OpenOffice.org 2.0 is available now. If you tried OOo in the past and felt it wasn't ready, I encourage you to try this release. Here's the announcement from OpenOffice.org:
OpenOffice.org 2.0 Is Here
OpenOffice.org 2.0 is the productivity suite that individuals, governments, and corporations around the world have been expecting for the last two years. Easy to use and fluidly interoperable with every major office suite, OpenOffice.org 2.0 realises the potential of open source.
With new features, advanced XML capabilities and native support for the OASIS Standard OpenDocument format, OpenOffice.org 2.0 gives users around the globe the tools to be engaged and productive members of their society.
Download it now. If it is not ready today in your language, it will be shortly. OpenOffice.org 2.0 is yours.
I'll let Sun's Simon Phipps tell you why this release matters:
I've spoken with a wide range of local and national government officials recently, and they have almost all told me that a formal release of OpenOffice.org is very important to them as they can't deploy beta or 'release candidate' software in their organisation. I'm therefore delighted to see that OpenOffice.org 2.0 has just been released by the OpenOffice.org community. Huge congratulations to the many, many people involved in the huge task of creating a commercial-quality open source software release. It makes OpenDocument format a viable alternative for millions of people worldwide. The downloads are going to be very popular so I suggest getting the BitTorrent versions and then leaving your BitTorrent client running to help share the load. The more of us do that, the more people will have OpenOffice.org 2.0 sooner.
The OpenOffice.org Press Information page tells us a bit more:
OpenOffice.org 2.0: A Choice for A Real Change
OpenOffice.org 2.0 is the first open source office suite to offer thorough support for the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) OASIS Standard. OpenDocument is an XML file format that was developed by OASIS, the international body for the development and ratification of e-Business standards. The OpenDocument format can be used by any office application without fear of vendor specific lock-in or onerous licensing terms and fees, with the confidence that documents can be viewed, edited and printed for generations to come.
The suite now also offers a database module, Base, to complement the word processor (Writer), spreadsheet manager (Calc), presentation manager (Impress) and drawing tool (Draw) modules. These give all users the tools they need to be productive in the modern world. Free for all, OpenOffice.org offers everyone the enduring freedoms to use, study, improve and share the software. Users can download it for free from the Project's Web page at http://download.openoffice.org/2.0.0/index.html.
With a new user interface, OpenOffice.org 2.0 is easy to learn and use by the most inexperienced user, and is significantly more compatible with Microsoft Office files than prior versions. Supported by dozens of professional companies, OpenOffice.org 2.0 will be available in more than 60 languages. Able to run on Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris and other platforms, OpenOffice.org is increasingly the choice of businesses and governments throughout the world, and earlier versions have been downloaded over 49 million times since the project's inception.
Some new features include a new interface "designed to assist in the transition from proprietary office suites, digital signing of documents, word count functionality improvements, import support for Corel WordPerfect, Calc support for up to 65,536 rows of data, integration of XForms inside OpenOffice.org, enhanced PDF support, and the debut of OpenOffice.org Base, a database module capable of creating self-contained, portable and cross-platform compatibility and functionality between Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Sun Solaris users.
IBM's Bob Sutor has a few suggestions, by the way, for those who want to ask Microsoft to support ODF. Here's one of several suggestions that is easy to do: "Ask your CIO (chief information officer) when you will be able to use office applications that support the OASIS OpenDocument standard." The OpenDocument Fellowship has a petition anyone can sign, if they wish to ask Microsoft to support OpenDocument Format. Microsoft has said that they might consider doing so, if enough customer demand becomes apparent. So if you are a customer who wants ODF support, it's a good time to become apparent.