What is OpenOffice?

OpenOffice is an open-source application suite whose main components are for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. It is available for a number of different computer operating systems, is distributed as free software and is written using its own GUI toolkit. It supports the ISO/IEC standard OpenDocument Format (ODF) for data interchange as its default file format, as well as Microsoft Office formats among others. As of November 2009, OpenOffice.org supports over 110 languages.

OpenOffice originated as StarOffice, an office suite developed by StarDivision and acquired by Sun Microsystems in August 1999. The source code of the suite was released in July 2000 with the aim of reducing the dominant market share of Microsoft Office by providing a free and open alternative; later versions of StarOffice are based upon OpenOffice.org with additional proprietary components. The OpenOffice.org project is primarily sponsored by Oracle Corporation (having acquired Sun Microsystems). Other major corporate contributors include Novell, Red Hat, IBM, Google and others.

The project and software are commonly known as OpenOffice, but this term is trademarked both in the Netherlands, by a company co-founded by Wouter Hanegraaff, and also, independently, in the UK by Orange UK. As a result, the project adopted OpenOffice.org as its formal name. The office suite included in most Linux distributions (including Ubuntu, openSUSE and Mandriva Linux) is a fork (downstream branch) based on Go-oo, now called LibreOffice.

OpenOffice 3 is promoted as being available in many languages, working on all common computers, storing data in an international open standard format and being able to read and write files from other common office software packages, as well as being available for download and use completely free of charge for any purpose.
In particular, the publishers of the office suite stress that it is the result of over twenty years' software engineering, it is easy to use, and it is free, released under the LGPL licence.