OpenOffice.org/Introduction

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OpenOffice.org is a free, open source alternative to the costly Microsoft Office. It possesses many of the same day-to-day capabilities as Microsoft Office, except that it is free to use and it is much more cross-platform than Microsoft Office. This makes it ideal for students or home users and people that have non-Windows Platform (Linux, MacOS, Unix, etc).

About OpenOffice.org[edit]

OpenOffice.org is a free, full-fledged Office Suite based on Sun's StarOffice Suite. OpenOffice.org is composed of six tools: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math, and Base. Writer is a word-processor, it can be used to write text documents from a simple letter to novels. Calc is a spreadsheet program, it can be used to store, process, and present data and formats them in a table layout. Impress is a presentation software, it can be used to create various types of presentations with various animations (effects). Draw is a vector-based drawing program, the images are based on lines and shapes which creates an image with virtually unlimited resolution. Math is a formula editor, it can be used to write from your high-school algebra to a complex rocket science mathematical formulas. Base, the newest tool of the suite, is a database program, it can be used to design, create, and manipulate a database. OpenOffice also supports macro scripting through its OpenOffice Basic scripting language, which obviously is based on BASIC programming language. OpenOffice is also very extensible, OpenOffice has a plugin system which allows third-parties to add functionalities into the suite, available plugins include a somewhat tongue-in-the-cheek lorem ipsum generator to a professional database report generator to remote control add-on for Impress.

OpenOffice.org's project started on 13 October 2000, with Sun's announcement of the project. Today, OpenOffice is available on all major platforms including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, UNIX, and of course Sun's Solaris, and it is available in over 80 languages and localizations. OpenOffice also pioneered the OASIS OpenDocument Standard and it has been its native format since OpenOffice 2.0. A number of other Office Suites has also adopted OpenDocument Standard to some degree, but unfortunately Microsoft Office, another Office Suite which has the de facto largest user base, declined to follow the standard and developed their own XML standard instead.

Due to its open source nature, there are many other office suites that has their codes in partial or in whole derived from OpenOffice.org. Sun's StarOffice, in particular, bases most of its code on OpenOffice's codes, but added some additional proprietary components. The free and open source nature (and its quality) also makes OpenOffice.org a favorite choice among Linux distros makers to include OpenOffice.org in their distros as the default Office software. OpenOffice.org is also favored among some governments due to its open nature, they claim that a closed, proprietary document format like Microsoft's binary .doc format is detrimental in the long-term, when the company owning the format it have gone out-of-business, the cost of conversion in the future would be much higher with a closed, proprietary format. In the short term, the cost deploying thousands of computers with an expensive, proprietary suite may also be higher than deploying free, open suite.

How to Get It?[edit]

OK, now I know what OpenOffice is, so how do I get it?

There are three official ways of distribution of OpenOffice, all of which are free: