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Sun Microsystems

Star Office 6.0 Source Code GPL! 232

jjr writes "An article over at TechWeb states the date for the release of the source code Star Office 6.0 is on Oct. 13 and it will be released at openoffice.org." We've been hearing rumors of this for some time now, but I'm still looking for confirmation of the license, but the rumor is that it will be Open Source compliant, and hopefully GPL (especially considering the (well deserved) heat they took over their previous license). Rumors about the license in German. I've also heard that the among the major goals is a GTK port of the suite. Update: 07/19 01:31 PM by CT : It's apparently official: Finally a story in English proclaiming that it will be released under the GPL!
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Star Office 6.0 Source Code Release Announced

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  • So, can I claim credit for being the first to use linux as a verb?

    linux - v - act of opensource product rapidly gaining marketshare over commercial competitors, forcing competing commercial products to offer more featues or reduce price, and ultimately the opensource product becoming the de-facto standard. EX: (1)OpenSSH linuxed ssh.com's sales of ssh 2.X. (2) PGP was linuxed by GnuPrivacy guard. (3) The market for photoshop has been seriously linuxed by The Gimp. (4) The RIAA fears that napster may linux their embryonic plans for an online music distribution system. (5) Sun's GPL'ing of StarOffice helps offset fears that it will be linuxed by gnumeric and abiword.

    Staroffice to take away 40% of Microsoft's current revenue stream?

    "Over the next three years, we'll have a similar impact on the office-suite market as Linux did to the operating-system market." -- Marco Boerries

    now as to replacing the toolkit with GTK, I bet that will take quite a while longer.

    All in all, this is a good move for Sun and will do a lot to help enhance and improve SO over the long run
  • FYI:
    www.openoffice.org is running Apache/1.3.13-dev (Unix) ApacheJServ/1.1.2 AuthMySQL/2.20 on Linux
  • I can't see a big corp going for the GPL with a major product like this, if only for reasons of pride.

    I can easily see them doing it for reasons of favorable publicity.

  • The author of GPL'd code almost always retains ownership of the copyright. It's not a big deal- once released under GPL, it's safe. Probably the only reason that they mention it in the press release is that normally the FSF recommends assigning ownership of copyright to them so that they are better positioned to protect the GPL on your program in a court of law, and Sun is ignoring that (I'd assume that this is the case since they have their own resources for this that far outstrip those of the FSF.)
  • I have no problem with MS Office being Windows only product. To tell the truth, Windows is the best general desktop platform available ( Mac comes close here too ) However, I do have problem with the document standard MS Office is using. Having relatively simple, well documented, open format would allow anybody to implement any kind of processing software be it interactive or not.
  • Gaining that much karma in such a short time is due to :

    1) using multiple accounts to moderate up your own posts.
    2) getting your friends and thier multiple accounts to moderate up your posts.

    whats the point of gaining karma? increasing your default posting score doesn't really help, anyone who knows what the fuck is going on browses at -1,nested anyway.
  • Whoa ... how many predictions turn out to be true ? I will stick to my PC, thank you very much.
  • Don't be too sure there won't be a GTK port of StarOffice - Sun's developers seem to be planning to work [yahoo.com] with Helix code:
  • For a moment, let's put the window manager MDI issue aside. It'd take no more than a few hours for someone to simply shut off the 'taskbar' and let StarOffice run in a more conventional MDI model, like ClarisWorks and Opera do. I want to talk about something else.

    The real advantage of StarOffice is its tight integration with Java. Despite the fact that it's not written in Java, it can utilize Java in clever ways. And it uses whatever VM you have on your system rather than carrying its own around, which is of course another advantage.

    Recently, I was faced with the task of building a small database for a boring corporate type task. While this could have been done in MS Access or whatever, I wanted to go cross-platform, client/server, and 100 percent Microsoft-free. So here's what I ended up doing: MySQL on the back end, and StarOffice Database on the front end. But there's no MySQL support in StarOffice? True, but there is JDBC support. I located a JDBC driver for MySQL, plugged it in, and everything started working. This may not impress anyone until you come to the realization that no platform-dependent code was written!

    And therein, I believe, lies the real power of an office suite that is tightly integrated with Java. Java becomes the 'glue' that pulls various pieces of architecture together. Java becomes the scripting language. Java becomes the language to write StarOffice plugins. This is all good stuff, because all third-party StarOffice stuff is automatically platform-independent.

    A couple of side notes: I think that two things would benefit StarOffice in the short term: first, the built-in web browser should be an embedded Mozilla 1.0 (when it's eventually released); and second, Sun should get super aggressive about bundling free copies of StarOffice with new PC's -- not just Linux machines, but Windows machines as well. With a free 'good enough' office suite in their hands, many users wouldn't bother spending the 500 bucks on another suite.

  • GPLing the suite will correct this, NOT because I automatically think that the coding is broken and that some programming geniuses that are not available to Sun will save it from itself, but because it will no longer have to be monolithic.

    The ONLY real reason it takes a while to load (not THAT bad) and uses a lot of mem is because when you start it, you are not simply starting a wordprocessor or spreadsheet or presentation app or drawing app, you are starting every one of these things at once. With the code GPL'd, coders will be able to break it up into parts (as mentioned, using bonobo makes this so for the GTK interface at any rate). You will be able to start Starwriter and ONLY Starwriter. Same for each other component, yet they will retain their integration/interoperability.

  • Actually, not. The point is that I haven't been moderating up my own posts or causing friends to do the same... I know how to work the system. This is a proof of concept and my fourth +1 bonus account.
  • Unfortunately, to be truly usefull, any office suite needs to read MS formats well, otherwise it is nothing but excersize in frustration.
  • I don't think so. Major design issues are going to be Sun's call even
    after it has gone GPL, and delaying the release until after the
    changes are made prevents fatigue from code readers who learn the code
    one way then have to figure out how it works another way.

