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Sun to Charge for Star Office 6.0 712

biwillia writes: "According to this heise article (in German, or Google translated), free versions of Star Office will now only be available to Solaris users. Free versions for Linux and Windows users will no longer be offered. A homemade translation of the first paragraph reads, 'With version 6.0 of Star Office, scheduled to be released in May, Sun has changed the product politics of their Office package, which had been freely distributed since the aquisition of Hamburg-based Star Division. In the future, Sun wishes to charge license fees for usage of the Windows and Linux versions. Only the version for Sun's own operation system Solaris will remain free.'"
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Sun to Charge for Star Office 6.0

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  • Is it free if you roll your own?
    • Open Office will of course remain free.
    • by DaedalusLogic ( 449896 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @08:31PM (#3062795)
      Amazon's current price for StarOffice 5.2 Deluxe is ~$37 and for what I get out of StarOffice that I downloaded from Sun $37 is worth it... (6.0 Beta and 5.2 on my laptop) I'd even say $50 is fine... But if they intend to make this a $199 package... they're not going to get a second look from anyone in the Windows world... To pay 1/2 the price and get even 90% of the features and compatibility isn't going to sway the typical decision makers... To pay a tenth... Now we're talking! Best of luck to Sun, and I hope a lot of this money can go to helping OpenOffice... Which I'll probably have on the laptop while my business runs with Sun for documentation and tech support reasons.
    • Sun's Treachery (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sun intentionally terminated the free version of Star Office for all OS's except Solaris. You don't need an MBA to understand the rationale. Sun is trying to pump up Solaris and destroy Linux.

      Sun knows well that the major threat to Solaris is not Windows. The major threat is Linux.

      It is becoming immensely clear that Sun is intending to hijack the open-source movement by seizing control of Linux. I fully expect that Sun will create its own version of Linux, say "sLinux".

  • Open Office (Score:4, Informative)

    by BoyPlankton ( 93817 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:10PM (#3062113) Homepage
    Open Office [] will remain free though.
    • I'm deploying computers at my school for kids who cannot afford computers normally. Unfortunately they will not let me install Linux (which I don't get because most of these students used computers THAT much that it wouldn't be hard for them to use linux as their first OS anyways) but I am installing the computers with Star Office 5.2. Is there any improvements to OpenOffice 641? Or is their any limitations to it compared to StarOffice 5.2?

      I would try it myself, but the server I'm downloading OpenOffice is downloading at something like 16.6k. And I would like to know other people's experiences with OpenOffice. Thanks.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        We converted to Star/OpenOffice in September from MS Office and haven't looked back... Ok, not much. ;)

        There are a few issues yet with OO, but every version has gotten closer and closer to perfection.

        OO 641c is a MAJOR improvement over 5.2 in stability, ease of use, management, etc.

        Send me a email if you'd like more detail... (remove the NOSPAM) ;)
    • This looks like the sendmail or covalent approach to profiting and i find it very encouraging for Open Source in general. It's a Good Thing(R) to have a paid version with extra support and backed up by a real company. I mean, some people just WANT to pay and have something BETTER than average, even if it's not worth the price.

      I like it. If i could have a GIMP as good as Photoshop and a Pantone + CYMK plug-in at $100, great, for example...

      Software is fine as long as i am not locked into it. I don't feel locked if i can have the source and have the right to modify it myself and sell/use/extend it...
    • Re:Open Office (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ralph Bearpark ( 2819 ) on Monday February 25, 2002 @12:46PM (#3065416) Homepage
      In case, like me, you were wondering, from the FAQ []:

      B. Differences between StarOffice and

      The source code available at does not consist of all of the StarOffice code. Usually, the reason for this is that Sun pays to license third party code to include in StarOffice that which it does not have permission to make available in Those things which are or will be present in StarOffice but are not available on include:

      - Certain fonts (including, especially, Asian language fonts)

      - The database component (Adabas D)

      - Some templates

      - Extensive Clip Art Gallery

      - Some sorting functionality (Asian versions)

      - Certain file filters

      Regards, Ralph.

