Apache OpenOffice

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Apache OpenOffice
Apache OpenOffice 4 logo
Apache OpenOffice 4 logo
AOO Writer 4.0.0 Windows in Wine.png
Apache OpenOffice Writer 4.0.0
Developer(s) Apache Software Foundation
Initial release 3.4.0 / 8 May 2012; 4 years ago (2012-05-08)[1]
Stable release 4.1.2[2] (October 28, 2015; 8 months ago (2015-10-28)) [±]
Written in C++ and Java
Operating system Linux, OS X, Microsoft Windows
Platform IA-32 and x86-64
Size 141 MB (4.1.2 en_US Windows .exe)[3]
Available in 38 languages[4]
Type Office suite
License Apache License 2.0[5]
Website www.openoffice.org
Standard(s) OpenDocument (ISO/IEC 26300)

Apache OpenOffice (AOO) is an open-source office productivity software suite. It is one of the successor projects of OpenOffice.org and integrates features and improvements from IBM Lotus Symphony.[6] Apache OpenOffice is a close cousin of LibreOffice and NeoOffice. It contains a word processor (Writer), a spreadsheet (Calc), a presentation application (Impress), a drawing application (Draw), a formula editor (Math), and a database management application (Base).[7]

Apache OpenOffice's default file format is the OpenDocument Format (ODF), an ISO/IEC standard, which originated with OpenOffice.org. It can also read and write a wide variety of other file formats, with particular attention to those from Microsoft Office (although unlike LibreOffice, the other major OpenOffice.org branch, it cannot save Microsoft's newer XML formats like DOCX, only import them).[8]

Apache OpenOffice is developed for Linux, OS X and Windows, with ports to other operating systems. It is distributed under the Apache License.[5] The first release was version 3.4.0, on 8 May 2012.[1] In January 2015 the project reported a lack of active developers and code contributions and that they were "still struggling in involving new volunteers who can independently work on big developments".[9] The most recent release (4.1.2, released Oct. 28, 2015) includes a fix for a serious remote code execution security vulnerability which had been present since April 2015.[10][11]


After acquiring Sun Microsystems in January 2010, Oracle Corporation continued developing OpenOffice.org and StarOffice, which it renamed Oracle Open Office. In September 2010, the majority[12][13] of outside OpenOffice.org developers left the project[14][15] due to concerns over Sun's, and then Oracle's, management of the project,[16][17] to form The Document Foundation (TDF). TDF released the fork LibreOffice in January 2011,[18] which most Linux distributions soon moved to,[19][20][21][22] including Oracle Linux in 2012.[23][24][25]

In April 2011 Oracle stopped development of OpenOffice.org[26] and laid off the remaining development team.[27] Its reasons for doing so were not disclosed; some speculate that it was due to the loss of mindshare with much of the community moving to LibreOffice[28] while others suggest it was a commercial decision.[29] In June 2011 Oracle contributed the OpenOffice.org trademarks[30] and source code to the Apache Software Foundation, which Apache re-licensed under the Apache License.[31] IBM, to whom Oracle had contractual obligations concerning the code, appears to have preferred that OpenOffice.org be spun out to the Apache Software Foundation above other options or being abandoned by Oracle.[32][33] Additionally, in March 2012, in the context of donating IBM Lotus Symphony to the Apache OpenOffice project, IBM expressed a preference for permissive licenses, such as the Apache license, over copyleft license.[34] The developer pool for the Apache project was seeded by IBM employees,[35] who, from project inception through to 2015, continue to do the majority of the development.[36][37][38][39][40][41]

The project was accepted to the Apache Incubator on 13 June 2011,[42] the Oracle code drop was imported on 29 August 2011,[43] Apache OpenOffice 3.4 was released 8 May 2012[1] and Apache OpenOffice graduated as a top-level Apache project on 18 October 2012.[44][45][46]

IBM donated the Lotus Symphony codebase to the Apache Software Foundation in 2012, and Symphony was deprecated in favour of Apache OpenOffice.[40] Many features and bug fixes, including a reworked sidebar, were merged.[47] The IAccessible2 screen reader support from Symphony was ported and included in the AOO 4.1 release[6] (April 2014), although its first appearance in an open source software release was as part of LibreOffice 4.2 in January 2014.[48]

Timeline of major derivatives of StarOffice and OpenOffice.org. Apache OpenOffice is in light blue.


