Monday, May 28, 2012
Open Source Applications for Office
Open source applications are primarily catalogued in SourceForge, which is a web-based source code repository. It acts as a centralized location for software developers to control and manage free and open source software development. It hosts over 300,000 projects and has more than 2 million registered users and attracts at least thirty million visitors.
The principal supporter of open source computing in SourceForge is the Apache Software Foundation. It provides support for the Apache community of open-source software projects, which are defined by collaborative consensus and a pragmatic software license and a desire to create high quality software that leads the way in its field.
The Apache Foundation supports over 100 of major software projects. For instance the Apache open-source server supports all modern operating systems including UNIX, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS/X and Netware. It provides observing the current standards. Apache has been the most popular web server on the Internet with 65% market share.
Apache OpenOffice is free software, which means you can download it, install it for free on as many devices as you like, free to pass copies to as many users as you like. OpenOffice can be used for any purpose without any restrictions.
A free software license means never need worry whether the software is legal, or whether it will expire some day. There is no need for software audits, for keeping invoices for years, no worry about ending up in court because you misread some small print in a license agreement.
Apache OpenOffice will read and write files, which can be used in other common office software. It supports the ISO standards for office file formats. If you want to use other software, it will interface with Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac to Linux.
It is easier (and cheaper) to move to OpenOffice from Microsoft Office than it is to upgrade to Microsoft's latest Office 2007 or Office 2010. As Microsoft updates its operating system to Windows 8 and to a new browser (Internet Explorer 10) the ability to maintain the integrity of OpenOffice applications becomes increasingly costly.
Apache OpenOffice contains all the office software in one single package. The installation includes features, which some expensive rivals do not - for example, the ability to create .pdf files when you want to guarantee what the recipient sees on their computer. There is also a growing range of extensions: additional features that any developer can provide. Releases of software take place several times a year so you can take advantage of new features as quickly as possible. OpenOffice includes the “writer – Word replacement”, “calculator – excel replacement”, “impressions, for presentations”, “draw – for graphics” as well as the “base – data application”. In effect, it provides a complete replacement for the now dominant and most profitable Microsoft Office application.
Anyone can look at the programs and suggest improvements, or fix bugs. Anyone can report problems or request enhancements, and anyone can see the response from other users or developers. The status of current and future releases is displayed whenever one wishes to upgrade to take advantage of new features.
DISA currently operates Forge.mil, which provides capabilities where developers can collaborate on open source and DoD community source applications. Forge.mil provides tools to improve the communication between teams and individuals working to solve similar problems and/or discuss similar issues. These capabilities are available only for Government authorized use.
The extent to which Forge.mil has managed to provide off-the shelf software solutions to make existing “silos” less isolated and more interoperable is not known. Apache OpenOffice is not included on Forge.mil.