  • by powerlinekid ( 442532 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:11PM (#3062126)
    Alright sun just took some awesome software, made it only available by cost and is now running it up against a free version from the same orginal tree. I like this, I'd like to see who ends up better... star office or open office. Of course star office seems alittle more polished but... how many non geeks used it? i use it because it was the best alternative to microsoft office (it had all the feautures... even the massive ram needed). This seems kinda like mozilla vs netscape 6 now... personally i don't like netscape as much as mozilla.
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:12PM (#3062129) Homepage
    Does this essentially lead to a Mozilla-like 'split', where a commercial derivative with extra frills is available on top of a free version (both senses)?

    I don't use either - was looking forward to trying Star Office 6 as I'd heard it had removed the custom desktop. Now it looks as if I'll be trying out OpenOffice instead.#


    • by felipeal ( 177452 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:23PM (#3062199) Homepage
      Does this essentially lead to a Mozilla-like 'split', where a commercial derivative with extra frills is available on top of a free version (both senses)?

      Not exactly. Although this is a good comparisson, the commercial version of Netscape is still free. The main difference are testing (Netscape stick to a mozilla version and do a lot of QA testing before moving to another, while mozilla keeps going), features (like that spellchecker) and some 'AOL integration' :).

      In the case of Staroffice/OpenOffice, it seems to me that real reason behind the split is to 'force' people to use Solaris instead of Linux. If that's the case, I don't it was a good idea: people will still use Linux (as long as OpenOffice is still available), and the anger against Sun will increase with this move.

      • I don't think they mean to try to force anyone to use Solaris. They're just trying to make some cash from their product.

        I'd bet that way more people use Star Office on Windows and Linux than use it on Solaris. It's not very profitable to start charging the people who use it on Solaris since these are so few. They're also Sun's most loyal customers so it doesn't hurt to give them the occasional freebee.

        People are willing to pay for Star Office on Windows and Linux. It would be nice to make some money so that more money could be invested in advertising and marketing. Maybe you could hire some new developers with the cash as well. Then maybe SO could be a real competitor to Word.

        Basically, it's nice to work at a company where customers buy your products and the executives really care about making money.

    • If Sun plans to migrate to a Mozilla-like structure where the commercial version will be based on the OSS version, and most of the code written by Sun employees in merged into the OSS version, then I like this move. However, it might not turn out this way.

      I can easily imagine Sun diverting its developers to improve StarOffice only, and leave OpenOffice to the rabble of volunteers. If this had happened with Mozilla (say, when Netscape got bought out), it wouldn't even be a contender today. I know that the GPL prevents blatant variants of this strategy, but it still allows them to add closed-source "modules" which could eventually become a big chunk of the whole system.

  • Open Office is good. (Score:4, Informative)

    by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:14PM (#3062139) Homepage
    I have a colleague that's a fairly heavy wordprocessor user. For a while she used Star Office 6.0 beta and liked it. After a minor disaster (crashing HD), we helped her get her machine reinstalled. Just to try it out, we installed Open Office instead. Turns out it's at least as good as the 'real' StarOffice, and she has been happy with it.

    So, StarOffice for a branded package with support and feel-good factor for people unsure about this newfangled OPen Source thing; and Open Office for all the rest of us. Fair enough.

  • I didn't understand why Sun was removing access to StarOffice 6.0 beta in December (I think). They had some reason like they've gotten enough feedback so they are closing down the beta. I found the beta to be very stable, so perhaps they were worried that the beta version would compete with the final version.
  • This certainly fits with their Solaris uber alles tack with regard to other OSes.

    Sun has said for some time "Linux is Unix, and we're a Unix company". However, that only really extends to how much Linux can damage Windows NT or boost application support for Solaris. Sun still has a vested interest in making Solaris on Sparc the preferred platform.

