OpenOffice.org's default file format was the OpenDocument Format (ODF), an ISO/IEC standard, which originated with OpenOffice.org. It could also read a wide variety of other file formats, with particular attention to those from Microsoft Office.
On 19 July 2000 at OSCON, Sun Microsystems announced that it would make the source code of StarOffice available for download with the intention of building an open-source development community around the software and of providing a free and open alternative to Microsoft Office. The new project was known as OpenOffice.org, and the code was released as open source on 13 October 2000. The first public preview release was Milestone Build 638c, released in October 2001 (which quickly achieved 1 million downloads); the final release of OpenOffice.org 1.0 was on 1 May 2002.
OpenOffice.org became the standard office suite on Linux and spawned many derivative versions. It quickly became noteworthy competition to Microsoft Office, achieving 14% penetration in the large enterprise market by 2004.
Development of OpenOffice.org was sponsored primarily by Sun Microsystems, which used the code as the basis for subsequent versions of StarOffice. Developers who wished to contribute code were required to sign a Contributor Agreement granting joint ownership of any contributions to Sun (and then Oracle), in support of the StarOffice business model. This was controversial for many years. An alternative Public Documentation Licence (PDL) was also offered for documentation not intended for inclusion or integration into the project code base.
After acquiring Sun in January 2010, Oracle Corporation continued developing OpenOffice.org and StarOffice, which it renamed Oracle Open Office, though with a reduction in assigned developers. However, Oracle's lack of activity on or visible commitment to OpenOffice.org had been noted by industry observers. In September 2010, the majority of outside OpenOffice.org developers left the project, due to concerns over Sun and then Oracle's management of the project and Oracle's handling of its open source portfolio in general, to form The Document Foundation. TDF released the forkLibreOffice in January 2011, which most Linux distributions soon moved to. In April 2011, Oracle stopped development of OpenOffice.org and fired the remaining StarDivision development team. Its reasons for doing so were not disclosed; some speculate that it was due to the loss of mindshare with much of the community moving to LibreOffice while others suggest it was a commercial decision.
During Sun's sponsorship, the OpenOffice.org project was governed by the Community Council, comprising OpenOffice.org community members. The Community Council suggested project goals and coordinated with producers of derivatives on long-term development planning issues.
Both Sun and Oracle are claimed to have made decisions without consulting the Council or in contravention to the council's recommendations, leading to the majority of outside developers leaving for LibreOffice. Oracle demanded in October 2010 that all Council members involved with the Document Foundation step down, leaving the Community Council composed only of Oracle employees.
The project and software were informally referred to as OpenOffice since the Sun release, but since this term is a trademark held by Open Office Automatisering in Benelux since 1999,OpenOffice.org was its formal name.
Due to a similar trademark issue (a Rio de Janeiro company that owned that trademark in Brazil), the Brazilian Portuguese version of the suite was distributed under the name BrOffice.org from 2004, with BrOffice.Org being the name of the associated local nonprofit from 2006. (BrOffice.org moved to LibreOffice in December 2010.)
The mission of OpenOffice.org is to create, as a community, the leading international office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access to all functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format.
A tool for creating and editing mathematical formulas, analogous to Microsoft Equation Editor. Formulas could be embedded inside other OpenOffice.org documents, such as those created by Writer.
A database management program analogous to Microsoft Access. Base could function as a front-end to a number of different database systems, including Access databases (JET), ODBC data sources, MySQL and PostgreSQL. Base became part of the suite starting with version 2.0. HSQL was the included database engine. From version 2.3, Base offered report generation via Pentaho.
Fontwork is a feature that allows users to create stylized text with special effects differing from ordinary text with the added features of gradient colour fills, shaping, letter height, and character spacing. It is similar to WordArt used by Microsoft Word. When OpenOffice.org saved documents in Microsoft Office file format, all Fontwork was converted into WordArt.
From version 2.0.4, OpenOffice.org supported third-party extensions. As of April 2011, the OpenOffice Extension Repository listed more than 650 extensions. Another list was maintained by the Free Software Foundation.
From Version 2.0 onward, OpenOffice.org used ISO/IEC 26300:2006OpenDocument as its native format. Versions 2.0–2.3.0 default to the ODF 1.0 file format; versions 2.3.1–2.4.3 default to ODF 1.1; versions 3.0 onward default to ODF 1.2.