    I guess you could argue by not making the source available now, they
    are missing feedback from the community on how the redesign should
    go. But I don't think they are going to get much intelleigent
    feedback from the community in just a few months.

  • Reports of the PC's death have been greatly exagerated.
  • Get your facts straight.

    SunOS 4.1.4u was the last release of what people generally refer to as SunOS (bsd-based)

    but... with the introduction of Solaris 2.X, Sun retroactively named SunOS 4.X as Solaris 1.X, and internally Solaris 2.X was knows as SunOS 5.X

    Confused yet?

    Okay, now Sun decides they need "version inflation" to keep up with the likes of MS who jumps from 3.1 to 95 to 2000, so they rename Solaris 2.7 to Solaris 7 -- FOR PURELY MARKETING REASONS. Dumb.

    So here's a translation table

    SunOS 4.1.4 - (nobody ever calls it solaris 1.X)
    Solaris 2.4 = SunOS 5.4
    Solaris 2.5.1 = SunOS 5.5.1
    Solaris 2.6 = SunOS 5.6
    Solaris 7 = Solaris 2.7 = SunOS 5.7
    Solaris 8 = Solaris 2.8 = SunOS 5.8
  • One thing I have heard about Bonobo is that, well, it is not known for being lightweight ( to put it nicely.) Combining that with existing bloat of SO what can we expect from this kind of "marriage" ?
  • Well, for starters it is scaring the hell out of Microsoft (remember the Halloween documents?), and it is slowly but steadily taking away Windows NT market share. But that is a different story (and completely off topic here) More info here [google.com]
    / /pyder.....
    \_\ sig under construction
  • "Over the next three years, we'll have a similar impact on the office-suite market as Linux did to the operating-system market."

    What impact is that?
    Sure a lot of people use linux but SunOS is still *probably* (dont flame me) a better platform for high end servers and windows is certainly still the most common platform for desktops.

    Comparatively few people actually use StarOffice.
  • Sun has always said, "the network IS the computer"... meaning that they think everybody should be connected to the Internet.

    Scott McNealy purportedly said that we don't have privacy anyway, so get over it.

    Sun makes a lot of money supplying to government agencies and government contractors (there are a bunch of Suns at the NSA...).

    Reputable companies have been known to put privacy-violating components in their software (look at RealPlayer, or any number of other software products...).

    Even "source-available" (not Open-Source) software can have undetected bugs for long periods of time (PGP bug, anybody?)-- if not enough people are looking at it.
    StarOffice has the potential to become one of the biggest desktop apps for ANY OS, especially now that it's been GPL'd.

    The program will be released on October 13th: 10-13. Any X-Files fan should know what THAT means...

  • As far as I can see, onbody claims anything to be ``Open Source Compliant''. The author just says `... the rumor is that it will be Open Source compliant ...' without making his own statements. I can see no problem with that.
  • What, exactly, was wrong with the older Sun license? Yeah, it was not free software, but it gave full use of the source code to those who had purchased the product. This allowed bug fizing and feature enehancement by the community for the community (unless I greatly misremember the details). Quite honestly, this is the way I think software should work by defaut. If I buy a copy of Word I should get full source. I don't necessarily believe that I should then be able to give that source away. But I do not want to be locked into a buggy piece of software which I cannot fix or modify.

    Perhaps the old license was too restrictive in other ways, in order to ensure that only paying members got source? Or did it demand that Sun be assigend copyright on mods? Or was there some other valid complaint? Or was it simply griping that Sun dared release non-free software?

    Free software is cool stuff. I write it, and GPL it. But I do not demand that everyone else GPL their stuff. Although I do think that software copyrights should be like patents: short term (say, two to five years); can be renewed once for an additional term; the source is on file; the source becomes available at the expiration of the copyright. This way people can make money for a few years on their work, but we still get the source in the not-so-long-run.

  • Well, it has only belonged to Sun for a few months. The actual company who desserves is StarDivision.
    Now, if Sun...
    1. realize that they are about to lose more cash with SO than they expected to make
    2. still wants to gain market shares
    3. and still wants to piss off Kro$oft
    Then, as this is not their baby, they will easily get rid of it.
    BTW, could we expect some GPL'ed Swing-like toolkit for Guavac/Kaffe, one of these days ?
  • Hi. Read this: http://www.kuro5h in.org/?op=displaystory&sid=2000/7/18/122257/231 [kuro5hin.org]. Please don't b-slap me; this is important!

  • by ChrisRijk ( 1818 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @04:19AM (#922229)
    Source Code Offered Via GNU General Public License and to Reside At www.OpenOffice.org [yahoo.com].

    • PALO ALTO, Calif., July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Today at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Monterey, California, Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW - news) announced it will release the source code of its StarOffice(TM) Suite, a leading, high quality, office productivity application software suite, to the open source community under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Sun also announced OpenOffice.org will be formed and managed by Collab.Net and will serve as the coordination point for the source code, the definition of XML-based file formats, and the definition of language-independent office application programming interfaces (APIs).

    btw, the GPLd version will be v6, which is a complete re-write according so some things I've heard. Apparantly, since the takeover, Sun have quadrupled the number of developers! btw, Sun reps have also clearly stated recently, that even with StarPortal, they expect people to be using the normal StarOffice product for many years.

    Also, Sun actually have about 4 'source available' license in use - SCSL, MPL (mozila public license), the "Open Source (tm)" certified one they're using for 'technical' things like the NFS 4 release, and also the license for Solaris. This makes 5. Quite a wide range.

  • Some intriguing replies, including one where somebody appears to feel that the score 5 insightfull which he rightfully stated that particular post would not get (I admit, I was not exactly delving into the dark recesses of genius there, I was merely stating an opinion) was more likely to go to his (less than brilliant) flame.

    Now that is Moronic.

    Sorry I did not reply sooner, my time is not my own.

