OpenOffice.org: Free and Open Source Office Suite Michelle Murrain, Nonprofit Open Source Initiative February 26th 2008
What we’ll cover today • What is OpenOffice.org • Brief history of OpenOffice.org • OpenOffice.org components • Writer • Calc • Impress • Base • Other components • Strengths and Weaknesses • Examples of use (and demos) • How to get help • Do you migrate?
OpenOffice.org... • 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 openoffice.org for windows • Is bundled with most Linux distributions • Two versions are available for Macintosh • Official OpenOffice.org works only with X-Windows • NeoOffice is an Aqua port of OpenOffice.org • Official Aqua port is in alpha
Brief History of OpenOffice.org • Originally a proprietary office suite • Bought by Sun Microsystems in 1999 • Most of the code was released as open source as OpenOffice.org in 2000 • OpenOffice.org 1.0 released in 2002 • StarOffice still exists, and has some proprietary components (like the database, and clip art, etc.) • OpenOffice.org is now on version 2.3.1
OpenOffice.org Components • Writer – word processor • Calc – spreadsheet • Impress – presentation program • Base – desktop database • Drawing – drawing program • HTML editor • Formula Editor
OpenOffice.org 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
Writer • Word Processor • lots of input and output filters • exports directly to PDF • columns, tables, etc.
Calc • Spreadsheet • Graphs • Functions • lots of input/output fiters
Impress • reads and writes .ppt files • templates, master pages, etc. • animation • this presentation was written using Impress
Base • 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)
Drawing • Basic draw program • useful for diagrams and flowcharts
Math • nice equation editor, if you need one
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 • OpenOffice.org Forums • Active and helpful • OpenOffice.org IRC channel • #OpenOffice.org on irc.freenode.net • I hang out there • it is possible to get immediate help with problems • OpenOffice.org 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 OpenOffice.org 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
Conclusions • OpenOffice.org 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.