Last night, OpenOffice.org sent out the email many of us had been waiting for -- Version 3.0 had been released. Seven hours later, it followed up with another -- in the rush by thousands of users to install this major upgrade, the download site had crashed.
Nor were the OOo people able to say when it would be up and coping. They could only suggest people keep trying, for days to come if necessary.
Over recent months, I've declined offers of Version 2.XX upgrades while I waited for OOo 3.0. Now, from all I read, Version 3.0 will be a significant leap forward, fixing areas in which the previous versions were a bit clunky, and introducing many new features.
In these belt-tightening times, I'd have trouble justifying the purchase of an expensive, fully featured version of Microsoft Office. OOo offers most of the same functionality in a free package. Philosophically, I'm attracted to a community effort in which thousands of people around the world have contributed their experience, skills, talent and enthusiasm to a project for the common good.
I'm rushing off to bowls (although a look at the sky suggests I might soon be back at this desk). These links, copied off OOo's email, should give more information. They haven't been checked. I'll do that when I return.
Official Press Release: http://www.prweb.com/releases/OOo/3/prweb1459364.htm
Guide to new features: http://www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/features/3.0
Technical release notes: http://development.openoffice.org/releases/3.0.0.html
Availability of localised versions and ports: http://download.openoffice.org/other.html