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  • Presentation posted in: General Free and Open Source Office Suite Michelle Murrain, Nonprofit Open Source Initiative February 26 th 2008. What we’ll cover today. What is Brief history of components Writer Calc Impress Base Other components

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OpenOffice: Free and Open Source Office Suite

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Presentation Transcript Free and Open Source Office Suite

Michelle Murrain, Nonprofit Open Source Initiative

February 26th 2008

What we’ll cover today

  • What is

  • Brief history of

  • components

    • Writer

    • Calc

    • Impress

    • Base

    • Other components

  • Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Examples of use (and demos)‏

  • How to get help

  • Do you migrate?

  • is a cross-platform, mutli-function office suite

  • is software that supports open standards

  • reads and writes MS Office formats (except .docx)‏

  • has matured considerably

  • is free (as in beer) as well as free software/open source

  • is not Open Office! (Trademark issues)‏

Cross Platform

  • Available as a free download from for windows

  • Is bundled with most Linux distributions

  • Two versions are available for Macintosh

    • Official works only with X-Windows

    • NeoOffice is an Aqua port of

    • Official Aqua port is in alpha

Brief History of

  • Originally a proprietary office suite

  • Bought by Sun Microsystems in 1999

  • Most of the code was released as open source as in 2000

  • 1.0 released in 2002

  • StarOffice still exists, and has some proprietary components (like the database, and clip art, etc.)‏

  • is now on version 2.3.1 Components

  • Writer – word processor

  • Calc – spreadsheet

  • Impress – presentation program

  • Base – desktop database

  • Drawing – drawing program

  • HTML editor

  • Formula Editor Components

  • are the basics of any office suite, and more

  • work together

  • have similar interfaces (easy to get familiar with)‏

  • are full-functioning

  • are pretty much bug-free


  • Word Processor

  • lots of input and output filters

  • exports directly to PDF

  • columns, tables, etc.


  • Spreadsheet

  • Graphs

  • Functions

  • lots of input/output fiters


  • reads and writes .ppt files

  • templates, master pages, etc.

  • animation

  • this presentation was written using Impress


  • Designed as an Access clone

  • Uses HSQLDB (foss Java database) for back-end or can use other databases via ODBC

  • can read Access files (table structure and data only)‏

  • Not equivalent to Access (think Access97)‏


  • Basic draw program

  • useful for diagrams and flowcharts


  • nice equation editor, if you need one

HTML Editor

Strengths of OOo

  • Open Source

  • Free (as in beer)‏

  • depends on open standards

  • reads and writes MS Office formats (except ooxml at this point)‏

  • Google docs reads OOo files

  • 90% of the functionality of Word, Excel and Powerpoint

Strengths, cont.

  • Components are integrated

  • Lots of developers

  • backed by Sun, IBM and Novell, among others

  • lots of third party extensions

true collaborative editing between OOo and MS Office doesn’t work well (but that’s less of an issue now than it used to be.)‏

Not as slick

Can be slower/take more resources than MS Office

Weaknesses of OOo

  • still a few kinks to work out

  • Base isn’t up to snuff

  • can’t read ooxml yet

  • OOo<->MS Office rendering has issues at times

  • Menus and features are different than MS Office

Open Standards

  • What are they?

  • Why are they important?

    • Faithful reading and rendering of files forever

    • Faithful reading and rendering of files no matter what the software used

  • Open Document Format vs. Office Open XML

    • ODF is a bonified open standard (since 2006)‏

    • OOXML has not been approved as a standard yet (a big meeting about it is happening this week.) Word on the street is that it might not happen.

Examples of use

  • Letters

  • Writing articles/whitepapers, etc.

  • Newsletters

  • Contact lists

  • Charts and graphs

  • Presentations

  • Simple databases

How to get help

  • Forums

    • Active and helpful

  • IRC channel

    • on

      • I hang out there

      • it is possible to get immediate help with problems

    • Links

Should you migrate?

  • First, for whom?

    • individual

    • organization

      • Some users

      • All users

  • Then, ask why?

    • committed to open standards/open source

    • need inexpensive software

    • run out of donation licenses for MS Office

Should you migrate, cont.

  • Ask about how much interoperability you need with MS Office or other office suites

    • read/write all types of documents

    • collaborative editing

    • interoperability with MS Access

  • Platform is also an issue

    • Windows and Linux versions of are good. Macintosh versions are lagging

less tech-savvy users

lots of collaborative editing

integration with MS Access required

uses bleeding edge MS-only functionality

want the cheesy clip-art

Should you migrate, cont.

Smooth Sailing

Rough Waters

  • tech-savvy users

  • no need for collaborative editing of documents

  • no integration with MS Access required

  • few very high-level MS-specific functionality used

  • have both Windows and Linux users

Should you migrate, cont.

  • There are differing opinions about how much training is needed to move people to become comfortable with OOo.

  • Certainly, the vast majority of organizational tasks that MS Office can do, can be done with OOo (with the exception of MS Access functionality.)‏

  • Assessment of both functionality needed, as well as end-user issues must be balanced with impetus to migrate, if any.

Process of Migration

  • Talk to end-users. Make sure all functions that they need have an equivalent (or work-around.)‏

  • Allow time for training, and users to get used to it.

  • If some users in an organization still have MS Office, make sure that the default setting is to save in MS Office formats


  • is a full-featured, cross-platform, mature office suite that you should at least download and try out

  • It is based on open standards

  • It has all of the features (and more) of MS Word, Powerpoint, and Excel

  • It is freely available, and open source

  • It has the backing of big companies, so it is not going away

  • It does have weaknesses, and migration to OOo is not a slam-dunk.

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