RealTime IT News
OpenOffice.org 1.1 Beta2 Hits the Web
By Thor Olavsrud
May 23, 2003

Two months after the release of its first beta, OpenOffice.org Thursday took OpenOffice.org 1.1 Beta2 to the Web on schedule.

The second beta adds a number of new features, including:

  • Support for printer independent layout
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) support for filters based on XSLT
  • Improvements to the PDF export functionality added in the first beta
  • Enhanced OLE , or Object Linking and Embedding, editing support on Windows
  • A large number of bug fixes.

Additionally, in an effort to streamline the process of fixing bugs in the software, the organization is pointing users to a page detailing how to best file bugs. It includes information about how to help the Quality Assurance project deal with bug reports, how to run OpenOffice.org with Valgrind (the open-source memory debugger for x86-GNU/Linux), and a number of ready-made bug query scripts.

OpenOffice.org is an open source community created by Sun Microsystems and charged with creating an international office productivity suite that will run on all major platforms and "provide access to all functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format."

Written in C++, OpenOffice.org code initially included the technology which Sun was developing for future versions of its StarOffice software, though that suite now uses the OpenOffice.org source, APIs, file formats and reference implementations.

In March, the organization introduced the first Beta of OpenOffice.org 1.1. That beta added a progress bar on the splash screen and the ability to export PDF documents and to mail a document as a PDF. It also added DocBook XML import/export, support for exporting as a flat XML file, and XHTML export. For Windows users, it added OpenOffice.org ActiveX Control, additional property pages for OpenOffice.org file types in Windows Explorer, and accessibility support.

The first beta also stepped up the organization's efforts to fulfill its "international" mandate, with support for Complex Text Layout (CTL) and vertical writing languages like Thai, Hindi, Arabic and Hebrew. It also added support for various 8-bit Arabic and Hebrew text encodings/code pages, support for the KOI8_U encoding, a new CTL options tab in the language options dialogue, rescue mode support for BiDi/CTL with X11 fonts, Sequence Input Checking (SIC) for languages like Thai and Hindi, initial glyph fallback support, and autodetection of newly installed languages for spellchecker, thesaurus and hyphenator.

The 1.1 version also makes strides toward making the software available for mobile device formats, with support for Palm's AportisDoc, Pocket Work and Pocket Excel, command line tools for importing configuration data into the backend, support for recovering slightly damaged files and detection of a misconfigured Java installation.

OpenOffice.org plans a release candidate of v1.1 in June, followed by the final release in July.