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Finally an OpenOffice that I can recommend

OpenOffice for the Mac just got a lot better.

OpenOffice.org

Much as I like the idea behind OpenOffice, I've never particularly liked the reality. Until now.

As a Mac user, I've long relied on Patrick Luby and the NeoOffice team to deliver the power of OpenOffice in a Mac-friendly UI (the native version of OpenOffice has always required the ugly and clunky X11). Today, however, I downloaded OpenOffice Aqua Beta, and find that my old complaints are just that...old.

One of my biggest peeves? OpenOffice for Mac used to lack embedded video support. Not anymore. I was easily able to drop my favorite video clips into a presentation I had just converted from PowerPoint.

The conversion? Perfect. While I doubt OO.org will be able to perfectly convert all of my files, I don't really expect it to do so: Ever tried converting your files between different versions of Microsoft Office? Good luck on finding perfection.

The bigger issue for now is stability, as the program kept crashing when I tried to import Word documents with heavy redlines (using the Track Changes feature). But it's still a beta, so crashes are to be expected.

So, while not perfect by any stretch, it's a big step forward in making the Mac a first-class citizen for OpenOffice, which has always worked best with Windows and Linux. I'm now getting the features I want with the operating system and clean UI that I've wanted. And, and if you want launcher icons...it has those, too.