Contributed by jason on from the peter-gibbons-has-to-work-on-saturday dept.
Ian Darwin (ian@) wrote in with a nice summary on the state of OpenOffice 3 and other office suites available for OpenBSD.
In case you've missed it, OpenOffice.org is a complete office suite, including word processor, spreadsheet, slide show, graphics, database, and more. Originally written by StarOffice - a small company in Germany that Sun Microsystems acquired in 2000 - OpenOffice.org is free and open source; Sun also sells a supported version under the StarOffice name. OpenOffice.org is largely compatible with other commercial office suites, and includes the ability to read and write most of their proprietary binary formats (the current version can read MS Office 2007 files like pptx and docx, but can only save the older formats ppt and doc). Its native format is Open Document, an XML-based document representation originated largely by Sun, OpenOffice and OASIS. The Open Document format is formally standardized as ISO/IEC 26300:2006, and is accepted by all reasonable office suites these days (you may need a plug-in to read it under Microsoft Office, because Microsoft naturally have their own, competing format, the confusingly-named Microsoft "Office Open" XML format).
Thanks to a lot of hard work by Robert Nagy (robert@), and some testing and help by others, OpenOffice.Org 3.0.1 is now available for -current, at least on i386 and amd64. It's slicker than 2.4, bigger, has more features and more templates, fixes lots of bugs, undoubtedly introduces a few more, is up and running on -current, and will be in packages for 4.5. As previously mentioned, after the 4.5 release, the older openoffice (2.4) port will be removed.
Here are some things you should know:
If you have a .openoffice.org2 directory, you should rename it before the very first time you run OOo3. If you do not, OOo3 will import all the old settings and, unfortunately, it appears that doing so sometimes makes OOo3 become unstable. Once I undid this (by removing my .openoffice.org/3 directory), OOo3 became really stable. Just be aware that things like your bibliography references (if you've used this feature), any new templates you've created, and so on, are stored in this directory, so keep the old directory and copy over any individual files you need.
The crash recovery is, alas, not much improved from 2.4.
The spelling dictionaries, the PDF importer (with which I've not had much luck), and two extras for presentations - a "minimizer" Tool for removing unused stuff from presentation files, and a two-monitor presentation controller - are installed but not enabled out of the box. To enable them, go into Tools->Extension Manager, click Add, navigate to /usr/local/openoffice.org3/share/extension/install, click the one you want, and click Accept. Unfortunately you can only install one at a time. And at present they only work on i386, not amd64.
Should you decide to build OpenOffice3 from source for your own use rather than using the provided packages, be sure to set your ulimits really high - some of the openoffice.org build tools run very slowly if you do not. As well, selecting the no_lang FLAVOR will save a lot of time, if you don't need the extra language support. It takes several hours to build OpenOffice; typically at least as long as to build the entire base system, so the pre-built packages are definitely your friend.
Because OpenOffice is free software, you can give it to your friends. There is a version that runs on that operating system from Redmond; if you have Windows-locked friends, this may be a good tool in some cases for helping them learn about Open Source without having to change everything at once.
OpenOffice is not the only fancy documentation tool for OpenBSD. Should you not find it to your liking, we also have the KDE suite koffice (in x11/kde/office), another office suite that aims to handle Open Document. AbiWord (editors/abiword) is not a full office suite, but a word processor that can also read MS Word files. And there are TexMaker (editors/texmaker) and Lyx (print/lyx), full-screen editors for TeX/LaTeX documents. At the other end, we have vi in the base system, several vi- and emacs-family editors, and troff support in the base system. There are several text-based slideshow programs, including MGP (misc/magicpoint). OpenBSD gives you the choice. My choice for shorter documents is vi. But (in part because one of my main clients requires MS-office-format files and is always sending them to me in that format), my choice for longer documents is OpenOffice.
Thanks to Robert, Ian and all of the other porters that make OpenBSD a great desktop system. Show your appreciation for their work by placing your 4.5 pre-order when they become available.
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