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Sun Microsystems

StarOffice 5.2 Released 169

CMettler writes: "Just saw on the Sun Web site that StarOffice 5.2 is released. They improved the MS Office Import filters, better Database support and there is a player for playing StarOffice presentations without an installed StarOffice."
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StarOffice 5.2 Released

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  • Finally something in danish for linux, now were getting somewhere!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @03:09AM (#990634)
    When will they remove that terrible MDI interface though? I don't want StarOffice to be my Window Manager. Am I the only one?
  • ... or are all of these "integrated" (and I use that term very loosely) office suites getting way out of hand? There is definitely such a thing as trying to do too much, and MS Office, StarOffice et al. are heading this way at a full gallop rather than concentrating on refining what's already there.

    At the rate it's going these suites will contain even more added extras than Emacs, and that program will look positively trim compared to the full suite, coming on 4 DVDs as it will. And the more "value added" features that get incorporated, the worse they get to use - trying to format long documents is always a complete nightmare, and to be honest, I'd rather do it in HTML by hand than in Word or Writer.

    Anyway, my point is that if I really must have an office suite, all I want is a word processor, a spreadsheet and a database, tops. Anything else is something I can get separately to suit me. The size of a program really shouldn't be proportional to the year it's released in.

    Jon E. Erikson
  • I completely agree. StarOffice is a great product, but the window manager thing really needs to go. i just want to be able to click on an icon in my icon box for a word processor or spreadsheet or whatever, i don't want it to take over my desktop. other than that (and the lacking ms import/export functionality that seems to be fixed) this is a fantastic product...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hi guys,

    There are two files (amongst the rest), that are available for download:

    + Download StarOffice 5.2 Database (Adabas D), Linux, English ( 16.33 MB )
    + Download StarOffice 5.2 Player, Linux, English ( 15.25 MB )

    Are these necessary to download to get it running? (Hey, i'm on a modem connection here, I need all the bandwidth I can get).

  • I noticed an odd thing in earlier betas - spell checker didn't notice words where there was punctuation. Example:


    Anyone know if the full release has this fixed?? If not why should I bother with this onee.
  • No you're not the only one. In fact it really annoys me. Even MS Office doesn't use such a hair-brained interface. 95% of the time I only want to use the word processor part of Staroffice yet I don't really see any option to ONLY install the word processor. It assumes you want the spreadsheet, database, presentation tool, etc, etc. It is a fine program and can deal with most simple documents I throw at it, but when I start getting the complex god-awful Word docs with macros and checkboxes, etc. it starts to puke out on me. :-)
  • i ran staroffice for a while and foud it verry nice
    but the 2 things that i dindt like was the windowmanager like interface and it was so slow
    so i switched back to apllix witch doesnt have all the functionality but is loads faster
    (and its not free), so i hope they made it faster
  • No, it's not just you. As someone else has pointed out above, the horrible MDI interface that Star Office uses is an annoying "feature" of these integrated office suites. Most of the stuff they do is a case of reinventing the wheel, and it adds instability to the whole package while at the same time making simple tasks take much longer than they should do. Componentising the software is a Good Thing, but when each component is a full blow application in itself, it becomes a Bad Thing.

    There must be an easier way to get each component to comunicate with each other, and create a lightweight office suite that doesn't take over your entire system. It just seems noone wants to try at this time. :(
  • What type of system were you running it on? Linux, solaris, intel, sparc?
  • by LaNMaN2000 ( 173615 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @03:23AM (#990643) Homepage
    It would be an interesting test to take two people who have never used a computer before and see if they can more easily learn MS Office or StarOffice. You could use the results of that test to improve the interface of whatever product performed worse. My point is that these big, bloated office suites are becoming indistiguishable from one another.

    Somebody should write an emacs-style editor with advanced Tex-style formatting features and WYSIWYG support. It should be able to import DOC, RTF, WPD and other popular formats. Just my $.02.
  • Me, i'd go and look up "Free" in a dictionary. Since when did the word "Free" ever mean "Open Source"? If they arn't charging for the product, how is it not "Free"?

    Free is good, Open Source is better. But dont knock Sun just because they correctly use a proper English word.
  • by bjb ( 3050 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @03:24AM (#990645) Homepage Journal
    Uhh, have you noticed that you could decrease the size of the main window and then maximize the child window? If you haven't noticed, MS Word/Excel/Powerpoint/etc all do the same thing. If it's about the 'start button', just ignore it; I think its actually better that in an MDI interface such as that you have the task bar at the bottom (I wish Opera had that). Additionally, who ever was complaining about the Windows style interface, I'm sure you've seen that the display options allow you to make it look like Windows, OS/2, MacOS and Motif.

  • I wish they repair the palm sync, I was terrible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @03:26AM (#990647)
    If you don't want to give Sun all your personal information you can get StarOffice 5.2 from... nut/pkgs /OFFICE-SUITES/STAR-OFFICE-SUITE/Star-Office-5.2.t ar.bz2 []

    I just love 1337 W4R3Z!

  • I am thinking you should stop bitching about the software not being "Open Source."

