[LINK] Is StarOffice for everyone?
Fri, 21 Sep 2001 12:25:27 +1000
Personal user vote:
1) StarOffice has some irritating features. Well, so does M$ Office.
2) StarOffice has >the< best WP file filters around. I routinely use it to
translate documents that stumped M$ Word (even from other versions of Word).
3) Star's spreadsheet needs a LOT of work. It scrambles date fields way too
4) Writing macros in Star is difficult for a "for dummies" user; but VB for
Applications is no cakewalk either.
5) Star could ditch its rather silly desktop substitute. It's unnecessary
and, to the non-initiate, very confusing.
6) Setting up e-mail accounts in StarOffice is truly infuriating. So I use
Netscape instead (at home).
For everyone? Don't know. But it works, and is better at some things than
From: Bernard Robertson-Dunn [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, 21 September 2001 10:39
Subject: [LINK] Is StarOffice for everyone?
Is StarOffice for everyone?
By Tony Siress
September 20, 2001
Editor's note: On Sept. 5, CNET News.com ran a column
<http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1273-210-7058195-1.html> by Guernsey Research
analyst Chris LeTocq questioning whether Sun's software was ready to take
on Microsoft Office. The following is Sun's reply.
With the rising cost of office-productivity software, many small businesses
are asking themselves whether investing in yet another upgrade is really
necessary. And tight budgets are causing school districts to wonder whether
there's an alternative to the pricey software they thought was so
With the start of the beta review process for StarOffice 6.0 right around
the corner and general availability expected early in the new year, these
customers could find their alternative in an office suite from Sun
StarOffice is aimed at cost-constrained customers who want a full-featured
office productivity suite while retaining compatibility with Microsoft
Office files or, more importantly, who want to put their money into
revenue-generating projects rather than office software. That's why small
businesses, home offices, educational and government organizations, and
consumers are receptive to the value of StarOffice.
The customer considering StarOffice 6.0 needs to answer a few questions.
First, how cost sensitive are you? For many, such as home users, schools,
governments and small businesses, a $699 computer is still a lot of money.
Paying several hundred more for upgrades every 18 months is just not a
realistic option--especially when the value of the new features continues
Second, are you in or considering a multi-platform environment? If the
Solaris or Linux operating systems are part of your environment or plans,
then you'll want to be able to read Microsoft Office files as they come
from outside the organization, but you'll want your internal efforts to use
the same productivity technology. One of the core strengths of StarOffice
is the ability to maintain the same experience and interoperability across
multiple platforms with the best filters for reading Microsoft office
Third, are you able to take advantage of a product with an open-sourced
technology base? StarOffice is based on the OpenOffice.org project. While
this might not matter to everyone, many people are reassured that the
open-source base of the software means that no single company dominates the
direction and developments. In addition, it gives participating
organizations the ability to customize their office software to their own
Fourth, are you locked into a single company's office-productivity
experience? While there's a vast difference between a replacement and an
alternative, most people today value the benefits of having a choice. For
some, however, the choice has been made, and the costs of switching are too
great. Although there's little sense in evaluating StarOffice now, for
these customers, it may be a future option.
Taking on Microsoft Although Sun has not historically targeted businesses
that already use Microsoft Office, many of Microsoft's customers, unhappy
with the current licensing strategy, have approached Sun for
office-productivity technology. The challenge of migration lies with file
conversion and Microsoft's proprietary, non-documented macros. If customers
have macros embedded in their files, we cannot convert them, and they must
be recreated in StarOffice--a significant investment to a large business.
However, the price of Microsoft's expensive and repetitive licensing model
could more than offset this expenditure.
The enhancements we're planning for StarOffice are straightforward and
based on the premise that people are seeking usability improvements, not
new features they'll never use. In StarOffice 6.0 we'll deliver the
o XML file formats, which will give portability, interoperability and
smaller file sizes
o Compatibility with native desktop environments--removal of the integrated
o A revamped and simplified Help structure
o Improved Microsoft Office compatibility, especially with TrueType fonts
o New templates, clip art and graphics
o Asian-language support to deliver StarOffice functionality to key markets
By adding Asian-language functionality in Japanese, Korean and Chinese
dialects, StarOffice caters to the unique demands of countries wary of
installing Microsoft Office. China, for example, has taken steps to embrace
Linux, which would enable customers to take advantage of both the economic
benefit of StarOffice and the resources of an open-source environment.
Sun originally acquired StarOffice to provide its Solaris operating
environment customers first-rate office-productivity software and to bring
this technology to a broader market in exciting new ways. Not only has Sun
been successful with its Solaris operating system customers, but StarOffice
is the leading office suite for the Linux marketplace.
Sun recognizes that office productivity will soon be needed as a Web
service on demand. Customers will want to increase the number of places and
devices from which they can access their files and documents. With the Sun
One Webtop technology, Sun is bringing office productivity to a broad range
of devices in significant new ways.
We must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the
oxygen of publicity on which they depend.
-- Margaret Thatcher. Speech to American Bar Association in London,
15 July 1985, in The Times 16 July 1985