Apache OpenOffice Start Centre in version 3.4.1
|Developer(s)|| StarOffice (1984–1999) by
OpenOffice.org (1999–2011) by
Sun Microsystems (1999–2009)
Oracle Corporation (2010–2011)
Apache OpenOffice (2011–present) by the
Apache Software Foundation
|Initial release||30 April 2002|
|Stable release||3.4.1 / August 23, 2012|
|Written in||C++ and Java|
|Operating system||Linux, OS X, Windows|
|Platform||IA-32 and x86-64|
|Size||128.7 MB (3.4.1 Windows .exe)|
|Available in||current version: 28 languages
Past versions: over 110 languages
|License|| Dual-licensed under the SISSL and GNU LGPL (OpenOffice.org 2 Beta 2 and earlier)
GNU LGPL version 3 (OpenOffice.org 2 to OpenOffice.org 3.3)
Apache License 2.0 (Apache OpenOffice 3.4 and later)
|Standard(s)||OpenDocument (ISO/IEC 26300)|
Apache OpenOffice (AOO) is an open-source office productivity software suite. It descends from OpenOffice.org (OOo), which was an open-sourced version of the earlier StarOffice.
OpenOffice contains a word processor ( Writer), a spreadsheet ( Calc), a presentation application ( Impress), a drawing application ( Draw), a formula editor ( Math), and a database management application ( Base).
OpenOffice's default file format is the OpenDocument Format (ODF), an ISO/ IEC standard. It can also read a wide variety of other file formats, with particular attention to those from Microsoft Office.
OpenOffice originated as StarOffice, a proprietary office suite developed by German company StarDivision from 1986 on. In August 1999, StarDivision was acquired by Sun Microsystems.
On 19 July 2000, Sun Microsystems announced that it would make the source code of StarOffice available for download with the intention of building an open-source development community around the software and providing a free and open alternative to Microsoft Office. The new project was known as OpenOffice.org, and its website went live on 13 October 2000. The first public preview release was Milestone Build 638c, released in October 2001 (which quickly achieved 1 million downloads); the final release of OpenOffice.org 1.0 was on 1 May 2002.
OpenOffice.org became the standard office suite on Linux and spawned many derivative versions. It quickly became serious competition to Microsoft Office, achieving 14% penetration in the large enterprise market by 2004. Its file format – XML in a ZIP archive, easily machine-processable – was adapted to form the OpenDocument ISO 26300 standard, which became a standard interchange format for office documents, and was made OpenOffice's native format from version 2 on.
Development of OpenOffice.org was sponsored primarily by Sun Microsystems, which used the code as the basis for subsequent versions of StarOffice. Developers who wished to contribute code were required to sign a Contributor Agreement granting joint ownership of any contributions to Sun (and then Oracle). This was controversial for many years. An alternative Public Documentation Licence (PDL) was also offered for documentation not intended for inclusion or integration into the project code base.
After acquiring Sun in January 2010, Oracle Corporation continued developing OpenOffice.org and StarOffice, which it renamed Oracle Open Office. In September 2010, the majority of OpenOffice.org developers left the project, due to concerns over Sun and then Oracle's management of the project, to form The Document Foundation, which released the fork LibreOffice in January 2011, which most Linux distributions soon moved to, including Oracle Linux. In April 2011, Oracle stopped development of OpenOffice.org due to the community having left for LibreOffice and loss of mindshare to LibreOffice.
In June 2011, Oracle contributed the code and trademarks to the Apache Software Foundation, unilaterally relicensing all contributions under the Apache License, at the suggestion of IBM (to whom Oracle had contractual obligations concerning the code). Most development is now done by IBM employees. On 18 October 2012 Apache OpenOffice graduated from the Apache Incubator.
During Sun's sponsorship, the OpenOffice.org project was governed by the Community Council, comprising OpenOffice.org community members, intended as a temporary step towards forming a foundation. The Community Council suggested project goals and coordinated with producers of derivatives on long-term development planning issues.