    I am grateful that Sun--for whatever reason--has decided to eat a few million dollars and release a damn decent office suite at no charge.

    If someone gave me car, I wouldn't rag on them for not including the owner's manual, know what I mean?
  • There must be an easier way to get each component to comunicate with each other, and create a lightweight office suite that doesn't take over your entire system. It just seems noone wants to try at this time. :(

    No, unfortunately not, and it's because these sort of packages are aimed at institutions rather than people, and people who buy software for these kinds of places are all to fond of all in one "solutions" since they mean less licensing issues (supposedly) and other buzzwords like interoperability and so on. Stability and bloat aren't features that matter to them, just convenience.

    As long as these kinds of products are aimed at this market, and I can't see it changing, then bloat and "features" will be the order of the day.

    Jon E. Erikson
  • by Spoing ( 152917 )
    It looks like is having it's little . kicked.

    The obvious ftp site has nothing in /pub.

    Anyone want to offer alternatives?
  • They're not trying to get the software people to use it necessarily. They are talking marketing speak to people who are thinking about switching. They already know that open source backers already hate microsoft and will probably do anything to stay away from MS wares, they have us at hello, so to speak. To get the fence sitters and the eyes of the PHB's, they need to use the word free, as in no cost, to have them look.

    Their software is free to the end user. It is free. It is not open source. It doesn't claim to be. Just because you, as a programmer, hacker, whatever label you want on you, think of 'free' as freeware, opensource, whatever, doesn't mean it is so.

    Slashdot may be exclusively written with your eye in mind, but sun's marketing drones don't do that.


  • I was terrible.

    Don't be so hard on yourself :)

  • Agreed. Feature creep runs rampant in seemingly all major Office packages (anyone remember PerfectOffice from Novell?).

    The problem, however, is that if the major players are all bloating up their code, what choice does the consumer have? No one is suprised when MSOffice demands 500+meg for an install, but when supposedly "alternative" office suites like StarOffice and Corel's WordPerfect office suite (can't remember the name off hand) start running up the useless feature count, the consumer loses a major reason for switching from MSOffice.

    Still, here's hoping the MSOffice conversion in StarOffice 5.2 is up to snuff. I have to think that a good, stable, and compatible Office suite is one of the major hurdles keeping Linux off of a lot of desktops in the business world.

    Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!
  • Have you ever compared the X and Windows versions
    of StarOffice? They look pretty much identical.
    The buttons, scrollbars, menus, etc. I mean.

    Most of the people who will use SO( assuming that
    it starts to get some share of the users at all )
    will be the kind of people who could care less
    what OS/Windowing system they are running. They
    are office workers, home users, etc. A user
    who learns to operate SO on a Mac will *instantly*
    know what to expect when they sit down in front
    of a Windows, Linux, BSD, Solaris box running
    SO because the fullscreen WiW hides the underlying
    OS and windowing system completely. An initial
    learning curve and then no loss when moving to
    another platform. In some sense the WiW is good
    for people who would like to get Linux or some
    other alternative OS out of the server room and
    onto desktops. If the person who uses that desktop
    is a heavy office suite user, they probably
    wouldn't even know the difference.

    That's not to say that I like the WiW. It's
    annoying to *nix-ites who are used to multiple
    desktops and terms spattered everywhere. I can
    just understand why they use WiW. It's there
    attempt to appease what they think will be the
    largest chunk of users.


  • Oh yeh, and I suppose that if somebody handed you a brand new Ferrari Dino with the bonnet welded shut you'd be happy about that too.
  • Trust me, they are not eating any money. If it weren't free, very few people would be using it.

    Otherwise, I agree with your points.

  • heh... on it again lad..
  • Is this really the place to be asking this?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @03:34AM (#990659)
    To load an app without that "Desktop", use something like this for each app:

    /home/USER_NAME/Office51/bin/soffice private:factory/scalc%f

    /home/USER_NAME/Office51/bin/soffice private:factory/swriter%f

    The first one is for the spreadsheet, the second for the word processor. More tips at the FAQ page: l

  • Where is Irix or HP-UX?? I am sure some people would like BSD too.

    I need Irix more the anything.


  • Please read the post directly above yours [] or go to " hell []o operator -- at anonymous ftp site".
  • by Lonesmurf ( 88531 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @03:37AM (#990662) Homepage

    The typical requirements of a typical home/office user.

    • A word processor with standard features such as the ability to select fonts, a spelling and grammar checker, table generation, minimal ability to embed objects (images, etc.) and a UI to die for (none of this adding of every possible button and tray everywhere nonsense).
    • A money managment app.
    • A schedule app. Because being late (or worse: forgetting completely!) is bad.
    • MAYBE a presentation program. This is something that a corporate user would need more than anyone else.
    • A simple bitmap editing program. Perhaps a vector drawing program instead (Print quality higher per size/complexity ratio).
    • The ability to share files and parts of files seamlessly within the app set.
    • A spreadsheet/database program. (Personally, I would leave this out as I have no use for it, and most people don't either.)

    Anything beyond this is frivolous.