    Anyway, we'll always have OpenOffice.


    • Umm, unless I'm mistaken - isn't OpenOffice missing an Access database clone? I recall a database being included in StarOffice.

      That, alone, might make it worthwhile for some people to pay for StarOffice.
  • by giminy ( 94188 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:16PM (#3062158) Homepage Journal
    I can see why they might want to stop giving away Linux versions of Star Office, but I'd think they want to keep the Windows versions free. Think about it: If the Windows version is free, it gives more people the ability to use Solaris as their workstation, since they can now give documents to Windows users, and the Windows users really don't have an excuse not to read them. And you're sure they'll be able to see them right (as there are still some issues with saving to MS-Office format in Star Office). Besides that, it gets some Windows users using Star Office instead of microsoft office, so if they're ever able to transition to using Solaris, the switch won't be hard (yeah, there would still be a lot of other problems, but if you want regular secretary/office worker types using your system, that's a good thing). I can't imagine they'll make any money selling Windows versions of the software, will they??
  • by Rebel Patriot ( 540101 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:17PM (#3062162) Journal
    5.2 already cost $40 for business use. Compare this to MS Office which is over $200 for any use. Charging say, $40-$50 for StarOffice isn't a bad thing, particularly if doing this means they are able to place more copies of StaOffice 6.0 on the shelf beside MS Ofice XP. I believe the only reason 5.2 isn't on %25 of the business desktop in the windows world is because everyone sees MS Office, while mostly the linux community only sees Star Office.
    • IIRC, the downloadable version of Star Office 5.2 can be used for commercial purposes.

    • I always thought this was Sun's Staroffice strategy - deprive MS of income from MS Office, which provides around 40% of their revenue, by providing a quality (quality is a new feature they added in StarOffice 6 beta and up) office suite for $free on Windows, Linux, and Solaris.

      This also makes Staroffice a gateway to other platforms - customers using StarOffice 6 on Windows can install Linux desktops or Suntone's and not be without their critical productivity apps.
  • by proxima ( 165692 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:19PM (#3062173)
    How is Sun supposed to make money from Star Office if they don't eventually charge for it? I, for one, would be willing to pay a small fee to use Star Office on my two desktops. $35/computer seems reasonable to me. The license shouldn't be tied to an OS, but rather a computer.

    Given interoperability, I may purchase one commercial copy of Star Office for my main desktop use, and use Open Office on every other computer, it depends on how well each is distributed.

    In some ways, charging for Star Office may be a good thing. Charging for software in the business world gives it some degree of credibility - that software has value if one must pay for it. I'd be even more happy if Sun offered free education and/or personal licenses to try to gain market share, while charging a fair fee to businesses.

    I eagerly await Star Office 6 and Open Office 1.

  • Can it support all my old StarOffice files? And:

    spell verification and data base is however missing.

    is said to be one of the differences between OpO and StO. No spell check? Aaargaarghaarg...
  • by mgkimsal2 ( 200677 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:22PM (#3062192) Homepage
    I wouldn't mind buying a copy if it's reasonable - considering that OpenOffice *IS* a good viable alternative to StarOffice, they'll need to bundle some good 'value-adds' but keep the price reasonable. $25/seat might be a good price point. $200 won't be - I may as well just use MS Office at that point. I'm just throwing numbers out as I haven't seen anything at all re: pricing on this.

    Value-adds I wouldn't mind paying for if they're bundled: Professional clipart, professional templates, multiple language dictionaries - all those would be a good start.
    • by Malcontent ( 40834 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @07:19PM (#3062489)
      There are other free or pretty damned cheap office suites on the market today. Koffice and 602 immediately come to mind. These days nobody is able to sell office suites because MS has a chokehold on the market. Wordperfect suite and lotus smartsuite cost less then office yet they have a miniscule percentage fo the market. Staroffice is MUCH cheaper and still nobody uses it. Openoffice is free and still not even the smallest dent in the MS stranglehold.