    Here it is then my answers to most of what was asked:

    I did not compare KDE to StarOffice, I compared my KDE configuration (which is hand customized in the source not to have a menu) with the cascading menu system in the Xerox..eh..MacOs..eg..Windows..Eh..Star Office interfaces.
    Even long time Linux users often can't use my box simply because they can't find out how to launch commands without menu's or bars. I do everything by hitting ALT-F2, and then typing the commands, where this is insufficient I start a terminal.
    But I like that, and I have no intention of changing it for the rare few times somebody else works on my machine.

    To the person who mentioned that a GPL'd SO would be nice because it would not be stuck in an interface and even be theme-able, I think your right, in which case my opinion might change, I'll wait and see, I am open-minded enough not to keep prejudices. At least I like to believe that.

    Overall I am surprized so many people agreed on the basic concept, I really thought I was the last guy left who didn't like start button thingies. If my writing style was less well recieved, I appologize, but from that appology I exclude the first Anonymous replyer. If you can't make a point without resorting to childish namecalling, I have little respect for your opinion.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @04:20AM (#922231)
    I have it from a pretty decent source that they have a large team of people working on the GTK port (read: multiple dozens of coders), and that they have had that team working on it for some time. So it's not as far fetched as it would seem. Also, for the most part everything will be available as a bonobo component, so you won't have to load the entire thing as one monolithic binary anymore.
  • If you are using GTK's canvas and pass it to X as a picture, there's no problem with X. Like GIMP does it.
  • If it is indeed GPL this will allow people to create an Office Suite appliance were that is the only thing that computer does. What would also be another interesting thing if some creates a GUI that write to the linux frame buffer then you won't even need an X server.
  • That doesn't prevent you from forking. You still have all the rights granted to you by the GPL.

  • As much as I dislike the sluggish bloat of StarOffice, this is great news. If the MSOFiice filters are also GPL'ed, then KOffice (and other GPL'ed office suites) should get a boost. Thanks, Sun!
  • By GPLing SO they taking a jab at MS in several ways. The first is that it stays free,

    Not necessarily - they still own the copyright, so they can revoke the GPL-granted rights at will. The problem with free-as-in-beer is, you sometimes get what you pay for.

  • Its going to have pictures of a rather popular singer turned politician?



    Never mind.


  • Umm, what happend when the last company dumped something into opensource for a complete re-write. Well Mozilla happend. (BTW I'm an avid mozilla bug reporter and QA) Its not a bad thing, but I don't think Sun wants to wait for 2 years for its next version. Get a good rewrite out, GPL it immediently then allow the opensource community to have fun with it, that way even 2 years till the next version is out won't be so long. Not nearly as bad as the timespan from NS 4.0 to 6.0 yawn.

  • I noticed in the Yahoo article that it mentioned Bonobo and gtk and also Miguel de Icaza of Helixcode fame mentioned too....does this mean that Gnome Office suite (Abiword, Gnumeric, Dia....etc etc) will be dead, or will they incorporate themselves into Star Office? (Perhaps Dia being added to Star Office...).

  • by -brazil- ( 111867 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @03:46AM (#922241) Homepage
    According to dpa /stern.de [stern.de], the license will indeed be the GPL. Way to go, Sun!
  • If Star Office is GPL'd then surely the guys working on Koffice, Applixware etc... can only benefit.
  • "Even a split MS may not port MSOffice to unix (try to make the business case for a linux MSOffice port...) "

    Challenge accepted...

    With a split MS, The apps division no longer needs tie itself to MS Windows operating systems. Thus they can feel free to improve API compatibility tool kits - for instance Wine. Once that is done, they have a fully operational MS Office that is available to any/all of the unixes with minimal effort. The cost of improving wine to where it would fully operate with most/all of the MS Apps, might well be fairly insignificant (with proper knowledge of the Apps and MS OS internals, something that the Apps division will have plenty of.) Thus they suddenly gain massive market opportunity for minimal investment capital.

  • Msft reports better than expected [cnet.com] earnings, public brand name recognition [cnet.com] that rivals Coca-cola - it's starting to look like the bazaar dwellers are storming the Cathedral with sticks and stones, while the guards look over the ramparts, chuckle at the rabble's feeble attemtps at penetration, then turn back to their latte's. Revolution? Certainly, but it'll probably take half a generation to manifest itself, like the hippy youth rebellion of the 60's had to wait 'till the 90's before they came to any real power to change things. The 'middle aged managers' and power brokers of today grew up with WinTel, that's what they know and can't conceive of anything else replacing it, but they'll grow old and retire and the young Linux enthusiasts/advocates will take their place. It's a slow train a'coming.
  • ...stating that StarOffice gpld will do to Ms Office what Linux has done to (fill in the Unix/Windows of your choice here)... Hope this 6.0 (which it's going to be based on) is in a better state than the "Netscape 5.0" was when the source came out. (I mean: the first mozilla source was so stripped down it was barely usable, maybe it would be better to release the 5.2 source (but then again, what are they allowed to ship (or: what parts of the code do they have to remove))) p.s. sorry for all the brackets :-)
    / /pyder.....
    \_\ sig under construction
  • by tjansen ( 2845 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @03:50AM (#922252) Homepage
    The german Heise Newsticker [heise.de] writes [heise.de] that it is GPLd and the official announcement will follow today at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention. It also mentions that Sun has hired Tim O'Reilly, Miguel de Icaza, Brian Behlendorf and Andy Hertzfeld as coordinators for openoffice.org and they will also define "open" XML-based data formats at openoffice.
  • "With a free 'good enough' office suite in their hands, many users wouldn't bother spending the 500 bucks on another suite."

    or the hassle of aquiring one.

    Amen to that brother. This is exactly the type of thing which really needs to start happening.

    The real problem is that Microsoft will use the same tactics it used with IBM, If you are an OEM, and you DON'T bundle a microsoft productivity suite with your systems, microsoft will either refuse to sell, or charge an extremely high price for the windows system software you need for your business to survive.


