What is Apache OpenOffice (OpenOffice.org)?

EDIT 2014: I am no longer maintaining this blog and website, because I am no longer using this program for my daily work. I am using LibreOffice, a descendent of the old OpenOffice.org. It is developed by an active and enthusiastic community. I have a blog about it here: Taming LibreOffice.

Apache OpenOffice (AOO) is another descendent of OpenOffice.org (OOo), starting with version 3.4. It is a suite of programs for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, and drawings. It is free to download, use, and distribute. It is available in many languages and runs on Linux, Mac, Windows, and other operating systems. Its native file formats are OpenDocument (*.ODT, *.ODS, *.ODP, etc.), but it can open and save to many other formats, including Microsoft Office formats (*.DOC, *.XLS, *.PPT, etc.).

To get the program, go to the OpenOffice.org website.

Scroll down to see recent posts in this blog.

What’s on this site?

Comments, tips, and pointers to articles written by other people about the various components of OpenOffice.org. Click on the links in the navigation bar at the top of any page, or search the blog.

Some of the blog posts on this site are about LibreOffice, a similar program. I have now created a separate website for material about LibreOffice; see Taming LibreOffice.

Note: Some of the material on this site may be out of date. Some of it was originally written for OpenOffice.org 1.1.3 and has not been updated for OOo 2 or OOo 3. Some details have changed, but the general information is still relevant. I am updating the pages as I find time.

Books on OpenOffice.org

In addition to the books listed in the sidebar, others may be given on this page; I haven’t updated the book list for some time, other than adding those published by ODFAuthors.

Posted in LibreOffice, OpenOffice.org

New book: Designing with LibreOffice

Designing with LibreOfficeBruce Byfield’s much-anticipated book, Designing with LibreOffice has been published by Friends of OpenDocument, Inc. Read about it here or jump straight to the download/buy page to get a free PDF or buy a printed copy.

Most of the information in this book applies to Apache OpenOffice as well as to LibreOffice. Major differences are noted in the text.

Carla Schroder, Author of The Linux Cookbook, The Linux Network Cookbook, and The Book of Audacity, says this about the book:

“Designing With LibreOffice” teaches everything you need to know about document production: chapters, footnotes, citations, indexes, outlines, cross-references, incorporating images and spreadsheets, and controlling the appearance of your documents. It is well-organized and contains abundant examples, and is suitable for beginners to wizened old pros, who will probably discover things about LibreOffice that they didn’t know.

Posted in books

New book: Taming Apache OpenOffice

Taming Apache OpenOfficeThis book is for anyone who wants to get up to speed quickly with Apache OpenOffice.org 3.4. It introduces Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector drawings), Math (equation editor) and Base (database), as well as common features including styles, templates, printing, a gallery of graphics, and macros.

Printed copies of Taming Apache OpenOffice 3.4: Getting Started are available from Lulu.com for US$20.78. Pay at Lulu.com.

If you prefer, you can download the PDF here. Cost is US$5.00, on the honor system. Please pay using the button below (Paypal or credit card). This book has no DRM; you may copy it onto as many of your devices as you wish. If you buy a printed copy, you are welcome to a free copy of the PDF.

You can also download individual chapters (PDF or ODT) free from this website. These files may differ slightly from the content of the printed book and full PDF.





Posted in Apache OpenOffice, books, Calc, Draw, Impress, Math, PDF, User Guides, Writer

Two free alternatives to MS Office

The Windows Secrets newsletter has an article by Fred Langa dated March 14, 2013, titled Two free, full-blown alternatives to MS Office that features LibreOffice and OpenOffice.

The article mentions several features that particularly appeal to users of older (pre-2007) versions of MS Office who have been reluctant to move to newer versions: unlike Office 2013, LibreOffice and OpenOffice “live and work entirely on your PC’s hard drive — there’s no prodding you toward cloud storage or app rental. Both suites use traditional toolbars (no Ribbon interface) and come with six business apps: word processor, spreadsheet, presentation creator, drawing/desktop-publishing tool, database manager, and mathematics tool…

“Although the two suites are similar, LibreOffice is a bit more evolved… For example, LibreOffice now supports more file formats than Open Office does…” (including opening, but not saving to, Microsoft Publisher files).

Lange says, “Is either of these open-source MS Office substitutes right for you? If your office-suite needs are relatively modest, the answer is most likely yes. On the other hand, if you’re regularly collaborating with businesses that use Office 2010 or 2013 and exact reproduction of spreadsheets, presentations, and text documents is essential, it’s safer to stick with Microsoft’s suite…

“I think LibreOffice is currently the better choice. It nicely does what I need done, quietly and without fanfare. It supports more file formats, including those used by the newest versions of Microsoft Office, and it has more developer momentum behind it. But that’s me; Open Office might work just as well or better for you…

“Bottom line: If you’re looking for an alternative to Microsoft Office that isn’t cloud-oriented, that uses traditional toolbars, and that’s totally free, you probably won’t go wrong with LibreOffice or Open Office!”

Posted in Apache OpenOffice, LibreOffice, OpenOffice.org

Apache OpenOffice™ 3.4 released

Congratulations to the Apache OpenOffice Project, which announced on 8 May the availability of Apache OpenOffice™ 3.4, the first release of OpenOffice under the governance of the Apache Software Foundation.

Posted in Apache OpenOffice

I have resigned from the AOO project

I just posted the following note to the Apache OpenOffice project management committee and the project’s public mailing list.

“I hereby resign from the Apache OpenOffice PPMC. I intend no further involvement with this project and will unsubscribe from all project lists after posting this note.

For me, contributing to a volunteer project must be enjoyable. I do not enjoy working with this group, because of the behaviour of some of the key people, primarily Rob Weir.

I remain available in my role with Friends of OpenDocument to process funding proposals for AOO marketing or other purposes. I also remain available to help anyone who wishes to get started using the AOO section of the ODFAuthors website.

Goodbye and good luck.”

EDIT 6 May: More information: my resignation is not primarily due to the few direct interactions I’ve had with Rob, although those are obviously part of it. It is due as much, if not more, to the tone of Rob’s (and a few others’) interactions with some other members of the community, and comments on the private list about those other members. These interactions and comments add up to an overall pattern of behaviour that I find unacceptable.

Posted in Apache OpenOffice

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