By December 2011, the project was being called Apache OpenOffice.org (Incubating);[49] in 2012, the project chose the name Apache OpenOffice,[50] a name used in the 3.4 press release.[1]

Component applications[edit]

Module Notes
AOO 4.0 Writer icon Writer A word processor analogous to Microsoft Word and WordPerfect.
AOO 4.0 Calc icon Calc A spreadsheet analogous to Microsoft Excel and Lotus 1-2-3.
AOO 4.0 Impress icon Impress A presentation program analogous to Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote. Can export presentations to Adobe Flash (SWF) files, allowing them to be played on any computer with a Flash player installed.
AOO 4.0 Draw icon Draw A vector graphics editor comparable in features to the drawing functions in Microsoft Office.
AOO 4.0 Math icon Math A tool for creating and editing mathematical formulae, analogous to Microsoft Equation Editor or MathType. Formulae can be embedded inside other Apache OpenOffice documents, such as those created by Writer. It supports multiple fonts.
AOO 4.0 Base icon Base A database management program analogous to Microsoft Access. Base can function as a front-end to a number of different database systems, including Access databases (JET), ODBC data sources and MySQL/PostgreSQL. Native to the suite is a version of HSQL.


Apache OpenOffice includes OpenSymbol, DejaVu,[51] the Gentium fonts, and the Apache-licensed ChromeOS fonts Arimo (sans serif), Tinos (serif) and Cousine (monospace).[52][53]

OpenOffice Basic[edit]

Main article: OpenOffice Basic

Apache OpenOffice includes OpenOffice Basic, a programming language similar to Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Apache OpenOffice has some Microsoft VBA macro support. OpenOffice Basic is available in Writer, Calc and Base.

File formats[edit]

Apache OpenOffice inherits its handling of file formats from OpenOffice.org, excluding some which were supported only by copyleft libraries,[52] such as WordPerfect support. There is no definitive list of what formats the program supports other than the program's behaviour.[54] Notable claimed improvements in file format handling in 4.0 include improved interoperability with Office Open XML,[55] although it cannot write Microsoft's newer XML formats like DOCX, only read.[8]

Use of Java[edit]

Apache OpenOffice does not bundle a Java virtual machine with the installer, as OpenOffice.org did,[56] although the suite still requires Java for "full functionality."[57]

Supported operating systems[edit]

Apache OpenOffice 4.1.0 was released for x86 versions of Microsoft Windows XP or later, Linux (32-bit and 64-bit), and Macintosh OS X 10.7 or later.[58]

Other operating systems are supported by community ports; completed ports for 3.4.1 included various other Linux platforms, FreeBSD, OS/2 and Solaris SPARC,[59] and ports of 3.4.0 for Mac OS X v10.4v10.5 PowerPC[60] and Solaris x86.[61] It was also being ported to eComStation (OS/2 new trademark/successor).[62]


Release history
Version Release date Description
3.4 2012-05-08[1] First Apache release.
3.4.1 2012-08-23 Bug fixes, more languages.[63]
4.0.0 2013-07-23 New sidebar, Symphony merge, additional features.[55]
4.0.1 2013-10-01 Bug fixes, 9 new languages.[64]
4.1 2014-04-29 ___
4.1.1 2014-08-21 Bug fixes, Catalan support[65]
4.1.2 2015-10-28 Bug fixes, better WebDAV and file locking support, redesign of the PDF export dialog.[66]

Apache OpenOffice had sixteen developers in the period March 2014-March 2015, the top four (by changesets) of whom were IBM employees.[36]

The project has no regular release schedule; it eschews time-based release schedules, releasing only "when it is ready".[67] This contrasts with the approach of LibreOffice, which puts out feature releases roughly every six months and bug-fix updates twice a month.[36][68]

Between October 2014 and July 2015 the project had no release manager following the retirement of Jürgen Schmidt from the role.[69] A known remote code execution security vulnerability in Apache OpenOffice 4.1.1 was announced in April 2015, but the project was unable to put out a release to fix the vulnerability. Instead, the project published a workaround for users to perform to make the software immune to the problem, while continuing to leave the vulnerability in the download.[10] Former PMC chair Andrea Pescetti volunteered as release manager in July 2015 so that work on the 4.1.2 release could commence.[70] Version 4.1.2 was released in October 2015.[66]

