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I was just over at the OpenOffice site browsing through some of their marketing materials to see if there was anything interesting. I came across a presentation that was given on September 19th at the OpenOffice 2007 Conference. The presentation was called “ 3.0 and Beyond,” and it walked through some of the most notable features that are expected to be released in the next big OpenOffice milestone.

The presentation was actually pretty interesting to flip through, but the one thing that really caught my attention was their reference to including a Personal Information Manager (PIM). More specifically the presentation mentions bundling Thunderbird with their Office Suite, and refers to it as an “Outlook replacement.” This is all assuming that Thunderbird recently losing two of it’s main developers doesn’t affect the decision, because I’m sure OpenOffice wants to ensure that Thunderbird will continue to progress before including it.

A post that I made earlier this year regarding Thunderbird as an Outlook replacement really sparked some heated debates in the comments. People were saying that it will never happen, yet this is the direct goal of the new OpenOffice. They plan on including the Lightning add-on for Thunderbird so that in addition to email support, users will also be able to manage their schedule and appointments.

This is pretty big news, but the PIM that is to be included in OpenOffice 3.0 won’t be the only notable feature (click on a thumbnail to enlarge it):

  • New Personal Information Manager
    • Supports local and server-based calendars
    • Task management
    • Month, week, day view
    • Multiple calendars support 3.0 Calendar
    • Free/busy management
    • Connector to Sun Java System Calendar Server (WCAP, iCal, WebDAV, CalDAV, and Google Calendar
  • PDF Import and Export
  • Microsoft Office 2007 XML Importing
  • Improved Pivot Tables and Solver in Calc
  • Web 2.0 Support (Blogging and Wiki) 3.0 Blogging
  • Presenter Console with Multi-screen Support
  • Vista Integration
  • New Chart Engine and Wizard
    • New chart types like regression curves, 3D exploded pie, 3D doughnut, 3D smooth lines, and more. 3.0 Charts
    • Flexible source ranges
    • Enhanced logarithmic scales
    • Enhanced data editor
  • Improved Notes
  • Rectangle Selection in Writer
  • New Report Engine for Base 3.0 Report Builder 
  • Improved Extension Management
  • Icon Redesign
  • Better Chapter Numbering in Writer
  • ODF Toolkit

OpenOffice 3.0 is due out in September 2008 which is perfect timing for the Linux world. Most Linux distributions have a new version that comes out every spring and fall, so OpenOffice 3.0 should be able to make it into the fall lineup of Linux distributions.