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27 March 2008, 14:35

OpenOffice 2.4 ready for download

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Having failed to release in time for CeBIT, after a delay of several weeks, the new version 2.4 of OpenOffice, the open-source office package for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X (X11), is now ready for download. The changes made in the new version are mainly fine tuning. New features include the provision of document storage for long-term archival using the PDF/A standard and as an option, OpenOffice 2.4 can insert hyperlinks with relative paths into PDF files, so that links to external files will still work even after the file has been copied to another folder or burned to CD-ROM.

OpenOffice's security functions now include an option to store passwords in encrypted form under a master password. There are many changes that improve working with text documents, tables and presentations, among them block marking in Writer and the function in Calc for converting text into columns, for example separating a postal code from a location where both have been entered in one column. New slide transitions in Impress, with spectacular 3D animations, are available only in the Linux version. This extension is based on a student project run as part of the Google Summer of Code open source competition, and is not to be ported to Windows. A complete list of all the new features can be found in the OpenOffice Wiki.

The project team is planning its next major advance for autumn this year, with OpenOffice 3.0. This version will probably not make radical changes to the user interface, but will feature many new functions – among them one for importing PDF documents that can then be fully processed in OpenOffice. This version, it's claimed, will also to run in native code under the Mac OS X and will integrate completely into the Aqua interface. The team will probably issue a bugfix release with error corrections in the interim period.

On 29 and 30 May, at LinuxDay in Berlin, the team will be giving abundant opportunity to those interested in more details of the open-source project. They will be giving insights into a number of aspects of the free OpenOffice, with presentations by "top-flight speakers".


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