Open Source Office Suites

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Both KDE and Gnome have open source office suites under development. While neither is production-quality yet, they are already feature-rich and complete.

6.4.1 Koffice

Koffice is KDE's office suite. It comes with a word processor (Kword), spreadsheet (Kspread), presentation software (Kpresenter), a charting program (Kchart), a vector-based drawing tool (Killustrator), an imaging program (Kimage), a layer-based image creation program (KimageShop), and a database front-end (katabase). Koffice is still in development and not ready for everyday use. Having said that, Koffice is surprisingly stable and feature-complete for a product under development. Keep an eye on Koffice. It is an up-and-coming contender!

6.4.2 Gnome Office

Gnome also has an office suite, but unlike Koffice, the Gnome Office is a collection of various open source tools rather than a new suite designed from the ground up. The goals of Gnome Office are to provide the features of Microsoft Office and have good compatibility with Microsoft Office files. Unfortunately, like KDE, the Gnome Office components are still under development.

The heart of Gnome Office is the spreadsheet, Gnumeric. This is a Gnome project designed to create a full-featured GPL spreadsheet. One of its goals is to clone the look and features of Microsoft Excel. AbiWord is Gnome's word processor. It doesn't have all the features of many of the other word processors, but it is very fast and has a clean interface. Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) was one of the first open source desktop applications available for Linux. GIMP is a photo and image retouching program similar to Adobe Photoshop. While its interface isn't quite as polished as Photoshop, GIMP is every bit as powerful. Dia is a drawing program similar to Visio. Dia is is quickly becoming the tool of choice for Gnome developers to do diagrams and flowcharts. Eye of Gnome (EOG) is a quick image viewer. It was designed to allow developers to quickly view image files without having to open them in a larger application like GIMP. Gnome-PIM provides the calendar and address book that is standard in all commercial office suites. Finally, Gnome-DB provides applications and libraries to design easy front-ends for databases. Complete details on the Gnome Office are found at http://www.gnome.org/gnome-office/.

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