The OpenOffice.org community has announce that the public beta release of OpenOffice.org 3.0 is now available.
Not recommended for production use at this stage, it is being made available to allow a broad user base to test and evaluate the next major version.
The most immediately visible change is the new "Start Centre", new fresh-looking icons, and a new zoom control in the status bar.
Other tweaks include Calc improvements that include a new solver component, support for spreadsheet collaboration through workbook sharing and an increase to 1024 columns per sheet.
Writer has an improved notes feature and displays multiple pages while editing. There are also numerous Chart enhancements, and an improved crop feature in Draw and Impress.
OpenOffice.org 3.0 will support the upcoming OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 standard and will be the first version to run on Mac OS X without X11, claiming to offer the look and feel of any other Aqua app.