Few free software projects have had as large of an impact as OpenOffice.org. It is used by millions of users all over the world and is the primary competition to Microsoft Office in the desktop market. The latest version of OpenOffice.org (3.2) adds a number of notable features worth trying. Among them are:
- Faster startup times (a 46% increase)
- Better open and proprietary file format support
- Better Asian language support
- Numerous Calc (spreadsheet) improvements
- and many others.
The upcoming release of Ubuntu (10.04 “Lucid Lynx”) will include OpenOffice.org 3.2 by default, and the release is on April 29 — just around the corner. But if you happen to be a little impatient or just want to give it a try, there are packages available directly from the OpenOffice.org website that work well with Ubuntu 9.10.
To install, just follow these steps:
1. Point your web browser to the OpenOffice.org download page
2. Scroll down to the table of release packages.
3. In the left column, select your language.
4. Run your mouse pointer across the page to the Linux 32-bit DEB or Linux 64-bit DEB, depending on the distribution you are running.
Note: If you are not sure, run “uname -a” from a terminal. If you are using 64-bit, it will say x86_64 at the end of the string before GNU/Linux.
5. Click “Download” and save the compressed file to a new folder (You can call it openoffice if you like).
6. Open a terminal window (such as gnome-terminal or konsole).
Note: At this point, it is a good idea to remove the existing OpenOffice installation with the following command:
sudo apt-get remove openoffice*
7. Change to the directory you just created:
8. Unpack the archive with the following command:
tar xzvf OOo_3.2.0_LinuxIntel_install_en-US_deb.tar.gz
9. Change to the newly created directly:
10. Install all of the open office deb files:
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
11. Now add the desktop integration package:
sudo dpkg -i desktop-integration/openoffice.org3.2-debian-menus_3.2-9472_all.deb
Once you have OpenOffice.org installed, you should test it to make sure it works properly. It should have installed the necessary menu icons in the appropriate location, regardless of whether you use Gnome, KDE, or any other desktop. If you had your own shortcuts anywhere else, however, you may need to update them to reflect the installation location, which is: /opt/openoffice.org3.
There were a couple of features I was not able to get working, mainly KDE 4 integration (file picker and theme). The packages were designed to integrate with KDE 3. If that is a show-stopper for you, then it is best to wait for the official Ubuntu release.
When I first started it, I immediately noticed the speed boost and some of the most noticeable “Writer” features. Try creating various documents, saving, closing, and reopening to make sure it all works before you start creating critical documents. If it all checks out fine, you will have successfully installed OpenOffice.org 3.2 on Ubuntu 9.10.