Servers hosting the new version of OpenOffice.org have
crashed, under the weight of demand for the latest version of the
open source office productivity suite.
OpenOffice 3.0 was uploaded to the organisation's servers at
10am BST on Monday. According to OpenOffice.org's marketing lead,
John McCreesh, "the servers seem to have collapsed under the
load" of download requests.
McCreesh pointed out that the "vast majority" of downloads of
the suite take place through local mirrors, but said "the fact
that our central site can't even run the bouncer [to divert
requests to those local mirrors] must mean it's ... our biggest-ever
"We've never had this kind of outage before," McCreesh added.
At the time of writing (mid-afternoon Monday in the UK), the servers were
still not back up.
OpenOffice 3.0 is a significant update to the suite, which
includes free, community-led alternatives to Microsoft Office
products such as Word and Excel. The new version includes native
Mac OS X support for the first time, and is also the first
iteration of OpenOffice to be able to read the .docx Office Open
XML (OOXML) documents that are created in Office 2007. OOXML is the
chief rival to the OpenDocument Format (ODF) specification that has
been used in OpenOffice for some time.
The other big change in OpenOffice 3.0 is its increased focus on
the integration of extensions. "What we are doing is improving the
way people can build extensions so, rather than keep on increasing
the size of OpenOffice, people can download additional
functionality if they particularly need it," said McCreesh.
"We introduced [the extension functionality] in OpenOffice 2
but, now in 3, it's fully integrated so we can check for versions
of extensions," said McCreesh. "It just looks like part of
OpenOffice; you don't really know you're using an
In the new version of the suite, the Writer application can now
handle the editing of multiple pages at the same time and on
separate monitors. The Calc application now supports larger
spreadsheets and includes a new "solver" component for "people
who are into high-powered equation-solving", McCreesh said.
He also said the chart component, which is used across several
of the OpenOffice applications, has been given a "complete
rewrite" and is now "more visually appealing".
Asked why it was still not possible to export OOXML documents in
OpenOffice, rather than just being able to read them, McCreesh said
there had been "no demand" for such functionality.
"We're providing people with a migration path away from
Microsoft," McCreesh said, adding that he thought OpenOffice fans
should try to tempt Microsoft Office users over to the free
For those OpenOffice users who need to send a document to a
Microsoft Office 2007 user, McCreesh recommended sending the
document in an older Office format. "If you're one of the 10
people in an organisation who uses Office 2007, you would have to
save in an old version anyway [for most colleagues]," he claimed.
"The new Microsoft format is for a minority interest at the