OpenOffice 3.0

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Getting rid of all-things-Endnote has put me in a rather unseasonable mood for digital spring cleaning.  I’m not sure if it’s that I’ve been using and very much enjoying Open Office 2.4 on the eee PC or just that the latest update of Office 2008 on the Mac still fails to resolve long-standing issues, but I’ve felt that “get out of Office” mood building as well.

When I learned that the newly released (October 12, 2008) OpenOffice 3.0 (OOo3) is now native on the Mac (no longer requiring the X11 layer) and that it can read the newer “.docx” and other XML-based formats unleashed on the world by Office 2007, well, I was sold.

I’ve used it for a couple of days now and can say it’s stable, fast and feature-rich.   The plugin architecture opens up many new possibilities as well.  For example, I installed Sun’s PDF import plugin and found it works great for making small edits on PDF files (I had been using PDFpen for this sort of thing).    From the plugin’s description:

The PDF Import Extension allows modifying existing PDF files for which the original source files do not exist anymore. PDF documents are imported in Draw and Impress to preserve the layout and to allow basic editing. It is the perfect solution for changing dates, numbers or small portions of text.

Speaking of EndNote, I should point out that OpenOffice Writer has a very nice bibliographic database function baked right in. Unfortunately, as I write this, the Zotero plugin for Open Office (enabling you to cite items from your Zotero library in Open Office documents) is not working due to problems with Python support in OOo3 under Mac OSX. But this will surely be fixed at some point so the time you spend now developing your dependency on Open Office will not be wasted.