Nowadays, office application suite is an essential software in almost all PCs. Each Microsoft Office license costs you from a few hundred ringgit up to a few thousand ringgit (based on the bundled applications in the suite) to legalize your installation and usage in your PC.
If you try to use unlicensed or pirated copy of Microsoft Office, it might be rendered unusable after some time if you don't activate the product or pass their 'Genuine Advantage' Authentication. If you cracked the product and use it, your Microsoft Office will have no support at all, and you might not be able to update it to fix problems, bugs and security issues. This attempt is also illegal, and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) might take action against you, bring law enforcement officers to raid your office or home, seize your PC, summon you to court, and charge you a big fine.
Well, you don't have to take that risk, and you can still have a well supported and fully functional office application suite alternative to Microsoft Office, which is free to copy, distribute and install in as many PCs as you like, at no cost and no license fee, thanks to OpenOffice.org.
OpenOffice.org is both a product and an open source project with GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). It is primarily sponsored by Sun Microsystems and jointly developed by over 450,000 worldwide developers including Novell, RedHat, RedFlag CH2000, IBM, and Google. This free office application suite consists of:
- Writer the word processor (similar to MS Words)
- Calc the spreadsheet (similar to MS Excel)
- Impress the multimedia presentation producer (similar to MS PowerPoint)
- Draw the diagram illustrator and desktop publisher (similar to CorelDraw and MS Publisher)
- Base the desktop database management system (similar to MS Access)
- Math the mathematical equations, symbols and formula editor (similar to MS Equation Editor)
- it is multiplatform, setup file available for installation in Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, etc.
- it is directly included in most Linux distro such as Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, openSUSE, Mandriva, etc.
- it is multilingual, supports for over 100 languages globally.
- it pioneered the ISO/IEC standard OpenDocument file formats (ODF).
- it can open, read and write to a vast variety of document formats, including MS Office documents, Palm AportisDoc, Pocket PC documents, etc. Support for the new MS Office 2007 documents is also available in OpenOffice 3.0, which is currently under beta release.
- it can directly output any of its documents to PDF files.
- it is professionally supported by Sun Microsystems as well as the OpenOffice community at large.