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Apache Open Office

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In the first of this series of articles dedicated to different IT tools, we talked about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and we noted that, in our society, few people even think about open source software applications since it remains easier to use th good old illegal programmes.

A significant portion of that „loyalty“ to proprietary software (primarily Microsoft), which started to buckle only after recent actions by police and relevant authorities against use of illegally downloaded software, is also owed to the Microsoft Office package which offers, in one place, all applications necessary to run and manage an office of a commercial company, civil society organisation or public body or institution.

Apache Open Office 3Apache Open Office 3

However, for some years now, Microsoft Office is not the only nor the best such package available. The Open Office.org, or to be more precise the Apache Open Office after Sun Microsystems, the company that developped the first versions of the project, donated the source code and the stewardship over the project to the Apache Software Foundation, is an office application package based on open source software platforms.

The first version of the Open Office.org 1.0 was released in May 2002, under the double license of LGPL and SISSL. Since then, there were three more releases – the Open Office.org 2.0 in October 2005, now solely under the LGPL licence; Open Office.org 3.0 in October 2008; and the latest, Apache Open Office 3.4 was released only this month, on May 8, 2012, to be exact.

Apache Open Office 3.4 offers equivalents to all applications offered by Microsoft Office and, in fact, since 2005, the development of the package was focused on greater interoperability with Microsoft Office, to allow for easier transfer to Open Office and to facilitate the transfer and import of documents and files originally prepared in some of the Microsoft Office applications.

Apache Open Office.org is developped as free software, with contributions by users all over the world and partners that use it to develop their products, to make it ever better and spread its use.

Open Office.org Writer is text processing programme, pandan to Microsoft Word or Word Perfect. It has an integrated option to export files as PDF (portable document format) and you shouldn't worry that the transfer to Apache Open Office would mean that you lose all your Microsoft Word Document, since Writer has a plug-in that allows you to open and work in .doc and .docx files.

Open Office.org Calc is a programme for preparation of budgeting tables, similar to Microsoft Excel. It also has the option of exporting in PDF format. It also has some options that Excel doesn't offer, including a system which automatically defines series for graphing.

Open Office.org Impress is a programme for preparation of presentations, similar to Microsoft PowerPoint. It can also work with PowerPoint's .ppt files, it can export presentations in Flash format for viewing in Flash Player. On the other hand, it doesn't have ready-made templates for presentations, but they are easily found and downloaded online.

Apache Open Office.org also has the database management programme Open Office.org Base, similar to Microsoft Access, programme for vector graphics editing Open Office.org Draw (similar to early versions of CorelDRAW and to Microsoft Visio), and the Open Office.org Math programme for creation and working with mathematical formulae, eqivalent to the Microsoft Equation Editor.

Today we already have many organisations, companies and even state institutions using Open Office.org in their work. The package is released under free software licence that allows unlimited use of the software for both home and business use, including unlimited redistribution of the software.

The Apache Open Office.org can be downloaded on the website www.openoffice.org.

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