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The Free and Open Productivity Suite
New: Apache OpenOffice 4.1.1 released!

The product OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org is an office suite that is free for everybody.

It contains the following modules:

  • Writer (tekst processing and HTML editor).
  • Calc (spreadsheet).
  • Draw (drawing module for vector graphics).
  • Impress (presentations).
  • Formula-editor.
  • Database module (under construction; You have to install a separate database driver such as the free MySQL)

With respect to feature richness and operation, OpenOffice.org is comparable to the well-known (non free) office suites such as MS-Office.

To get an idea, you can get an overview of the features here.

You can load most MS-Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) documents without problems, edit them, and save them to native format or (if you want) back to the original format. The major limitation is that OpenOffice.org does not run the macros in these documents. But they are preserved, in case you would like to use the edited documents again with MS-Office.
It is actually quite and achievement, because there is no official description of the MS Office file formats (Microsoft does not publish them). WHen you have an MS-Office document that is not opened correctly by OpenOffice.org, let the developers know about it by committing an "issue". That way, the function can be further improved.

You have to take into account that OpenOffice.org is not "finished" (as no complicated software will ever be). It may still contain errors and imperfections. For many applications the version 1.0 will already be excellent.

StarOffice 6.0 en OpenOffice.org 1.0

It may be worth it to consider StarOffice 6.0, when it is not a problem that it may not be available in your language and also that it will not be free. As StarOffice 6.0 is based on the same sources as OpenOffice.org, they are comparable to a high degree. The difference between them is that StarOffice 6.0 has some parts that are either not present in OpenOffice.org, or less elaborate. For instance, it has a thesaurus for a number of languages (OpenOffice.org: only English), better support for database functions, een big collection of templates and clip art, etc. A licence will probably cost less than 100 €, which is very modest for that kind of software. For this money, you will also get official support from Sun. Please refer to the website of Sun Microsystems for more information.

S.B.

 

 

 
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