ThinkFree launches office suite for Netbooks

ThinkFree, a company that specializes in "next-gen" office productivity solutions, announced Tuesday that it has launched its ThinkFree Netbook solution, which will deliver word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications for Netbooks running Intel's Atom chipsets, like the Asus Eee PC or the Acer Aspire One.

According to ThinkFree, its Netbook Edition offers a simplified user interface and compatibility with Microsoft Office 2007 files. Most importantly, the software is optimized for a small screen and features integration with ThinkFree's online service that allows users to collaborate with each other and synchronize documents on-the-go.

"In today's … Read more

OpenOffice 3: Faster, uninspired interface

Demand for 3 has been so high on its first day of out of beta that the official Web site crashed.

In the meantime, users can also download it for Windows and Mac from, and there are a couple of torrents being shared as well on the usual big-name trackers.

After using OpenOffice's MS Word analog, Writer, all day, I can confirm that this update is worth it for the improvement in response and load times, if nothing else. The installation is still enormous, with an installer about 130MB for Windows users and 160MB for … Read more

OpenOffice's 3.0 release temporarily closes site

If you go to OpenOffice's Web site right now, you will be greeted with this:

Apologies - our website is struggling to cope with the unprecedented demand for the new release 3.0 of The technical teams are trying to come up with a solution.

Fortunately, however, you will also find links to download the latest version of the well-known, well-loved, and open-source suite, the alternative to the notoriously overpriced Microsoft Office.

After a lengthy development time, the company finally released its new 3.0 version of the software suite on Monday, and the download … Read more

OpenOffice 3 almost ready for business

Open-source freeware alternative to Microsoft Office,, has released the third release candidate of its next major-point upgrade for Windows and Mac. The full version of 3 is due next week, so it's extremely doubtful there will be any major changes from this point on.

While Sun Microsystems is making sure that all its T's are crossed and I's are dotted, OpenOffice 3 Release Candidate 3 offers quite a few new features, including much-needed support for Office 2007 file types, Microsoft Access database support, a multipage view in MS Word-analog Writer, nearly unlimited character … Read more

OpenOffice 3 bumps from beta to RC

OpenOffice has pushed their popular Microsoft Office freeware alternative into release candidate territory. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, open-source OpenOffice is a productivity suite analogous to and compatible with Microsoft's near-ubiquitous tool. There is more to recommend OpenOffice 3 than the price tag, though.

New features you can test out now include Microsoft Access database support and a multipage view in Writer, the Word analog, nearly unlimited character support in sheet names, Google Doc-style collaborative editing of a single spreadsheet simultaneously, and much-needed support for Office 2007 file types.

Empirically, OpenOffice 3 seems to start marginally faster than … Read more

Malaysia moves to OpenOffice

Citing cost and ease of use considerations, the State of Pahang in Malaysia has officially moved to OpenOffice. I wrote yesterday about how emerging economies may prove to be the best source of growth for desktop Linux. Here is one more proofpoint:

The driving force for this migration seems to be cost of proprietary software and the fear of unlicensed software. is the obvious solution to these two pressing problems (thanks, BSA!) What is good is that they have chosen ODF by default, and they are not changing the file format to the binary proprietary ones.

What is … Read more

The problem with (Not so) (download for Windows | Mac) has a range of problems: Monolithic architecture, declining interest in fat-client software, etc. But it's primary problem may be its corporate ownership, as Michael Meeks, long-time OpenOffice developer and Novell employee, notes:

I think one of the sad things we see at the moment is the decreasing amount of interest in investing in So we see Sun cutting back their developer count on, while we still see them demand ownership for all of the code, which kinda retards other people investing in it....

But the sad thing is [Sun's] failure to build a community around it, getting other people involved. And that's tied to Sun owning It's a Sun project. They own all of the code, they demand ownership rights, and that just really retards developer interest. I mean: [Who] would want to work cleaning someone else's gun?

This isn't just a Sun problem. Michael's comment speaks to a much broader problem as more and more open source goes corporate: How do you encourage development as a corporation?… Read more

Finally an OpenOffice that I can recommend

Much as I like the idea behind OpenOffice, I've never particularly liked the reality. Until now.

As a Mac user, I've long relied on Patrick Luby and the NeoOffice team to deliver the power of OpenOffice in a Mac-friendly UI (the native version of OpenOffice has always required the ugly and clunky X11). Today, however, I downloaded OpenOffice Aqua Beta, and find that my old complaints are just that...old.

One of my biggest peeves? OpenOffice for Mac used to lack embedded video support. Not anymore. I was easily able to drop my favorite video clips into a presentation I had just converted from PowerPoint.

The conversion? Perfect. While I doubt will be able to perfectly convert all of my files, I don't really expect it to do so: Ever tried converting your files between different versions of Microsoft Office? Good luck on finding perfection.… Read more

Power Downloader accelerates OpenOffice

As you might imagine, Power Downloader is a big fan of open-source software, and of OpenOffice in particular. The free productivity suite gives users all the tools of Microsoft Office for free, with only minor features lacking support. Notably, OOo, as it's affectionately known, supports the OpenDocument movement's attempt to standardize file formats.

However, Power D knows that OpenOffice can be a slothful bear of a program. Running the Quickstarter can make firing up the app you need faster, but for busy software superheroes like Power D, that means having it load on start-up, which extends his computer'… Read more

Enhance with free extensions and templates

You could create every document, spreadsheet, and presentation you work on from scratch, but if you're like me, you'll likely spend more time futzing with the file's layout and design than entering the data that comprises it.

That's why I rely on the many free templates and extensions for my favorite productivity apps. I've written in the past about places to find add-ons for Microsoft Office, but there's also a wealth of free extensions and templates for's Writer word processor, Calc spreadsheet, and Impress presentation program.

Start at's … Read more