  • openofffice.org domain is owned by Caldera.
    So soon we can expect another rumour that Sun is buying Caldera?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    sorry...you seem to be misinformed...the correct terminology is "first post"

    4th post by the way
  • Yes! One of the biggest hassles that the koffice team works on, is the import filters. These are extremely important to have in order to recruit users of certain other suites, but they take a lot of work to develop. It doesn't help that Corel, which has sworn it's support to KDE, won't donate their excellent filter code to koffice. Hopefully they should be able to use the ones in staroffice though!
  • I would think that a more realistic assessment would be "Over the next three years, we'll have a similar impact on the office-suite market to that which Corel and Lotus had on the office-suite market".

    Or perhaps "A similar effect to that which Mozilla had on the browser market".

    In the spirit of open source, I also cleared up this man's sub-literate grammar.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Aww, relax. Have you ever used Star Office?
    If you do something like turn the computer off every night, there's nothing to worry about. The program is so slow that I couldn't use it til after lunch. Assuming I remembered to start it before the morning coffee break.

    At the point where it does actually become useable, you can look forward to a creative rendering of MS-Word documents. I can't help but wonder if someone didn't get a preview of Word 97's HTML formatting and copied it.

    On Sun's side, remember Sun announcing free copies of Solaris 8 source (minus media and shipping cost) ? Anyone have their Solaris 8 source CD?
  • by Psiren ( 6145 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @04:28AM (#922266)
    ... with Staroffice as I see it is that it's one huge application. And I mean, HUGE. If I want to work on a spreadsheet, I don't need my Word Processor sitting in memory too. Unfortunately because of the tight integration in StarOffice this is exactly what happens. It kills my 64MB P-II. Gnumeric and AbiWord, although nowhere near as advanced, are at least usable.
  • I'm not trolling either, but StarOffice could really deal a deadly blow to KDE. A lot of people have posted on Slashdot that Sun already has a small army of engineers working on porting StarOffice to bonobo, a GNOME-centric API. I have read the same things elsewhere. If GNOME was to get an extremely competent Office suite such as StarOffice and KDE was left running the "emulated" version, a lot of people who really don't care what desktop environment they use would have a very compelling reason to switch.

  • by hawk ( 1151 )
    >Wouldn't it have been smarter to release the source code before a complete rewrite,

    It was. Here is the source code from the new version before a complete rewrite:


    In case you missed it, here it is again:

  • Nothing's wrong with the public demanding anything; that is their right. But when they demand something for the wrong reasons, it makes one wish to apply a corrective. I am free to ask for anything; you are free to tell me that I am wrong in what I ask for. Freesdom for us both.

    The public is, for the most part, an unruly mob with ill-formed opinions. I, OTOH, am an unruly individual with ill-formed opinions. Oh, never mind...


  • Well.. Sun's marketing has always been *ambitious*... some might have other adjectives but I suppose ambitious is a friendly way to put it. I'm not a big fan of Sun but I think this is a good thing, even if they are doing it for the wrong reasons. In my mind this is what makes Sun a longterm player, as opposed to .. uh..say .. SCO. Sun might not want to recognize Linux and the GPL and OSS and the like... but they realize that it's impposible to stop a speeding train so you're best bet is to simply hop on board.

    Anyways.... kudos to Sun.
  • Lots of people are responding chastising me for wanting to switch OSes because linux is no longer "underground". The comment about my ridiculous friends moving to Be or OpenBSD was just meant as evidence of the fact that linux is mainstream.

    The point of my concern is: Can this negatively affect the OS in a tangible way? (other than being "less cool"?)

    Maybe. My ultimate goal is to free as much software as possible, so seeing StarOffice GPL'd is a positive thing. But I'm worried that as all this software floods in, Linux may no longer enjoy the stability and efficiency that it's famous for. And then why would the IT folks use it? It's a vicious cycle: the OS becomes popular (simultaneously popularizing Free Software) because it's stable and efficient, but then popularity reverses it (and away goes Free Software again). (The reply about "underground" bands makes a good point. No doubt some distributions have faced pressure to change aspects of their distributions for commercial reasons as well....)

  • by BJH ( 11355 )
    One thing that would be helped greatly by a GPL release of StarOffice is i18n. For example, currently, there is exactly one applicatione suite suitable for use in Japanese (Applixware), and quite frankly, it sucks. It doesn't suck in any major way; it just has amny small to medium niggles that make using it about as pleasant as picking your nose with a corkscrew - it'll get the job done, but it's not what I'd call fun.
    In particular, I'd like to see the GTK port mentioned above. GStarOffice make a great addition to Gnome.

  • Yeah, but Sun has a large team (a couple other folks around here seem to have confirmed this) doing that "lot of work." Remember, this is not going to be 4.x or 5.x (both of which sucked, size wise.) It's going to be a new version which (presumably) will have learned a lot from the mistakes of the old one.
    Heck, just pure speculation- if you follow Gnome, you know what a freak Miguel De Icaza is about componentization through Gnome's Bonobo framework. We know he is on their advisory board- what do you want to bet that the new release is bonoboized? If that guess is correct, and they do it right, then there is no need to worry about the size- you just strip out the component you want to use and put it in a stripped-down GTK framework, no problem. Light-weight word processing, here we come...
  • If one can trade patches freely within the community, then it is obvious that good patches would propagate. It would also make sense for Sun to implement them if it so desired and if they make sense. If you own a copy of a painting you can draw whatever you want on top and trade your modifications with anyone else; the owner of the original is the only one who can modify the original.
  • Wow, that's COOL. I have a few ideas for the further development of StarOffice

    1. Remove that Winelib stuff. It just spoils performance. Move to another toolkit
    2. Add Mozilla intgration (like M$ Offi$e with IE just better). Maybe even use Mozilla's toolkits for improving cross-platform performance
    3. Enhance the database integration. Maybe even add a database editor (like M$ Acce$$)
    4. Improve i18n and l10n. For example in Israel (where I live), an office suite has to support BIDI to get anywhere in the first place.
    5. Make a stripped-down version for handheld devices.
  • They don't release the source for the working
    version, they release source for a non-working
    experimental new implementation.

