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Sun Microsystems

StarOffice 6.0 Beta Available 465

Lumpish Scholar and 753 other people wrote in to let us know that Sun has released its beta of Star Office 6. CNET has a blurb about the release as well. I was hoping that Sun's site might be unclogged enough to try it out myself, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards today.
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StarOffice 6.0 Beta Available

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  • Staroffice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @03:04PM (#2379539)
    To all those who say 'Staroffice isn't 100% compatable, so we can't switch our office'. Well.. I understand the logistics and all.. but.

    To switch to staroffice, you have to instruct your staff to learn to use it, and adapt the workflow to staroffice, not the other way around. The same goes for switching to any product.

    The financial benefits of using staroffice in many cases outweigh the use of OFficeXP
  • Unix Screenshots? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ceswiedler ( 165311 ) <> on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @03:04PM (#2379540)
    All of the screenshots on the Sun site are of the Windows version. What does it look like under X Windows?
  • by jiheison ( 468171 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @03:08PM (#2379583) Homepage
    Seriously, there are few things that annoy me more than receiving a Word document from someone. Rarely, if ever, is there any justification for not simply using a plain old ASCII text file. They are smaller, platform independant and if formatted correctly, no harder to read.
  • Competitor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Red Aardvark House ( 523181 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @03:10PM (#2379601)
    StarOffice could be a strong competitor to Office if for nothing other than the price. At $479.00 a head, this adds up awfully quickly. Not to mention saving on upgrade fees in the future.

    We shall see if corporations are ready to give up some functionality (admittedly, MS Office is still the one to beat there) to save on costs.

    With MS raising the price, it might come to pass.
  • by mz001b ( 122709 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @03:15PM (#2379648)
    I think part of the problem is that Microsoft's browser was free, but not open. That means that they still control the direction of the browser, and can use that to their advantage to gain market dominance. With SO or OO, you are getting an Open Source product. If you don't like the direction it is headed, you can change it.
  • Re:Office XP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Fulmer ( 5840 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @03:18PM (#2379670)
    Please note that Office (any flavor) does not take "scant amounts of ram". Rather, it hides ram used in the system memory used column, and actually preloads many if not most of the Office specific DLL's on boot up, whether you want them or not. The memory that appears to be used by Office, is only the glue code that links the DLL/OLE/NET components together.

    The reason that Office appears to launch almost instantanously, is that most of it was already loaded on bootup.

    Just a clarification...

  • by sewagemaster ( 466124 ) <sewagemaster@gmai l . c om> on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @03:24PM (#2379725) Homepage
    $479 for Office XP!?!?! remember that's in US dollars well. the price is just insane. it's funny that a company that produces unstable bloatware 'suites' think that they are just as good as the hardware designers. because it looks like it's even more expensive than a bloody computer processor!

    each year they add a few clicks here, move the menus around, change the file format a bit so no one could parse it properly and then they would sell it for sky high. well if they quality of the software justifies the cost, that's fine. but obviously but unfortunately it's not the case. now that's the cost for one person if he/she wants to buy it. if he makes (let's say) $30 an hour. it would take him 16 hours = 2 days of salary just to be wasted on this.... minus tax, minus food/shelter/money to be spent on car/insurances... that's about 3-4 days of salary just to get something like that...oh man....!

    now imagine the whole company wanting to upgrade for whatever reason (yes.. it's true... just look around the labs in your college/university campus. they ALL want to spend so much money for the upgrade for whatever reason...)...

    BUT afterall, i never bought a copy of office. my windows is a pirated version. so it's still free for me.... unfortunately it takes at least one person to buy it before i can burn myself a CD copy...

    hope the new version of staroffice is not as bloat and can actually keep consistant formats so i can write my engeering docs and paper on it day in and day out!
  • by jazman_777 ( 44742 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @03:26PM (#2379742) Homepage
    The problem with StarOffice is that it hasn't completely worked to import/export word/excel documents.

    The problem with StarOffice is that it isn't Microsoft Office for Free [tm].

