OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta and Extensions Show Strong Momentum

OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta and Extensions Show Strong Momentum; Office Productivity Suite Delivers Document Accessibility for Mac Users with Disabilities.
Advanced Integration of OpenOffice.org with Apple VoiceOver, ODF Editing is Now Accessible on All Key Desktop Platforms; More Than 100 Extensions Available for OpenOffice.org

BERLIN LinuxTag 2008, May 29, 2008 Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAVA), the leading Open Source company, and the OpenOffice.org community today announced the availability of more than 100 extensions in the OpenOffice.org Extension Repository with the most popular ones achieving downloads of more than 200,000. Extensions are components that are downloaded on top of an existing OpenOffice.org installation and add extra features, templates, languages and dictionaries to the software.

Created through worldwide community collaboration, the extensions available in the OpenOffice.org Extension Repository include template packs, a report designer, tools for professional writers, translation, presentation compression functionality and more. Two new OpenOffice.org 3.0 features expected to be released as extensions within weeks are the Sun Presenter Console and the Sun PDF Import Extension. The Sun Presenter Console extension is available now to preview from the extension repository. It allows users to view their speaker notes, the next slide and the time on their laptop screens while presenting via a connected projector. The Sun PDF Import Extension allows users to edit PDF files.

“The Network Economy has ushered in new, dramatically different business models that have changed both the pace and approach with which individuals, communities and companies compete and succeed. It is critical for the participants in this new market to have the right tools and technologies so we encourage developers to get involved with OpenOffice.org,” said Jim Parkinson, vice president of Tools and Services at Sun. “With more than 1.2 million downloads per week and the growing adoption of the ISO standard OpenDocument Format, OpenOffice.org is a very attractive platform for developers and consumers. And until June 23, developers have the chance to win a share of the $175,000 USD that will be awarded by Sun Microsystems as part of the OpenOffice.org Community Innovation Program.”

OpenOffice.org extensions can be easily developed as multi-platform components by using Java technology and the NetBeans Integrated Development Environment (IDE). This is important as OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta has added platform support for Apple Mac OS X in addition to Windows, Linux and the Solaris OS. The Mac OS X version of OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta is receiving particularly good feedback from early testers for its performance, stability, cross-platform interoperability and feature richness.

In addition, OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta is receiving very positive feedback from the community for its strong accessibility support on Mac OS X. OpenOffice.org is the first application that is multi-platform accessible, exposing a rich set of information to assistive technologies on Windows, Solaris, GNU/Linux and with this upcoming release, Mac OS X (Intel-based Macs only). OpenOffice.org 3.0 will be the first version to run on Mac OS X that will have the look and feel of an Aqua application while supporting the Mac OS X accessibility APIs, and integrating well with the built-in Macintosh VoiceOver screen reader – offering better accessibility support than many other applications available for Mac OS X.

“Sun takes accessibility very seriously, whether in schools, in the home, in the workplace or in government institutions. An accessible solution for editing documents, spreadsheets, and creating presentations is of vital importance to the hundreds of millions of people worldwide with disabilities,” said Peter Korn, accessibility architect at Sun Microsystems and co-chair of the OASIS OpenDocument accessibility subcommittee. “Sun has listened and responded to the community. Our engineering efforts are a direct result of the requests we’ve received from our user community and exemplifies the innovation and success of the many open source initiatives at Sun.”

“We are very pleased with this latest demonstration of leadership by Sun, Apple, and the OpenDocument community to further the cause of accessibility to the Open Document format by the blind and other people with disabilities,” said Curtis Chong, president of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science. “This move – to make OpenOffice.org accessible on the Mac – is an important step for people who want access to the OpenDocument format and the OpenOffice.org software, and it is reassuring to know that as OpenOffice.org moves into the Mac arena, it will be usable by everyone. We sincerely hope that similar efforts are underway to ensure access to OpenOffice.org on all platforms where it is available.”