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[aclug-L] FW: Use OpenOffice to Access Databases

[aclug-L] FW: Use OpenOffice to Access Databases

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To: "Aclug Discussion" <discussion@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [aclug-L] FW: Use OpenOffice to Access Databases
From: "Dale W Hodge" <dwh@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 08:59:33 -0500
Reply-to: discussion@xxxxxxxxx

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From: Linux_Desktop_Apps@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2002 1:09 AM

Published by -- changing the way you view IT


* Access' limitations should not be the main reason for finding an 
  alternative database as ease-of-use and security form a much more 
  compelling impetus to change. 

Use OpenOffice to Access Databases
By Eric Foster-Johnson

After writing a column searching for Linux alternatives to Microsoft's
low-end database, Access, I received some great replies. Many readers
pointed out the limitations of Microsoft Access, and while all of them
are true, such comments miss the point.

Users clearly want low-end databases that are relatively easy to use and
a relatively easy path to make data-entry forms and other simple
database-based applications. The two main databases that come with most
Linux distributions, PostgreSQL and MySQL, far exceed Access as safe
repositories for your data. Both these databases offer many more
database features than Access, except for the handy means to make
data-entry forms and simple database-driven applications.

A number of readers pointed me to StarOffice and the latest software. (StarOffice is a commercial product from Sun
while is an open-source version that acts as a base for
StarOffice.) This proved to be the best suggestions so far. ( provides a near drop-in
replacement for Microsoft Office. The software runs on Linux, Windows,
and a number of Linux versions. A MacOS X port is also in the works. 

The database access sub-project
( includes modules in the core office suite to
access databases using a variety of methods including ODBC (mostly
Windows), JDBC (Java), ADO, along with dBase and CSV, or Comma-Separated
Value, files. You can create forms on top of data from a database, along
with performing limited database functions within the

A few how-to documents appear at The
most useful one for Linux users is the document on how to connect to the
MySQL database using a Java JDBC driver at connects to databases by defining data sources within the
suite. A data source tells how to connect to a particular
database. The site describes how to set up a data source
This example shows how to connect to a data source, create a table in
the database, and enter data.

You can use dBase or CSV files if you just want to edit data locally.
Many users, though, will opt for using a real database rather than just
files. You can access most databases from the suite via the Java JDBC
database drivers. (JDBC stands for Java DataBase Connectivity.) Just
about every database in existence supports JDBC access. A good listing
of where to find JDBC drivers appears at

If you cannot get a JDBC driver, you can set up ODBC, Open DataBase
Connectivity. Most ODBC usage is on Windows, but you can use the
unixODBC project code, from, to use ODBC on

About the author(s)
Eric Foster-Johnson has written 14 books on Linux, Unix, programming 
and open source tools. Eric can be reached at 
Eric.FosterJohnson@xxxxxxxxxxx or at


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