OpenOffice.org is a free, multi-platform office suite. It includes key desktop applications, such as a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation manager, drawing program, and database module. OpenOffice.org is an Open Source project and available on all major platforms, including Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. At present, you can choose from more than 100 different language options.
OpenOffice.org avoids the risk of vendor lock-in because it uses a standardised, XML-based file format that makes interoperability easy and your documents future-proof.
OpenOffice.org is compatible with Microsoft Office. The latest version imports .docx files and continues to be able to read and write all the other Office formats.
“OpenOffice.org is released under the LGPL licence. This means you may use it for any purpose—domestic, commercial, educational, public administration. You may install it on as many computers as you like. You may make copies and give them away to family, friends, students, employees—anyone you like.”
Submitting Bug Reports
“Simple end users are really critical in the process of making the code better. It’s important for end users to understand how important they are in the process.” OpenOffice.org developer Florian Reuter discusses some of the issues and explains how you can take part.
“This is a quick introduction to some of the new features in OpenOffice.org 3.1.”
“The latest version of the open-source office suite OpenOffice.org 3.1 has just arrived, and it’s a good one. While some of the improvements are visible to the naked eye, I found that the most important changes were hidden under the hood.” Steven J Vaughan-Nichols takes the latest OpenOffice.org release for a spin.
“Many people discover LaTeX after years of struggling with wordprocessors and desktop publishing systems, and are amazed to find that TeX has been around for over 25 years and they hadn’t heard of it.”
LaTeX is a free document preparation system that enables you to create beautifully typeset pages. It implements a set of commands designed to control TeX, the typesetting engine developed by Donald E Knuth. LaTeX stores the information about your documents as plain text, thus avoiding the risk of vendor lock-in and ensuring that your documents will still be editable twenty years from now. LaTeX processes the plain text data and, with pdfTeX working in the background, generates PDF output of the highest typographic quality—perfect for viewing on-screen or printing on paper. LaTeX runs on many platforms and is included as standard with most Linux distributions. Ready-to-run LaTeX systems are also available for Windows and Mac OS X.
“OpenOffice.org has an impressive feature set, a generally lucid interface, pure open-source credentials, and the decisive advantage of being absolutely free.” Edward Mendelson reviews OpenOffice.org 3.0.
“If you are considering buying a commercial office suite, don’t do it until you have given OpenOffice.org a shot. That’s particularly true of the new version, which was released today.” Dwight Silverman summarises what’s new in OpenOffice.org 3.0.
“Users will be able to set ODF as their default file formats under Office 2007, and Microsoft plans to continue support of the OOXML-ODF translator for those using older versions of Office.” Jacqui Cheng details Microsoft’s recent announcement to make Office 2007 compatible with OpenOffice.org.
Personally, I remain sceptical about Microsoft delivering on these promises. But genuine interoperability has to start from somewhere…
Users of Microsoft Office may also want to consider the Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office as an alternative solution.
“Think of this as a virtual guide, the written version of me coming over to your house on a Sunday afternoon to help get to know OpenOffice.org and figure out all the things you’re not quite sure about.” Solveig Haugland offers a virtual hand to hold.
“Given the obscurity of document formats and of technical standards work, it’s easy to miss the importance of an XML-based open document format standard.” Sam Hiser on how ODF represents a triumph of common sense and why Microsoft’s petulant response ulitmately is pure entertainment.
“Open formats are an important part of computing freedom because they give people control of their own data.” Gervase Markham on why there really is no alternative to open data formats.
For those unable to use a later version of OpenOffice.org, instructions for installing OpenOffice.org 1.1.5 are still available. Everyone else should upgrade to the latest version.
“It’s hard to justify the expense of £90 to £150 per computer a year to run software that’s definitely no better than the free alternative.” Chris Johnston reports on why OpenOffice.org could loosen Microsoft’s grip on UK schools.
“It’s just powerful and sophisticated software at everyone’s favourite price.” Geoff Palmer highlights the benefits of using OpenOffice.org.
“The UK government has now largely abandoned Microsoft Word for documents that become public”, writes Mark Ward. If only they had used OpenOffice.org’s one-click PDF export…
“Replacing a complicated piece of software like an office suite can be a major undertaking. But, if you apply a few simple rules to make sure your needs are met, you’ll be ready to be productive on the new software right away.”
“Recently, I’ve had a crisis of faith. Perhaps I’ve rebooted Windows one too many times.” Former Microsoft employee Jeff Reifman tells on why addiction to Windows revenue, mediocre products, and missed opportunities could spell doom for the software giant.