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Created: October 21, 2005.
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Free 2.0 Office Suite Supports OASIS OpenDocument Format.


The Project is an open source community dedicated to building a leading international office suite which is free, will run on all major platforms, and provides access to all functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format. The developers recently announced the release of Version 2.0 as a "productivity suite that individuals, governments, and corporations around the world have been expecting for the last two years." 2.0 is described as an "open, feature-rich multi-platform office productivity suite with a user interface and functionality is very similar to other products (e.g., Microsoft Office, Lotus SmartSuite); but in contrast to these commercial products, is absolutely free for download, use, and distribution. This multiplatform and multilingual office suite is compatible with all other major office suites."

Beginning with Version 2.0, the software supports the OASIS OpenDocument format; it is announced as "the first open source office suite to offer full support for OpenDocument". OpenDocument Version 1.0 (Open Document Format for Office Applications) was ratified as an OASIS Standard in April 2005. OpenDocument provides a royalty-free, XML-based file format that covers features required by text, spreadsheets, charts, and graphical documents. It uses a single XML schema for text, spreadsheets, charts, and graphical documents. OpenDocument makes use of existing standards, such as HTML, SVG, XSL, SMIL, XLink, XForms, MathML, and the Dublin Core, wherever possible. OpenDocument has been designed as a package concept, enabling it to be used as a default file format for office applications with no increase in file size or loss of data integrity." support for the OASIS OpenDocument format "eliminates the fear of vendor lockin or format obsolescence."

In September 2005 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts announced highly publicized support for OpenDocument in the final version of its Enterprise Technical Reference Model Version 3.5, which became effective on September 21, 2005. ETRM Final Version 3.5 identified OpenDocument as one of three Open Format Technology Specifications, along with the Hypertext Document Format (HTML 4.01) and Plain Text Format. The Commonwealth defines open formats as "specifications for data file formats that are based on an underlying open standard, developed by an open community, affirmed and maintained by a standards body and are fully documented and publicly available. It is the policy of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that all official records of the Commonwealth be created and saved in an acceptable format."

National governments and other jurisdictions beyond Massachusetts are being attracted to the use of the OpenDocument because of its status as legally unencumbered technology — in addition to being entirely free. On September 30, 2005 Sun Microsystems published a declaration of patent non-enforcement with respect to implementation of OASIS "Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0". The declaration clarifies that the OpenDocument specification is under no restrictions from Sun. This irrevocable, blanket non-assertion covenant is being praised as a creative mechanism for patent management. It offers protection to Sun and the OpenDocument developer community, using a model that has no required patent disclosures and carries zero bureaucratic overhead.

The 2.0 suite has six principal components. Writer is the fully equipped word processor and desktop publisher, using XML as the document format and supporting enhanced PDF export. PDF export "now gives greater control over the quality and size of PDFs generated as well as providing support for links, indexes, forms, thumbnails. and presentation transition effects." A new multi-pane view provides all important tools and windows through one coherent, integrated, and simple user interface. The Impress tool for creating effective multimedia presentations supports 2D and 3D clip art, special effects, animation, and other high-impact drawing tools. CustomShapes are compatible with Microsoft's AutoShapes. The Math tool for creating mathematical equations and formulae in documents supports multiple input methods and allows use of equations in Calc and Impress.

The Draw graphics package in 2.0 provides tools for creating sketches, graphics, and diagrams. The Calc all-purpose spreadsheet supports newcomers with intuitive and easy-to-learn interfaces; professional data miners and number crunchers will appreciate the comprehensive range of advanced functions from Calc Advanced DataPilot technology which makes it easy to pull in raw data from corporate databases, to cross-tabulate, summarise, and convert numeric data into meaningful information. One mjor new component is Base, an "easy-to-use database manager with a fully integrated database: the new embedded HSQLDB database engine, based on Java technology, allows creating 'database documents'. These simple database files don't require a back end database server like MySQL or Adabas D, since all information (table definitions, data, queries, forms, reports) is stored in one XML file." 2.0 provides enhanced for W3C XForms technology: "XForms are now much easier to create, edit and use, thanks to their complete integration inside" W3C XForms is an XML application that "represents the next generation of forms for the Web. By splitting traditional XHTML forms into three parts (XForms model, instance data, and user interface), it separates presentation from content, allows reuse, and gives strong typing, thus reducing the number of round-trips to the server, as well as offering device independence and a reduced need for scripting."

