I’m not someone who normally recommends upgrading to the latest/greatest anything. If you want proof, my old Thinkpad still runs Ubuntu 6.04. Before you ask, no, I will not upgrade it. I generally stick with software that was built and tested for my OS. I enjoy experimenting, but I use my computer for work. So I hate nasty surprises, like my program crashing after I’ve written ten pages. However, there are a few programs that I will upgrade and one of those is OpenOffice.
My main desktop is an Ubuntu 8.04. Honestly, I like this operating system and I have everything customized exactly the way I want it and all the necessary drivers installed. Me swap to 9.04? Never… Well, alright if you’ll give me that Asus motherboard I’ve been drooling over and the processor to go with it, I’ll switch when I do the upgrade. Otherwise, it’s not coming near my trusty desktop (a 2.8 ghz Pentium 4 Northwood chipset, which is more than a little gray at the temples). (Now might be a good time to mention that the motherboard/processor combo is the only original part remaining on my old computer…)
Canonical freezes the programs for their distributions well before the official release date and OpenOffice normally releases its official release a few weeks after Canonical releases the latest Ubuntu. This means that whatever version of OpenOffice was available when they did the freeze is what version of OpenOffice you have on your computer. The moral of this little tidbit… if you want the latest version of OpenOffice, download it from their website.
When I installed OpenOffice 3.0 on my Ubuntu 8.04 back in October, I didn’t think I would upgrade it again until they released version 3.2 in November. Then I saw Sun’s OpenOffice 3.1 announcement and the word "anti-aliasing". (Perhaps I should put that in CAPS…) The more I read about the major graphics improvements and the new collaborative features, the more my brain went into gotta have it mode. So I hopped over to OpenOffice.org and grabbed a copy of the latest version.
Let me say that I am impressed. The interface looks the same, but a quick test of the collaborative features, the new graphics, and the improved grammar check integration (I use LanguageTool’s plugin for this. Like most grammar checkers, it’s not useful for much other than checking spacing.) make this a worthy upgrade.
Before the Upgrade
After the Upgrade
|The left rib chart from my Girly Mitts Pattern before the upgrade.||The left rib chart from my Girly Mitts Pattern after the upgrade.|
Note: These directions are specific to the Ubuntu linux distribution. They should work equally well for Debian and Debian/Ubuntu derivatives. For Windows, uninstall your previous version of OpenOffice. Download the new version from OpenOffice.org and install it exactly like you would any other program. For Mac, see OpenOffice’s wiki for instructions. RPMs are available from OpenOffice.org in addition to the DEBS. I haven’t tested this under OpenSUSE yet, so I make no promises the RPMS will work. As with any upgrade or program installation, you should backup your files before you do this.
- Uninstall existing OpenOffice installation. (Even if you just upgraded to Ubuntu 9.04, you should do this.)
- Open Synaptic Package Manager (Administration > Synaptic Package Manager). In the search bar, type OpenOffice. Right click on each OpenOffice package and check uninstall. Click Apply.
- Download OpenOffice from here. (The default download doesn’t always give you the right file type.) Scroll through the list until you find your language in the DEB column. Note: If you aren’t sure if you have a 64-bit or 32-bit system, grab the version from the Linux DEB column. This is the 32-bit version and it will run on both 64-bit and 32-bit systems.
- Once the compressed file is downloaded, double click it, which will open it with your Archive Manager. Select the folder. Hit extract. Now, select the Desktop as your file location. Under Files, click the button next to All Files. Click extract.
- Now, open Terminal. (I apologize for this. You know I try to use graphical interfaces whenever possible, but in this case, Terminal will save your sanity.)
- Navigate to the folder you extracted to your desktop. (The folder name might change from the OOO310_m11_native_packed-4_en-US.9399 used here. If it does, substitute the new name for this one.)
Translation: cd = change the current directory to …. ~ means you are in the logged in user’s home directory…/Desktop/… gets you into the actual folder where the .deb files are located.
- Install the multitude of .deb packages needed for OpenOffice with one command.
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
Translation: sudo = I am the god of this Linux installation and have the authority to install software if I can remember my password… dpkg -i *.deb= Install (-i) all (*) files in the folder (but not the subfolders) ending in .deb (i.e. all .deb files in the DEBS folder) using the Debian package manager (dpkg).
- Close your terminal. And double click the OOO310_m11_native_packed-4_en-US.9399 folder on your desktop. Go to DEBS/desktop-integration. Double click the .deb file (openoffice.org3.1-debian-menus_3.1-9393_all.deb on my system). This installs the final .deb file with GDebi. Note: The final .deb adds icons to your Applications menu. It isn’t necessary to run OpenOffice, but it is desirable.
Congratulations! You’ve upgraded your OpenOffice. Note: Java was already installed on my system. If you don’t have it, some OpenOffice wizards might not work. If that happens, go back to the page where you downloaded OpenOffice and click on the link that reads "Java and OpenOffice". Alternatively, open Synaptic Package Manager and search for Java to install it. In addition to the standard Ubuntu java installation, my system had sun-java6-bin, sun-java6-jre, and sun-java6-plugin installed. I do a lot of work with alpha and beta Java programs, so I might have installed these for some other reason. I’m just throwing them out there so you know.