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OpenOffice 2.0: Exclusive Interview – OpenOffice Leaders McCreesh and Suarez-Potts

Addresses Look-and-Feel, MS Office, and Other Issues

Enterprise Open Source Magazine was able to catch up in cyberspace with OpenOffice.org Marketing Project leader John McCreesh and community manager Louis Suarez-Potts, who graciously answered our questions about OpenOffice 2.0.

Here is what they had to say:

Enterprise Open Source Magazine: Version 2.0 has been in development for two years, I believe. How many people and companies took part in the revision, and what are the major improvements?

John McCreesh: The OpenOffice.org community numbers thousands of members, who have contributed in a variety of ways to the new version - reporting bugs, requesting enhancements, developing, testing, translating, documenting,
providing user support, artwork, marketing... The community also benefits from support from a number of commercial organizations, including Novell, RedHat, Intel, and most notably our founder Sun Microsystems.

Independent reviewers have emphasised the improved "look and feel" of OpenOffice.org 2. This is a tribute to the way our developers have responded to feedback from thousands of users and also from studies in usability labs. The addition of a fully-integrated database component has also been high on our users' wish list.

Behind the scenes, the biggest change is that OpenOffice.org 2 uses the OpenDocument file formats by default. This means user's data is stored in a vendor-independent, OASIS approved format, so they will be guaranteed access to their data from any compliant software package, and will never be locked out of their files if they decide to change their software in future.

EOS: The OpenOffice 2.0 press release says it is "fluidly interoperable with every major office suite." Does this mean users will have no problems reading Microsoft Office documents? Will MS Office users have no trouble reading OO documents?

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