A beta version of OpenOffice.org 3.0 has been released for evaluation by the public.
This version of the popular software suite will support the forthcoming OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 standard as well as being able to open files created with Microsoft Office 2007 or Office 2008 for Mac including .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx alongside the traditional Office binary file formats such as .doc, .xls and .ppt. It is also the first version of OpenOffice that will run on Mac OS X without X11.
The free software also features an updated 'Start Centre' with new icons and a zoom control in the status bar. Users of the Calc application will benefit from workbook sharing and an increase to 1,024 columns per sheet, while Writer has an improved notes feature and now displays multiple pages during editing. There are also enhancements to the Chart application and an improved crop feature in Draw and Impress.
The beta version for PCs running Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and OpenSolaris operating systems can be downloaded here. With the official launch scheduled for September, users of the beta release are being encouraged to report any bugs, issues or errors at this evaluation page.