300,000,000 Downloads Later, OpenOffice Ships Version 3.2

The OpenOffice.org Community this morning announced the release of the latest version (3.2) of its personal productivity suite, and simultaneously announced that the software has been downloaded an impressive 300 million times in total since its public debut in April 2002.

According to the statement, OpenOffice.org 3 recorded over half of that number from the central download site alone.

(Note: title and first para initially mentioned 200 million downloads, which was 100 million short of the claimed total number of downloads)

Improvements in the latest version of OpenOffice are speed tweaks, new features, enhanced compatibility with other office software programs, bug fixes and the addressing of potential security vulnerabilities.

In case you’re not familiar with OpenOffice: it’s basically a free, open-source alternative to Microsoft’s Office desktop software suite, offering basic components of productivity tools such as a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, graphics, formula and database capabilities.

OpenOffice 3.2 new or improved features include:

– faster start-up times (very welcome)
– improved compatibility with open standard (ODF) and proprietary file formats
– improvements to all components, particularly the Calc spreadsheet
– the Chart module (usable throughout OpenOffice.org) received a usability makeover and some new chart types

The OpenOffice.org Community encourages all its users to upgrade to the new release, and reminds users of OpenOffice.org 2 that the version was declared end-of-life in December 2009, with no further security patches or bugfixes being issued.

Oracle, OpenOffice’s main sponsor after its recent acquisition of Sun Microsystems, and other distributors, offer OpenOffice enterprise support with longer lifecycles.

You can download the latest version of OpenOffice here.