OpenOffice 3.0 - 5m downloads and counting

According to OpenOffice.org evangelist John McCreesh, the free office productivity suite has seen more than 5m downloads since it was made available two weeks ago.

According to OpenOffice.org evangelist John McCreesh, the free office productivity suite has seen more than 5m downloads since it was made available two weeks ago.

A week ago, McCreesh blogged that the suite had been downloaded 3m times in its first week, with 80 percent of those downloads apparently being by Windows users. That's all been widely reported on by now, but there are three important caveats to bear in mind when looking at the figures and the resulting headlines.

Firstly, the OpenOffice.org website crashed when the new version got launched. It was down for about a day before users could access even the "bouncer" page that had been set up to redirect site requests to mirror sites. So, the first-week figure could have arguably been greater, had that downtime not occurred.

Secondly, until the new version there has been no record kept of OpenOffice downloads. Hence, any claims of the first-week stats being "record-breaking" could very well be true, but are impossible to stand up.

Thirdly, as McCreesh clearly says, the Linux download figures are almost certainly underrepresented, because most Linux users will have downloaded the update through their distro repository, not via the bouncer page. So, while tons of Windows versions have been downloaded - around 4.5m at the moment - it's unlikely that they represent 80 percent of the total.

All of that = why we didn't run these stats as a story proper. It's just impossible to write a verifiable hook for the piece. But the stats are nonetheless clearly very impressive, and the OpenOffice.org community deserves major kudos.