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An Interview with StarOffice's Erwin Tenhumberg 16

Andy Updegrove writes "In this third interview in a continuing series, I interview Sun's Erwin Tenhumberg, in order to compare StarOffice 2.0 with the other leading software productivity suites that support ODF (previous interviews have focused on KOffice and OpenOffice). As in the previous interviews, Tenhumberg answers questions intended to showcase the strong (and the weak) points of his product in comparison to its competitors, and in order to showcase the rich and varied ecosystem of products that is growing up to support ODF. He also answers a second set of questions tailored to bring out what's unique about Sun's development efforts, and how StarOffice relates to OpenOffice. This interview is particularly informative on accessibility issues."
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An Interview with StarOffice's Erwin Tenhumberg

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  • by nbvb ( 32836 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:04AM (#15478768) Journal
    Don't you mean StarOffice 8?

    StarOffice 2 hasn't been around for quite a few years. It's from the days long before Sun bought Star Division. You know, back when they were a German company, and Hans was doing the tech support...

    I remember doing an install of StarOffice 4 for Macintosh, and having a big red stop sign pop up with a message "ACHTUNG! DAS INSTALL IST KAPUT!"

    Ahh, good times. :)
    • It's defintely StarOffice 8.0 I emailed the little "DaddyPants" thing to tell them there's an error, but they didn't fix it. Obviously, StarOffice 2.0 didn't even support ODF because... uh... there was no such thing.
  • This seemed to be a fairly objective view on the project. However there didn't seem to be much worthwhile meat.

    Summary: StarOffice allows for bundling of non-opensource pieces, and allows for paid support. OpenOffice gets more community support. Both have areas they can improve in, and are working on that. The best statement was that users who have MS Office and are happy with it probably don't have a good reason to switch.
    • True, people who are happy with MS Office today and dont worry about things like vendor lock-in have no reason to switch, RIGHT NOW

      But for how long? When switching costs are insignificant, the freemarket provides that product or service at its most efficient price. Car tires, garden hoses, ... When switching cost is high, the product will sell at substantial premium. Most cofee makers cost between 10 and 20$. If it uses a carafe that is specifically designed to fit a particular coffee maker, the cost o

      • I agree. I was summarizing what was said in the article. I also like the fact that if I save a document, I can share it with anyone, regardless of whether or not they've paid M$ for the rights to the latest Office document format. Open formats do mean a lot to me. Do they mean that much to the average user? Maybe not so much.
        • I am really frustrated that so many people confuse Open Standards with Open Source and Open Source with Free Software. I can understand people not believing in Open Source. Some believe in security by obscurity. Others believe their source code is their intellectual property that they dont want to disclose. I may not agree with them, but atleast their rationale is somewhat logical and understandable .

          But how can anyone even argue honestly that Closed Standards owned by a profit-making company that has

          • I believe Open Standards to be the greatest reason to switch away from MS Office, despite MS Office being one of the best products that MS makes. Again, I'm not sure most users care about Open Standards, though they probably should. Open Standards force people to upgrade whether they really need to or not.

            If you attend a sporting event, during varied moments people will either stand or sit. If you wish to continue to see the action, you must go with the flow of the crowd. If you don't, you fail to parta
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:27AM (#15479199) Journal
    Really oddly written interview, which 'synopsizes' the answers for the first page, and then presents the interview in toto below. Just skip the summary and jump to the meat of the article at "Part II, the Complete Interview".

    For the bulk of people familiar with MS Office but unhappy about the idea of paying $132 (for Office 2003) for a set of features the most of which they'll never even KNOW about much less use - OpenOffice is an outstanding choice.

    Systems now have so much horsepower that the slight performance hit for OO vs. MSOffice is nearly imperceptible (although I would still think hard about whether I'd suggest it for a lower-end machine).

    Frankly, the BSA and MicroSoft's antipiracy campaigns (as well as online validation) have been successful in this vein: where it would have been a no-brainer just to install the same copy of MS Office for grandma, cousin, brother, or friends,* now people seem to take licensing somewhat more seriously...and once they've already been ganked for $100+ for XP Home, they are more than willing to consider OO for FREE. Everyone I've installed it for has been very satisfied with it. So much so, in fact, that that "unspent" $100 in their pocket is usually (partly) spent on buying me a pizza for my work on their computer. That's better than I used to get.

    * one wonders if MS ever asks themselves how they GOT to be the standard OS in the first place?
  • by ingwa ( 958475 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @11:09AM (#15480027)
    I have a great problem with how the OO.o and SO people say that they are the reference implementation of OpenDocument. In fact, they are not! There are a number of features in the ODF that they don't support, e.g. frame based documents. Remember, the ODF is the result of a group of vendors agreeing, not only one and that is the strength of it. The other big free office suite, KOffice, has support for less of the features that ODF offers, but there are some areas where it is ahead.


    There are also some areas that are currently uncovered by ODF that will be defined in the near future, for instance pixel based layered images. The KOffice team is currently working on these file formats in cooperation with other image editor vendors, and the OO.o/SO team is very welcome to become part of the effort. However, we haven't seen much interest there yet.

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