Other new or enhanced features in 2.0 include: a new Mail Merge Wizard; support for nested tables; support of digital signatures, with certificates stored in the regular repositories; native installation mechanisms (.MSI, .CAB; RPM files for Linux); Calc module expanded to support up to 65,536 rows of data; floating toolbars; enhanced PivotTable support for data analysis; additional animation effects and slide transitions; enhanced word count featues.

According to the announcement, 2.0 "runs natively on Windows, GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris, Mac OS X (X11) and several other platforms, Supported by dozens of professional companies, 2.0 will be available in more than 60 languages. is increasingly the choice of businesses and governments throughout the world, and earlier versions have been downloaded over 49 million times since the project's inception."

From the Announcement 2.0 is the productivity suite that individuals, governments, and corporations around the world have been expecting for the last two years. Easy to use and fluidly interoperable with every major office suite, 2.0 realises the potential of open source.

Besides a powerful new database module and advanced XML capabilities, natively supports the internationally standardised OpenDocument format, which several countries, as well as the U.S. state of Massachusetts, have established as the default for office documents. More than any other suite, 2.0 gives users around the globe the tools to be engaged and productive members of their society.

Available in 36 languages, with more on the way, and able to run natively on Windows, GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris, Mac OS X (X11) and several other platforms, banishes software segregation and isolation and dramatically levels the playing field. And, with its support for the OASIS Standard OpenDocument format, eliminates the fear of vendor lock in or format obsolescence.

The OpenDocument format can be used by any office application, ensuring that documents can be viewed, edited and printed for generations to come. 2.0 is a breath of hope for small economies that can now have a local language office suite well adapted to their needs and to their economical possibilities, reducing their dependency on the interests of proprietary software vendors.

" is on a path toward being the most popular office suite the world has ever seen; providing users with safety, choice, and an opportunity to participate in one of the broadest community efforts the Internet has ever seen. As a member of that community, I'd like to offer my heartiest congratulations." [said] Jonathan Schwartz, President and CEO of Sun Microsystems.

Built by a community including Sun Microsystems, its primary sponsor and contributor, Novell, Red Hat, Debian, Propylon, Intel, as well as independent programmers, translators, writers, and marketers, 2.0 demonstrates the success, dedication and proficiency of the open source software community.

That community now includes the City of Vienna, which recently started deploying throughout. "We are very happy about the functionality and quality of the software. We are confident that will be made available to all of our 18,000 workstation users." [said] Brigitte Lutz, City of Vienna.

Louis Suárez-Potts, Community Manager, commented that " 2.0 is the culmination of a collaborative process involving thousands working in dozens of languages everywhere in the world. It shows that open source can produce software of the highest quality and assure the robustness, usability and security that users expect in their office suite."

In addition to the OpenDocument format, the redesigned user interface and a new database module, 2.0 also adds improved PDF support, a superior spreadsheet module, enhanced desktop integration and several other features that take advantage of its advanced XML capabilities, such as the ability to easily create, edit and use XForms.

For more detailed information regarding 2.0, please refer to the Press Kit.

The Project is an international community of volunteers and sponsors including founding sponsor and primary contributor, Sun Microsystems. develops, supports, and promotes the open-source office productivity suite, The project can be found at supports the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) OASIS Standard and is available on major computing platforms in over 60 languages. is provided under the GNU Lesser General Public Licence (LGPL).

Commentary and Press

  • " Opens 2.0 Doors." By Jim Wagner. From (October 20, 2005). "The latest version of the open source office suite is now open for business in what can potentially be a wedge against Microsoft Office. In beta testing since the spring and more recently available as a release candidate, 2.0 is now finalized and ready for download, according to officials at the open source project Thursday. Developers have taken great pains to make OpenOffice and its components more user-friendly and recognizable to novice users, as the new version is a major upgrade both in terms of look-and-feel and functionality. New users are no longer required to extract the zipped installation package after download and hunt for the setup executable among the other files. Instead, the program auto-installs when it's double-clicked. Program names have been given a face-lift, as well. In a new twist, users who upgrade can import their settings from previous editions of the software suite. Text document, Presentation, Spreadsheet and Drawing in version 1.1.5 are now Writer, Impress, Calc and Draw, respectively."