    Same as with Netscape/Mozilla. No fixing of
    the quite fine 3.x, just major new stuff few
    people want or even can work on.

    It's amazing how exactly they reproduce Netscape's
    steps/mistakes. No problems for Sun, "OpenSource"
    will get the blame anyway.

  • Bzzt! Wro-ong! If you're going to be a prick about it, at least check your facts. Cause you look like a real ass if you're wrong.

    SunOS 5.x and Solaris 2.x (up to 2.6) were exactly the same thing. You can prove this to yourself if you want by doing a 'uname -a' on any Solaris box (up to 2.6) - you will see "SunOS 5.x". Solaris 2.7 for some reason morphed into Solaris 7. I haven't used it but I have a feeling uname would report it as SunOS 5.7 e.g. Solaris 2.7. Solaris 8 is Solaris 2.8 etc.

  • For sure. You can't have Emacs in your corner and not win that battle :).

  • Woohoo OLE! If there's one feature I want added to my windowing environment, it's OLE. That oughta make it stable. And useful, too!

    Truthfully this sounds more and more like Windows the more I read on. Not trying to be an OS bigot here, but with all those added features, things are gonna get less and less stable. I've been introduced to a new phenomenon recently, and that is of my window manager crashing. I hadn't ever really seen that under Linux prior to switching to a mature version of Gnome. The crashes are rare, but I'm worried it's a sign of things to come.

  • What's mOffice?

  • Quarter earnings reports are coming out today. I'd say any measure of stock fluctuation coming in reaction to their decision to open StarOffice is pretty much irrelevant for the next week or so.

  • by drix ( 4602 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @06:38AM (#922313) Homepage
    It takes SOOOooo long to loead because it implements, among other things, it's own window manager and widgket toolkit. Obviously this is wholly unnecessary but it is a good way to maintain a product across a lot of different platforms, because it's easier to write and maintain a toolkit for each system than port every line of code to it. The downside is that performance suffers a lot. I've heard rumblings of a full-on GNOME port of StafOffice, which will be really wonderful - fast and featureful.

  • I tried to work on a simple letter created in Word recently using SO. A simple letter with about 3 paragraphs and nothing fancy. It was unusable - the cursor kept being 3 or 4 characters out from where the text was actually getting inserted. I tried creating a presentation in SO,a really simple one, but things kept changing every time I saved and reloaded it. And in both cases the fonts looked so yucky it hurt my eyes. I tried reading in a presentation from PowerPoint into SO. It was 90Mb long (lots of pictures). On a 64Mb Windows machine it plays fine. It completely locked up a 128Mb Linux box because it went into heavy duty swap. Let's hope GPLing gets some things fixed but right now I don't think anyone in their right mind would consider using SO for anything but the most trivial tasks. (I'm using SO5.1a BTW FWIW) And please can people break this monolith into bite sized chunks. I don't want to load up every sinlge other application as well as a Windows-look-alike desktop thingy every time I edit a document. And please, can it not look *exactly* like a Microsoft application - it makes me feel a bit dirty to use it. Can't a program have its own look and feel?
  • The Press Release says: "Sun's open-sourcing of StarOffice Suite is the single largest open-source software contribution in GPL history"

    So what was the largest Free Software contribution? The GNU project itself?
  • You can verb anything these days.

    $ cat < /dev/mouse

  • Dude,

    I've been using linux for 4 years and unix for far longer. Xemacs, latex and octave are among my most used tools. And they will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

    Yet, I WANT to see more, many more, commercial applications for linux.

    This does not mean that I will abandon good free applications for commercial ones at the drop of a hat. However, if a good free application is not available for linux, I will gladly pay for the ability to use a commercial app.

    And this will help linux. It will become easier for new people to use it, because linux will become a "full service" store wherein people can easily accomplish ALL their tasks.

    As an example of how lack of commercial applications and support is hurting linux, let me share a story. The company I work for is building up a software development group of about 35 people. We are a small company doing embedded programming and are somewhat budget conscious. The software director (who is a sincere and open-minded guy) performed a comprehensive study of the pros/cons of standardizing on linux/KDE on the desktop for the developers. (As opposed to NT). Ultimately, linux lost. Why? Because none of the vendors of the toolchains that we plan to use support linux, or have any plans to support linux. (By toolchain, I don't mean gcc+kdevelop, we need sophisticated embedded development tools).

    The guy was prepared to standardize on staroffice, though the absense of a visio-equivalent hurt. He was prepared to go through the extra overhead of setting up the enviroment and providing training to people unfamiliar with unix. But even this unbiased, openminded and willing-to-learn guy ultimately ended up going to NT. And, I, despite being a hardcore linux fan who would have loved to see it deployed here on a large scale, cannot fault his logic.

    That is a total of 35 desktops lost to NT. This story is repeating all over the world right now.

  • by caolan ( 2716 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @06:46AM (#922334) Homepage
    Only a crass idiot ever choose an os for its underground (hawk!, spit!) and tiny installed base. Heading to BeOS from Linux misses the point entirely.

    X used to never crash!, window managers have been falling over for years. Its the source and the freeness to hack the crap out of that said source, stability and so forth is purely icing. XFree86 has had bugs just like everything else, heres the thing though, if you wanted you could fix it, hell if you hadn't the skills you could try to identify when it would happen and help the developers track it down, if you were really into it you could pay a developer to sort it out for you. Even if the original writers had no interest, you could get anyone skilled to do it.

    The increased popularity of Linux is great, the naysayers can just bugger off. A strong profile for linux is a strong profile for releasing source, without linux you wouldn't have just gotten 5.3 million lines of source of StarOffice into your laps, what does a little spin to make this announcement accessable to journalists and ordinary investors matter, its the source. And its bloody well GPLed, do you know you awesomely unlikely that is. Its great.

