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Properly called OpenOffice.org or OOo, not OpenOffice, due to a trademark dispute, this is a community-based project to create an office applications suite set of computer applications based on the open-sourced code from an older version of StarOffice by Sun Microsystems. The project aims to compete with Microsoft Office, and as such emulates MS Offices's look and feel. It is compatible with the file formats of Microsoft Office, but also implements its own XML-based file formats. By using file compression after the XML generation, the XML-based OpenOffice.org files are generally smaller than the equivalent binary Microsoft Office files.

There are OpenOffice.org versions for Microsoft Windows, Linux, Solaris and (in beta stage as of March 2003) Mac OS X.

Newer releases of StarOffice are based on the OpenOffice.org codebase (similar to the relationship between Netscape Navigator and Mozilla). Although StarOffice is itself a commercial product, OpenOffice.org itself will always remain free software.

The first release, 1.0, came out on the 2nd of May 2002. It includes:

There are other projects which run as an aide to support the main OpenOffice.org project - including documentation, localisation and the application programming interface. All these projects welcome assistance, according to individuals' skillsets. There is also a scripting project which aims to be a repository for distributing macros.

Historical Background

In August of 1999 Sun Microsystems purchased StarDivision, a German software company who produced an office suite known as StarOffice. Sun's strategy at the time was to provide an alternative office suite to the dominant Microsoft Office. They opened up the source code in 2000 and the OpenOffice.org project started. This allowed Sun to access rapid development with little cost. It also allowed the general public a version of StarOffice, which is totally free, including the source code.

With careful configuration, OpenOffice.org will integrate with other databases such as mySQL and postgreSQL, offering the same functionality as the Microsoft Access database.

Sun Microsystems, Inc. is integrating OpenOffice.org with GNOME, which means that the applications of OpenOffice.org will become part of GNOME office.

Ximian do not think that the GNOME integration is fast enough and currently provides a "hotted" version of OpenOffice.org along with their product Ximian Desktop[?].

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