OpenOffice.org is a full-featured office suite that’s available on multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and several UNIX variants. The user interface closely resembles that of recent Microsoft Office applications, as does most of the functionality. Let’s face it, when looking at office suites there’s no ignoring MS, it’s the one area where the folks from Redmond do really shine.
Unlike Microsoft Office however, OpenOffice.org reads and writes the ISO standard OpenDocument Format (ODF) documents as well as the Microsoft Office ’97 – 2003 document formats. OpenOffice.org also allows for scripting in a variety of scripting languages and has many additional features like writing to PDF. And ofcourse, OpenOffice.org is free and open.
OpenOffice.org also has an extension mechanism that allows for easy installation of plug-ins and modifications of the office suite, but sofar I have not run into any essential add-ons. Worth installing is the SVG import extension, especially if you use applications like Inkscape, but your mileage may vary.
pro: free, open, supports open formats, easy to use when you’re used to MS Office, same on all platforms.
con: missing some minor features and slightly less polished interface than MS Office, no Visio replacement.
verdict [rate 4]