If you run Ubuntu, openSUSE, Debian, or Mandriva, among other distributions, then whenever you run OpenOffice.org you don't run the "official" version, but rather Go-OO, an office suite based on the OpenOffice.org source code. Go-OO includes enhancements and functions that haven't been accepted by Sun, and that may never be, because of licensing, business, or other reasons.
Sun, the major contributor to OpenOffice.org, applies its own set of rules on the project's development, licensing, and copyrights, and as a result, there are often clashes with the general open source community. (Read this interview with an OpenOffice.org developer for more inside info on the Go-OO/OpenOffice.org rift.) Novell is the main mover behind Go-OO, but Debian and Ubuntu developers are also cooperating by maintaining a large group of patches, and making sure they don't break newer OpenOffice.org releases. There used to be a certain lag between Go-OO releases and OpenOffice.org's, but now both variants come out quite close.
Thus, if you install OpenOffice.org in Ubuntu 8.10, though the package is named "OpenOffice.org Office Suite," if you check the package description, at the bottom it reads "Homepage: http://www.go-oo.org," showing its true source.
Go-OO is available both for Linux and Windows. If your distribution doesn't appear to carry it in a repository, you can download the version you need and install it yourself, though before installing Go-OO, you might need to remove your current OpenOffice.org installation.
Among the latest features included with Go-OO you can find:
- Better graphics capabilities than OOo provides; you can import SVG and WPG graphics and EMF files.
- 3-D transitions for presentations.
- A solver for spreadsheets that can find the value of a cell, satisfying arbitrary constraints. OpenOffice.org now has its own, but the one in Go-OO appeared first and has quite a story of its own, showing disagreements between Sun and independent developers.
- Better integration with Microsoft Office, including VBA macro support and support for Office 2007 OpenXML file formats, and Microsoft Works.
However, what most people notice is Go-OO's greater speed, including shorter startup and faster response times. The application's memory footprint is also smaller.
If you've been using Go-OO without realizing it, you probably have no need to change to the latest OpenOffice.org version. But if you have only used the "official" OOo version, trying Go-OO might pay in increased speed and added functionality.