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OpenOffice 3.0 - the only option for masochistic Linux users

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Review In a brilliant execution of public relations, OpenOffice.org 3.0 was released without enough capacity to handle the demand for downloads. Servers buckled under the traffic, and some of us in the media took the bait: Shit, this thing must be hot. Are people really getting that excited over an open source productivity suite?

Before we knew it, we were knee deep in 150MB of download.

Installation is Half the Battle

OpenOffice is really the only option for Linux users who don't understand the hype behind web-based office software like Google Docs. We've been battle-hardened when it comes to software installations: RPM, Debian packages, tarballs with shell scripts, and - when we're up for some chest thumping - source code. So it comes as no surprise that installing OpenOffice 3 on Linux can be a pain in the balls.

Specific Debian packages haven't hit the Ubuntu repositories yet, so we had to do the install by hand. Visiting the OpenOffice install page prompts a file download. Unfortunately, as an Ubuntu user, you'll get the RPM version, which makes things a little tricky considering Ubuntu doesn't, you know, use RPM. A little searching on the OpenOffice website yields paydirt: Debian packages.

If being a Linux user means that you're left to figure a lot of things out on your own, being a Linux user on a 64-bit platform makes you the Henry David Thoreau of technology. Just to make things extra spicy, the Debian packages provided are for the i386 platform, which - try as it might - will never be the amd64 platform. As such, the provided installation shell script falls flat on its face. But using the iron fist of root, you can install the Debian packages by hand:

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

sudo dpkg -i --force-architecture *.deb

Yeah, that's what I thought. Shut your face.

Since this isn't an Ubuntu package, it doesn't have Ubuntu integrations. OpenOffice 3.0 is nowhere to be found in your 'Applications' menu, but you can find the binaries in /opt via the command line. If you use RedHat or some other derelict distribution, the install might be cleaner.

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