Date: November 1st, 2006
Article by: Teejay Rosene (Article Contributor)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product website: OPEN OFFICE
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OPENOFFICE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND (From OpenOffice.org)
StarDivision, the original author of the StarOffice suite of software, was founded in Germany in the mid-1980s. It was acquired by Sun Microsystems during the summer of 1999 and StarOffice 5.2 was released in June of 2000. Future versions of StarOffice software, beginning with 6.0, have been built using the OpenOffice.org source, APIs, file formats, and reference implementation. Sun continues to sponsor development on OpenOffice.org and is the primary contributor of code to OpenOffice.org. CollabNet hosts the website infrastructure for development of the product and helps manage the project. The OpenOffice.org source code includes the technology which Sun Microsystems has been developing for the future versions of StarOffice(TM) software. The source is written in C++ and delivers language-neutral and scriptable functionality, including Java(TM) APIs. This source technology introduces the next-stage architecture, allowing use of the suite as separate applications or as embedded components in other applications. Numerous other features are also present including XML-based file formats based on the vendor-neutral OpenDocument standard from OASIS and other resources.
So......You want a good office suite for free?.....
With the success of open-source software currently reinvigorating the computer industry—just think Ubuntu (OS), Firefox (Browser) and AVG Free (Anti virus , although not actually open-source, it is considered freeware and/or shareware )—it didn't take long before a fully functional open-sourced office suite followed in these steps. Enter OpenOffice.org. With the newest 2.0.4 release of OpenOffice, Microsoft does have some competition against its Office suite, while WordPerfect, on the other hand, will definitely have a run for its money. Although this article is not going to be a review for OpenOffice.org per se, I am going to use OpenOffice as a starting point to illustrate the crux of my argument: basically, there are great products available at no cost to the consumer, but the problem is that the average consumer doesn't even know these products exist. If OpenOffice.org wants to be considered as a serious contender in the office suite race, the company must consider a marketing plan/advertising campaign that actually informs consumers that their product exists as a viable choice. Indeed here is a smart alternative to Microsoft Office, the only problem is that no one knows about it.
For open source software, OpenOffice.org has quite the history. Like Firefox, which is built up from the old Netscape browser, OpenOffice is also based on proprietary software, StarOffice, which was originally owned by StarDivision and subsequently purchased by Sun Microsystems. At around the same time that the source code of Netscape was being released to the public, Sun Microsystems was also releasing the code of StarOffice to the public; because of the foresight of both Netscape and Sun Microsystems, these companies gave the general public the opportunity to combat the dominant (perhaps, some argue, even unethical) marketing of Microsoft; indeed, Netscape and Sun Microsystems, by releasing the code of their fledgling products, enabled competent computer users to alter and improve the source code of these products, thereby improving the products . This move was very empowering, both for the companies and for the computer users . Thankfully, computer users can now enjoy the benefits of having free software that is actually far superior and useful to many of the products available for a hefty price in the retail market . For example, the Firefox browser is much more versatile and handy (think extensions) than any other web browser that can be used on any operating system—Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris and many other esoteric variations. Ditto for OpenOffice. OpenOffice also has an advantage over other office suites in that it supports all other document formats, including PDF; users can even save their written documents as PDF documents, something that is quite handy and Microsoft doesn't even plan on implementing in Office 2007.
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