    Granted I think that binary only modules for the kernel and so forth are nowhere as good as the real thing, but its a stepping stone along the road for companies to try the waters

    This is why Im in this game. Eight years, Ive loved this linux GNU thing. Heres a thought though, how many of you have actually contributed something. Sent in a patch or wrote some code, thats the community, not the gripers about how popular it has become, what kind of mad talk is that.

    No matter how it all works out, with linux ventures dissappearing into the sea, or companies bailing out of free software the deeds are done, and the code is there for all or us to play with to our hearts content, and thats what its all about. Hmm, port SO to OpenBSD, go ahead, excellent hack, but its the popularity of linux which you so fear which has created that opportunity. Popularity is a tool, take advantage of it


    disclosure: I work for SO

  • Does anyone know if this includes the OS/2 version? That last OS/2 version of StarOffice was 5.1, but all the press releases talk about is 5.2 and 6.0.
  • Sun, contrary to some peoples belief, is a hardware company at heart. They make most of their money selling Ultras, SunRays (a new product that replaces the dumb term, uses smart card authentication, and is cheaper than the cheapest PC out there), and services.

    Sun could have decided to sell Solaris 8 instead of making it free, the media pack costs $75 but that is a drop in the bucket considering what you get. They could have decided to start charging for SO when they bought them, but they didn't.

    Sun has several things on their mind and it isn't about trying to restrict access to their software. By GPLing SO they taking a jab at MS in several ways. The first is that it stays free, which, compared to the several hunderd dollers per license for MS Office, is very enticing, even to big companies because it is being supported by Sun. By causing even a couple businesses to switch over, I know one big one that is getting ready to, they stick it to MS. The second reason is that by GPLing it even the most picky of distros like Debian (I use Debian and love it) will be able to include it. Solaris is not a home user OS, but Sun believes that Linux is, and by doing this they are hoping that Linux will grow in the home user market and stick it to MS.

    Sun doesn't plan on making any money SO, and there isn't any proprietary code that they feel is so important that they cannot release it so they are.
  • English ( as the name suggests ) was not invented in America.

    English (like any other natural language) was not invented at all, it evolved; modern-day American English as well as modern-day British English are both descended from a common 'ancestor' and are thus 'cousins' (this is a vast oversimplification). British English is no closer to the 'original' English (A mixture of the Anglo, Saxen, and Jute dialects of old Western-Germanic) than American English -- just as a cousin descended from your grandparents through women is not any less related to the grandparents because he/she has a different family name.

  • Given the talk that the PC is predicted to soon be dead (see Intel Preparing for post-PC world [cnn.com] ), I have to wonder, is Gnome/Star Office/Linux on the PC simply panhandling now for gold flakes after Microsoft has hauled off most of the gold during the height of the PC era?

  • by Tom7 ( 102298 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @05:17AM (#922357) Homepage Journal
    I hope that as we see all of this commercial attention towards linux, it doesn't lose some of the qualities that have made it so good.

    We'll still always have the source to the OS thanks to the GPL. This is great.

    Some applications will be free(d), and if they're good enough to be worth it, dedicated hackers will be able to fix bugs in them.

    Yet, something tells me that Sun didn't GPL StarOffice out of a sense of community, they did it for buzzword compliance. Press releases riddled with marketspeak phrases like "move forward" and "continued innovation" make me cringe, fearing the worst...

    Linux may turn into Windows.

    With fancy new GUI "Windows" managers, X has started to crash for me occasionally. X used to never crash! The latest redhat shipped with no fewer than two remote root exploits. It's getting to be a major chore to understand all of the things your system does on boot (3 years ago with slackware, this was easy!)

    We're starting to see proprietary drivers available for linux. When we have as many proprietary drivers as Windows does, will we see the same loss of stability?

    Linux has less and less become an "underground" (even "subculture" is losing applicability), and sometimes I think this has a negative impact on the OS. I see many of my friends who take that aspect seriously switching to less popular operating systems like OpenBSD or Be.

    What do you think? Does this much marketing force and this much code eventually turn a great system mediocre? Will we just end up with another (mostly open source) Windows?

    I hope not, but I'm still worried...
  • by SoftwareJanitor ( 15983 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @05:18AM (#922358)
    Well, lets be honest - MS Office is better than most other products, in terms of value

    Have you seen the prices they are charging for it lately? Holy cow, have they ever increased the prices. You can buy WordPerfect Suite or Lotus SmartSuite for a tiny fraction of the price of MS Office. Both of those offer similar functionality, so how is MS Office better in terms of value? Even if it was marginally better (in my opinion, it is worse), is it two or three times better to justify being two or three times the price? Sorry, but value just isn't something that Microsoft is competing on. In terms of value, how is Microsoft going to compete with the new GPLed Star Office? Hard to beat the value of free.

    and performance at any rate.

    Actually, WordPerfect Suite and Lotus SmartSuite seem to run better on older machines than does MS-Office. Star Office is currently a bit on the slow side, but if they do to it what they claim they are going to, that problem should be history.

    Just my 0.02$ worth, Ron.

    You are entitled to your opinion. I completely disagree, however.

  • It will be re-architechted to use smaller programs, and components

    It will be integrated with GNOME via Bonobo component architecture(note that this does not necessarily mean using GTK). What it does mean is that GNOME applications will be able to embed SO docs, ala OLE. So a GNOME Email Client(don't know what they are, I use KDE) could allow in-place editing of SO attachments, etc.

    In my opinion, both of those are excellent news.

  • by 11223 ( 201561 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @03:54AM (#922362)
    No way on the GTK port - the entire suite is done with their StarView toolkit, which would mean that millions of lines of code would have to be changed just to get a GTK version up and running. It won't happen anytime soon.

    I will be helping with the BeOS and AtheOS ports, though - a GPL'ed suite like this, even though it's not the best - is a good foot in the door for a startup operating system!

