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ARCHIVED: Open source personal productivity software

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Open source software packages are viable alternatives for students, faculty, staff, and departments seeking personal productivity applications without the monetary investment associated with many commercial applications. In most cases, it is legal to download and share these applications without restriction. The majority of open source applications can pass files back and forth with their commercial counterparts.


OpenOffice.org is perhaps the best example of personal productivity software available to many platforms as open source software. In most cases, you will be able to successfully open and use all of your documents created in a commercial application (e.g., Microsoft Office or WordPerfect). However, you may occasionally encounter translation errors as commercial software packages tend to implement new features before they are implemented in other applications.

OpenOffice.org is available for a variety of platforms including Windows, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, and HP-UX.

UITS maintains a local archive of OpenOffice.org source code and binaries at:


For the latest stable version, browse to the stable directory and look for the highest release number available.

OpenOffice.org includes the following applications:

Application Function Examples of equivalent commercial applications
Writer Word processor Microsoft Word, WordPerfect
Math Mathematical formulas Microsoft Equation Editor
Calc Spreadsheet Microsoft Excel, Quattro Pro
Impress Presentations Microsoft PowerPoint
Draw Graphics drawing Microsoft Draw

For more about the OpenOffice.org project, see:



KOffice, provided by KDE, is another commonly used suite of personal productivity applications.

UITS maintains a local archive of KOffice source code and binaries for several Linux distributions (e.g., Conectiva, RedHat, and SuSE) at:


You will need to have KDE libraries on your workstation (if you aren't using the KDE environment already) to make use of this suite.

KOffice includes the following applications:

Application Function Examples of equivalent commercial applications
KWord Word processor Microsoft Word, WordPerfect
KFormula Mathematical formulas Microsoft Equation Editor
KOrganizer, KTimer, KAlarm Time management Microsoft Outlook
KSpread Spreadsheet Microsoft Excel, Quattro Pro
KPresenter Presentations Microsoft PowerPoint
KArm, KNotes, KPilot PDA helper applications Microsoft Outlook, PocketMirror
KChart Charts and drawings Microsoft Graph

For more about the KDE project, see:


Database options

The two most common open source database applications are:

  • MySQL

    MySQL is used in a wide range of database applications, including web databases, e-commerce applications, data warehousing, logging applications, and distributed applications. It is also increasingly embedded in third-party software and other technologies.

    For more about MySQL, see:

  • PostgreSQL

    PostgreSQL is an enhancement of the POSTGRES database management system, a next-generation DBMS research prototype. While PostgreSQL retains the powerful data model and rich data types of POSTGRES, it replaces the PostQuel query language with an extended subset of SQL. PostgreSQL is free and the complete source code is available.

    For more about the PostgreSQL project, see:


You can find both of these suites in several locations at:


Other tools

Other productivity tools include email clients as well as videoconferencing software. You can find the following software in various locations at:

  • Evolution email client by Novell

    Evolution is available as a binary or source distribution in most Linux distributions and can be found in several locations on the FTP site linked above. For more about Evolution, see:

  • KMail email client bundled with KDE

    If you can run KDE applications, you can run KMail. For more about KMail, see:

  • Ekiga (formerly GnomeMeeting)

    Ekiga is an H.323 compatible videoconferencing and VOIP/IP-Telephony application that allows you to make audio and video calls to remote users with H.323 hardware or software (such as Microsoft NetMeeting). It supports all modern videoconferencing features, such as registering to an ILS directory, gatekeeper support, making multi-user conference calls using an external MCU, using modern Quicknet telephony cards, and making phone calls from your computer. For more about Ekiga, see:


At Indiana University, for personal or departmental Linux or Unix systems support, see At IU, how do I get support for Linux or Unix?