Oxygen breathes more life into OpenOffice

OxygenOffice Professional takes the source code for OpenOffice.org and tricks it out with clip art, clip photos, Wikipedia searching, and more.

Firefox has Flock and Songbird, but it's not the only open-source app with some nifty spin-offs. OxygenOffice Pro is developed from OpenOffice.org, but don't let the name fool you: It's completely free, and like a Thanksgiving turkey it's stuffed with even more features. (Anybody else up for a list of Turkey 2.0 features?) Anyway, it's very much like its parent, and you can opt out of whatever features you dislike during the installation.

OxygenOffice Pro comes with an extensive clip-art collection.

Originally called OpenOffice Premium, a misnomer like the current "pro" designation, the interface and basic functions remain unchanged from the source. OxygenOffice is all about the add-ons. Most notably it comes with a huge clip-art and photo gallery, 3,400 images strong and easy to drop into any Oxygen document. There are also extra fonts, templates, and sample docs included, useful for those who have forgotten or need a refresher for business-letter formats and such, but they're not for every user.

One function that should have wide appeal is OooWikipedia, which lets you search Wikipedia without having to jump to your browser. Support for Visual Basic in Excel, and smoother WordPerfect document and graphics importation are small but useful improvements. There are also enhanced help menus and user's manuals, nice touches that reflect the extras that Oxygen gives.

Included templates make creating professional-looking documents easy.

Despite these extras, I'd love to see more OpenOffice plug-ins included in Oxygen before making it a must-have. There's a plug-in you can purchase that will allow you to write and post blog entries from OpenOffice, and expanded dictionary and thesaurus files that are available for free. Don't get me wrong, I love using OpenOffice. But until Oxygen includes a bit more, it doesn't seem to have all that much to distinguish it from its progenitor.

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