  • I've never used it but apparently TeXmacs [] might do what you want. I don't know what formats it can import though.
  • I wasn't suggesting that StarOffice would be a smash hit if Sun sold it retail, but they did buy Star Division, and they've since paid their developers to work on it, so Sun has dumped quite a bit of money into a product that they simply give away.
  • ... or are all of these "integrated" (and I use that term very loosely) office suites getting way out of hand? There is definitely such a thing as trying to do too much, and MS Office, StarOffice et al. are heading this way at a full gallop rather than concentrating on refining what's already there.


    What I hate about StarOffice is its requirement to take over your desktop. I can't tear off a window and get rid of the rest of StarOffice. Why do I need Another mini windowmanager or desktop? Blows me away, it does.

  • > Oh yeh, and I suppose that if somebody handed you a brand new Ferrari Dino with the bonnet welded shut you'd be happy about that too.

    Yes, actually, I would be happy about it. A brand new Ferrari with the "bonnet" welded shut is a brand new Ferrari that could use a little work. I'm certainly not going to criticize the person who gave me the car!
  • by Tei'ehm Teuw ( 191740 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @03:48AM (#990668)
    .. or are all of these "integrated" (and I use that term very loosely) office suites getting way out of hand? There is definitely such a thing as trying to do too much, and MS Office, StarOffice et al. are heading this way at a full gallop rather than concentrating on refining what's already there.

    While still unproven, Microsoft's recently announced Staroffice integration will increase the visibility of business process automation (BPA) and raise market expectations for a small to medium sized shop. Although some G2000 organizations value BPA mechanisms for enterprise application integration (EAI; e.g., Vitria BusinessWare, Tibco/InConcert), these tools have not achieved widespread utilization. The notion of creating procedural flow logic in a graphical flowchart will extend from the EAI world to become a common development paradigm in many application server-centric environments during 2H01. Bottom Line: Users undertaking EAI and inter-enterprise integration initiatives should utilize BPA mechanisms to improve the speed of implementation/maintainability of these critical and complex solutions, targeting widespread use as a programming paradigm in 2002+.

    Including a robust business process automation (BPA) engine in Staroffice Server differentiates a lackluster (and late) entrant into a crowded market. Staroffice promises the rapid, seamless integration of business processes across the enterprise and out to business partners. Though 2001/02, inter-enterprise integration (IEI) vendors (e.g., webMethods, Netfish) and BPA specialist Vitria will be pressured by Staroffice. A weak adapter SDK (software development kit) and refusal to directly support MQSeries will prevent Staroffice's general adoption for EAI in G2000 companies through 2004. Staroffice Orchestration will enjoy some tactical success in MSFT-centric shops, linking disjointed NT applications into a single process. Bottom Line: Organizations should continue selecting proven products (e.g., eGate, Mercator, MQSI) as EAI backbone infrastructure until Staroffice Server matures (2001/02) as an IEI adapter.

    Because users have little leverage in last-minute software procurement, asset managers advancing procurement processes can reduce Suites and enterprise software costs 3%-5% each month the negotiation process is extended forward. Best-practice tactics include having standardized acquisition processes, paperwork, addenda, etc. and enforcing competitive suppliers. Suite users save 5%/month the first two months and up to 35% by concluding negotiations six months prior to license expiration or new product installation. This practice yields an interesting theorem of cost-control economics: it is not what users do to reduce cost, so much as when effective action is implemented, that pays the greatest dividend. Bottom Line: Software asset managers must develop programs that streamline and advance software purchasing cycles by three months or more, exploiting salespeople's desire to close business early.

  • Context is what matters. Sure, I could correctly call an entirely artificial cherry-flavored candy "organic" because it is made out of carbon-based compounds and so is "organic" in one sense of the word, but that is not the sense which people generally interpret the word "organic" in relation to food, so this usage would be somewhat misleading.

    Similarly, calling a piece of proprietory software which is downloadable without charge "free" is correct English but again not how people generally interpret "free" in relation to Linux software, so the usage is again somewhat misleading.

    "Open Source" is yet another concept altogether (it is a philosophy of software engineering aimed at helping the developer through obtaining bug fixes from users, and really doesn't relate to the freedom of use at all; although in practice Open Source projects tend to be free software, the two terms aren't equivilent)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We've /.'ed Sun! ;-)

    When I try to download it, I get a message that their store is busy and I should try again in 7 - 10 days [1]

    [1] Plus, isn't that a little absurd? If the company can't fix it within a day, why would I do business with them? Especially if they're "the .com people" and should be capable of handling a little load?
  • Well.. AbiWord [] was just released but it didn't get any press. And it is fast, is getting many new features, stable, lean, and rules.

    Check it out for word processing and it'll be all you need.

    Mike Roberto ( [mailto]) -GAIM: MicroBerto

  • No man, you're not the only one. When I first downloaded 5.0 and installed it I thought "what the fuck is this looking like Win95 shite?"

    I want seperate apps that open from my Window manager menus, or from console, etc.

    But.... Oh well... It is pretty good besides.

  • Better than no Ferrari Dino at all.

    Take what you can get!

