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Subject [CONF] Apache OpenOffice Community > (Draft) The Public Service Mission of OpenOffice
Date Wed, 18 Jul 2012 15:05:00 GMT
Space: Apache OpenOffice Community (
Page: (Draft) The Public Service Mission of OpenOffice (

Added by Rob Weir:
h2. Introduction

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),

h2. Overcoming the "Digital Divide"

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.

h2. Support for Linguistic and Cultural Diversity

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. For example, South
Africa has 11 official languages. OpenOffice has been translated to all of them. By supporting
languages that would not otherwise be supported we help reduce "digital exclusion" and promote
development, local education and administration.

h2. Accessibility

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 ofimage 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.

h2. Open Standards

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.

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