OpenOffice 3.0 now available for download released the third version of its free office software over the weekend it can be downloaded free here.

New features in the word processing software Writer' include multilingual support, better zoom tools for editing, and the ability to edit web-based wiki documents. The spreadsheet, called Calc' now supports 1024 columns per sheet and a collaboration mode for multiple users, as well as a new equation solver. Graphics program Draw' can now manage images up to three square meters in size, while presentation software Impress' now has a table designer.

The 3.0 suite also supports Microsoft's Office Open XML files for the first time. Supporters of both the Microsoft format and the Open Document Format (ODF) used by have been battling it out at the International Organisation for Standardisation recently, with Microsoft's version being named as a recognised international standard.

"As government after government, enterprise after enterprise adopt the Open Document Format, they frequently adopt and love it. With 3.0, the application is more interoperable with MS Office, more capable, more extensible. It frees the desktop from vendor lock-in," claimed Louis Surez-Potts, community manager of

The free software is sometimes seen as going head-to-head against Google's web-based Docs, but stressed the differences between web and desktop-based applications a view echoing Microsoft's own Steve Ballmer earlier this month, when he discussed that firm's soon-to-be-launched web-friendly office suite.

" 3.0 shows that despite the growth of web applications, when it comes to serious work, desktop-based software reigns supreme for the speed of use and sheer range of features offered," said John McCreesh, marketing project lead.

The launch will be celebrated at a party tonight in Paris, which also marks the group's eighth birthday.