Category Archives: Open Source

OpenOffice.org

Using OpenOffice.org for Office Productivity

OpenOffice.orgIn our last post, I discussed what open source software is.  In this post I want to provide a little more information on OpenOffice.org, an open source office productivity suite.

What is it?
OpenOffice.org  is an open source office productivity suite originally financed by Sun Microsystems (now Oracle).  It consists of the following applications:

Writer – A word processing application (similar to Microsoft Word)
Calc – A spreadsheet application (similar to Microsoft Excel)
Base – A database application (similar to Microsoft Access)
Impress – A presentation application (similar to Microsoft PowerPoint)
Draw – A graphics editor program
Math – A mathematical formula creation tool

Why Use it?
One of the main benefits to using OpenOffice.org is that it is free.  It is also an excellent way to support the open source movement and allow other software applications to compete the office productivity market.  In addition, it is a robust office suite that is able to run on multiple operating systems, supports OpenDocument format, and for most applications is backward compatible with Microsoft Office products.  One drawback is its compatibility with Microsoft Office applications that have Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros – I have had little success using Microsoft VBA macros in OpenOffice.org.  You can read more about this on their website.

How do You Get it?
OpenOffice.org is available for free from their download website.  You can find training and tutorials on the web.  A few good sites include:

OpenOffice.org Training, Tips, & Ideas
OpenOffice.org Tutorials

[Image Source:  OpenOffice.org website]

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Open Source Software

Focus On: Open Source Software

Open Source SoftwareThe term Open Source Software refers to computer server and software applications that are developed for the free private use of individuals under varying circumstances.  There are two main concepts associated with open source software; 1) the software is distributed free to end users and 2) the source code is available to anyone and derivatives of the software are allowed to be created and distributed based on the source code.

Open source applications can be financially backed by all large or small companies, be developed through a community of developers, or some combination of both. There are several methods for companies to make money through open source software applications, including offering consulting support services for their application, offering technical support for the applications, or through the offering of advanced add-on features to the software.

The open source philosophy promotes sharing, collaboration, and accessibility for all software programs.   A formal definition of open source software was developed by the Open Source Initiative in the late 1990s.

There are several successful open-source applications on the market today including:

Linux: The term Linux is the generic name given to operating system applications that use the Linux kernel.   It was originally developed as a derivative of the UNIX operating systems in the mid-1990s.   Linux has established itself in the business server market and is used widely by many industries.   Distrowatch is a great resource for researching and downloading Linux distributions.

OpenOffice.org: OpenOffice.org is an open source office productivity application that is financially backed by Sun Microsystems (now owned by Oracle).  It is a robust office application that includes a word processor, a spreadsheet application, a presentation application, a drawing application, a database application, and a mathematical function generating application.

Mozilla: Mozilla is an internet software suite consisting of a web browser, Firefox, and an email program, Thunderbird.  It is financially backed by Mozilla Foundation. Recent market studies have shown that Firefox has up to a 25% market share of the web browser market.

Other examples of successful open source software applications include the Apache Server Software, MySQL, PHP, and Ubuntu.

For more information, check out the following links:
Open Source Initiative
OSAlt – Open Source Alternatives
Open Source Windows

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]