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OpenOffice 3 goes native on the Mac

Servers still struggling to service demand

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The latest version of OpenOffice - providing you can get at it - supports Macs natively for the first time.

Version 3 of the open source office suite, released on Monday, contains a native port for Mac OS X. That means Mac users can run the alternative to Microsoft Office without having to go through the chore of installing X11, a Unix windowing environment.

Other improvements for OpenOffice version 3.0 include support for the recently introduced ODF 1.2 document format, the ability to handle a wide range of VBA macros, and the ability to open documents from Microsoft Office 2007.

OpenOffice has offered native Windows and Linux ports, as well as support for less common platforms such as Solaris, IRIX and even OS/2, throughout its history.

The latest version of the software should be available from the OpenOffice site, which is still struggling to meet demand. The OpenOffice team has responded by stripping down the site to a minimalist plain-graphics form that simply offers downloads while also reminding punters that OpenOffice 3.0 is also available via BitTorrent.

A notice on the site states: "Apologies - our website is struggling to cope with the unprecedented demand for the new release 3.0 of OpenOffice.org. The technical teams are trying to come up with a solution."

Either the servers and associated networking kit at OpenOffice.org are finding demand overwhelming for the third day running, or it's all a fiendish marketing ploy. We'll leave it up to you to make the call.

For now, going to BitTorrent and waiting until the weekend to download the software, after the rush will surely have passed, seem the most sensible options. ®

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