OpenOffice.org Releases First Suite

The OpenOffice.org community released the first version of its free office productivity suite, OpenOffice.org 1.0.

The OpenOffice.org community on Wednesday released the first version of its free office productivity suite, OpenOffice.org 1.0.

The software, available for download at www.openoffice.org, shares the same code base as Suns upcoming StarOffice 6.0 software, which Sun has said will no longer be available as a free download when it is released later this month.

The essential differences between OpenOffice.org 1.0 and StarOffice 6.0 are that the OpenOffice.org product is free and does not offer its own support services. It also lacks some of the features and functionality of StarOffice 6.0, which will offer users fee-based support and training as well as deployment and migration services, Zaheda Bhorat, a manager at the openoffice.org community, told eWeek on Wednesday.

StarOffice 6.0 would also offer additional features and functionality, specifically from third-party technology it had licensed, including the Adabas database, some special fonts, file filters and Suns quality and assurance testing, she said.

OpenOffice.org 1.0 is the culmination of more than 18 months of effort by the more than 10,000 members of the OpenOffice.org community, community member Sam Hiser told eWeek.

The community is made up of Sun employees, volunteer developers and end users who worked together to build an international office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access to functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format, he said.

OpenOffice.org is one of the largest open source projects, with more than 7.5 million lines of code. To date, more than 4.5 million downloads of earlier versions of OpenOffice.org 1.0 have taken place.

Hiser said a stable developer build is already available for the next version of the product, with discussions of future features and functionality including groupware: e-mail, calendaring, scheduling and the requisite server software that would let all this information to be shared.

"Thats an exciting thing for the future for us as it allows us to become more of a drop-in replacement for the full Microsoft Office 2000 suite plus Exchange server on all of our platforms, which is very significant," he said.