      No matter how cheap your suite is, no matter how good it is, no matter even if it's free. Businesses won't use it because the PHB's are all stupid and people won't use it because they want the same thing at home that they have at work.
      • I don't know of too many office suites that are truly cross platform and usable. Koffice is OK, but KDE is painfully slow relative to a Windows box (same hardware). I can't force myself to use Linux/KDE/Koffice for everything all the time - I need to use both Linux and Windows. I also need to read MS Word and Excel files. StarOffice6/OpenOffice is the only thing I've used that is

        1. Pretty stable
        2. Doesn't completely suck
        3. Is cross platform
        4. Can read the basic MS Office files I need to

        Yes, MS has a stranglehold, but they don't have ANYTHING that competes on Linux or Solaris. Yes, it's a miniscule desktop scene right now, but I see it changing little by little.

        I think I tried 602 once, but haven't heard much about it, and it's still not a cross platform product, so there's not much point. If I'm only EVER going to use Windows, I'll stick with Office. Since I use both Linux and Windows, I need something that works on both platforms. A Mac OpenOffice would be really nice too, but I digress... :)
  • by JohnBE ( 411964 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:26PM (#3062212) Homepage Journal
    I imagine they (AbiWord [] & OpenOffice []) are going to get a volley load of hits.

    What are the major differences currently between OpenOffice and StarOffice?

    I remember a DoD procurement [] elated to StarOffice, has the price remained the same? (Are they running it on Solaris anyway?)

  • by WolfWithoutAClause ( 162946 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:28PM (#3062226) Homepage
    Bearing in mind that there is not exactly an overwhelming demand for Linux on the Desktop, charging for the Linux version will mean that they will basically get no money from that direction.

    Given that they will make no money, and they won't be able to persuade new Linux users to use Star Office in future; and Linux is looking like it will be popular in future; they're losing lots of future profit.

    If they had waited till it was popular then they would have been able to do the switch THEN, and have a way of screwing money out of most of the Linux users from that point on; they'll lose this.

    Also, it's a bad idea because Sun is a competitor of Microsoft, and Linux is challenging Microsoft for the desktop, and your enemies enemy is your friend.
    • Linux is not currently a threat to Windows on the desktop. Personally I prefer the linux desktop to the MS desktop, but the vast majority of people don't and won't, untill some point down the road when people change. It WILL take people (and not linux) changing before linux will become a competeing OS in the home desktop market.

      Besides, this isn't targeted at the linux crowd. Sun wants to target the Windows crowd. Not only is the linux community too small to make them enough profit to support Star Office, they also suffer huge competition with Open Office, Abiword, and other word processors for the linux desktop.

      IMHO, Sun doesn't care about the linux crowd. StarOffice is probably only available to linux users because it budded from open Office and therefore was already on linux. Sun has spent time and money developing StarOffice to compete with MS Office, not to win the linux desktop. Charging a modest fee for Star Office 6.0 will allow Sun to advertise Star Office, put more software on the shelves at retailers.
  • You're seeing the 'academic' version of Office XP all over the place for relatively cheap? Businesses actually might take a shrinkwrapped SO with a bill attached seriously, so MS is low-balling (for them) Office to keep their hooks in the population.

    Just a thought.
  • by ttyRazor ( 20815 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:31PM (#3062244)
    Is this Scott McNealy's revenge for having to wear some stupid penguin get-up?

  • by Hieronymus Howard ( 215725 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:31PM (#3062245)
    I'm very suspicious about the accuracy of this article. Sun have just announced that they'll be releasing their own Linux distribution (I think that they should call it 'Polaris'). My guess is that they'll provide a free downloadable version and charge for boxed CDs with documentation.

  • by Dark Coder ( 66759 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:31PM (#3062246)
    Why not adopt RedHat's marketing model?