Both Sun and Oracle are claimed to have made decisions without consulting the Council or in contravention to the council's recommendations, leading to the majority of developers leaving for LibreOffice.
As an Apache project, OpenOffice is now under the governance of the Apache Software Foundation.
The project and software have been informally referred to as OpenOffice since the Sun release, but since this term is a trademark held by other parties, OpenOffice.org was its formal name. Due to a similar trademark issue (a Rio de Janeiro company that owned that trademark in Brazil), the Brazilian Portuguese version of the suite was distributed under the name BrOffice.org from 2004, with BrOffice.Org being the name of the associated local nonprofit from 2006. BrOffice.org moved to LibreOffice in December 2010.
By December 2011, the project was being called Apache OpenOffice (Incubating); the 3.4 press release called it Apache OpenOffice.
OpenOffice 1.0 was launched under the following mission statement:
To create, as a community, the leading international office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access to all functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format.
The suite contains no email/meeting/ personal information manager client, analogous to Microsoft Outlook, despite one having been present in StarOffice 5.2 and such an application frequently being requested.
Supported operating systems
Apache OpenOffice 3.4.1 was released for x86 versions of Microsoft Windows XP or later, Linux, and Mac OS X 10.4 or later. Other operating systems were supported by community ports; completed ports included various other Linux platforms, FreeBSD, OS/2 and Solaris SPARC. As of May 2012, 87% of Apache OpenOffice downloads were for Windows, 11% for Macintosh and 2% for Linux.
Latest versions on other operating systems are:
- IRIX (mips4): v1.0.3
- Mac OS X v10.2: v1.1.2
- Mac OS X v10.3: v2.1
- Mac OS X v10.4– v10.5 PowerPC: v3.4.0
- Solaris x86: v3.4.0
- Windows 95: v1.1.5
- Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 6: v2.0.1
- Windows 98 – Windows ME: v2.4.3
- Windows 2000: v3.3 ( Tablet PC input is not supported)
OpenOffice includes OpenSymbol, DejaVu, the Liberation fonts (from 2.4 to 3.3) and the Gentium fonts (since 3.2). Versions prior to 2.3 included the Bitstream Vera fonts. After 3.4 the GPL-licensed Liberation fonts were removed and replaced by the Apache-licensed ChromeOS fonts Arimo (sans serif), Tinos (serif) and Cousine (monospace). It will also use the default fonts of the running operating system.
Since version 2.0.4, OpenOffice supports third-party extensions. As of November 2011, the OpenOffice Extension Repository lists more than 650 extensions. Another list is maintained by the Free Software Foundation. Developers can easily build new extensions for OpenOffice, for example by using the API Plugin for NetBeans.
OpenOffice Basic is a programming language similar to Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) but based on StarOffice Basic. From 3.0, OpenOffice has some Microsoft VBA macro support.
OpenOffice Basic is available in Writer, Calc and Base. It is written in functions called subroutines or macros, with each macro performing a different task, such as counting the words in a paragraph.
OpenOffice can interact with databases (local or remote) using ODBC ( Open Database Connectivity), JDBC ( Java Database Connectivity) or SDBC (StarOffice Database Connectivity).
OpenOffice uses ISO/IEC 26300:2006 OpenDocument as its native format. Versions 2.0–2.3.0 of OpenOffice default to the ODF 1.0 file format; OpenOffice versions 2.3.1–2.4.3 default to ODF 1.1.
Up to 1.x, OpenOffice used OpenOffice.org XML. This was contributed to OASIS and OpenDocument was developed from it.
