Along with an email client and a web browser, an office suite is a core essential application that almost every computer user requires. Although there is a dominant commercial product in this category, its price and limited platform and language support makes it an unsatisfactory option for many. OpenOffice, for over a decade, has helped fill this gap. Our goal is to develop, publish and support OpenOffice as a world-class office suite, free for anyone to use, and since it is open source, free for anyone to build upon. Using the generally available discounted price of commercial office products, the value of OpenOffice downloads over the past decade exceeds USD 10 billion (10,000,000,000).
More than 40% of the world population lives on less than US$ 2 per day, and around 20% live on less than US$ 1 per day. Against these numbers, commercial shrink-wrapped office software is often seen as a luxury good. End-user facing open source software, like OpenOffice, brings high-quality software to those who would otherwise have no other affordable options. Within the ICT for Development (ICT4D) community, OpenOffice has long been an important part of achieving development goals.
There are over 6,000 languages in the world, but unless the language is associated with a G20 economic superpower, commercial vendors tend to ignore it. The OpenOffice community has a long standing tradition of supporting a large number of languages, including languages used by smaller populations, minority languages, endangered languages, etc. By supporting languages that would not otherwise be supported we help reduce "digital exclusion" and promote development, local education and administration.
Persons with disabilities, especially those with visual impairments, commonly rely on "assistive technology" to interact with computers. Such technologies work well only when applications are designed and coded to work well with them. Additionally, users who create documents must do their part to ensure that the documents they create work well with assistive technology, for example through the use of image captions, consistent list levels, etc. The OpenOffice project aims to provide strong accessibility support, both in the core product and including broader ecosystem support via extensions, for working with Braille printers, exporting to DAISY talking books, etc.
Open standards are those standards which are created in an open, transparent process, where the specifications can be freely accessed and implemented without royalties. Most core web standards are open standards. The default document format in OpenOffice, OpenDocument Format (ODF) is also an open standard. Widespread use of open standards promotes interoperability and choice in the market. But this does not come without effort on our part. We commit to faithful implementation of open standards, and to work with standards organizations and other vendors to improve these standards and to test and improve interoperability.