What do you like best?
The OpenOffice suite of programs have saved me on more than one occasion. While Microsoft Office may be the standard for office productivity software, there are many times when the cost of the software is prohibitive. For students, startups, non-profits, and anyone budget conscious, OpenOffice comes to the rescue. I used OpenOffice exclusively for all of my college writing assignments. I also used the software extensively when first setting up my Freelance design business. And I use it still. Anytime a Microsoft Office subscription lapses or when setting up a new computer not licensed for Microsoft Office, OpenOffice is my go-to.
What do you dislike?
It is no secret that OpenOffice is not nearly as polished as Microsoft Office, but it shouldn't be. The two software suites are not really competitors. OpenOffice is really best compared against other free or low cost data and word possessing programs. Still, since OpenOffice is often looked to as an alternative to Microsoft's programs it is important to note that you will not get all of the bells and whistles you would get with paid software. Don't expect slideshows with fancy transitions or stylish templates. On occasion OpenOffice programs may be less stable or more resource intensive than other software.
Recommendations to others considering the product
For anyone looking for a great set of office tools even with a non-existent software budget, OpenOffice can't be beat. Don't be fooled by its freeware status. OpenOffice provides incredible features, an amazing problem-solving community, and an open source philosophy that will keep it a useful software suite for years to come.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
One of the greatest benefits of OpenOffice is the ability to open several file formats from other software makers. In particular, it is possible to open, edit, and save documents in .doc, .ppt, and .xls formats. I have used this feature many times to extract data and perform conversions. Expect some features to be lost in transition, but overall it's great to be able to open these formats when the original programs are not available to you. Of all the OpenOffice programs I find Writer and Calc to be the most directly comparable to their Microsoft counterparts. In fact, when using those two programs I don't miss Word or Excel at all. I will admit though, that PowerPoint is still quite a bit superior to OpenOffice Impress.