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OpenOffice has released version 3.0 in the last few days.

This naturally brought me to think about how uptake is going. WWU does offer OpenOffice as an option on our ATUS Lab machines, along side MS Office, but I have zero idea how often it is used by the student body. I have OO installed on my primary work machine, which is no surprise considering that's a Linux machine.

What is the future of OO? Will it ever supplant MS Office?

It seems to me that Microsoft is really pushing for SharePoint to take over from plain old file-serving. This is evident in the extent that SharePoint is integrated into Office 2007. I have to expect that the next version of Office will be even more tightly coupled to some web-based platform.

This is a problem for OO. While it may be possible to shim SharePoint integration into OO, perhaps through cunning uses of Mono, it means that OO will of necessity be one to three versions behind Microsoft in terms of features. Alternate platforms like Novell Teaming and Conferences are SharePoint-like, but they're not, you know, SharePoint.

Unfortunately, it looks like you can only go so far being able to read and create 100% MSO-compatible files. There's this other stuff that needs to be able to be done. WordPerfect learned this lesson in the years between MSO's ascension and the coming of age of OpenOffice as the, "Office package that is not Microsoft's," first choice. WordPerfect had the ability to save to PDF for years, and from what I hear is still the default choice in Law offices. However, WordPerfect is now the #3 behind OO and MSO.

OpenOffice has a difficult road ahead.

1 Comment does have a difficult road ahead. The pissing match between Novell and Sun as far as development practices and contribution acceptance isn't helping.