OpenOffice.org (plus portable)

openoffice_icon I had thought for a while what should I write in a post about OpenOffice. Frankly it is not one of my core apps.

However it is one of the very important apps overall so I will write exactly about that.

What it does

OpenOffice is extensive software suite for common business tasks. It has:

  • Writer word processor;
  • Calc spreadsheet editor;
  • Impress presentation editor;
  • Base database manager;
  • Draw vector image editor;
  • Math formula editor.

It does a lot of things eerily similar to Microsoft Office. That is how OpenOffice is most often presented – viable and free alternative to expensive Microsoft’s product.



Why bother

Much like what I said about 7-Zip – this one changes your life for better even if you do not use it. OpenOffice is open source under LGPL which is quite permissive. It is backed by power of Sun Microsystems which ensures needed leverage.

Powerful office suite that you can not only use but also modify and incorporate in your own products is very big deal in software world. With piracy [very] slowly pressured it is not uncommon choice in some countries to look for open source solutions instead of diving in Microsoft ecosystem. And OpenOffice is one of the first products that comes up.

Portable version

It took some time but PortableApps had released latest and greatest OpenOffice 3.1 in its portable incarnation. This is package I use at home and recommend highly. Most of calculations, statistics and diagrams posted on this blog are done in Calc.

Another very interesting improvement is that PortableApps now also offers Java Runtime as portable package. This makes OpenOffice Portable even more contained because parts that require JRE framework limited its usage as portable.


OpenOffice is one of open source flagships. It has important target market, set of powerful functions and company more than willing to support it.

What’s not to like? :)

Home http://www.openoffice.org/

Portable http://portableapps.com/apps/office/openoffice_portable

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  • David Hopkins #

    Do you by any chance know if the newer version of Base can open MS Access files now? Had a lot of trouble getting round this issue. MS Access is a daemon to install in Wine.
  • Rarst #

    @David Hopkins I think, or more like I'd been told that Access still uses closed proprietary format so it is very unlikely for any software to open its files directly. Quick googling shows some references to this driver, but solution seems kinda outdated and of course won't handle new Office 2007 format http://sourceforge.net/projects/mdbtools By the way does ODBC work on Linux? I think it meant exactly for this - connecting different databases in standard way.
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  • David Hopkins #

    mdbtools is just some little library that lets you open Access files etc. However, I seem to remember they are read only. I am pretty sure you can connect to ODBC databases with Base on Linux. I rmemeber seeing it in there.
  • Generator #

    Portable Java Runtime is a great idea. Unfortunately big portable apps such as Open Office or Thunderbird are very slow. I think that Open Office in connection with a Java will be very slow. I write this because I use in my job a Thunderbird Portable and it's very slow (in comparison to non-portable edition).
  • Rarst #

    @Generator Not sure I notice any performance hit in portable versions of OpenOffice and Firefox which I use most out of PortableApps. Maybe you are using slow flash drive or something?
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