Open Office, originally developed as Star Writer (1985, by Star Division) and upgraded to Star Office (1999, by Sun Microsystems), is a modular program package containing usual office tools. A spin-off happened in 2010 to produce Libre Office.
Currently (End of 2012) two very similar program packages are available for the operating systems Windows, Mac OSX and Linux:
- Apache Open Office (v. 3.4.1, via Apache Software Foundation, http://www.openoffice.org)
- Libre Office (V. 3, via The Document Foundation, http://www.libreoffice.org) The software was developed as open source project and is generally free - donations welcome.
The Libre Office software was a spin-off from Open Office in 2010. It is generally further along than Open Office. They have a wiki https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/
The Open Office suite has six full-blown applications. These generally use their own format but can import (and export) the equivalent Microsoft formats and other popular formats as well.
- Writer (word processor) - .odt (Open Document Text) file format, can import and export MS Word .doc and .docx but also .html file format
- Calc (spreadsheet) - .ods (Open Document Spreadsheet) file format, can import and export MS Excel .xls and .xlsx file format
- Impress (presentations) - .odp (Open Document Presentation) file format, can import and export MS PowerPoint .ppt and .pptx file format
- Draw (graphics/drawing) -.odg (Open Document Graphics) file format, can import and export different graphics and drawing file formats (e.g. bmp, jpg, gif, png, tif, cdr, eps, svg, wmf, and other)
- Base (database) - .odb (Open Document Base) file format (compatibility with MS-database file format not tested)
- Math (equation) - .odf (Open Document Formula) file format (compatibility to other formats not tested)
Given that the full suite is free, this is one of the best deals you'll find in all of computing. It'll do just about anything you expect from an office suite, whether creating documents, spreadsheets, or presentations. You'll find solid formatting tools, as well as extras including mail merge, macros, charting capabilities, and more.
There are many extensions available for each module of the office suite. In context with eReader devices two options are remarkable:
- Writer2ePub is an extension that can generate a fully functional ePub directly from within Writer.
- As a regular part of the suite all modules can export customized PDF files directly.
- PerfectEpub is an extension that allows you to find and fix, in text files, a large amount of formatting errors resulting from incorrect formatting when writing, scans or conversions of formats, such as PDF.