A new version of open office is available. The main improvements are:
Enhancements to the open-source productivity suite include support for PDF and XHTML exports and improved compatibility with Microsoft Office, according to the OpenOffice Web site. The new release, for example, will support forms conversion within Word documents and import text document layouts with more fidelity. OpenOffice 1.1 also boasts enhanced support for mobile device formats such as Palm’s AportisDoc, Pocket Word and Pocket Excel.
IBM has ideas of its own, taking a thinner approach with its WorkPlace products
A wild card in the Office wars is IBM, which plans to offer server-based word processing, spreadsheet and presentation functionality to buyers of its WebSphere portal. At the very least, that could allow large customers to negotiate better Microsoft Office pricing/licensing, observers said. (See IBM Plans Sneak Attack On Microsoft Office.)
The MS Office team are majoring on quality for their next release, does this imply major changes, requiring major testing, or just good practice?
Software development, especially for a product as feature-rich as Office, is a repetitive process comprising what can seem to be endless feedback loops and rework.
“We’re trying to reduce the iteration of that cycle because it’s extremely costly,” said Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Information Worker Product Group. “We want to use our development resources more effectively, yielding higher-quality code and not iterating what customers never see,” he said.
The Office 12 team will rely on new tools, including Buddy Web, a system developers can use to privately share releases, according to the memo, from Eric Fox, Office development manager at Microsoft. Buddy Web had previously been used by the Outlook team.
In addition, the Office group will have access to Big Button, a system that gives developers easy access to the appropriate set of tests for their code.
Office 12, will not reply on Longhorn, not really a suprise, but its in print.
Microsoft knows it would be folly to leave the hundreds of millions of Windows XP and 2000 users out in the cold and force an upgrade to the shiny, new and radically different next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, which is now expected to come out in 2007 or later. Office 12 initially was slated to ship with Longhorn, but the next-generation Windows platform slipped and Office didn’t, according to one insider. “The Office team is disciplined. They nail down their feature set, set a schedule and usually hit it,” the insider said.
Read all this in the context of my previous posts on Choosing an office suite