OpenOffice.org 3 beta is ready for testing

The OpenOffice.org Community is pleased to announce that the public beta release of OpenOffice.org 3.0 is now available. This beta release is made available to allow a broad user base to test and evaluate the next major version of OpenOffice.org, but is not recommended for production use at this stage.

If you are a regular user of OpenOffice.org, here’s a great opportunity to help us make the next release the best ever.

What’s new in OpenOffice.org 3.0?

The most immediately visible change to OpenOffice.org 3.0 is the new “Start Centre”, new fresh-looking icons, and a new zoom control in the status bar. A closer look shows that 3.0 has a myriad of new features. Notable Calc improvements include a new solver component; support for spreadsheet collaboration through workbook sharing; and an increase to
1024 columns per sheet. Writer has an improved notes feature and displays of multiple pages while editing. There are numerous Chart enhancements, and an improved crop feature in Draw and Impress.

Behind the scenes, OpenOffice.org 3.0 will support the upcoming OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 standard, and is capable of opening files created with MS-Office 2007 or MS-Office 2008 for Mac OS X (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.). This is in addition to read and write support for the MS-Office binary file formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt, etc.).

OpenOffice.org 3.0 will be the first version to run on Mac OS X without X11, with the look and feel of any other Aqua application. It introduces partial VBA support to this platform. In addition, OpenOffice.org 3.0 integrates well with the Mac OS X accessibility APIs, and thus offers better accessibility support than many other Mac OS X applications.

A more detailed guide to the features can be found at http://marketing.openoffice.org/3.0/featurelistbeta.html

Beta Availability

OpenOffice.org 3 beta is immediately available in US English for MS-Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS X and OpenSolaris platforms from http://download.openoffice.org/3.0beta. This page also contains details of where to find localized builds and language packs as they become available. For more details, please consult the appropriate native language project – see http://projects.openoffice.org/native-lang.html

Help us gathering bugs in May!

In order to help us release OpenOffice.org 3.0 on schedule in September, users of the beta release are encouraged to report any bugs, issues or errors at http://qa.openoffice.org.

If you would like to test just the new features, there is a list of test cases by component at http://qa.openoffice.org/ooQAReloaded/TestcaseSpecifications/OpenOffice.org_3.0

If you are nervous about reporting bugs through the formal bug reporting system, you can simply email details to the user support mailing lists http://www.openoffice.org/mail_list.html

The developers look forward to receiving your feedback on this beta release of OpenOffice.org!

“2008 – the year of 3”

Coach outlet

Is Linux still safe? Do we need to use antivirus?

Linux itself (the kernel) is mostly safe. Until someone find a new ptrace or vmsplice bug of course…

But a desktop OS, whatever it is, will never be really safe IMHO. I would even declare that no computer system as large as an OS could be totally safe. The real difference is what the malware (virus/trojan/worm/…) will be able to do when it will come to your desktop! And here, using GNU/Linux and FLOSS in general make a difference.

First, FLOSS projects often care more about security than closed ones. This is simply because everybody have access to the source code so any security mistake would be pointed out relatively soon. And then there is two cases: either this is a serious project and the bug would be corrected quickly, or this is a project which doesn’t care much about security and most user will simply stop using it => the project will die because of lack of users.

Second, the way a Unix based system is organized, with strong privileges separation *by default*, make it relatively hard to exploit by malwares. Even if one do enter your environment and maybe install itself to be started with your session, because it can not install itself to start with the system without getting first privileges for that, it will have to find a way to escalate privileges up to root to really be able to harm the system.

Just try it! Without a real strong security bug in a program run as “root” (in the kernel, or into a library used by a program run as “root”), it’s just not that easy. Let’s even say it’s quite impossible until one of these bugs has been found. Of course, except bugs, there could be a security hole introduced by a misconfiguration, e.g. some knowledge-less user blindly following some wrong instruction in a forum.
But in this case it’s not a program bug but a user bug. 😉

Last but not least, about data security (lost or corruption of data), let’s remind everybody that the best way is not to use an anti-virus but to make frequent backups and to save a copy in another place (in case the main one would burn, be flooded or whatever) ! It’s the best way to protect your data from just almost everything.

Posted by Jean Christophe André, from HanoiLUG.