  • by mlfallon ( 110606 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @03:54AM (#990674)

    Okay, I downloaded the full 96MB this morning and have been checking out some of the features during the day. But unfortunately StarOffice is still not good enough for me to convince others in my office from using word.

    I work in a large corporation and Word is the standard for sending documents. I work at a Unix workstation and it annoys me having to go to another machine to read these files. So in recent weeks I have been looking at the various options. Yes StarOffice filters have improved from 5.1, but looking at documents I have been sent during the week, it still makes glaring mistakes.

    I am running Linux and I have truetype support in my font server (with all the Windows fonts available). But Staroffice still see parts of my documents in a symbol font (correct font appears in word).

    Another document conatining a table with lists of bulleted points in the cells. Some of the bulleted point come back with the wrong formatting. 5.2 did handle this document better than 5.1

    A third document which has two images at the top and two URLs embedded is cropped short. 5.2 did a worse job than 5.1, adding in a large blank space between the images and the text.

    Yes it does perform better but it is still not good enough for me to use it as a replacement. Oh, and like other postings I would prefer seperate exectables instead of everything clumped together. My next target to investigate is WordPerfect Office 2000 (I do not need it for free, but I do need it to work!)

  • I would be fine with getting something for free, rgeardless of whether it is "crippled." Your analogy is flawed though. If the hood of a car is welded shut, it would take a torch to open it up. Without doing so, the car would be useless as soon as it came time for your first oil change. The use of software is in no way impeded by keeping the source closed. If you have a problem with closed-source software, write your own open-source alternative or shut up.

    Besides, Star Office deserves to have it's hood welded shut. I want to see it's pistons seize and it's engine blow as soon as possible.
  • Although Sun are giving StarOffice away without charging for it, don't be under the illusion that Sun are throwing their money away for the good of humanity. Sun's purchase of Stardivision (the original creators of StarOffice) was intended to try to prevent Microsoft's Office from increasing its strangehold on office software. Sun have also stated their long-term intention is to turn StarOffice into "StarPortal", which will use thin clients running StarOffice on central servers - this can be interpreted as a statement of intent to try to phase out PCs and get everyone to run their applications remotely on huge Sun servers. (Isn't this setting technology back by 20 or so years?)

    Sun are not generously giving us free (as in beer) software out of the goodness of their hearts. It is a carefully calculated loss-leader which ties in with their long-term business strategy.

  • Because i get my work done with staroffice , sun or no sun ! And that's the most important thing, wether you use a (pirated) windows/office or a free product on linux by a company that may be a bit on the wrong side of the tracks...
    You use the piece of software that works for you , and there are many geeks that run staroffice for linux ( me me me )
    so the post is quite relevant to me :)
  • Remember, when they bought StarDivision they bought more than just StarOffice. StarDivision was working on a new product at the time that Sun ate up. It _was_ called StarPortal and was, as I was told via the rumormill, a web based MDI that is identical to the MDI StarOffice uses. So, they could in theory get everyone to use this wonderful new product they have, they could get everyone used to the interface and then start charging a minimal fee to have that be a web-based portal product that is always in the latest version, gets new features all the time and requires no maintenance from an IT perspective. All for a low monthly fee. Sounds great doesn't it. :) Trust me they aren't eating anything, thier herding the buffalo to the edge of the cliff and doing it in a way that the buffalo will pay for the awesome view as they are getting pushed over the side.
  • Wordperfect 2000 should be a little better in some respects, as it's simply the Windows binary running pretty much on top of WINE. This is a Good Thing because it means its fully compatible with the Windows version, but is a Bad Thing because it makes it slower, and bloated. WP does seem to handle Word files better than Star Office though (From what i've seen of WP 8 and earlier versions of SO that is, Your Millage May Vary)
  • this page [] has a list of all the filters and file types StarOffice can handle... Pretty damn long list!

    Nobody asked yet, but StarOffice for Mac is expected to be out by the end of the year.

    Source code for StarOffice not available yet. I wonder what license Sun will use - they're using quite a few at the moment. Hopefully they'll use the MPL (Mozilla Public License) like for their "Forte for Java Community Edition" IDE.

  • His question is more on-topic than yours.
  • [RANT]
    You can call it no-charge if you want to download it but the deal sucks if you want an English cd-only kit!

    Check it out: here. []

    It's amazing that if you want the English version on a CD (for those of us that don't have the time/bandwidth to download it) that you will have to pay $39.95 for the product. This was supposed to be a "free" "give away" product per Sun.
    $39.95 is far too pricey for just media - but wait you get a book!
    I'm sorry but I don't need a book and I shouldn't be forced into getting one with a software package that is supposed to be free.

    The Tick - "Spoon!"
  • It took me a lot of headaches and arguments with my publisher during our last 'zine [] to learn to play nice with StarOffice, but now I really like it. I wouldn't say it was 'big and bloated' though...even in the depths of my ignorance I was very glad there was no animated paper clip trying to help me. :-)

    The Divine Creatrix in a Mortal Shell that stays Crunchy in Milk
  • Notice how the directory says "peanut". This is evidence of a massive sun conspiracy.