OpenOffice.org 1 used OpenOffice.org XML as its native format. This was contributed to OASIS and OpenDocument was developed from it.
OpenOffice.org also claimed support for the following formats:
OpenOffice.org 1.0 was criticized for not having the look and feel of applications developed natively for the platforms on which it runs. Starting with version 2.0, OpenOffice.org used native widget toolkit, icons, and font-rendering libraries on GNOME, KDE and Windows.
The issue had been particularly pronounced on Mac OS X. Early versions of OpenOffice.org required the installation of X11.app or XDarwin (though the NeoOffice port supplied a native interface). Versions since 3.0 ran natively using Apple's Aqua GUI.
Use of Java
Although originally written in C++, OpenOffice.org became increasingly reliant on the Java Runtime Environment, even including a bundled JVM. OpenOffice.org was criticized by the Free Software Foundation for its increasing dependency on Java, which was not free software.
The issue came to the fore in May 2005, when Richard Stallman appeared to call for a fork of the application in a posting on the Free Software Foundation website. OpenOffice.org adopted a development guideline that future versions of OpenOffice.org would run on free implementations of Java and fixed the issues which previously prevented OpenOffice.org 2.0 from using free-software Java implementations.
In 2006, the lab director of the French Ministry of Defense, Lt. Col. Eric Filiol, demonstrated security weaknesses, in particular within macros. In 2006, Kaspersky Lab demonstrated a proof of concept virus, "Stardust", for OpenOffice.org. This showed OpenOffice.org viruses are possible, but there is no known virus "in the wild".
As of October 2011, Secunia reported no known unpatched security flaws for the software. A vulnerability in the inherited OpenOffice.org codebase was found and fixed in LibreOffice in October 2011 and Apache OpenOffice in May 2012.
The preview, Milestone 638c, was released October 2001. OpenOffice.org 1.0 was released under both the LGPL and the SISSL for Windows, Linux and Solaris on 1 May 2002. The version for Mac OS X (with X11 interface) was released on 23 June 2003.
OpenOffice.org 1.1 introduced One-click Export to PDF and Export presentations to Flash (.SWF). It also allowed third-party addons.
OpenOffice.org was used in 2005 by The Guardian to illustrate what it saw as the limitations of open-source software.
Work on version 2.0 began in early 2003 with the following goals (the "Q Product Concept"): better interoperability with Microsoft Office; improved speed and lower memory usage; greater scripting capabilities; better integration, particularly with GNOME; a more usable database; digital signatures; and improved usability. It would also be the first version to default to OpenDocument. Sun released the first beta version on 4 March 2005.
On 2 September 2005, Sun announced that it was retiring the SISSL to reduce license proliferation, though some press analysts felt it was so that IBM could not reuse OpenOffice.org code without contributing back. Versions after 2.0 beta 2 would use only the LGPL.
On 20 October 2005, OpenOffice.org 2.0 was released. 2.0.1 was released eight weeks later, fixing minor bugs and introducing new features. As of the 2.0.3 release, OpenOffice.org changed its release cycle from 18 months to releasing updates every three months.
The OpenOffice.org 2 series attracted considerable press attention. A PC Pro review awarded it 6 stars out of 6 and stated: "Our pick of the low-cost office suites has had a much-needed overhaul, and now battles Microsoft in terms of features, not just price."Federal Computer Week listed OpenOffice.org as one of the "5 stars of open-source products", noting in particular the importance of OpenDocument. ComputerWorld reported that for large government departments, migration to OpenOffice.org 2.0 cost one tenth of the price of upgrading to Microsoft Office 2007.
The Sun Start Center for versions between 3.0 and 3.2.0
On 13 October 2008, version 3.0 was released, featuring the ability to import (though not export) Office Open XML documents, support for ODF 1.2, improved VBAmacros, and a native interface port for OS X. It also introduced the new Start Center.
Version 3.2 included support for PostScript-based OpenType fonts. It warned users when ODF 1.2 Extended features had been used. An improvement to the document integrity check determined if an ODF document conformed to the ODF specification and offered a repair if necessary. Calc and Writer both reduced "cold start" time by 46% compared to version 3.0. 3.2.1 was the first Oracle release.
