Definition

Apache OpenOffice

Apache OpenOffice is an open-source office productivity suite used to create and edit documents (Writer), presentations (Impress), spreadsheets (Calc), graphics (Draw), mathematical formulas (Math) and databases (Base).

As an open-source product, OpenOffice is free of purchase or licensing fees, and it can be installed on any suitable computer. Apache OpenOffice can be used by private, commercial, educational or governmental entity. These factors make OpenOffice a direct competitor to other major productivity tools such as the Microsoft Office suite, which includes tools like Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

OpenOffice files are based on the international standard OASIS Open Document Format (ODF) for office documents first created in 2006 (ISO/IEC 26300). This produces several new file extensions including .odt for documents, .ods for spreadsheets and .odp for presentations.

In addition, Apache OpenOffice supports other well-established file formats such those used with Microsoft Office Suite (.doc, .ppt, .xls and others). As an international standard, other productivity tools can also be designed to read or write files in ODF.

OpenOffice has a lengthy history. Sun Microsystems bought a product called StarOffice in 1999, and Sun released an open-source version of the product in 2000 as a free competitor to Microsoft Office. Eventually, Oracle discontinued the OpenOffice project in 2011, but it transferred the trademarks and code to the Apache Software Foundation, which continues to manage and publish software updates.

Apache OpenOffice is currently in version 4.1.0, which can be downloaded for Windows, Linux, OS X and other operating systems.

This was last updated in September 2014

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