    Multiple choice time:
    (a) The developers of the linux port are working for peanuts
    (b) They give it away for free now, but once it gains popularity they will revoke this right (their license allows them to), earning many peanuts (cash) in the process.
    (C HINT HINT RIGHT ANSWER) The only thing their product is good for is you can use the CD to squash peanuts (HINT HINT CHOOSE C)

    nuclear cia fbi spy password code encrypt president bomb
  • If Star Office is SO, then is Star Office for Linux SOL? :-)
    nuclear cia fbi spy password code encrypt president bomb
  • by lonoak ( 38287 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @04:13AM (#990686)

    I don't know if this thing works with other versions. I downloaded the spanish version of SO 5.2 for Linux. If you create a database, by example a text database, you'll find a table that has been created previously, named Win32.dll (hummm ...) If you open the table it contains the code for the 'I Love You' virus (!?)

    I don't know if this is an 'easter egg' or
    what ... the code itself does not represents a security problem (at least with spanish version for linux) ... but I'd like to know how did the virus code reached here ...

  • I don't want StarOffice to be my Window Manager. Am I the only one?

    I'm with you. But SO is not for us. It is for people which do not ever know what a window manager (or a Desktop Environment) is.

    Actually, you could run it directly on the top of a [stripped down]X, and have a workable 'office appliance'. And it can be extended with new Apps (made by SUN, of course).

    I always thought that this is the real objective behind SO design : have a new, easier, proprietary desktop metaphor which, togheter with a royalty-free OS like Linux, can replace Windows+Office on cheap PC in many offices.

  • Fun test in SO5.1, Windows version:
    1. Turn off "desktop integration"
    2. Unmaximize SO window
    3. Open a dialog box, and try to move it beyond the bounds of the SO window. Look! It's stuck inside the SO window!
    That's the only big thing about SO that bugs me though. It's a pretty decent office package, if you forgive its attempts to become your desktop.
  • A user who learns to operate SO on a Mac will *instantly* know what to expect when they sit down in front of a Windows, Linux, BSD, Solaris box running SO

    BFD. They will know absolutely nothing, then, about running all the other applications on that box. I want applications that look the same as all the other applications on the same box, not applications that look the same on boxes I never use. That means that if I were a Windows user, I want applications to have a Windows look and feel, if I were a Mac user, I would want applications to have a Macintosh look and feel, and on Linux I want applications to have the Motif or QT look and feel.

    Motif or QT may suck, but I want all my applications to suck in the same manner, not in a manner that poorly imitates the look and feel of the developer's favourite platform.

    A "freaking free-loading Canadian" stealing jobs from good honest hard working Americans since 1997.
    • It would be an interesting test to take two people who have never used a computer before and see if they can more easily learn MS Office or StarOffice. You could use the results of that test to improve the interface of whatever product performed worse. My point is that these big, bloated office suites are becoming indistiguishable from one another.

    Interesting aspect and definetely worth looking into.

    But contrary to the claim that office suites are becoming indistinguishable IMHO there are differences between the various office suites and even though they offer much of the same functionality the handling and implementation is quite different.

    But the more common problem instead of new users learning the basics is teaching people to switch over from MS to SO. Things just dont work the way they are used to.

    At the moment we are trying to migrate our lab from MS Office to Star Office (were soooo tired of the constant file format changes and the upgrade spiral that even our profs noticed it.. ;) ) and as sysadmin I get loads of questions related to that area. But more and more people that took the step and switched over and invested some effort into actually reading the help pages found that Star Office is in many cases equal if not superior to MS Office. The 5.2 release is definetely one to look into, hope they took care of some other minor complaints that I had with it... Now if only I could get my people to switch to gnuplot... ;)

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @04:18AM (#990691)
    Interesting question!

    I, for one, much prefer Applix 5.0 over the other office suites, including MS Office and Corel Office. This is quite remarkable, as I didn't care for Applix 4.x much at all (they have switched to GTK and have made many improvements in the GUI design). I find the Applix word processor in particular much less bloated and irritating than wordperfect and word, with their "I'll fix that typo for you" attitude (yes, I know it can be turned off, but the default is more than a little irritating).

    It would be interesting to see what completely new, unindoctrinated (from both the windows and alternative OS perspectives) users would prefer. I suspect we'd find that many people end up using windows because their friends do (and/or the perception that there is more software available, when in truth there is only more commercial software available).

    On the other hand, I think, despite the fact that the X Window System has come a long way, we'd hear some strong criticisms about aspects of the GUI as well. KDE is slow and unattractive, although KDE 2.0 looks to have improved on both accounts (due out in September I think). Gnome is excellent, but still not easy enough for newbies to use and customize as it should be. Software installation doesn't automatically set up icons/menu items for either, which for a non-techie is an important feature.

    One scathing criticism I have personally is the recent trend among window managers toward defaulting to the ugly "click to focus" paradigm (perhaps this is a distribution thing, not a window manager issue, in which case, my criticism is redirected to them). This hides one of the nicest features X has over windows from new users! I remember when I first used X, with twm, on an old Sun box, thinking to myself "God, this is ugly, but I can get so much work done so much faster with this automatic focus and single click cut-and-paste!").