OpenOffice also claims support for the following formats:
|OpenOffice.org XML||SXW, STW, SXC, STC, SXI, STI, SXD, STD, SXM||Yes||Yes||native up to 1.x|
|Microsoft Word for Windows 2||DOC, DOT||Yes||Yes|
|Microsoft Word 6.0/95||DOC, DOT||Yes||Yes|
|Microsoft Word 97–2003||DOC, DOT||Yes||Yes|
|Microsoft Word 2003 XML (WordprocessingML)||XML||Yes||Yes|
|Microsoft Excel 4/5/95||XLS, XLW, XLT||Yes||Yes|
|Microsoft Excel 97–2003||XLS, XLW, XLT||Yes||Yes|
|WordPerfect Suite 2000/Office 1.0||WPS||Yes|
|StarOffice StarWriter 3/4/5||SDW, SGL, VOR||Yes||Yes|
|Ichitaro 8/9/10/11||JTD, JTT||Yes|
|ApportisDoc (Palm)||PDB||Yes||Yes||Requires Java|
|Hangul WP 97||HWP||Yes|
|Microsoft Pocket Word||PSW||Yes||Yes||Requires Java|
|Microsoft Pocket Excel||PXL||Yes||Yes||Requires Java|
|Microsoft RTF||RTF||Yes||Yes||"you are likely to experience loss of formatting and images"|
|Plain text||TXT||Yes||Yes||various encodings supported|
|Portable Document Format||Yes||Yes||Export from 1.1; PDF/A-1a (ISO 19005-1) export from 2.4; some readable in Impress|
|Comma-separated values||CSV, TXT||Yes||Yes|
|Microsoft Excel 2003 XML||XML||Yes||Yes|
|Lotus 1-2-3||WK1, WKS, 123||Yes|
|Data Interchange Format||DIF||Yes||Yes|
|StarOffice StarCalc 3/4/5||SDC, VOR||Yes||Yes|
|Quattro Pro 6.0||WB2||Yes|
|Microsoft PowerPoint 97–2003||PPT, PPS, POT||Yes||Yes|
|StarOffice StarDraw/StarImpress||SDA, SDD, SDP, VOR||Yes||Yes|
|Computer Graphics Metafile||CGM||Yes||Binary-encoded only; not those using clear-text or character based encoding|
|BMP file format||BMP||Yes||Yes|
|Netpbm format||PGM, PBM, PPM||Yes||Yes|
|HPGL plotting file||PLT||Yes|
|Truevision TGA (Targa)||TGA||Yes|
|Portable Network Graphic||PNG||Yes||Yes|
|Tagged Image File Format||TIF, TIFF||Yes||Yes|
|Graphics Interchange Format||GIF||Yes||Yes|
|Adobe Flash||SWF||Yes||Export from Impress|
|Scalable Vector Graphics||SVG||Yes||Export from Draw; embedding (non-editable) from 3.4|
|Software602 (T602)||602, TXT||Yes|
|Unified Office Format||UOF, UOT, UOS, UOP||Yes||Yes||since 3.0|
|Microsoft Office 2007 Office Open XML||DOCX, XLSX, PPTX||Yes||read since 3.0; writing only in forks descended from go-oo|
The OpenOffice API is based on a component technology known as Universal Network Objects (UNO). It consists of a wide range of interfaces defined in a CORBA-like interface description language.
OpenOffice converts all external formats to and from an internal XML representation.
Native desktop integration
OpenOffice 1.0 was criticized for not having the look and feel of applications developed natively for the platforms on which it runs. Starting with version 2.0, OpenOffice uses native widget toolkit, icons, and font-rendering libraries across a variety of platforms, to better match native applications and to provide a smoother experience for the user. This issue had been particularly pronounced on Mac OS X. Early versions of OpenOffice required the installation of X11.app or XDarwin (though fork NeoOffice supplied a native interface). Versions since version 3.0 run natively using Apple's Aqua GUI.
The OpenOffice project includes a security team, and as of October 2011 the security organization Secunia reports no known unpatched security flaws for the software.
