OpenOffice.org made available for free download a third release candidate of Version 2.0 of its popular open-source office suite Friday. The release includes bug fixes only and no new features.
The project had planned to release its final 2.0 version on Oct. 13—the fifth anniversary of the founding of the organization—but it decided to hold off due to a "show-stopping" problem with the software. No new date has been attached to the final release, but community manager Louis Suarez-Potts said it could be ready as early as next week or as late as the end of the month.
OpenOffice.org released Beta 2 of Version 2.0 on Sept. 1.
"It would have been nice to release OpenOffice.org 2.0 at the 13th of October," developer Stefan Taxhet wrote in his Weblog. "But in the last minute a serious showstopper (#i55330#) has been brought up. In a discussion on IRC, we agreed that this is reason enough to start work on RC3."
According to information from the OpenOffice.org community, the i55330 bug caused graphical elements to be saved incorrectly in the OpenDocument format. For example, arrows in a document would disappear when it was saved in OpenDocument.
Specifically, graphics with a transparency of 0 (opaque graphics) were instead saved with a transparency of 100, making them invisible.
Taxhet said the team was able to fix the bug, but that the delay also gave them a chance to fix three other small problems: integrating a patch for printing of text when the user interface language is RTL, and two others involving Mac OS X.
"The release will be pushed out for about a week," Taxhet wrote. "This allows the mirrors to recover from major releases of other large packages."
OpenOffice.org 2.0 will be the first stable version of the open-source office suite able to produce the new XML-based standard ODF (OpenDocument format), sanctioned internationally only last May by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards).
It also will feature improved interoperability with Microsoft Word formats and a fully accessible relational database for use with financial applications, Suarez-Potts said.
The OpenDocument format is an XML-based OASIS international office document standard used to store data from desktop applications, such as word processing, presentation and spreadsheet software. It is meant to enable the free exchange of data between OpenDocument-compliant software packages.
OpenDocument is also supported by Sun Microsystems Inc.'s StarOffice 8, IBM, the KDE Project and Red Hat Inc.
ODF is not directly supported by Microsoft Corp.'s Office software. Third-party software is required to share MS Office and ODF documents.