  • by nuetrino ( 525207 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @03:39PM (#2379845)
    If there is one thing we know, M$ thrives on subtle incompatibility, even within their own product lines. It is these incompatibilities that drive the upgrade process and allow them to retain market share. It is the subtleness of these incompatibilities that allow the claim of fair competition even if they are purposefully sabotaging other people's products.

    For instance, if I give someone a M$ Word document created on the Macintosh, the opening of that document will sometimes crash a windows machine. There is no reason for this as I am simply transferring a document from MS Word to MS Word. I suppose that such problems are tolerated because it limit the appeal of MacOS machines, and may indicate that I need to upgrade to the latest Office.

    So, naive folks, do not wait for the day when MS Office documents will seamlessly integrate with Star Office. And do not blame Star Office for the problems. History provides nearly 20 years of evidence, all the way back to incomplete specifications for system calls in DOS, that M$ will do whatever it can to insure that integration does not occur.

  • by Raul Acevedo ( 15878 ) <raul.cantara@com> on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @03:49PM (#2379907) Homepage
    Ximian [] is coming out with Evolution [], which is essentially an open source Outlook replacement. It's still in beta but should be reaching 1.0 before the end of the year (I think).

    So far, Evolution's main shortcoming is it doesn't understand Exchange protocols, so Linux clients can't use it to talk to Exchange for shared calendaring. I realize that is one of the main points you need. I believe it is a fatal flaw for evolution, but Ximian apparently doesn't think it's such a big deal, saying that such support will come "eventually, but not high priority". Nonetheless, it can do IMAP, POP, LDAP, and a bunch of other open protocols.
  • Re:here's an idea (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @04:10PM (#2380074)
    Get a REAL calendar, and a notepad.

    And while we're at it, what are people doing using email when we have a perfectly functional postal system and postcards and stamps are available at any corner store?

  • by Webz ( 210489 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:33PM (#2380359)
    Aside from the standard time-is-money argument, why don't developers use an operating system's native environments for their software, much in the way Microsoft will do for Office v. X for Mac? One could counter this by saying that Microsft almost never uses the native GUI elements of Windows and always makes proprietary versions, like for Office, but the functionality of that proprietary ToolKit meets and exceeds the accessibility of Windows. It's been my personal and I guess limited experience that programs that don't use regular GUI elements (i.e. Limewire) generally suck.
  • almost there... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xeno ( 2667 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:40PM (#2380406)

    It's nice to see some reasonable competition for MS Office. I alternate between Office2K and Openoffice (633) with reasonable success, but there are a few things left to complete the puzzle:

    1. Where's the Mac OSX version? OS10.1 is getting great reviews, but this is even more critical from a general marketing standpoint than from a Mac-head view. Why? Cross-platform compatibility is a great marketing lever, not because of a possible massive platform shift (unlikely) but because of uncertainty about platforms and compatiblity over the long term. (See #4 below.)

    2. Some major features are not quite there: imho outlining is the biggest hole; people who write large documents or like structure really need it. Instead of just copying the MS interface, perhaps the existing SO/Navigator tool could be extended to provide a killer structure interface similar to Framemaker+SGML. That would be pretty compelling. Likewise, a quickstart feature (as just implemented in Mozilla) would help to silence the yelps about quick startup ( after long preload) of MS Office XP.

    3. Sun/OpenOffice needs migration documentation & tools. For example, it would be nice to have a short whitepaper from Sun that describes (or better yet, provides a one-click tool) that reconfigures MS Office to save in known cross-compatible formats. Word files should be saved in RTF or a reasonably-documented .DOC/95/97 format. Picking XLS/97 wouldn't be that difficult, but it's important to nail down the multitude of inconsistent PPT formats in a way that retains all content.