    By selling it at the store for $$ and making it available by download for free.

    I'm still buying RedHat CDs despite downloading various rawhide. I can't be alone on this.
    • Maybe because RedHat was always on the "red" side in terms of revenues (and the same is true for other Linux distros that adopted RedHat's model - e.g. Mandrake) while other vendors like SuSe made profits by using a different, non-free strategy (make products freely downloadable only a couple of months after the "box" release) ?

      After all, StarOffice costed Sun a fortune (1B if I remember correctly). Making StarOffice free for Linux would be just helping the OS that's eating their own market share.

      The Raven.

  • by lkaos ( 187507 ) <> on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:31PM (#3062248) Homepage Journal
    No longer will any one company determine what is best for the market or the user, but the market will decide and users will choose.

    No longer will files and documents wear the cement shoes of a single vendor or operating system, but standards will flourish and compatibility reign across platforms.

    For the first time, a commercial grade, full-featured office suite will be opened up to the innovative input of the global developer community.

    Free to be changed. Free to be improved. Free to adapt to meet the needs of any situation. Free.

    Wait, I can't make money from free? Nevermind, we're gonna charge for it.
  • I wonder if this is really a bad thing... when we look at the big bad Microsoft, it's amazing how much copies they sold of Office, especially when you look at their price.

    If some Linux distributions started shipping with the full version of StarOffice (official of course, including books etc), I think people won't really care about this move. I mean, even $50 for a fully-fledged Office suite isn't much, is it?

    The true 'geek' users among us (you know who you are) can then in turn use OpenOffice, which is probably less foolproof than StarOffice will be.

    So, the bottomline is, do we really lose anything? If you want the top of the notch, just pay those $50... but if you will settle for the same without very fancy booklets and such, OpenOffice will be good, and it's free...
  • A couple comments (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Derkec ( 463377 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:36PM (#3062266)

    I heard a talk with McNealy where he was frustrated that businesses wouldn't take up Star Office. He talked to some hot shots at other companies and heard the same thing a few times - We love it, it does what we need it to for most of our users but we just don't trust something that's free. Well, now we get to see if businesses will take a product more seriously if it costs some. I'm willing to bet that it will be very very cheap compared to MS products. This should be interesting. Oh, has anyone seen any info on how much it might cost?
  • by WasterDave ( 20047 ) <davep @ z> on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:39PM (#3062280)
    Actually, this [] is a bit of a disappointment. While the general idea of setting a goal of getting to 1.0 is all good - witness what happened to the quality of Mozilla when they stopped feature creeping - I can't help but feel the Open Office crew are letting the side down a bit by admitting that their 1.0 release will really be about an 0.8.5 level release and will still contain bugs. It's all a bit, well, Microsofty.

    Still, I can see some interesting projects about to kick off - The Open Office wordprocessor as a KPart, for example :)

  • by CokeBear ( 16811 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:39PM (#3062284) Journal
    Good for them. Not because I think they should be charging for it, but because people will feel better paying for it.

    When you go to a manager and try to argue for free software over MS stuff, they can't get their heads around the idea that the one that is free has value. Managers just don't get it.

    The only way to convince some people that this is quality software, is to charge them money for it.

  • Most people only used it because it was free. I don't suppose they'll get a significany market share and will decide to drop it soon enough.
  • by Larne ( 9283 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:49PM (#3062343)
    According to this [] the Openoffice folks will be releasing 1.0.0 right around the time StarOffice 6 comes out. Neither one looks to be a radical departure from the current 6xx builds, which I've been using quite happily for some time.

    Probably the biggest difference will be the lack of support for the Sun ONE WebTop [](whatever, exactly, that is) in OpenOffice.

  • I'll admit to being concerned about a charge for SO 6.0, but I'm not too upset yet.

    If the charge is reasonable, and I get appropriate value / support, I will be willing to pony up. I rely heavily on my Office software and don't begrudge Sun the chance to make a few dollars -- if they are making my life a little better.