    I'm looking forward to the StarView technology itself - a cross platform porting toolkit for OS/2, Windows and X is a good thing!

  • by caolan ( 2716 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @03:54AM (#922364) Homepage
    Original article heise.de article [heise.de] (German) (Babeled to English) [altavista.com], has the scoop that StarOffice's licence will be announced at the O'Reilly Open Source Software Convention [oreilly.com] this evening.

  • I am of the opinion that the release of Star Office will kill, or at least, severely hurt, the other free office software implementations. I am also of the opinion that this is necessarily not a bad thing. It has been my experience (mind you, this is opinion, and I'm sure many will disagree with me) that Star Office is far more robust than the other Linux office packages. It is the one piece of software that prevents me from having to install Windows on a box at work, as I have to read the memos from Bisdev and Marketing as well ;-).

    Linux, and Unix in general, has thrived on there's more than one way to do it. But this app is targeted at simple end users, not the power users that Linux has traditionally attracted. To an office worker, consistency is the key.

    I think it would be better, in the long run, if AbiWord, etc. contributed their code to Star Office, so that we have a solid, fully featured alternative to the Microsoft products.
  • Hopefully all the filters are included. Then the development of filters for [K|Gnome]Office will benefit a lot from this release.
  • Whoah! How did this guy get an on-topic first post!? Congrats to -brazil-!

    Meanwhile, GPL-ing StarOffice may give us another look at building in support for more file types. I can't tell you the number of packages I've uninstalled due to the fact that they don't read/write the formats my colleagues work with.

    Additionally, while StarOffice also produces somewhat dirty HTML source, it is far better than some other editors for which HTML was also a secondary consideration. Integrating HTML-Tidy into a future version of StarOffice would be an excellent move.

  • SunOS 5.x and Solaris 2.x (up to 2.6) were
    exactly the same thing.

    Actually, I think Sun presented it as "SunOS 5.x is the OS portion of Solaris 2.x", with "Solaris" containing, in addition to SunOS, the window system and desktop code - but the key point, as you note, is that there's still SunOS in there, even if the code base for SunOS changed.

    I haven't used it but I have a feeling uname would report it as SunOS 5.7

    You are correct - that's exactly what uname -sr reports on Solaris 7.

    (uname -sr gets you the OS name and release number, without all the other stuff you get from uname -a; it's what I use if I just care what version of what OS a box is running, although, for those OSes constructed by assembling a large number of independent pieces, it tends to give only the version number of the kernel - uname -sr on a Linux box won't tell you it's running Red Hat 6.2 or Debian 2.1 or SuSE 6.3 or Mandrake 7.0 or..., it'll tell you it's running Linux 2.0.36 or Linux 2.2.14 or.... There are times where that's a feature, but there are times where it's not, given that the behavior of a system, both from the user and programmer point of view, is controlled by more than just what's in the kernel.

    Of course, the next question one might sometimes ask of a system is "which patches does it have installed", and uname -sr doesn't necessarily answer that; Solaris has, I think, a way of finding that out, but I don't know which other OSes do.)

  • First of all, I've crashed X11 on basically everything I've run it on; SunOS 4, SunOS 5, linux, IRIX, et cetera. That's not new. It's big and bloaty, of course it crashes.

    On the proprietary drivers for linux front, if you don't like it, don't use the hardware. Duh.

    BTW, I run OpenBSD not because I care how popular the OS is, but because it's secure and stable. I run Win2k on the desktop not because I'm a microsoft toady, but because it runs games AND has a journaling fs.

    In summary: Get over it. Are you still wearing a nirvana tee shirt and a flannel, or did you give that up when nirvana became popular? Do you lose interest in music when other people like it? If so, you might need your head examined.

  • As this is GPLed code SO is the largest free software contribution, with the word open source used to let you know that its bigger than the pretty much free but opensource mozilla and friends like Plan9 etc, if you mean what the largest previous was then we'd have to run around doing line counts on various programs. The linux kernel is large (though still less than have the size of SO by my incredibly rough count), but is it a "single contribution" as it grew over time piece by piece?, you'd really have to compare against something where some{one|company} freed a body of code in one fell swoop.

    I don't thing the GNU project would qualify in this little verbiage contest as its multiply authored as well and not really a single entity as its distinctly lot of programs.

    Anyhow I reckon theres a real drop off to number 2.


  • SunOS is text based

    Solaris is the graphical system with OpenWindows.

    At least that was how it was explained to me. One of my universities very high end servers (upgraded to some hefty hardware spec about 1 year ago) still runs SunOS and it's run by one of the departments that is religious about keeping things secure and up to date.
  • ``Sun's open-sourcing of StarOffice Suite is the single largest open-source software contribution in GPL history and it adds a key application suite to the open source portfolio,'' said Marco Boerries,

    ...a complete bozo.

    By largest, does he mean largest number of lines of code, or does he mean most significant? And why didn't he say which? This is just marketing bullshit. The only things of value said here (besides the meat of the announcement itself) are the various people who actually know what they're talking about who were quoted. Frankly, I haven't listened to anything anyone at Sun has said in years, but Tim O'Reilly is a pimp, and the fact that there are affirmative quotes from four heads of linux vendors is a nice touch. I wonder how much they paid them for their taglines.

  • OK, so it would seem that the new SO is going to be built on GTK (see Miguel's comments about Bonobo and such.) I'm really curious: does this mean the end of multi-platform Star Office? I know that there is a GTK port to Windows, and I even found the home page [user.sgic.fi], but it really doesn't say how stable, usable, or up to date it is. Not that I really care too much about the windows port, but it would be really nice to be able to give Windows users SO 6.0 for Windows and say: "This is what GPL software can be, if you give it a chance." So... anyone know enough about GTK for Windows to give an educated guess about the chances of the Windows port surviving?
  • If there were MSOffice for linux and solaris, I'd probably have purchased licenses and have been running it for a long time.