    4. Marketing!! Star/OpenOffice has such potential, and if handled properly, can deliver a very compelling message. I'm no marketing guru, but imagine turning some heads with these advert leaders:

    • "StarOffice: Full-featured software for free. You pay for the support you use. You control when and how you upgrade. Isn't that how it should be?"
    • "The software license for Microsoft Office XP says you're prohibited from figuring out the .DOC format your own documents are stored in. Do you think you should pay a license for your own data? Try StarOffice - open formats, full compatibility, and lower costs."
    • "StarOffice is compatible with of all systems worldwide. Freedom to choose."
    • "StarOffice is available on every major operating system in your company, from the systems guru to the graphics geek, and the secretary to the CEO. Shouldn't your company communicate like this?"
    • "The arrival of MS Office XP forces you to pay more for your licenses, and forces company-wide upgrades by introducing yet another data format. StarOffice reduces TCO by allowing you the flexibility of running any desktop OS you choose (even the free ones), and doesn't commit you to costly upgrades in the future."
    • "Running Office XP? That's great, as long as renew your licenses to the new, more expensive program, can support the increased hardware requirements, upgrade everyone in your organization at the same time, or are willing to take the productivity hit by introducing yet another document format. Oh, and you can't take it back for a refund. Try StarOffice for free."

    Jon (
  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:47PM (#2380434)
    They comple cross platform and their toolkits make it all look the same cross platforms.
    That's really brain-dead. People tend to use one platform consistantly, and like it when a particular app looks like the other apps on their system. Eg. no-one cares if a program looks the same on Linux and Windows, as long as all the Linux apps look the same and all the Windows apps look the same.
  • by Moritz Moeller - Her ( 3704 ) <mmh@[ ].net ['gmx' in gap]> on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @06:48PM (#2380794)
    Do a /net install. Has been that way with SO since version 4.0 on linux (the first I used).

    And it is pointed out several times in the detailed installation guide.

    Sometimes I think the difference between computer gurus and guys like Lehtyos and other normal computer users is the ability and willingness to read a manual....
  • Re:MSOffice & XML (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MintSlice ( 34717 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @07:33PM (#2381055)
    Actually, if I understand XML properly, then Microsoft moving to XML format won't actually have any real affect on the format lock in.

    The XML file still needs a DTD to show how the xml content should render, and this can be used to maintain the file lock in.

    XML is a great way of standardizing data exchange, but in reality it doesn't open up the entire file format.
  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @08:04PM (#2381184) Homepage Journal
    With all due respect, LyX's primary function is to provide a gentle migration path from GUI typewriters like Word, to a real document production system called [La]TeX.

    When I started using Linux, I first used LyX for a couple of projects. Fortunately I tried out 'pure' LaTeX (itself a set of macros for TeX) and found it so much better.

    There are several GUI frontends to LaTeX, one being LyX, and you can only harness so much power of the actual system via those interfaces. It's like coding C++ via a point n' click interface. You will only realize the point of LaTeX when using it natively.

  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @08:46PM (#2381327)
    Doesn't fit in with the "native" feel at all, but is fast and easy to use, because the UI fits the application, rather than having the application shoehorned into some ill-fitting paradigm.
    Intellectual types are so into paradigms its funny. Here are some facts from reality:

    1) Developers are lazy. If not forced to standardize UIs, they'll simply make crappy UIs that look different. At least by standardizing the look, you get crappy UIs that look the same.

    2) Developers are lazy. If they have some UI guidelines in front of them, then they might be coaxed into using them, and maybe have the hope of making a good UI. If they have no guidelines, they'll not bother to come up with their own, they'll just make a crappy UI. If you don't believe me, take a look at Mac-Land. Most Mac apps look and behave similarly, but the Mac is the home of such great UIs as Adobe's.

    3) Developers are lazy. If they are given the freedom to do whatever they want with the UI, they'll go through the path of least resistance, or of personal preferences.

    No, I do not mean to *all* characterize developers as lazy (just most). Some of them do work quite hard to come up with good user interfaces and applications by these developers stand out, even when those apps look exactly like all the other apps on the desktop. The fundemental error that most of the "developer UI freedom" people make is that the *look* of the UI has very little to do with its efficiency/ease of use. There are many UIs on Windows (3D Studio MAX, for example, or Maya) that look like standard Windows apps, but have incredible workflow. Take StarOffice or Mozilla, for an opposing example. There is nothing special in their UIs that makes them more functional than Word or IE. They simply *look* different.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?