    It's hard for me to get too upset knowing that Open Office remains free and available if I don't like the deal Sun offers.
  • by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:58PM (#3062387)
    If we want Linux to become main stream then we have got to be willing to allow companies to make a profit by supporting us.

    One of the main excuses that I hear for not running Linux on the desktop is lack of professional quality software. Sure, there is a lot of good stuff for Linux but it has a low visibility. No ads, not sitting on the shelf in software stores.

    I would think that $40.00 for a quality office suite would be worth the money especially if the product gets advertising that mentions Linux.
  • Congrats! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nege ( 263655 )
    Its not like this was a succesful product on either windows or linux, and the windows population (which doesnt even know this program exists) wont buy it, and with free solutions that are much cleaner and feature rich (AbiWord, Koffice, Gnumeric) why would a linux user (who doesnt like to spend money on software anyway) buy it? I am sure that Sun knows this and are essentially pulling out of the mainstream office suite market.
  • Corporate POV (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hrbrmstr ( 324215 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @07:04PM (#3062414) Homepage Journal
    A pasted translation from the German page above quickly points out that Sun is doing it so they can provide a supported product to businesses.

    I can confirm that my organization (Fortune 100) didn't give StarOffice a first look because it was "free". They don't trust free s/w and need to hold someone accountable if there are problems (I should point out that we don't really hold M$ accountable for much, but the exec$ feel goo about the possibility of maybe being able to hopefully do so if there are really, really, major problems).

    I can also confirm that we would like to save megabuck$ and provide some productivity suite competition so we can stop getting royally soaked by mr gates & co.

    And I can confirm that other large organizations expressed the same feelings directly to Sun (with us).

    HOWEVER, Visio is the "killer app" that will stop us from using StarOffice. Without a Visio-killer (open source or otherwise), M$ will continue to dominate. Buying Visio was a very strategic move on Redmond's part and it will prevent alot of places from switching since they would be fearful that it would not "integrate" properly with StarOffice (ever try to embed a complex Visio diagram in a Word file? there are integration problems enough within the suite, let alone outside of it).

    So, Sun will make some money in the small-to-medium sized orgs, but M$ will continue to rake in the dough from the big boyz.
  • by arberya ( 176464 )
    Timemto start looking at AbiWord and KOffice
  • You can download StarOffice 6.0 Beta here []
  • Apparently Sun wants StarOffice to remain free for Solaris users to promote the complementarities between the office suite and their operating system. A viable strategy, and one I think that makes good business sense.

    However they are missing a critical observation in deciding to charge Linux users: There are very strong complementarities between Linux and Solaris. Furthermore, Linux does not now own a substantial portion of the desktop market, though it certainly has a substantial advantage over Solaris in this arena.

    So if the Sun executives were a bit more farsighted, they would continue to make StarOffice free for Linux, FreeBSD, other free Unix-like operating systems users. (At least until they know whether or not Linux will capture a significant portion of the desktop market in the future.) After all, it will be far easier for them to take market share from a large installed base of Linux users in 5 years than it would be to steal market share from Windows users.