    But there's not, and even if MS were to start porting it now, they've lost a whole lot of ground to Opensource office suites, and would have to practically give it away.

    So, let's be Honest - Even a split MS may not port MSOffice to unix (try to make the business case for a linux MSOffice port...)

    In a cross-platform world, that leaves MS Office out of the running as an option. I don't see any value or performance benefit if it doesn't run on all your platforms.

    seems MSFT stock is taking a downturn today. Just my 0.02$ worth.
  • Dunno if anyone else has noticed that openoffice.org appears to require password authentication. "Please enter username for Tigirs at openoffice.org"

    This deliberate, or in error? And can anyone with a username/password shed light as to what is contained therein?

    This is fantastic news of course, those of us who have been trumpeting SO as a realistic alternative to MSO while lamenting it's closed nature can amp up our trumpets and really give it some. Speech and beer, well, it don't get much better than this.


  • In addition to the GPL ...will be made available under the Sun Industry Standards Source License (SISSL). ...An important requirement of the SISSL license is that it requires compatibility with the GPL reference implementation of the OpenOffice.org source code, including APIs and file formats.

    I couldn't find any information on the SISSL, but it sounds a little fishy to me. If the source code is GPL'ed, then I can create a derivative work, which would be as incompatible as I want. (Not that I'm advocating intentional incompatibility). Is the SISSL intended to be a closed-source complement to the GPL? Otherwise, I can't see how it would be useful, since under the GPL you can do what you want with the code in terms of modifications.

  • The real problem is that Microsoft will use the same tactics it used with IBM, If you are an OEM, and you DON'T bundle a microsoft productivity suite with your systems, microsoft will either refuse to sell, or charge an extremely high price for the windows system software you need for your business to survive.

    This probably won't happen as the fallout from the anti-trust trial should preclude the continuation of this predatory and illegal practice.

  • antialiased font?? I thought it was internal xlib problem and not solvable baring serious X modifications ( of course one can always resort to drawing and antialiasing letters on his own but that sucks)

    I think there might be some component of GNOME (not GTK+) that does exactly that (rendering stuff on its own); I have the impression that FrameMaker for UNIX might do so as well.

    However, Keith Packard's paper on a new rendering model for X [xfree86.org] speaks of anti-aliasing for text (see section 4.5, "Text", at the bottom of that section) as one feature to be added. I presume this - and other work described therein - would be done by adding protocol extensions (and requiring toolkits to fall back on doing the rendering themselves, or disabling the features in question, if the extensions aren't present; see section 3, "Reasons for a New Model").

  • Actually, the official line is that it's not even as clean as you say, although that's a usable approximation.

    Solaris is the set of packages making up the "distro" and including things like the Window Manager/GUI, various system tools (DiskSuite, AutoClient), and SunOS. So although there is a one-to one mapping of SunOS to Solaris version numbers, it's not stricly accurate to consider then equivalent, since SunOS is a subset of Solaris.

    On the other hand, it doesn't really mater, and only a few really anal people at the division formerly known as SunSoft ever cared. For all practical purposes you're right, and I think even Sun has stoped making the distinction, although I know marketing materials still sohwed SunOS as a component of Solaris at least through 1996/97, about the time I left Sun.
  • Who are you to determine what is "Open Source Compliant?" If you have the source to it, it is Open Source....

    Actually, Open Source (tm) is a registered trademark of the Open Source Initiative [opensource.com]. You are not allowed to call your product Open Source unless it is licensed after one of these licenses [opensource.org].

  • The cost of improving wine to where it would fully operate with most/all of the MS Apps, might well be fairly insignificant (with proper knowledge of the Apps and MS OS internals, something that the Apps division will have plenty of.)

    Or it might not.

    Thus they suddenly gain massive market opportunity

    Is the UNIX market for Office sufficiently large for it to be worth MicroApp's while to port it? (Note that this may mean "sufficiently large relative to the Windows market", which is pretty large.)

  • I myself am not using the Linux version of StarOffice, since I use Windows for most of my daily desktop stuff (yeah, flame me).

    Since Version 4.0, I have been using StarOffice (on Windows) as my only Word Processor. I had a lot of problems with it back then, but then again, anyone using MS Word around me was cursing even louder than I was.

    All in all, I am very pleased by using it and since 5.x, it has become a real productivity tool. I mostly use it for Word Processing and as a Spreadsheet and we intend to install it here in our 6-person company as a distributed scheduler (StarOffice comes with a PalmPilot synch). I also did a number of presentations in University with it and it worked just fine.

    I had a very few crashes of the application here and then, but never lost any data.

    My opinion: Good, but not exactly top-notch. But hell, it certainly is *good* enough for the kind of Office work I do on my computer.

  • Closely tied into the Star Office Suite is their Star Portal program which is just the network computer model. How much you do you want to bet that making Star Office free, then Open is actually setting up people to buy into their Star Portal program when it comes to fruitation (which I can't possibly see being free)?

    sun's Star Portal webiste http://www.sun.com/products/staroffice/starportal/
  • by Kickasso ( 210195 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @04:04AM (#922408)
    My computer at work doesn't have a port of StarOffice. Now it will, and I'll have no excuse for ignoring all those Word-formatted emails from PHBs and their secretaries. Fuck you, Sun!
  • since the word "verb" [dictionary.com] is actually a noun, it's been 'verbed' too!
  • I don't think the PC will die as much as the fact that the majority of the consumer devices will be far simpler, disposable, and not require the level of maintenance that current PCs require.

    There will always be software developers, large corporations, designers, etc. who need and use workstations and servers (as opposed to "PCs").

    What OS and what tools do you think they'll be running?

    ... and don't discount the potential for using parts of GNOME/SO/LINUX for the foundation of simpler consumer appliances.

    (still waiting for linux-based AOL cds to start coming in the mail every month...)

    you know that TiVO is linux-based, right?

interlard - vt., to intersperse; diversify -- Webster's New World Dictionary Of The American Language