Open Office is a free multi-purpose office suite.
Open Office is an easy to use tool that takes the place of Microsoft Office. Open Office is free and allows students to download word processing, spreadsheets, and databases to their home computers without having to pay the big bucks for commerical products. Also, this tool runs on multiple operating systems (Linux, Windows, and Solaris). Open Office is also open source, which means that the software can be customized to individual or organizational needs. This software also allows students to import Microsoft Office documents.
However, the downside to Open Office is that the common office suite standard throughout the world is Microsoft Office. Since it is not as known (and has not been around as long), Open Office is competing for users.
Open Office allows students to practice and learn technology skills at home and in the classroom without having to spend money on the software.