OpenOffice.org is a fully featured office suite. It competes directly, and well, in the space occupied by its proprietary rival, Microsoft Office. However, contrary to many claims the rival office suites are not yet 100% interoperable.
OpenOffice.org is released under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). It is principally support by Sun Microsystems, which also distributes an enhanced proprietary version called StarOffice. However, despite its large corporate involvement, Sun has successfully managed to develop a wide-spread user and developer community around OpenOffice.org. Perhaps especially due to the ease with which it embrasses minority language versions, OpenOffice.org has spread throughout the world.
Since version 2, OpenOffice.org has employed the Open Document Format maintained as an open standard by OASIS. This open standard ensures that OpenOffice.org documents will be interoperable with any other office application that supports the standard. It is to be hoped that eventually all office suites will support this open standard.
The academic community may be particularly interested in the development a bibliographic solution for OpenOffice which may be rival EndNote. It is due for release in OpenOffice.org in 2007.
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