An open source community project release by Sun Microsystems has grown up over the last few years. What I mean by grown up is that it has been released to become a major contender with the pricey Microsoft Office platform. The open source community is comprised of thousands of developers. Some truly wonderful projects have been born over the last few years. Open Office 2.3 is a release that can truly claim that it is as good if not better than its professional counter parts that you have to pay for.
The Open Office project can be downloaded from www.openoffice.org or you can order a CD. It is a multi-platform office package that has been released for Windows, Linux, Unix and other operating systems. One of the other wonderful enhancements is that it is natively multi-lingual.
Upon downloading the lightweight Open Office platform, installing is fairly seamless. You have a choice to register or not. It will ask you for your name and information and then ask if you wish to register with their website. A surprising box will open to ask if you wish Open Office to automatically open Microsoft Office documents namely Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Thats right you read that right. Open Office has its own native document formats but you also have the options to save as a word document, html document and other platforms.
The packages that come with Open Office are a writer, spreadsheet package, database package, presentation package and other Office applications we have grown to come accustomed to. You have as many options for document enhancements as you have come to expect from any office application. Your font selection is wide and your formatting options are full.
Support for these office applications come from a full open source community of developers and users. Often this method of support is preferred over some of the more difficult costly options you have with a product you have purchased.
From its initial development stage Open Office has grown up dramatically to become a major contender in the office application market. From a consultant who has worked in the industry for over 15 years I would recommend this product to anyone. Now may be the best time that everyone turns to open source applications as an option for their software needs. For many reasons, one of them being to stop major application providers from raising prices so high.