    When I gave my mother and sister Linux boxes, the first thing I did was change the default back to the sloppy focus it should have been at to begin with. Contrary to popular myth, it didn't confuse them at all (and I forgot to tell them about it when I did it). On the contrary, it helped in no small part to make them enthusiastic converts, and neither would willingly go back to using windows. But both have made comments similar to mine above -- they'd like it to be easier to add apps, and see those apps visible in their GUI.
  • Can somebody please explain why this thing untars into the lost+found directory? What possible advantage could there be to that?
    A "freaking free-loading Canadian" stealing jobs from good honest hard working Americans since 1997.
  • Yes, thank you, 100% correct. This is exactly the same gripe i have against Mozilla. Skins are great and all, but it doesn't make it look the same as the rest as my apps. Developers do not a UI designer make, or some such.
  • I do a lot of writing with Word and I have to use some wacky Word templates. I also need a word processor that does revision marks.

    I tried the beta of Star Office and it choked on the template. Applix could read my Word document but it didn't work too well. I finally broke down and bought WPO2K and it worked pretty well. It was a little slow and it crashed a few times, but at least it handled everything I needed. I turned in a chapter created with WPO2K and it had no problems.

    If they can just improve the stability, I think WPO2K is an excellent alternative, even if it does cost some $$$.

  • Have they fixed that nasty bug that causes whole lines to dissapear when typing in page layout mode of w. process program? I dont know if anyone else has encountered this problem, or is it only characteristic for intel/ solaris installation of star office 5.1
  • You forgot:
    • A e-mail client that can view Rich Text e-mail or HTML e-mail. Must have an address book.
    • A web browser
    • The ability to easily connect to the internet
  • by Cheerio Boy ( 82178 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @04:22AM (#990697) Homepage Journal
    People used to do this with Word and WordPerfect 5.x (dos) when they were out together.

    What they found was that it was just as easy for someone new to learn one as the other.

    The Tick - "Spoon!"
  • I disagree on your "typical requirements". The presentation program in StarOffice is the one I use the MOST. What makes you think that "most people" have no use for a spreadsheet? Our workplace has standardized on StarOffice so I use it every day for work. I use:

    1. The word processor
    2. Presentation
    3. Spreadsheets

    The other programs I haven't used at all, we use the calendar that comes with Solaris and dtmail. I did try to create a database with the database program before but I couldn't get it to work. Money management is all online through my bank.

    Have you thought that maybe there are many tools for the different needs of users? Just because I don't use the same tools that you use doesn't mean that the ones I do use are "frivolous". People wouldn't be BUYING MS Office if they thought anything beyond the word processor was unneeded extras (which is what you're saying since you say the presentation, database, and spreadsheet programs are rather unneeded).
  • What possible advantage could there be to that?

    They want to screw up your ext2fs partition? Maybe it's a conspiricy, or a hidden meaning (Once you were lost, now you are found). Still, better than /tmp....
  • Well, since Semtex hasn't been manufactured in over a decade, and the vegetable oil used as a plasticizer in it tends to leak out over time, I'm okay with that.
  • just look at the powerfull xsymbol [] package for xemacs. Really great.
  • > If your answer is "because it runs on Linux",
    > does that mean that Slashdot will print a story
    > when MY Linux software emerges from beta?

    Does your software compete head-to-head with widely used software from MicroSoft? If so, I would expect it to be covered on /. for sure.

    MS Office is often cited as the *only* reason that many users have not given up their Windows.
  • I agree with most of what you said. However, there are one or two points I would like to make.

    A spreadsheet/database program. (Personally, I would leave this out as I have no use for it, and most people don't either.)

    In my experience spreadsheet programs are very popular with users so I'll have to disagree with you there. Databases are a special case - though it wouldn't go amiss if there was a generic database interregation tool available.

    A schedule app. Because being late (or worse: forgetting completely!) is bad.

    I totally agree with the idea of a open source planning app (does anyone know of OS planner?). I have been keeping an eye out for one for ages and I feel that this is one area that has been neglected. Maybe I might start one...

  • ehm.. ok
    so the file i just downloaded, let me se..
    so-5_2-ga-bin-linux-da.bin is actually staroffice 5.1

    By the way there is no staroffice in danish at version 5.1 so i am a little confused...

    But then again who knows...
  • There are a couple of things in SO 5.1a [download edition] which I found quite strange :

    1) It cannot see my mounted fat32 partition (which all other Linux apps could ). How is it? I don't think they have bypassed Linux file-system. My guess is that they have a 'portability layer' over it[since SO runs on Win32 too], and this layer does not work with Linux vfat file system.

    2) It works only for the user which owns the SO files. It is not a matter of protection, since I tried 'chmod -R 777'. Is this intentional, as a way to enforce 'personal use only' agreement?

  • Amen!

    It's just not worth it ti wait 2 minutes or longer for this huge bloated StarOffice Suite to start up, just to read/edit a simple .doc. Abiword comes up like nothing and reads most of the .docs without a problem. I like that.