  • I was looking back at previous Star Office related stories on Slashdot and found this one Link []. It seems funny that Sun was trying to promote itself as the leading open source "corporate" company, and now, just 8 months later, it is changing the licence back.
  • by samj ( 115984 ) <> on Sunday February 24, 2002 @07:21PM (#3062505) Homepage
    In one hand we have Sun Increasing [its] Commitment to Gnome [], and yet on the other it's abandoning a critical product in its battle against MSFT [] and professing that Linux on the Mainframe [is] Not a Good Idea []. Microsoft are regularly raising the bar when it comes to talking to their client operating systems from non Windows Servers (eg the infamous Kerberos PAC []), so surely having your own office suite appearing on Windows clients can't hurt, especially as everything starts to look like a big (.NET centred) communications network. I wonder what IBM thinks about all this? I get the feeling they're closer to the mark than Sun, and if nothing else they've decided their direction and are throwing their whole weight behind it, which is commendable (certainly preferrable over this wishy washy floundering from Sun). And what's with bashing Linux *and* pulling Solaris for Intel architectures. Ok, so you're a hardware vendor, but how's anyone meant to know their way around Solaris with uni labs migrating to Linux left right and centre and with you revoking any chance a hobbyist had of playing with it without parting with arms and legs for Sun hardware? Why don't you just let go of Java so we can stop concerning ourselves with what direction you've chosen for today and get on with ensuring J2EE retains its position in the web services market.
  • I have no problem with Sun charging for StarOffice. What bothers me however is the fact that Sun keeps changing strategies and never sticks to anything. This company will bite the dust sooner or later if it doesn't wake up.
  • seems like nothing to get worked up about. cool by me. heck maybe other companies might do something like this. open something then close it. we get source for some great software to start from (why reinvent the wheel) and they get to make money down the line.
  • I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is and support development of high-quality apps on the Linux platform.

    Since I haven't contributed any code to OpenOffice, i think it's fair that I contribute some money to Sun for their distribution of an Office suite I find very useful on my Linux desktop.

  • by Uggy ( 99326 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @08:04PM (#3062677) Homepage
    I agree with much of what people are saying in support of Sun. It makes sense. If I find the product useful and it helps me make money, why the hell wouldn't I buy it? However, the reason I won't buy Microsoft Office, as useful as it is, is that it traps you into THEIR data formats... closed, and owned by MS.

    I at least know what WHATEVER I do with a bought copy of StarOffice 6.0, will be written to an OPEN and documented implementation of XML (albeit compressed and fussed with a bit in a directory structure), but still open and documented.

    I know that ten years from know I'll be able to get at my files without going... oh wait, I would have to upgrade to windows 2010, in order to run Office 2010, in order to get at MY data, stuff that I wrote, worked on and own... and who knows, maybe MS will choose to wage a lawsuite against those that reverse engineer their file format. They are just waiting for supporting legislation to do so... I just know it.

    And before anybody says, that I could just keep the copy of windows and office that I have, forget that once the hardware dies, any NEW computer I buy is only going to come with a new version of windows, and I only have a snowball's chance in hell having it be binary compatible with the version of Office that I might have.

    Bah, StarOffice as a pay-ware front end to an open data format, is light years better than MS Office as a front end to MS's own data format.

  • Usual grumble (Score:5, Informative)

    by dagnabit ( 89294 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @08:15PM (#3062726) Homepage

    I work for Sun, and submitted this story more than a month ago when we received internal email about the plans to charge for StarOffice.

    FWIW, here's the original email that was sent out on Friday, January 11:

    New Business Model for StarOffice/StarSuite 6.0
    I am pleased to announce some significant changes to the StarOffice marketing strategy and corresponding business model. Along with our top goals of enabling desktop sales for Sun and being a critical component of the Sun ONE software stack, StarOffice is moving to a revenue based model. The major changes to the business model are:

    Two products available to the market: (1)StarOffice/StarSuite 6.0 (Enterprise Edition) -- Sun sells & supports, (2) OpenOffice (Community Edition) -- free from and other sites outside of Sun

    Other changes will include:
    - Removal of the full function, no-charge downloads from Sun
    - StarOffice 6.0 and service offerings available on GSO prices list at FCS (per copy, site license, OEM and channel pricing)
    - Global distribution channels: GSO, OEMs, Retail, Sun Store

    The goal of this new business model is to generate revenue by providing a low cost, full featured office productivity alternative to the market place. Feedback from the market validates that customers are placing an economic value on StarOffice that is significantly greater than zero. This model allows Sun to generate new revenue from these customers willing to pay for StarOffice as well as creating pull for new systems, software and services revenue.

