What is Apache OpenOffice?
Apache OpenOffice is an open source office productivity suite used to create and edit documents (Writer), presentations (Impress), spreadsheets (Calc), graphics (Draw), mathematical formulas (Math) and databases (Base).
As an Open Source service, OpenOffice is free of purchase or licensing fees, and it can be installed on any suitable computer. Apache OpenOffice can be used by private, commercial, educational or governmental entities. These factors make OpenOffice a direct competitor to other major productivity tools such as the Microsoft Office suite, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
OpenOffice files are based on the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards' Open Document Format (ODF) for office documents first created in 2006 (ISO/IEC 26300). This produced several new file formats, including ODT for documents, ODS for spreadsheets and ODP for presentations.
In addition, Apache OpenOffice supports other well-established file formats, such as those used with the Microsoft Office suite -- DOCX, XLSX, PPTX and others. As ODF is an international standard, other productivity tools can also be designed to read or write files in ODF.
OpenOffice has a lengthy history. Sun Microsystems acquired a product called StarOffice in 1999 and released an open source version of the product in 2000 as a free competitor to Microsoft Office. Eventually, Oracle discontinued the OpenOffice project in 2011, but it transferred the trademarks and code to the Apache Software Foundation, which continues to manage and publish software updates.