Mission Statement
To create, as a community, the leading international office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access to all functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format.
 Historical background
StarDivision, the original author of the StarOffice™ suite of software, was founded in Germany in the mid-1980s. It was acquired by Sun Microsystems during the summer of 1999 and StarOffice 5.2 was released in June of 2000. Future versions of StarOffice software, beginning with 6.0, have been built using the OpenOffice.org source, APIs, file formats, and reference implementation.
The OpenOffice.org source code initially includes the technology which Sun Microsystems has been developing for the future versions of StarOffice™ software. The source is written in C++ and delivers language-neutral and scriptable functionality, including Java™ APIs. This source technology introduces the next-stage architecture, allowing use of the suite as separate applications or as embedded components in other applications. Numerous other features are also present including XML-based file formats and other resources.
Foundations of Office Productivity in a Networked Age, a white paper from Sun available on the OpenOffice.org site, presents a general outline for the technology roadmap. There you will find outlined the design of the source. However, because of the nature of open source, the community at large is ultimately responsible for realizing OpenOffice.org's promises.
A FAQ addresses the changing differences between OpenOffice.org and StarOffice.
OpenOffice.org uses a dual-licensing scheme for source-code contributions: the LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License) and SISSL (Sun Industry Standards Source License). For documentation and website content not intended to be included in the product, it uses the Public Documentation License (PDL). The License page (http://www.openoffice.org/license) provides more information on these licenses and on OpenOffice.org policies regarding the application of those licenses. OpenOffice.org also has several FAQs dealing with licensing.