In 2006 the lab director of the French Ministry of Defense, Lt. Col. Eric Filiol, demonstrated security weaknesses, in particular within macros. In 2006 Kaspersky Lab demonstrated a proof of concept virus for OpenOffice.org. This showed OpenOffice viruses are possible, but there is no known virus "in the wild".
|Build 638c||2001-10||The first milestone release.|
|18.104.22.168||2003-05-02||Recommended for Windows 95.|
|1.1.1||2004-03-30||Bundled with TheOpenCD.|
|1.1.5||2005-09-14||Last release for 1.x product line. Final version for Windows 95. Can edit OpenDocument files.|
|1.1.5secpatch||2006-07-04||Security patch (macros)|
|2.0||2005-10-20||Milestone, with major enhancements and default saving in the OpenDocument format.|
|2.2.0||2007-03-28||Included a security update. Reintroduced font kerning|
|2.3.0||2007-09-17||Updated charting component, minor enhancements, and an improved extension manager|
|2.3.1||2007-12-04||Stability and security update.|
|2.4.0||2008-03-27||Bug fixes and new features.|
|2.4.1||2008-06-10||Security fix, minor enhancements, and bug fixes.|
|2.4.2||2008-10-29||Security fix, minor enhancements, and bug fixes.|
|2.4.3||2009-09-01||Bug fixes and minor enhancements.|
|3.0.0||2008-10-13||Milestone, with major enhancements.|
|3.1.0||2009-05-07||Overlining and transparent dragging added.|
|3.1.1||2009-08-31||Security fix and bug fixes.|
|3.2||2010-02-11||New features, and performance enhancements.|
|3.2.1||2010-06-04||Updated Oracle Start Centre and OpenDocument format icons.
First Oracle stable release.
|3.3||2011-01-25||New spreadsheet functions and parameters.
Last Oracle release.
|3.4||2012-05-08||First Apache release.|
|3.4.1||2012-08-23||More languages, improved performance and stability.|
OpenOffice.org 1.0 was released under both the LGPL and the Sun Industry Standards Source License (SISSL). Versions for Windows, Linux and Solaris were released on 1 May 2002. The version for MacOS X (X11) was released on 23 June 2003.
OpenOffice.org 1.1 introduced One-click Export to PDF and Export presentations to Flash (.SWF). It also allowed third-party addons.
OpenOffice.org was used in 2005 by The Guardian to illustrate what it saw as the limitations of open-source software.
Work on version 2.0 began in early 2003 with the following goals: better interoperability with Microsoft Office; improved speed and lower memory usage; greater scripting capabilities; better integration, particularly with GNOME; a more usable database; digital signatures; and improved usability. Sun released a beta version on 4 March 2005. It would also be the first version to default to OpenDocument.
On 2 September 2005, Sun announced that it was retiring the SISSL to reduce license proliferation. As a consequence, the OpenOffice.org Community Council announced that it would no longer dual-license the office suite, and future versions would use only the LGPL.
On 20 October 2005, OpenOffice.org 2.0 was released. 2.0.1 was released eight weeks later, fixing minor bugs and introducing new features. As of the 2.0.3 release, OpenOffice.org changed its release cycle from 18 months to releasing updates every three months.
OpenOffice 2.0 attracted considerable press attention. A PC Pro review awarded it 6 stars out of 6 and stated: "Our pick of the low-cost office suites has had a much-needed overhaul, and now battles Microsoft in terms of features, not just price." Federal Computer Week listed OpenOffice as one of the "5 stars of open-source products", noting in particular the importance of OpenDocument. ComputerWorld reported that for large government departments, migration to OpenOffice 2.0 cost one tenth of the price of upgrading to Microsoft Office 2007.
In October 2008, version 3.0 was released, featuring the ability to import (though not export) Office Open XML documents, support for ODF 1.2, improved VBA macros, and a native port for Mac OS X. It also introduced the new Start Centre.
Version 3.2 included support for PostScript-based OpenType fonts. It warned users when ODF 1.2 Extended features had been used. An improvement to the document integrity check determined if an ODF document conformed to the ODF specification and offered a repair if necessary. Calc and Writer both reduced "cold start" time by 46% compared to version 3.0.
Version 3.3, the last Oracle version, was released in January 2011, six weeks after the release of the proprietary version of Oracle Open Office. New features include an updated print form, a FindBar and interface improvements for Impress.
Apache OpenOffice 3.4
A beta version of OpenOffice.org 3.4 was released on 12 April 2011, including new SVG import, improved ODF 1.2 support, and spreadsheet functionality.
