I like the idea of an alternative Microsoft Office suite a lot. That said, I’m not sure a huge fan of OpenOffice.org, and God knows I’ve tried. It just seems big, slow, and bloated to me, and they’ve moved too slowly to make it work like the underlying OS. What I’d like to see is something small, fast, and elegant, that offers the 10 percent of those features that 90 percent of Office users actually use day-to-day. Is there such a thing? I’ve never seen it. Anyhoo. The latest version of the software that’s here to punish people too poor to afford Microsoft Office—a.k.a. OpenOffice.org 3.0--is here. And by the way: 3 major releases in 8 years? Even Microsoft can hit that target. Projects like this should move more quickly.

OK, enough complaining. Here’s the announcement.

Following three years of continuous improvement, OpenOffice.org has now reached the landmark version 3.0, with a host of new features including native support for Mac OS X users. Head to http://download.openoffice.org to download the en-US, da, de, fr, it, ja, ru, sv versions, and monitor the platforms and languages page for details of the availability of other versions.

So what about those new features? Anything good?

I see native support for Mac OS X, a first, and that should be a big deal for those guys. It can import Office 2007 document formats and is compatible with ODF 1.2. And it’s got fresh new icons. Eh.