  • "OpenOffice Challenges Microsoft on XML Standards." By Gavin Clarke. From The Register (October 20, 2005) The open source community has taken a further step towards unseating Microsoft's Office productivity hegemony, with the release of its latest suite. OpenOffice 2.0 has been released featuring a new interface and a standards-based XML architecture intended to tempt even more governments, companies and individuals to convert from Office. Two big changes to OpenOffice 2.0 include the simplified creation and management of both web forms and cross-platform database applications. OpenOffice 2.0 uses XForms, from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to create web forms, instead of using the traditional approach of HTML. Web forms are easier to create using XForms because they separate the design of a web form from its logic. The suite also introduces the BASE database module, which allows users to create and modify tables, forms queries and reports, and to store information in XML. BASE uses wizards, design views and SQL Views for users with different levels of skills. Database tools are also now easier to access, through the "file - new" menu. Other improvements have been made at the interface level and are geared towards weaning end-users off of Microsoft's Office. These include a multi-pane view of different tools, custom shapes that are similar to Microsoft's AutoShapes, a mail merge wizard, enhanced word count and calculator... Microsoft could potentially squash OpenOffice's 'unique selling point' of standards-based XML support, should it decide to endorse the OpenDocument Format instead of its own, dubious Office 12 XML file formats..."

  • " Project Green Lights OpenOffice 2.0. New Version Seen as a Serious Contender to Microsoft Office." By Howard Dahdah. From InfoWorld (October 20, 2005). The Project on Thursday released 2.0, adding new features that the group claim will resonate with users from business and governments right down to the home desktop. The product will be simultaneously released for a range of operating systems including Linux and Microsoft Windows. 2.0 was developed over the past two years by a community made up of independent programmers and widely known technology companies including primary sponsor Sun Microsystems, Novell, Red Hat, Debian, and Intel. Advocates of the new version of the software suite point to the application's potential as a serious contender to Microsoft Office. ' is on a path toward being the most popular office suite the world has ever seen; providing users with safety, choice, and an opportunity to participate in one of the broadest community efforts the Internet has ever seen,' said Sun COO Jonathan Schwartz in a statement."

  • "Why 2.0 Is Your Best Choice: It's Free and It Works. Next Question?" By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. From eWEEK (October 20, 2005). "I've been running a late beta of 2.0 on both my SuSE 9.3 and 10 Linux boxes and on Windows XP. And, you know what? It works great. I've started writing with vi on Unix and WordStar on CP/M. Over the years, I've used Lotus Word, WordPerfect and, yes, every version of Microsoft Word for Windows from 2.0 to 2003. Along the way, I've also used spreadsheets starting with VisiCalc, with many years spent on Lotus 1-2-3 and Quattro Pro and for the last five years, Microsoft Excel. I could go on, but suffice it to say, 'Steven knows office software.' is every bit as good as the best of all those proprietary programs — Lotus Word Pro 9.8 and Excel 2000 for my money — and in some ways it's even better. PointerClick here to read more about Version 2.0. For example, supports XForms — a newish Web standard for building forms using XML — and it has excellent HTML support. If you're like a lot of people who use Microsoft FrontPage because you want a Web authoring tool that acts like a word processor, you should stop mucking about with the perpetually annoying FrontPage and move to"

  • "OpenOffice Celebrates Turning 2.0." By Stephen Shankland. From CNET (October 20, 2005). "Programmers released version 2 of on Thursday, a major overhaul to an open-source software suite that has recently become a more serious rival to Microsoft Office. OpenOffice's roots lie in Sun's $73.5 million acquisition in 1999 of Star Division, a German company that built an office suite called StarOffice. Sun kept the StarOffice product line, but in 2000 also released it as the open-source project. Nearly 50 million copies of OpenOffice have been downloaded, but only recently has the software become a more serious threat to long-dominant Microsoft Office. Version 2.0 brings some significant new features, and Google has pledged to help distribute OpenOffice through a high-profile pact with Sun. But perhaps more significant, uses the standardized OpenDocument format that stands in stark contrast to Microsoft's proprietary formats..."

  • "Free 2.0 Suite Launches." By Gregg Keizer. From InformationWeek (October 20, 2005). "The open source alternative to Microsoft Office got new legs recently as governments argue that documents should be based on open-source formats. 2.0, which has been in development for more than two years and recently delayed by some last-minute bugs, can now be downloaded from the Web in versions for Windows, Linux, and Solaris. A native Mac OS X edition is still being ported. Sun and are linked by the code on which the suite is based. In 2000, Sun, which a year earlier had acquired a German company that developed StarOffice, released the code as the project. The two continue to share code, with Sun's StarOffice — version 8 went final in late September — sold commercially with bundled support. Although Sun is the prime contributor to, others, including Novell, Red Hat, Debian, Propylon, and Intel, as well as a slew of independent programmers, pitched in to design, develop, test, and debug 2.0. Recently, the suite has taken a more prominent place as some governments argue that documents must be based on open-source formats, not proprietary formats such as those used by Microsoft's Office, the bundle that has a near-monopoly on the office application market. Massachusetts in particular has been a vigorous proponent of, and the OpenDocument format it subscribes to, and has rejected Microsoft's pitch of OpenOffice XML as a true open-source format. also got a bit of a boost earlier this month when Sun and Google announced a long-range technology partnership. Although the pair have been short on specifics, speculation remains strong that StarOffice, or the open-source offshoot, might be the foundation for additional Google Web services in the future..."