Before the final version of OpenOffice.org 3.4 could be released, Oracle cancelled development of the derivative Oracle Open Office and, a few months later, announced that stewardship of OpenOffice.org would be transferred to the Apache Software Foundation.
With the donation to Apache, development slowed while the foundation moved the codebase and infrastructure to its servers. Apache OpenOffice 3.4 was released on 8 May 2012. The work done in the thirteen months since the OpenOffice.org 3.4 beta was mainly license changes, removing or replacing as much code, including fonts, under licenses unacceptable to Apache as possible. Language support was considerably reduced, to 15 languages from a 2009 peak of over 110. Java is no longer bundled with the installer. 3.4.1, released 23 August 2012, added five more languages, with a further eight added 30 January 2013.
Apache OpenOffice 4.0
Apache OpenOffice 4.0 is expected to be released in the first half of 2013. IBM is discontinuing the OpenOffice-derived Lotus Symphony suite and donated its source code to Apache; the code was added to the Apache Subversion repository on June 18, 2012 and is gradually being merged and cleared as Apache Licensed.
Planned features include porting the sidebar-style interface from Symphony, improved install and deployment experience, and extended accessibility support via IAccessible2. Preview builds are available.
Use of Java
Although originally written in C++, OpenOffice became increasingly reliant on the Java Runtime Environment. In the past OpenOffice was criticized by the Free Software Foundation for its increasing dependency on Java, which was not free software.
The issue came to the fore in May 2005, when Richard Stallman appeared to call for a fork of the application in a posting on the Free Software Foundation website. OpenOffice adopted a development guideline that future versions of OpenOffice could run on free implementations of Java and fixed the issues which previously prevented OpenOffice 2.0 from using free-software Java implementations.
On 13 November 2006, Sun committed to release Java under the GNU General Public License and had released a free software Java, OpenJDK, by May 2007.
As of Apache OpenOffice 3.4, Java is no longer bundled with the installer, although the suite still requires Java for "full functionality."
Problems arise in estimating the market share of OpenOffice because it can be freely distributed via download sites (including mirrors), peer-to-peer networks, CDs, Linux distributions and so forth. Nevertheless, the OpenOffice tried to capture key adoption data in a market-share analysis.
According to Valve Corporation, as of July 2010, 14.63% of Steam users had OpenOffice installed on their machines.
A market-share analysis conducted by a web analytics service in 2010, based on over 200,000 Internet users, showed a wide range of adoption in different countries: between 0.2% in China, 9% in the US and the UK and over 20% in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany.
Although Microsoft Office retained 95% of the general market as measured by revenue as of August 2007, OpenOffice and StarOffice had secured 15-20% of the business market as of 2004 and a 2010 University of Colorado at Boulder study reported that OpenOffice had reached a point where it had an "irreversible" installed user base and that it would continue to grow.
The OpenOffice.org web site reported more than 98 million downloads as of September 2007. OpenOffice 3.x alone reached one hundred million downloads within a year of release. SourceForge reported 30 million downloads for the Apache OpenOffice 3.4 series by January 2013, making it one of SourceForge's top downloads; the project claimed 40 million downloads of Apache OpenOffice 3.4.x as of 4 March 2013.
Large-scale users of OpenOffice include Singapore’s Ministry of Defence, and Banco do Brasil. In France, OpenOffice has attracted the attention of both local and national government administrations who wish to rationalize their software procurement, as well as have stable, standard file formats for archival purposes. As of 2006 OpenOffice.org was the official office suite for the French Gendarmerie. Several government organizations in India, such as ESIC, IIT Bombay, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, the Supreme Court of India, ICICI Bank, the Allahabad High Court, which use Linux, completely rely on OpenOffice for their administration.
In Asia, Thailand is another nation that has enterprises seriously migrating to OpenOffice such as Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and S&P Syndicate PLC (one of the largest restaurant chains). The adoption rate is relatively slow, especially for small businesses and state enterprises, but the number of success cases is growing steadily.
