OpenOffice.org is considered to be one of the most widely used MS Office’s alternatives. Generally it comes with all Linux distributions based on GNOME desktop environment, though being available for a number of different operating systems (Microsoft Windows, Linux, MacOS, Solaris, BSD, OpenVMS, OS/2 and IRIX). One of the most important reasons of its popularity consists in the fact that it’s absolutely free software (in fact this is the best thing about all Linux apps). It supports both OpenDocument Format (ODF), as a default one, and Microsoft Office Formats as well. Moreover OpenOffice represents really multilingual software currently supporting more than 80 languages.
As the developers state the main aim of the OpenOffice project is “to create, as a community, the leading international office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access to all functionality and data”. Frankly speaking, with every new release they become closer and closer to that, however in spite of this the dominance of MS Office is still indisputable.
Let’s take a closer look at the components of given solution:
Writer – a word processor similar in functionality to Microsoft Word having the function of exporting the files to PDFs with no additional software (as regards MS Office this function appeared just in Microsoft Office 2007 SP2).
Calc – a spreadsheet being very similar to Microsoft Excel provides a number of features not present in Excel, including a system which automatically defines series for graphing, based on the layout of the user’s data. In addition to that it can also export spreadsheets to the PDF format.
Impress – a presentation program (counterpart of Microsoft PowerPoint) that can export presentations to Adobe Flash (SWF) files, allowing them to be played on any computer with a Flash player installed. The function of exporting the files to PDFs is also available. The only drawback of this application is that users need to download templates from the Internet, because they are not included in the package.
Draw – a vector graphic editor and diagramming tool, similar to Microsoft Visio and comparable in features to early versions of CorelDRAW. Draw as the previous applications can also export its creations to the PDF format.
Base – a database management program similar to Microsoft Access. It gives you the opportunity to create and manipulate databases, and to build the forms and reports in order to provide easy access to data for end-users.
Math – a tool for creating and editing mathematical formulae. Formulae can be embedded inside other OpenOffice.org documents. It supports multiple fonts and can export to PDF.