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FREE Office Suite Program Download
Do You Use Open Office, Google Docs or other office suites offered as free downloads?
Similar to MS Office Suite but Free
Need an office suite program but can't afford Microsoft Office? An organization called OpenOffice.Org offers free downloads of a full featured, six program, office suite that includes a word processing program, a spreadsheet program, a database program, a presentation program (like MS PowerPoint), a math program and a draw program. All of these programs are compatible with their MS Office counterparts and all can both read files produced and saved in Microsoft formats as well as save files created in Open Office in the MS Office format. In addition, the Open Office Suite of programs are cross platform in that they will work on Windows, Linux, Unix, Apple and the Sun Microsystems Solaris operating systems. The Open Office Suite of programs is available in both English as well as many other world languages.
How Can OpenOffice.Org do This?
Open Office Org is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing software that will run on other operating systems besides Microsoft Windows. As such they are a competitor of Microsoft competing directly with Microsoft in the area of the office suite of programs and indirectly in the operating system arena by writing software that runs on platforms other than just Windows. The organization receives technical assistance from companies like Sun Microsystems and Google as well as volunteer programmers from around the world who help write code in their spare time. They also receive help from volunteers in other areas such as marketing and promotion.
Sun Microsystems made the code for StarOffice version 5 available to Open Office Org and this became the basis for the office suite. Open Office Org made improvements to the StarOffice code and released the new version as Open Office Suite version 1. Version 2, a major rewriting of the software has just been released free download at OpenOffice.Org.
StarOffice itself was originally developed in the mid-1980s by a German company named StarDivision. Sun Microsystems later purchased the StarOffice suite line and marketed it as part of their product line. Like the OpenOffice Suite, StarOffice version 5 was originally distributed as a free download by Sun Microsystems - I picked up a free CD (it was also available as a free download from the Internet) at a trade show about 6 years ago. I just used the spreadsheet and word processing applications but found them to be very good and, for the most part, files moved back and forth between StarOffice on my home computer and Microsoft Office at work without problem. I have recently downloaded OpenOffice 2.0 and have been very happy with the results so far. One word of caution - both StarOffice and OpenOffice will open and read files that have been created and saved in Microsoft Office formats and will also save files in the Microsoft .doc (Word) and .xls (Excel) formats. However, files created and saved in a OpenOffice or StarOffice format cannot be opened using Microsoft Office. Sun Microsystems has continued to upgrade and sell StarOffice (they now charge about $99 or less for the full suite). The current version of StarOffice is version 8. Like OpenOffice, StarOffice continues to work on Windows, Linux, Unix, Solaris (the Sun operating system), Apple and other operating systems.
You can obtain a free download of the most recent version of the OpenOffice Suite by going to OpenOffice.org.