OpenOffice 2.2 was just released after about a month’s worth of delays. The official announcement has yet to be made on the homepage, but the downloads for OpenOffice 2.2 are currently available on their FTP.
This version actually fixes three highly critical vulnerabilities that were recently found. One of them only applies to a Linux/Solaris system, but the other two apply to all distributions:
- WordPerfect Import Vulnerability – If a user opens an untrusted WordPerfect file his or her system may be compromised.
- StarCalc Vulnerability – If a user opens an untrusted StarCalc document it can potentially run arbitrary code supplied in the file.
- URL Handling Security Vulnerability (Linux/Solaris) – If a user running OpenOffice.org from a shell terminal in Linux or Solaris opens an untrusted URL, malicious code could be arbitrarily executed on the user’s computer.
Besides for the vulnerabilities being fixed, there are also some new things that are worth mentioning:
- Improved text display throughout the entire office suite.
- Enhanced PDF export functionality that supports user-definable form fields and bookmark creation.
- Cosmetic changes in Vista (example: New File dialogue box).
- Apple Mac Intel has several stability improvements.
- OpenOffice Calc spreadsheet has received additional enhancements to its support for Microsoft file formats, including improved support for Pivot Tables and some specialized trigonometric functions.
- OpenOffice Base, the database component, has improved SQL editing functionality as well as a new “Queries within Queries” feature.
- OpenOffice Impress, the presentations component, offers improvements in the handling of hidden slides which has been made more intuitive.
Here is the What’s New page for the last release candidate of OpenOffice 2.2, which also happens to be what got released as the final product. There’s quite a bit of information on there though, and most of you probably won’t want to sift through it.
I briefly flipped through the OpenOffice forum to see what user’s first impressions were of the new release. One of the last comments on the forum says:
No new features that I have noticed with my daily use of Writer and Calc. I have reverted back to the 2.0.4 Novell Edition and actually ‘gained’ many new features.
I used to look forward to new releases of OOo with more enthusiasm. But lately there hasn’t been a whole lot to look forward to. In all honesty, the Novell Edition has been a pleasant surprise on Windows for me.
I actually feel the same way as that user. New versions of OpenOffice are being released every few months, but where are those awesome features that will help set it apart? I did find the page for the Novell version of OpenOffice that the person mentioned in the forum, and here are the special features that it is supposed to have:
- Enhancements to Writer
- Enhanced Support for Microsoft Office File Formats
- E-Mail as Microsoft Office Document
- Excel VBA Macro Interoperability
- Improved Data Pilot Support
- Enhanced Fonts
- ODMA Integration
- Multimedia Support in Presentations
I haven’t tried the Novell edition myself because the regular version of OpenOffice has always done just fine for me. However, I do a lot of work with Excel VBA Macros and for that reason I think I will give it a shot. It will take a little while for me to download the whopping 440MB ISO image though.
The next release of OpenOffice is planned for June 5. They are typically on a 3–month schedule, but they have decided to change things up a bit by making every other release dedicated purely for bug fixes. That would mean the June 5 release will not have anything new included and will only be bug fixes. Then after that makes it out the door their focus will be on version OpenOffice 2.3 which is expected around September 4.