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OpenOffice.org 3 for Mac Beta is available

OpenOffice.org 3.0 on MacIf you've been cursing the big price tag and lack of VBA support in Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, OpenOffice.org is coming to your rescue. Last September, the OpenOffice.org dev team announced that they would be porting the suite to run natively on the Mac. Previous versions ran under the X11 environment, which not only hogged resources, but didn't have the Aqua look and feel we all love.

OpenOffice.org 3.0 is still beta, but a quick test-drive of the application showed that it is almost ready for prime time. OOo is a full-featured office suite, complete with word processor (Writer), spreadsheet (Calc), presentation package (Impress), drawing app (Draw), as well as database tools (Base) that are sadly lacking in other office suites.

The feature set of OpenOffice.org 3 is impressive:
  • Imports Microsoft Office binary (.doc, .ppt, .xls) and Office 2007/Office 2008 for Mac (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx) files
  • A solver component for solving optimization problems, something lacking in Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac
  • Spreadsheet workbook sharing
  • Display of multiple Writer pages while editing
  • MS Office-like comments in Writer
  • Limited VBA macro support -- which is still better than no support
  • Extensibility with Mozilla Thunderbird and Lightning, Sun Wiki Publisher and Report Builder
The price of OpenOffice.org 3 is, as always, free! If you're up to test-driving beta ware that may not necessarily be as stable or fast as your other office suite(s), click here to be transported to the beta site.

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