    For those customers that would like to use a basic office suite at no charge, a "Community Edition" will continue to be available via the project and other download sites outside of Sun.

    This is an exciting time for StarOffice as customers, partners, press and analyst community are eager for a viable alternative and highly supportive of our efforts.

    Over the next 90 days, SSG will be focused on delivering:

    • GSO Readiness programs -- enabling any sales rep to sell StarOffice
      • Sales kits, channel program, TCO analysis, white papers, demos
    • Enterprise Support programs
      • Training, consulting services and support offerings

    Stay tuned for more details on the specific programs and pricing to be available soon.

    Pat Sueltz
    EVP and GM, Software Systems Group

    • Re:Usual grumble (Score:3, Insightful)

      by djmitche ( 536135 )
      Sounds like Sun's made a pretty good decision for all inovlved. Value-added, low-cost (targetting a magic price somewhere between "free" and "what it's worth to ya"), and still open source (free-beer, free-speech). It's what took Linux from nothing to what it is today. Why not the same for an office suite?
    • I work for Sun, and submitted this story more than a month ago when we received internal email about the plans to charge for StarOffice.

      You mean you used to work for Sun until you submitted this story when you received an internal email?

      Dave ;)
  • by benmhall ( 9092 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @08:23PM (#3062767) Homepage Journal
    If Sun's releasing their own version of Linux [] I wonder if it will come with StarOffice, or if you'd have to pay for that too..

    (And for the record, I think this is great. If you aren't happy with OO, then pay your $35 and get a supported version. As long as SO and OO use the same code base, like Mozilla and NS, I think it's a good move by Sun.)

  • by briansmith ( 316996 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @09:10PM (#3062947) Homepage
    The new arrangement is the same one that they are already using with NetBeans, as far as I can tell.

    Sun will support a "commercial" version of OpenOffice called "StarOffice". The purchasers of StarOffice will get benefits (support, additional features, etc) that the users of the free OpenOffice version won't get. That seems fair and it provides an incentive for customers to help support OpenOffice financially.

    Some people might be cynical, but I think that the NetBeans/Forte arrangement has worked out pretty well. The Sun developers working on NetBeans work hard to make NetBeans great. They have to work on the Forte-only features but I think that the development of the Forte-only features benefits NetBeans as well (any architectural improvements in Forte must get pushed down to NetBean in order to keep them interoperable). I think things will work the same way with StarOffice and OpenOffice.
  • !free = good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Monday February 25, 2002 @01:04AM (#3063630)
    So StarOffice is now going seriously commercial. No more free StarOffice.


    This means that from now on, I can try to convince people to switch to StarOffice because it is less expensive. No longer do I have to worry about management taking me out of the bonus pool because I suggest switching to that free stuff, which is always:
    - Unsupported (Not that Microsoft's pay-per-incedence support is any better than Ms. Cleo.)
    - Promoting communism.
    - Hurting the economy by taking jobs.

    Seriously, Sun tried very, very hard to give StarOffice away (Though it could have done better.), and people just didn't catch on. Maybe now that StarOffice is the product of a big-name American computer company, and not just a free app by a little german company, I can finally convince all those asshole PHB's to switch.
  • by pointwood ( 14018 ) <`jramskov' `at' `'> on Monday February 25, 2002 @05:16AM (#3064092) Homepage

    Companies will like this - it adds credibility. If they are giving away this for free - how do they earn money on this? Can we be sure that they will continue to develop on this? (this is what companies are thinking!).

    As a student or normal user, you can just download Open Office and use that instead or maybe Staroffice will still be free for personal use - I could easily imagine that.

    No matter what, it would be cool to have Staroffice to replace MS Office. I'm not talking about the fact that it is open source, although that is great too, but it is *not* the most important thing IMHO. The greatest thing would be the open document format! It removes the possibility of lock-in and that is what currently binds people to MS Office and makes it difficult for companies to drop it.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson