Replace Pricey Microsoft Office with OpenOffice 3.0 (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Last Updated Oct 10, 2008 2:29 PM EDT

openoffice-3.jpgWell, it's official: Open-source office suite OpenOffice is now a final 3.0 release. As you may recall, we talked up the beta version back in May, but for anyone who prefers to steer clear of unfinished software, your long wait is over.

In case you've missed our numerous posts about it, OpenOffice delivers business-caliber word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, and drawing (Visio-style). It's nearly as feature-rich as Microsoft Office, and given that most users never touch the latter's more advanced features anyway, it's more than suitable for small and even medium-sized businesses.

Before version 3.0, Mac users had to use X11 to run OpenOffice. Now the suite "runs like any other Aqua application," according to the developers.

As always, OpenOffice costs zero dollars. Before you spend big bucks on pricey Microsoft Office licenses, you should absolutely positively try the suite for a couple weeks and see if it meets your needs. To get version 3.0 today, you'll have to hit up one of the mirror sites where it's been distributed. Otherwise, you can wait till Monday's "official" release and download it directly from the OpenOffice site. [via Download Squad]

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.