OpenOffice downloads hit the 300 million milestone. You can download the latest stable version OpenOffice 3.2 free. The OpenOffice Suite offers full compatibility with Microsoft Office 2007. We’ve not tested the Suite with the Microsoft Office 2010 edition but given MS did not change file extensions, OpenOffice can readily be used to open/edit those files created in MS Office 2010.
At the moment, the best zero-cost alternative to Microsoft Office Suite has been the best contender to dethrone Microsoft’s grip on the business productivity suite ever since its first introduction in 2002. The open-source nature of OpenOffice has managed to convert 300 millions of users not only because it is free but OpenOffice has always prided itself for being user-friendly and Microsoft Office-friendly! The viral success of OpenOffice owes it mainly to the seamless compatibility with Microsoft Office-created files. You could open and modify Microsoft Office files on OpenOffice without any problem.
Microsoft got so pissed about OpenOffice’s ability to modify its old office files that they decided to reinvent their filing system for Microsoft Office 2007. Microsoft created the docx format and it was a devastating blow to OpenOffice users who could no longer open and edit Microsoft Office 2007 files. The software giant decided to quash the rapid success of OpenOffice and for three years, Microsoft effectively blocked any chance of compatibility with Microsoft 2007.
It has been 3 years of hard work by OpenOffice developers to crack the Microsoft Office 2007 file formats and finally they have overcome Microsoft’s restrictions. The format wars have been won and the open-source team prevailed. OpenOffice 3.2 is fully compatible with all Microsoft Office 2007 files. Microsoft can eat their rich heart out, OpenOffice geeks managed to beat them at their own game. I bet Microsoft Office 2007 users are now switching back to the new OpenOffice 3.2. It offers better security and is blazingly fast. Microsoft Office 2007 is beautiful but it is fat and sluggish. The latest incarnation of OpenOffice runs fine on my old Toshiba Tecra 9100 whose RAM is only 768MB. OpenOffice 3.2 has improved compliance with the Open Document Format 1.2 (ODF) and the beta versions of Microsoft Office 2010 supports ODF. This can mean better compatibility between OpenOffice and Microsoft Office 2010 in the future.
You can get this wonderful and free office productivity suite at www.openoffice.org. Do not be surprised of the red Oracle logo on the home page. As I wrote before, Oracle closed its total purchase of Sun Microsystems last month. Millions of OpenOffice users are hoping Oracle will keep its promise to continue supporting the free open source projects of Sun like MySQL and OpenOffice.