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Sun Microsystems yesterday released the first beta of OpenOffice.org 3 for Windows and Mac.

The open source rival to Microsoft Office now natively supports Mac OS X without the need to install the X11 module to run the suite first. The beta also includes full Vista and partial VBA support.

Sun will be hoping to lure customers away from Microsoft's software by bigging up features that enable migration from MS Office.

OpenOffice.org 3.0 will support the upcoming OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 standard, and can also open files created with Microsoft’s Office 2007 and Office 2008 for Mac OS X.

Features built into the release include a "Start Centre", new icons, and a zoom control in the status bar. There are also tweaks to Writer, Chart, and Calc.

Sun plans to release OpenOffice.org 3.0 in September this year. The software is available from this page. ®

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