OpenOffice.org Conference (OOoCon 2007) is taking place this week. Among the first information available is a talk about the future of OOorg.
The conference is held in Barcelona until Friday. The first talks were today, and first files are available.
One of the keynotes was titled “OpenOffice.org 3.0 and Beyond” and of course caught my attention. The PDF for the talk (1.5 MB)
looks looked a bit clumsy and is hopefully not the result of the best what OOorg hast to offer. But the content is nevertheless interesting: as it looks like, OOorg 3.0 is supposed to integrate better with current Web 2.0 techniques. The idea is to be able to create Blog posts and wiki entries right from within OpenOffice.
Also a new personal information manager (PIM) will be integrated – this might even be based upon Thunderbird. The background is most likely that OpenOffice – as nice as it is – still has nothing comparable to Microsoft’s Outlook. A fully integrated PIM with calender, e-mail support, appointments and schedules could give OOorg quite a boost in corporate environments.
Another aim is to expand the extension system. The focus in that development will be on creating an extension system which can be easily used by developers to create rich enhancements. The famous Firefox success with hundreds or even thousands of extensions is the motivation for this step I guess.
Last but not least a PDF import filter is marked as a release goal. According to the plans hybrid PDFs will contain ODF code as well as the original PDF code.
Of course there are numerous other improvements listed with a lower priority or with a smaller impact. One of them will be a better Presenter console with support for multi screen setups. I’m looking forward to that in combination with the new XRandr 1.2!
Anyway, one thing I’m really missing is real collaboration. While the “Shift in focus” lists the first main goal as “A global participation and collaboration suite using Web 2.0 features” there are only examples like a blog export and a wiki export function. But that is not really collaborating in the sense of an Office suite. A real collaboration suite would require an instant messaging client (think of Jabber here) and in the best case also a collaborative writer system. But there is nothing at all about such functions listed in that PDF, and I’m afraid we won’t see anything like that in the next OOorg release. Sad somehow because such features could really draw more attention to OOorg.
I forgot to mention the release date: OpenOffice.org is scheduled for spring or summer 2008 according to that presentation. That means that the new version will be available next year for the Linux distribution releases in fall 2008.