OpenOffice suite goes 1.0

OpenOffice.org instantly /.ed

OpenOffice.org 1.0 was released today, and is largely unavailable for free download, openoffice.org itself apparently being under some severe pressure right now. Give it a couple of days until the crowds die down.

OpenOffice is the open source implementation of Sun's StarOffice, sharing the same code base as StarOffice 6.0. It claims to be the largest open source project ever, with more than 7.5 million lines of code, and in the 18 month development period the OpenOffice.org community says there have been 4.5 million downloads of pre-1.0 versions.

It's available (well all right, it's sort-of available) in "over 25 languages," (So 26? 27? Why do press release writers say such things?) and on Windows, Linux, Solaris and other flavours of Unix.

The differentiation between OpenOffice.org 1.0 and StarOffice 6.0 has potential to be ticklish. OpenOffice "offers software freedom," it says here, "enabling a free market for service and support" (i.e. some assembly and help from fellow geeks required), while StarOffice includes fee-based support, and "also offers additional features, such as a database, special fonts and Sun quality and assurance testing."

So StarOffice is for businesses and consumers who either want to deal with proper companies and/or don't know or care what open source is, while OpenOffice is undiluted revolution, for people who choke on expressions such as "Sun quality and assurance testing." Or something. The twin-track approach makes some sense in that many (most?) businesses can't deal with software they don't have to pay for, so even if the tab is fairly small the existence of the software in this packaging actually improves its chances of getting adopted in business and bundled with new computers, for sale to the Great Unconverted.

In giving good quote for the release we're not sure whether Eric Raymond agreed with us here, muddied the waters or attacked Sun. Possibly all of the above: "OpenOffice.org 1.0 may be the single best hope for consumers fed-up with Microsoft's desktop monopoly," said Eric Raymond, co-founder of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). "With Sun moving to a full service and support business model for StarOffice software, users around the globe will continue to have a free office productivity software tool through the OpenOffice.org open source community."

Whatever, congratulations anyway, people. We'll download it as soon as we can get in. ®

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