Version 3.3, the last Oracle version, was released in January 2011. New features include an updated print form, a FindBar and interface improvements for Impress. The commercial version, Oracle Open Office 3.3 (StarOffice renamed), based on the beta, was released on 15 December 2010, as was the single release of Oracle Cloud Office (a proprietary product from an unrelated codebase).
OpenOffice.org 3.4 Beta 1
A beta version of OpenOffice.org 3.4 was released on 12 April 2011, including new SVG import, improved ODF 1.2 support, and spreadsheet functionality.
Before the final version of OpenOffice.org 3.4 could be released, Oracle cancelled its sponsorship of development and fired the remaining StarDivision development team.
Problems arise in estimating the market share of OpenOffice.org because it could be freely distributed via download sites (including mirror sites), peer-to-peer networks, CDs, Linux distributions and so forth. The project tried to capture key adoption data in a market-share analysis, listing known distribution totals, known deployments and conversions and analyst statements and surveys.
A market-share analysis conducted by a web analytics service in 2010, based on over 200,000 Internet users, showed a wide range of adoption in different countries: 0.2% in China, 9% in the US and the UK and over 20% in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany.
Although Microsoft Office retained 95% of the general market — as measured by revenue — as of August 2007, OpenOffice.org and StarOffice had secured 15–20% of the business market as of 2004 and a 2010 University of Colorado at Boulder study reported that OpenOffice.org had reached a point where it had an "irreversible" installed user base and that it would continue to grow.
The project claimed more than 98 million downloads as of September 2007 and 300 million total to the release of version 3.2 in February 2010. The project claimed over one hundred million downloads for the OpenOffice.org 3 series within a year of release.
In June 2011, Oracle contributed the OpenOffice.org code and trademarks to the Apache Software Foundation. The developer pool for the Apache project was proposed to be seeded by IBM employees, Linux distribution companies and public sector agencies. IBM employees continue to do the majority of the development, including hiring ex-StarDivision developers. The Apache project removed or replaced as much code from OpenOffice.org 3.4 beta 1, including fonts, under licenses unacceptable to Apache as possible, and released 3.4.0 in May 2012.
The codebase for IBM's Lotus Symphony was donated to the Apache Software Foundation in 2012 and merged for Apache OpenOffice 4.0, and Symphony was deprecated in favour of Apache OpenOffice.
Sun had stated in the original OpenOffice.org announcement in 2000 that the project would be run by a neutral foundation, and put forward a more detailed proposal in 2001. There were many calls to put this into effect over the ensuing years. On 28 September 2010, in frustration at years of perceived neglect of the codebase and community by Sun and then Oracle, members of the OpenOffice.org community announced a non-profit called The Document Foundation and a fork of OpenOffice.org named LibreOffice. Go-oo improvements were merged, and that project was retired in favour of LibreOffice. The goal was to produce a vendor-independent office suite with ODF support and without any copyright assignment requirements.
Oracle was invited to become a member of the Document Foundation and was asked to donate the OpenOffice.org brand. Oracle instead demanded that all members of the OpenOffice.org Community Council involved with the Document Foundation step down, leaving the Council composed only of Oracle employees.
Most Linux distributions promptly replaced OpenOffice.org with LibreOffice; Oracle Linux 6 also features LibreOffice rather than OpenOffice.org or Apache OpenOffice. The project rapidly accumulated developers, development effort and added features, the majority of outside OpenOffice.org developers having moved to LibreOffice.
NeoOffice, an independent port for Macintosh that tracked the main line of development, offered a native OS X Aqua user interface before OpenOffice.org did. Later versions are derived from Go-oo, rather than directly from OpenOffice.org. As of 2014[update], the current version is NeoOffice 3.4, first released 22 October 2013, based on OpenOffice.org 3.1.1 with stability fixes from Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice.
The ooo-build patch set was started at Ximian in 2002, because Sun were slow to accept outside work on OpenOffice.org, even from corporate partners, and to make the build process easier on Linux. It tracked the main line of development and was not intended to constitute a fork. Most Linux distributions used, and worked together on, ooo-build.
Sun's contributions to OpenOffice.org had been declining for a number of years and some developers were unwilling to assign copyright in their work to Sun, particularly given the deal between Sun and IBM to licence the code outside the LGPL. On 2 October 2007, Novell announced that ooo-build would be available as a software package called Go-oo, not merely a patch set. (The go-oo.org domain name had been in use by ooo-build as early as 2005.) Sun reacted negatively, with Simon Phipps of Sun terming it "a hostile and competitive fork". However, the office suite branded "OpenOffice.org" in most Linux distributions, having previously been ooo-build, soon in fact became Go-oo. Go-oo also encouraged outside contributions, with rules similar to those later adopted for LibreOffice. When LibreOffice forked, Go-oo was deprecated in favour of that project.