  • " Releases Long-Awaited Version 2.0." By Chris Preimesberger. From eWEEK (October 20, 2005). " 2.0 is the first stable version of the open-source office suite able to produce the new XML-based standard ODF (OpenDocument format), sanctioned internationally only last May by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards). It also features improved interoperability with Microsoft Word formats and a fully accessible, more powerful relational database for use with financial applications, community manager Louis Suárez-Potts said. In addition to the OpenDocument format, a redesigned user interface and a new database module, 2.0 also adds improved PDF support, a superior spreadsheet module, enhanced desktop integration and several other features that take advantage of its advanced XML capabilities, such as the ability to easily create, edit and use XForms..."

  • " 2.0: An Office Suite With No Horizons. Interviews Louis Suárez-Potts." By Christian Einfeldt. From (October 20, 2005). Suárez-Potts: "Our use of the OpenDocument format (ODF) is the most significant thing... it's an open standard, meaning that it is supported by the international community and is free for all to use. It's not pseudo-open, it's really open, for one and all. And it will remain that way forever... is a social project, and it works particularly well with the rest of the world. There are no set horizons to The model for is predicated on horizonless collaboration, on horizonless development, and on a horizonless future. We are not isolating the world, excluding it, with our technology or file format: Any vendor can use the file format, any group can join with us. Because of our horizonless nature, other individuals and governments will increasingly contribute to the code, and because OOo 2.0 is that much better to use..."

ODF Summit Sponsored by Sun and IBM

As announced by Nathaniel S. Borenstein on the OASIS TC list, Sun and IBM are sponsoring an invitational ODF Summit on November 3-4, 2005. The stated purpose is to "coordinate the technical and strategic advancement of the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF) and its implementation in products from many vendors." A Keynote is to be given by Peter Quinn (CIO, Commonwealth of Massachusetts). Excerpts from the text:

Electronic documents are the lifeblood of the modern organization. Businesses, governments and universities use them to store information, coordinate activities, and communicate both internally and externally. In the case of governments, this includes interactions with their citizens. For all these people, truly open file format standards based on XML technology provide the assurance of long term document retention and access, and the opportunity for new and innovative document solutions.

Political and technical developments in this area are converging. There exists a historic opportunity for a group of like-minded companies, organizations, communities and individuals to drive the widespread global adoption of open document format standards. Standardization in this area has the potential to stimulate innovation, provide attractive business opportunities and deliver considerable value to governments, enterprises, organizations, and individuals alike around the world.

We believe we share a common vision that embraces the idea of many interoperable implementations supporting the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications standard. We believe we all appreciate the customer's viewpoint: "They are our documents: we should be able to do whatever we want with them, whenever we want, with whatever application we wish to use."

Since its first release in May of this year, the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF) standard v.1 has received much attention and press. Influential government customers such as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are calling for software vendors to enable open standard options in their products as soon as possible.

This invitation is being extended to a group of leading vendors and communities who have expressed an interest in promoting ODF. We will collectively address a number of critical issues that, if resolved efficiently, will accelerate acceptance, adoption and deployments of ODFcompliant applications.

Example questions and topics that need immediate attention include:

  • Will the industry benefit from the creation of an Open Document Foundation? What will be its role and who will be involved? Should its activities extend beyond education and evangelism?
  • How can we best align the technical and public policy strategic OSF visions of the meeting participants and how will this be reflected in the various ODF implementations?
  • Should we establish an ODF Reference Platform, or test suite for certification of interoperability? Are there lessons to be learned and applied based on the experience of the Web Services Interoperability Organization?
  • Should we coordinate participants external communications and public policy initiatives in any way to create broad and deep awareness of the issues at stake regarding the emerging ODF standard and its implementations? [...]

[signed by] Bob Sutor (Vice President, Standards and Open Source, IBM) and Simon Phipps (Chief Open Source Officer, Sun Microsystems) [ODF Summit Invitation, PDF source]

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