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OpenOffice.org
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OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org (OOo) (not "OpenOffice", due to a trademark dispute) is an office applications suite. It is intended to be compatible, and directly compete with, Microsoft Office. OOo is free software under the LGPL or SISSL and is available for Microsoft Windows, Unix-like systems and Mac OS X.

OOo is based on the code from an older version of StarOffice that was acquired and made open source by Sun Microsystems with the aim of breaking the market dominance of Microsoft Office and allowing Sun access to rapid development at reduced cost. It also allowed the general public a version of StarOffice that was free including the source code.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 History
3 StarOffice
4 Development
5 See also
6 External links

Overview

The project aims to compete with Microsoft Office and emulate Microsoft Office's look and feel where suitable. It is also able to import from and export to almost all Microsoft Office file formats. The ability to read and write Microsoft Office file formats is the most important feature of OOo for many of its users.

The primary development platforms for OOo are Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and Solaris, with ports available or in progress for OS/2 and many Unix-like operating systems. There is a version of OOo 1.1.2 for Mac OS X, which requires the use of X11.

OOo Version 1.1.1 includes:

OOo can, with some effort, be configured to integrate with databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, so as to offer similar functionality to Microsoft Access. OOo 1.1 also includes Quick Starter, a system tray application which occupies around 64MB of memory, but improves the launch time by preloading application libraries into memory in the background and then bringing up the user interface when launched.

OOo 1.0 was widely criticized for its performance and memory footprint compared with Office 97 or Office 2000. With OOo 1.1 both problems have been somewhat alleviated, but it remains notoriously large and slow. [1]

The suite is currently available in 25 different languages. Further translations by the development community are underway.

OOo has become a serious competitor to the dominant Microsoft Office application suite. Microsoft has publicly acknowledged OOo and denounced its usefulness — when the Israeli employment agency announced plans to switch from using Microsoft Office to OOo, an unnamed Microsoft representative was quoted as saying "The employment agency has selected an immature and unproven software package and its functionality is at best close to Office 97." [1] Microsoft has also published a competitive guide for its value-added reseller channel on how to market Microsoft Office over OOo. [1] [1]

History

In August of 1999, Sun Microsystems purchased Marco Börries' company StarDivision, which was then producing the commercial office suite known as StarOffice. Sun started giving away StarOffice 5.2 as a free download.

Sun announced OpenOffice.org on July 19, 2000 and open sourced the StarOffice 5.2 source code. The OOo website went live October 13th 2000 and made the source available for download.

Build 638c — the first milestone release — was released in October 2001. OOo 1.0 was released on May 1, 2002 and OOo 1.1 on September 2, 2003. The current stable version, OOo 1.1.2, was released on June 18, 2004.

StarOffice

Main article: StarOffice

Sun subsidises OOo development in order to produce the next version of StarOffice. Releases of StarOffice since StarOffice 6.0 have been based on the OOo codebase, with some proprietary components included:

The current version (early 2004) of StarOffice is 7.0.

Development

Overview

The OOo API is based on Universal Network Objects (UNO), the OOo component technology, and consists of a wide range of interfaces defined in a CORBA-like interface description language.

The document file format used by OOo is based on XML and several export and import filters. All external formats read and written by OOo are converted back and forth from the internal XML representation. By using compression when saving the XML to disk, OOo's files are generally smaller than the equivalent binary Microsoft Office files. The OOo file format is also the basis of the OASIS Open Office XML file format standard.

The upcoming OOo version 2.0 has the following goals: better interoperability with Microsoft Office; better performance, with improved speed and lower memory usage; greater scripting capabilities; better integration, particularly with GNOME; and improved usability. Snapshots of development in progress are released every few weeks in the developers' zone of OpenOffice.org.

The OOo project is still essentially run by StarOffice staff, and getting non-Sun contributions into the core codebase is notoriously difficult, even for the project's other corporate sponsors [1].

GNOME and KDE integration

OpenOffice.org uses its own widget toolkit and typeface-rendering libraries to ensure cross-platform portability. However, this comes at the expense of full native look and feel.

Sun and Ximian are working on full integration of OOo with GNOME. Ximian includes OOo in their Ximian Desktop product and Sun in their Java Desktop System.

Work is also in progress on better integration with KDE — Cuckooo (OOo as a KPart and hence fully integratable with KDE), KDE vclplug (using the Qt toolkit rather than OOo's own toolkit) and KDE NWF (Native Widget Framework, to give OOo the look of the host platform). This work was started by Jan Holesovsky and is currently sponsored by SuSE.

Mac OS X

The current Mac OS X version is a port of the Unix version, using X11.

A native Mac OS X port with an Aqua interface is being worked on, but will likely not be finished until 2006. The porting team is waiting on the OpenOffice 2.0 toolkit API being finalized before they can begin.

Also available is NeoOffice/J, combining a Java GUI with the mechanics of OpenOffice.org to deliver a well-integrated Mac OS X system.

Other projects

Other projects run alongside the main OpenOffice.org project and are easier to contribute to. These include documentation, localisation and the API.

There is a scripting project which aims to be a repository for distributing macros.

OpenGroupware.org (OGo) is a set of OOo extension programs to share OOo files, calendars, address books, e-mails, instant messaging and blackboards, browse the web and access other groupware applications.

There is also an effort to create and share templates and other goodies at OOExtras [1].

See also

External links