The current OpenOffice license, the open source Apache v2 license, and the GNU Lesser General Public License it was previously distributed under, allow unlimited use of the software for both home and business use, including unlimited redistribution of the software. Several businesses sell the OpenOffice suite on auction websites such as eBay, offering value-added services such as 24/7 technical support, download mirrors, and CD mailing. One retail site, Open Office Anywhere, also offers the ability to run the suite using just a web browser.
In July 2007 Everex, a division of First International Computer and the 9th-largest PC supplier in the U.S., began shipping systems preloaded with OpenOffice 2.2 into Wal-Mart, K-mart and Sam's Club outlets in North America.
Forks and derivative software
A number of open source and proprietary products derive from OpenOffice.org. The OpenOffice site also lists a large variety of complementary products, including groupware systems.
Sun subsidized the development of OpenOffice.org in order to use it as a base for its commercial proprietary StarOffice application software, which was OpenOffice.org with some added proprietary components. Following the acquisition of Sun by Oracle, the name was changed to Oracle Open Office for the 3.3 release. Oracle Open Office was discontinued in April 2011.
The ooo-build patchset was started at Ximian in 2002, because Sun were slow to accept outside work on OpenOffice.org, even from corporate partners.
Sun's contributions to OpenOffice.org had been declining for a number of years and some developers were unwilling to assign copyright in their work to Sun. On 2 October 2007, Novell announced that ooo-build would be available as a software package called Go-oo, not merely a patchset. Sun reacted negatively, with Simon Phipps of Sun terming it "a hostile and competitive fork". However, the office suite branded "OpenOffice.org" in most Linux distributions, having previously been ooo-build, soon in fact became Go-oo.
Sun had promised in the original OpenOffice.org announcement in 2000 that the project would be run by a neutral foundation. There were many calls to put this into effect over the ensuing years. On 28 September 2010, in frustration at years of neglect of the codebase and community by Sun and then Oracle, members of the OpenOffice.org community formed a non-profit called The Document Foundation, and created a fork of OpenOffice named LibreOffice. Go-oo improvements were merged, and that project was retired in favour of LibreOffice. The goal was to produce a vendor-independent office suite with ODF support and without any copyright assignment requirements.
Oracle was invited to become a member of the Document Foundation and was asked to donate the OpenOffice.org brand. However, Oracle demanded that all members of the OpenOffice.org community council involved with the Document Foundation step down, leaving the community council composed only of Oracle employees.
Most Linux distributions promptly replaced OpenOffice with LibreOffice; Oracle Linux 6 also features LibreOffice rather than OpenOffice.org or Apache OpenOffice. The project rapidly accumulated developers, development effort and added features, the majority of OpenOffice.org developers having moved to LibreOffice.
- IBM's Lotus Symphony, with a new interface based on Eclipse. This was donated to the OpenOffice project in 2012 and is planned to be merged with OpenOffice 4.
- OpenOffice Novell edition, based on Go-oo.
- Beijing Red Flag Chinese 2000's RedOffice, fully localized in Chinese characters and with support for English.
- NeoOffice, an independent port, offered a native OS X’s Aqua user interface even before such integration was available in OpenOffice.org. Its releases lag behind the official releases, due to its small development team and the concurrent development of the technology used to port the user interface.
- OxygenOffice Professional extended OpenOffice by adding the ability to run Visual Basic for Application (VBA) macros in Calc (for testing), improved Calc HTML export, enhanced Access support for Base, enhanced colour-palette, enhanced help and documentation, additional clip art, several templates and sample documents and over 90 fonts.
- OpenGroupware.org is a set of extension programs to allow the sharing of OpenOffice documents, calendars, address books, e-mails, instant messaging and blackboards, and to provide access to other groupware applications.
- Jambo OpenOffice was an localization project for a translated version in Swahili in 2004 and 2005.
- White Label Office by Team OpenOffice.org e.V. provides bug fixes and although the code improvements should be merged back to OpenOffice.org, the Apache Foundation fears a new fork.