OpenOffice Novell edition was a supported version of Go-oo.
The Workplace Managed Client in IBM Workplace 2.6 (23 January 2006) incorporated code from OpenOffice.org 1.1.4, the last version under the SISSL. This code was broken out into a separate application as Lotus Symphony (30 May 2008), with a new interface based on Eclipse. Symphony 3.0 (21 October 2010) was rebased on OpenOffice.org 3.0, with the code licensed privately from Sun. IBM's changes were donated to the Apache Software Foundation in 2012, Symphony was deprecated in favour of Apache OpenOffice and its code was merged into Apache OpenOffice 4.0.
Sun used OpenOffice.org as a base for its commercial proprietary StarOffice application software, which was OpenOffice.org with some added proprietary components. Oracle bought Sun in January 2010 and quickly renamed StarOffice as Oracle Open Office. Oracle discontinued development in April 2011.
^Hillesley, Richard (21 June 2010). "OpenOffice at the crossroads: Every bug is a feature". The H Open. Heinz Heise. p. 2. Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013. "Simon Phipps, now an ex-Sun employee, later claimed that 'The number one reason why Sun bought StarDivision in 1999 was because, at the time, Sun had something approaching forty-two thousand employees. Pretty much every one of them had to have both a Unix workstation and a Windows laptop. And it was cheaper to go buy a company that could make a Solaris and Linux desktop productivity suite than it was to buy forty-two thousand licenses from Microsoft.'"
^Dölle, Mirko (4 November 2010). "Die Woche: Bad Company Oracle?" [The Week: Bad Company Oracle?]. Heise Open Source (in German). Heinz Heise. Retrieved 19 October 2013. "Nach der Übernahme von Sun hatte Oracle offenbar etliche Entwickler vom OpenOffice-Projekt abgezogen, was zu empfindlichen Verzögerungen bei der Weiterentwicklung geführt hat. [After the acquisition of Sun, Oracle apparently took several developers off the OpenOffice project, which led to severe delays in development.]"
^"Why should we say "OpenOffice.org" instead of simply "OpenOffice"". OpenOffice.org Frequently Asked Questions. 16 June 2010. Archived from the original on 16 June 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2013. "Why should we say "OpenOffice.org" instead of simply "OpenOffice"? The trademark for "OpenOffice" belongs to someone else. Therefore we must use "OpenOffice.org" when referring to this open source project and its software."
^Baader, Hans-Joachim (30 July 2008). "Go-oo: Erster Fork von OpenOffice.org" [Go-oo: First fork of OpenOffice.org]. Pro-Linux.de (in German). Retrieved 21 June 2013. "Nach Angaben der Entwickler beruht die bereits bekannte erweiterte Distribution Oxygen Office Professional auf Go-oo und nicht, wie man beim Lesen auf der Webseite von Oxygen Office vermuten würde, direkt auf OpenOffice.org. [According to the developer, the well-known expanded distribution Oxygen Office Professional was based on Go-oo and not, as one might expect from reading the Oxygen Office website, on OpenOffice.org.]"
^Gamalielsson, J.; Lundell, B. R. (2013). "Sustainability of Open Source software communities beyond a fork: How and why has the LibreOffice project evolved?". Journal of Systems and Software. doi:10.1016/j.jss.2013.11.1077.edit
^Adorno, Kerry (28 September 2010). "Viva la LibreOffice!". Novell News. Novell. Retrieved 28 September 2010. "Novell, Google, Red Hat, Canonical, and others are pleased to work with The Document Foundation to help make LibreOffice the best office productivity suite on the market."[dead link]
^"Canonical unterstützt LibreOffice" [Canonical supports LibreOffice]. Heise Open Source (in German). Heinz Heise. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2013. "Das Unternehmen hinter Ubuntu bezahlt mit Björn Michaelsen einen Entwickler, der vollzeit an der freien Bürosuite arbeiten soll. [The company behind Ubuntu pays a developer, Björn Michaelsen, to work full-time on the free office suite.]"