In January 2015, the project reported that it struggles to involve new volunteers, for a lack of mentoring, and reduced contribution from experienced developers.[9] Industry analysts have noted the project's inactivity, describing it as "all but stalled"[71] and "dying" and noting its inability to maintain its own infrastructure[72] or maintain security.[10] Red Hat developer Christian Schaller sent an open letter to the Apache Software Foundation in August 2015 asking them to direct Apache OpenOffice users towards LibreOffice "for the sake of open source and free software",[73] which was widely covered[74][75][76][77][78] and echoed[79][80][81][82] by others.

Apache OpenOffice 3.4[edit]

Apache OpenOffice 3.4 logo

Oracle released a beta version of OpenOffice.org 3.4 on 12 April 2011, including new SVG import, improved ODF 1.2 support, and spreadsheet functionality.[83]

A few days after the beta release, Oracle cancelled development of its proprietary derivative, Oracle Open Office[84] and, a few months later, announced that stewardship of OpenOffice.org would be transferred to the Apache Software Foundation.[85]

With the donation to Apache, development slowed while the Foundation moved the codebase and infrastructure to its servers. Apache OpenOffice 3.4 was released on 8 May 2012.[1][86] Apache OpenOffice 3.4 differed from the thirteen-month-older OpenOffice.org 3.4 beta mainly in license-related details.[87] Notably, the project removed both code and fonts which were under licenses unacceptable to Apache.[52][88] Language support was considerably reduced, to 15 languages[1] from 121 in the last Oracle OpenOffice.org version.[89] Java, required for the database application, was no longer bundled with the software.[56] 3.4.1, released 23 August 2012, added five languages back,[63] with a further eight added 30 January 2013.[90]

Apache OpenOffice 4.0[edit]

Apache OpenOffice 4.0 was released 23 July 2013.[91] Features include merging the Symphony code drop, reimplementing the sidebar-style interface from Symphony, improved install, MS Office interoperability enhancements, and performance improvements.[92][93] 4.0.1 added nine new languages.[64]

Apache OpenOffice 4.1[edit]

This version was first released 29 April 2014. Various features lined up for 4.1 include comments on text ranges, IAccessible2, in-place editing of Input Fields, interactive cropping, importing pictures from files and other improvements.[94] Apache OpenOffice 4.1.1 (released 14 August 2014) fixed critical issues in 4.1.[95] 4.1.2 released in October 2015,[96] was a bugfix release, with improvements in packaging[9] and removal of the HWP file format support associated with the vulnerability CVE-2015-1774.[97]


As a result of harmful downloads being offered by scammers, the project strongly recommends all downloads be made via its official download page,[98] which is managed off-site by SourceForge. SourceForge reported 30 million downloads for the Apache OpenOffice 3.4 series by January 2013, making it one of SourceForge's top downloads;[99] the project claimed 50 million downloads of Apache OpenOffice 3.4.x as of 15 May 2013, slightly over one year after the release of 3.4.0 (8 May 2012),[100] 85,083,221 downloads of all versions by 1 January 2014,[101] 100 million by April 2014[102] and 130 million by the end of 2014.[9]

As of May 2012 (the first million downloads), 87% of downloads via SourceForge were for Windows, 11% for Macintosh and 2% for Linux;[19] statistics in the first 50 million downloads remained consistent, at 88% Windows, 10% Macintosh, 2% Linux.[103]

In distributions, Apache OpenOffice is available in Gentoo Linux[104] and the FreeBSD ports tree.[105]


Derivatives include AndrOpen Office,[106][107] a port for Android.

LibreOffice also takes some changes from Apache OpenOffice,[108] and acknowledged 4.5% of new commits in LibreOffice 4.1 as coming from Apache contributors.[109] LibreOffice also rebased its LGPL version 3 codebase on the Apache OpenOffice 3.4 source code (though it uses MPL v2, not the Apache Licence) to allow wider (but still copyleft) licensing under MPL v2+ and LGPL v3+.[110]

NeoOffice includes stability fixes from Apache OpenOffice.[111]


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External links[edit]