UPDATE 8-21-2009: I just tested the Beta for OpenOffice 3.2 and OpenType CFF fonts FINALLY show up under Linux!
UPDATE AGAIN 4-17-2011: the beta mentioned above was a while ago, OpenType CFF fonts work just fine in the current OpenOffice 3.3 releases.
For years now there have been hordes of users pushing for OpenOffice to finally (and fully) support OpenType fonts. While I'm sure that supporting OpenType is not a simple task, it's certainly not an impossible one as is evidenced by the myriad FOSS applications that do support OpenType (FreeType, Abiword, Koffice, Gnumeric, Scribus, Inkscape, GIMP, the list is quite extensive). It's a bit of a mystery as to why OpenType support has not been a major priority on OOo developers To Do list. Whatever their reason may be, I urge everyone for whom OpenOffice OTF support is important, to register at the OpenOffice site and cast your votes for all issues relating to OpenType support (specifically issue 78858 if you need Linux Postscript OpenType support).
The need for OpenType support is not in the least bit in question. You might have been able to call OpenType "the wave of the future" six or seven years ago, but today it's fairly entrenched not only in typography and DTP but also in basic word processing and general OS use. Commercial font foundries have followed suit as well. Adobe has put all its Type 1 fonts into EOL and now only sells fonts in the OpenType format. Should you find yourself being required to use some of today's "heavy hitting" commercial fonts, such as Adobe's Minion Pro or Caslon Pro, and you don't already posses the older Type 1 variants, you will be forced to use an application that supports OpenType. Pressure is mounting and like it or not, if OpenOffice wants to remain a player, no matter how small, in the productivity suite field, it will have to support fully OTFs sooner than later.
OpenType fonts can generally be placed into one of two categories: those using Type 1 or Type2 Postscript font outline data (CFF) and those that use TrueType outline data (glyf). OpenOffice will work to a limited degree with the TrueType varieties of OpenType fonts. Unfortunately, the majority of OpenType fonts, particularly the higher quality typefaces, are based on Type 1 Postscript outlines. The current level of support for CFF OpenType fonts within OpenOffice is abysmal under Windows and nonexistent under Linux.
Under Windows, OOo will sort of work with CFF based OpenType fonts. Problems arise however when you attempt to either print your document or export it as a PDF. Under both situations the OpenType CFF fonts will neither print nor embed. Instead, OOo will substitute in fonts like Ariel and New Times Roman. Font substitutions will generally throw your whole design and typographical flow right out the window. For most OpenOffice users this will be considered a critical flaw. Since they are not generally printed or exported, you may successfully use OpenType in your Impress presentations, but refrain from using them in your resume or corporate reports.
Under Linux / UNIX (where a great deal of OpenOffice users live) the situation is substantially worse. If you are looking for information on how to make CFF fonts work with OOo, read the following line and commit it to memory. As of OpenOffice 3.1.0, under *.nix platforms, OpenType fonts with Type 1 Postscript outlines will not show up in the font list, period. No amount of work on your part will make OpenOffice use or even see your Postscript based OTF fonts. The typical work around is to use George Williams' excellent FontForge program to convert your *.otf fonts to the TrueType format. That being said, the problems encountered when converting *.otf fonts to *.ttf fonts are too numerous to list here and this makes conversion a less than perfect solution.
Improved support for OpenType CFF is listed among the features to be had in the OpenOffice 3.2 update (along with an updated UI from project Renaissance). We should not have to wait long. OpenOffice 3.2 is slated for a November 2009 release or failing that first quarter 2010. I've yet to determine however if "improved support" means that OpenOffice will finally support Postscript OTFs under Linux, or if it just means support for OpenType Postscript font embedding and printing under Windows. Time will tell I suppose.