If you haven't heard by now, the latest edition of OpenOffice was released just yesterday.
Demand for the OpenOffice 3.0 office productivity suite has been so high that the official Web site was unavailable for much of the first day. It is up now, though the normal site has been taken offline and replaced by a spartan download page showing the various language and platform editions of the software.
What is exciting about the latest iteration of the most popular open-source office suite is probably its built-in support of Microsoft Office 2007/2008 formats. I am still in the process of getting the 142MB Windows installer package downloaded, and have yet to try it. However, there are others on the Net who managed to do so, so there are plenty of voices giving their comments on this major update.
I must say everything looks very positive so far, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that the latest version runs noticeably faster than the earlier OpenOffice 2.x versions -- always good to hear. The new release also is being praised as more stable. Over at ZDNet, Christopher Dawson declares, "OK, Now OpenOffice Is Definitely Good Enough," pitting it as a competitor against the ubiquitous Microsoft Office.
Ars Technica also has a pretty nice write-up of the features in OpenOffice 3.0.
Assuming everything checks out fully for this release, you might want to consider using OpenOffice as a substitute for Microsoft Office. The key attraction here would be that OpenOffice is completely free, versus the rather steep pricing offered by Microsoft for its Microsoft Office.
With a key barrier -- the fear of being unable to exchange documents with the latest version of Microsoft Office, out of the way in OpenOffice 3.0, it now makes more sense than ever to contemplate a switch. Indeed, the cost perspective makes a lot more sense for SMBs, as they are typically large enough to feel the pinch from expensive software yet too small to benefit from special volume licensing schemes available to bigger organizations.
Have your organizations considered making a switch before?