffice.org community managers asked those involved with the newly formed Document Foundation and LibreOffice to resign due to possible conflicts of interest. It seems many are complying. Charles H. Schulz, a 10 year OOo contributor, was the first to resign soon followed by three other key players. October 31 brought the resignation of 33 others.
The rumor buzzing around water coolers is this exodus is only the beginning. Tensions are high around the OpenOffice.org project and cooperation is strained as loyal OpenOffice.org members counted the formation of TDF and LibreOffice as mutiny. While most in the wide community were pleased in hearing the news of LibreOffice, some saw it as a bid to takeover. Despite any publicized (and unpublicized) intentions from the two sides, Oracle claims over 100 million users of OpenOffice.org and they have every right to worry. A wise man once said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand," and right now that's what we have.