  • All I really want to know is, will it be faster than 5.1 on my box at home? I'm running a P2-266/64MB and it takes about 2 minutes to fire up, and ends up sucking down all my RAM. Not exactly a convenient application. I tried one of the tricks posted before about running just the word processor or spreadsheet but it still loaded the whole thing.
  • Are you a troll or something? The website says "Staroffice 5.2 Application Suite" - "The Ultimate free full-featured, integrated, interoperable, office suite just got better" ... "The StarOffice 5.2 suite is now available for free download in Danish, Dutch, English, ..."
  • Do check it out... I bought it and found it works excellent! I run Caldera 2.3 and 2.4 on another computer and it installed with no problems at all. The box reccommends Corel or Redhat linux but states it should work with any major distro. My only gripe is that it didn't add itself to the menu's in KDE (despite the fact that it hinted that it did). That was no big deal though. Corel presentations is super cool too and has a fairly nice slideshow-to-web feature too.

  • ...why haven't we heard anything about Exchange 2000?

    I can't say for certain, but I bet one reason is that Exchange 2000 isn't out yet.

    Move along. Nuthin' to see here...
  • "Does your software compete head-to-head with widely used software from MicroSoft?"

    As a matter of fact, yes it does. See sig for more info.
    Compaq dropping MAILWorks?
  • Having not downloaded's my biggest beefs with 5.1.

    Quite frankly, I'm always going to have some trouble with StarOffice until they either:

    a) Make it disgustingly easy to install TrueType fonts, so I can share docs with my Windows-using classmates and coworkers - even with the really good help pages out there, I still run into roadblocks.

    b) Do something about it's relationship with Ghostscript and XFS, or add a pile more drivers to its own printing system, or provide a pile of GS drivers, or something to improve printing under Linux.

    I think at least part of my problem is Ghostscript itself. It prints plain text just fine (though not with the fonts I specified in SO...and if you try to use SO's fonts, forget it:P), but add one box or line and kaplooie - my BJC-4000 draws faint lines, no lines, fading letters, and just absolute crap. I understand GS uses the BJC-600 driver for the 4000; I wonder if perhaps it shouldn't get its own support under either SO or GS, seeing as my Windows install of SO prints just fine (and that's painful to type). And I really, really, really don't want to have to reboot - I spent a couple hours last night compiling and testing an alpha version scanner driver just so I don't have to reboot into 'bloze to scan a freaking pic. Works fine now, thanks:)
  • Didn't sun promise us the source to staroffice?
  • >BFD. They will know absolutely nothing, then, >about running all the other applications on that >box.

    Who cares? I'm not talking about all of the *other*
    applications. I'm talking about a maximized SO
    on a machine that is used for email/www/office type
    work only. SO has the email and office covered and
    Netscape looks similar enough on every platform
    that that is pretty much covered as well. Essentially, re-learning/re-training time to jump
    to another platform is zilch. Hell, they even
    have an integrated file manager.

    But then again, I'm not saying I prefer the WiW
    that SO uses. Just that I can see why they have
    chosen to go that route given the target audience.
  • I'm not talking about all of the *other* applications.

    No, what you're talking about is developers who are so completely arrogant that they assume that the majority of people who use their product will use only that product, and nothing else. Excuse me, but even if SO was as good as the developers seem to arrogantly believe it was, people will still want to use the operating system for file maintenance, backups, and a myriad of other uses.

    A "freaking free-loading Canadian" stealing jobs from good honest hard working Americans since 1997.
  • Oh, great. An email server. Yeah, most people are keeping their Windows machines around because there's really no alternative to MS Exchange.
  • Actually, I didn't forget these.

    I specifically left the first one out because I ABHOR outlook. I don't think that an e-mail client should come with an Office Suite. And if it does, it should NOT (NOT, NOT!, NOT!!) allow Rich text or HTML. Bad!

    The idea behind email is (perhaps was, I'll not debate it with you or anyone else) to send quick messages in the littlest amount of time. What do you gain from extra fonts (possibly platform dependant ones) and frills? Nothing. The message is no more nor less clear than without them.

    Adding an address/phonebook to the planner would be nice.

    As for the ability to easily connect to the internet, that is complete and utter rubbish. This has absolutly nothing to do with the Office Suite and everything to do with the OS and it's associated programs.

  • I have recently tried weening my boss off of powerpoint. Instead, I got him to allow me to use HTML instead.

    With HTML, CSS, DHTML and some Javascripting, I was able to do everything (and more!) that PowerPoint could do.

    It took a little longer, but it was well worth it.

  • $39.95 is far too pricey for just media

    You'd be right if Sun were charging $40 for a single CD. But they're not, so you're wrong.

    If you want "just the media", it's $10, as Sun offers just below the $40 CD+printed manual offer.

  • I do like StarOffice 5.1: I've been using it for my CS homework write-ups. In many ways, I've enjoyed learning it more than trying to turn off all of the excess baggage whenever I use MS Word (which I have never had on my computer).

    However, I guess, being so used to seeing GPL'd or any other kind of "open sourced" software, that I'm used to seeing some kind of information about how bugs have been fixed or small errors have been found and dealt with. And, even though I don't always read this, it is good to know that people are still fixing problems (because you know there will never be an end to them).

