This is part of a book I was asked to write in 2003-2004 about open source software. Unfortunately, the book didn't end up getting published. This particlar section is from a chpater on OpenOffice.org 1.1.0, which is now completely out of date. Nonetheless, there's still some good information here that might be helpful to someone, and I thought this section might be at least of historical interest.
The materials on this page are under a Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons license.
The first place to go for information about OOo is, not surprisingly, http://www.openoffice.org. This is the mothership for OOo users, where you can download the program, read the latest OOo news, get some aid if you need it, and contribute to the project if you're so inclined.
If you use Debian or one of its many variants, then you should check out http://openoffice.debian.net, the "OpenOffice.org in Debian" site.
The "OpenOffice Documentation Project" has its home page at http://www.ooodocs.org. You can find active forums on every aspect of OOo and a few basic How-To's. It's too bad there's not more content there; perhaps you could help by adding something to the site. The most active online forums for OOo can be accessed at http://www.oooforum.org, an excellent resource.
If you'd like more help, "The OpenOffice.org Unofficial FAQ" is available at http://www.bytebot.net/openoffice/faq.html- it's actually kept up-to-date, so it's a good place to look. Another excellent find is at "OpenOfficeSupport.com," found, unsurprisingly, at http://www.openofficesupport.com. There's a nice selection of How-To's, but the tutorials in particular are quite nice, especially for those desiring lots of screenshots to help them in learning the basics of OOo.
OOo is a truly open source project, which means that everything is exposed, including bugs. If you'd like to file bugs that you find (please read the guidelines first at http://www.openoffice.org/bugs/bug_writing_guidelines.html), or if you'd just like to check the status of a bug that you're interested in, visit the OOo Issue Tracker (formerly IssueZilla) at http://www.openoffice.org/project_issues.html.
Visit "OpenOffice links" at http://www.kaaredyret.dk/openoffice_links_uk.html for an excellent collection of links and resources for OOo. There's quite a bit here, including links to FAQs, help, tutorials, books, and templates. Definitely worth bookmarking, although many of the links are broken.
As discussed previously, OOo contains the same features as Microsoft's Access; they're just not as obvious to the casual user. "OpenOffice.org: Where is MS Access?" is an article from LinMagAu that covers the basics, available at http://articles.linmagau.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=230&page=1. "OpenOffice.org 1.0, ODBC, and MySQL 'How-to'" is a bit dated now, but it still contains some useful information in it. The title gives a good overview of its subject matter. It's a PDF, available for download from http://www.unixodbc.org/doc/OOoMySQL.pdf. Finally, check out the OpenOffice.org Database Access Project at http://dba.openoffice.org, which is "dedicated to enabling OpenOffice.org applications with database access."
If you're looking for templates, look inside the "OpenOffice Documentation Project" once again, at http://documentation.openoffice.org/Samples_Templates/User/template/index.html, or pay a visit to "OO Extras" (http://ooextras.sourceforge.net/downloads/english), especially if you're interested in items available in languages other than English. "OO Extras" also provides clip art, icons, and more—over 100 items at last count, in fact.
If you want to really get hardcore, then you'll want to start creating OOo macros. A good site is "OOoMacros," at http://www.ooomacros.org, but Andrew Pitonyak has created a great page at http://www.pitonyak.org/oo.php with lots of information about macros, including several you can download and use. He also provides helpful links to other resources on the subject. Even if you don't intend to create macros, you still ought to check these sites out, as you will more than likely find a macro or two that you can use in your day-to-day tasks.
Finally, you may be interested in information about the next release of OpenOffice.org, currently code-named "Q," which will be numbered 2.0 and come out sometime in 2005. In August 2003, a document titled "StarOffice / OpenOffice.org—Product Concept" came out which provides an overview of OOo 2.0; you can read it at http://tools.openoffice.org/releases/q-concept.html. If you actually want to live on the bloodiest of the bleeding edge, you can download OOo 2.0 (itwillbe buggy, and many thingswillnot work … you have been warned) by going to http://www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/source/download.html and looking for the link labeled "Snapshot Developer Build." If you download 2.0, consider it your sworn duty to file bugs.