Popular and free Microsoft Office alternative OpenOffice seems set to ship in a native Mac OS X version later this month.

A report on Computerworld claims that OpenOffice 3.0 will ship later this month, citing a presentation to be made today by the lead engineer working on the project, Eric Bachard.

Bachard will speak at the annual open source developer conference in Barcelona today. He has been leading the team in developing a native "Aqua" version of OpenOffice for Macs.

Until now, Mac users have only been able to employ the powerful Microsoft Office alternative using Mac OS X's X11 windowing application, which has not been an easy choice for casual Mac users.

The present version of the native build still lacks key features, including support for drag-&-drop, compatibility with Mac OS X's spellchecker and address book and lack of Spotlight support.

In an email to Computerworld, Bachard said he: "Expects to provide a build including everything ASAP."