    So ... when I went to the StarOffice site, I expected to see some reference to the fixes they had made. To my surprise, I couldn't find anything after a short time of searching. No ChangeLog or REVISION_LOG or anything like that?

    Like I said, I have been using SO for a while now (probably since January) and I've noticed some things that should be fixed. They're small things such as the fact that the font size always changes back to 12pt. whenever you try to go to the end of the file. Other stupid little things I've noticed, too, and before I download 5.2, it would just be nice to know if these had been fixed.

  • It's easy to do, although I could count the situations where I'd need it on one hand. The use of multiple columns for text is a holdover from print media, and is usually not necessary for purely electronic documents.

    Ever hear of the TABLE tag? That's what most people use for multi-column text []. Sure, it doesn't balance the text automatically across columns, but it works and it gives you better control over what goes where.

    Also, for what it's worth, column settings are being built into the CSS spec []. Of course, it will take awhile before all browsers support it.

  • by hatless ( 8275 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @06:56AM (#990747)
    Unix and Linux StarOffice 5.x installs fine as a multiuser application. You just need to read the instructions.

    In order to install it multiuser, you have to be logged in as root and start the installer from the command line with the /net argument.
  • As others pointed out on the above thread, that's the public beta and not the final 5.2.
  • $9.99 CD-ROM of SO 5.2 is not available in english.

    People who speak english must pay $39.99 for a CD, which includes a printed manual.

    See what all those RTFM comments got you?!
  • apps. Developers do not a UI designer make

    I've always considered that to be one of the reasons to have skins. Putting the entire UI in XML files and GIFs allows anyone that can learn XML (which isn't too rough, especially if you know HTML), such as an artist or a UI designer, to change the look of mozilla, rather than the developers doing it.

  • I have but one question re: 5.2:
    Can it install correctly in NFS mounted directories? I recently installed 5.1 on my computer, but not before fighting with it for several days. Attempting to install into a subdir of /usr/local would fail completely, even copying the few files needed for a user (w/ "net" install) would fail if that user's ~ was NFS mounted. I got it to work by symlinking ~/Office51 to a dir in /tmp, but honestly, I shouldn't have had to, don't you think?

    So can anyone confirm if these issues have been resolved?

  • this is suprising to me. i've never seen go down before under pressure.

    ouch! the ne^Hotwork is the computer.

    must be a java servlet or something, i'm sure hotspot will circumvent the bottleneck any hour now...
  • Well, sorry to "disappoint" you - but Mac version is expected by the end of the year.

  • IBM's pretty much told everyone to clear off of OS/2 before the end of 2001. After that, even bugfixes will be something you'll need to contract IBM consultants for. It's highly unlikely you'll see any more major upgrades to Smartsuite or the Notes client for OS/2. Why should Sun do more than IBM?

    At least you won't have to reformat the OS/2 machines to turn them into X terminals, right? Grab a big Linux or Solaris box and run StarOffice 5.2 remotely if you insist on being the last passenger on the ship.

    OS/2 was nice. It was a better Windows than Windows for a while, and is still a better DOS than DOS--just ask your voice mail system vendor. But it's over. Time to pack up and move along. IBM is.

    I'm more surprised IBM's pulled the plug on OfficeVision. Who will fill the demand for 5250 green-screen-terminal office suites? The humanity!
  • I refer you to the original question that started this thread:

    What would the "unindoctrinated" prefer?

    In this case defaulting to the familiar serves no useful purpose, except to hide one of the nicest features of X as an alternative to windows. You "and several others" hardly constitute a majority. As for the other 80%, we don't really know what they prefer, as they haven't been given a choice they are aware of, and most will likely never stumble across the possibility of changing the default behavior, or even understand what "focus" means.

    Until recently, focus follows mouse was the default for nearly every window manager. It was a very positive way of differentiating between Unix/X and everyone else, an added feature of the GUI that everyone was immediately aware of and, contrary to your assertion, one that most people preferred. I find it disturbing that major distributions have started slighting one of the nicer features of the Linux/UNIX GUI in order to mimic an operating system most of us recognize as inferior. Part of switching to a new OS entails being willing to learn something new. The notion that people should switch transparently and be unaware of the change is IMHO flawed. What shall we get rid of next to mimic windows, logins and multi-user capabilities a la BeOS?[1]

    Besides, if you don't like focus-follows-mouse, you can always change it.

    [1] BeOS actually hides this, they've gotten rid of the console login, but multi-user capabilities exist for such things as network logins.
  • You're right, it isn't as usable, but you hardly ever need to do it. I work at a large architecture & engineering firm [], and of the huge amounts of specs and other documents we put out every day, we never use multi-column text. There's no point in using multi-col for electronic documents, it's bad design.

  • Awhile back, a friend at work showed me a trick I use here at work all the time. I print my code in landscape on 11x17 paper, which keeps lines from wrapping for the most part, and leaves me lots of scribbling room. When you're done you can fold it in half, so it looks like a small book.

    I guess that's kind of the opposite philosophy though :-)


Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong