OpenOffice.org had hoped to celebrate its fifth birthday today by launching the next generation of its office software suite, but a glitch has delayed release of the product for one week.
According to a blog posting by OpenSource.org community member Stefan Taxhet, "a serious showstopper" apparently related to graphics was detected at the last moment, and developers agreed to postpone the release until the problem has been fixed.
The delay also allows developers to apply patches for other problems with OpenOffice.org 2.0 related to the printing of text and two issues related to Mac OS X.
OpenDocument Support Is Key
The OpenOffice.org suite, backed by a group of developers organized by Sun Microsystems, includes word processing and spreadsheet applications. It offers default support for the new XML-based OpenDocument format, approved by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).
That format got a boost recently when Massachusetts' I.T. department announced that OpenDocument would be the preferred program for state documents starting in January 2007. Also, Sun and Google have agreed to collaborate on several initiatives, including promotion of the OpenOffice.org software suite.
OpenOffice.org community development manager Louis Suarez-Potts said that the group has recorded some 47 million downloads since the inception of OpenOffice.org. With the release of version 2.0, that number is expected to reach 100 million in short order, he said.
Suarez-Potts suggested that, in light of the Google partnership with Sun, the profiles of OpenOffice.org and the Open Document Format (ODF) have been raised to a new level.
No Cause for Concern
Because the earlier iteration of OpenOffice.org is still functional, the delay should pose no problems for the organization, said IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky. While use of OpenOffice.org software on Windows-based hardware remains limited, he said, it is making headway among Linux and Unix users.
Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio noted that launch delays are common in the software industry, and that as long as the delay is relatively short it is not cause for concern. "It's better to fix the glitches before the release than after," she said.
As for the popularity of OpenOffice.org, DiDio said Microsoft's Office suite dominates the market by a large margin. She did point out, though, that Sun's StarOffice open-source offering has attained a 19 percent market share among small to midsize businesses.