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Sun Microsystems

Star Office to become Open Source? 70

kwelty wrote in to tell us that this morning's Wall Street Journal has a bit more about Sun buying Star Office. The crazier bit tho (and the bit for while there currently is no URL following: "Sun, of Palo Alto, Calif., plans to make the Star Office applications available via the Internet and may give away the program's underlying source code free as well, these people said." Cross your fingers.
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Star Office to become Open Source?

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  • ..and a very good one at that. It has all the features you could ever want outside of Xemacs :-), and I must admit, their drawing module it quite powerful. One of it's best strenghts is that I think it has the best compatibility with M$Office - that was one of their main goals.
  • I just installed Star Office for Linux and it kicks MS Office's ass. It is very impressive. Microsoft is can now die!!!
  • At least we can compile it to our liking with the optimal compiling flags. With pgcc or what-not, it might run faster...
  • If Sun announces the purchase of StarOffice 5.1
    and a portal version, how will MSFT counter: Office for Linux?
  • So... using history as a guide, this leaves Micros~1 with only a few (all undesirable?) options.

    I can see the MS marketing strategists reviewing the ultra-secret plans from before to Kill netscape, kill Novell, Kill Apple, Kill Sun, Kill AOL, Kill Yahoo, Kill Oracle Kill Linus

    1. Make Micros~1 Office free
    - they lose big $$$ 'cause people replace
    or upgrade Office more often than their OS
    - they kill commercial office software and
    stay in the desktop office suite game.
    - can we say service pack 7??

    2. integrate Micros~1 Office with the OS
    ... and introduce even more bugs and security
    holes?? Actually, this wouldn't surprise me.

    3. intergrate Micros~1 Office with the browser
    If #2 results in a lawsuit, then do #3. Problem
    is that this will hurt their OS sales. Why buy a
    new OS if the old one does everything you want?
  • I'm not a professional Sun observer nor am I a professional Microsoft observer. But I don't like the idea of a big bully just being replaced by another one.
    Does Sun like GNU? Why should they? Do they like a community could make their software AND hardware obsolete? I don't think so.
    I'm suspicious toward sun, right now they got someone to kill. But what happens when Microsoft's gone?
  • The problem with Star Office is that the darned thing suffers from all the problems that Word suffers from: It's absolutely huge, runs like a dog, and has an "I own everything" user interface.

    I'd suggest that if it does go OS (which I doubt it will) that the Word and Excel import/export filters get taken out and the rest get thrown away.

    Wheat and chaff having been duly separated, the good bits should get turned into libraries and used with worthy products like Abiword [abisource.com].

    My ha'pworth.

    Vik :v)
  • Very much agreed! Searching through their site can be really strenuous.
  • It's slow. Really Slow. Really Really slow.

    I mean start it up and go out for coffee slow. Remember Corel Office for Java? It's that kind of slow. Have I mentioned that it's slow?
  • I had Corel Office for Java running on my old 486. Seeing how SO runs, I have the bad feeling that with a Pentium class machine and a good JIT that SO could have been outrun by a Java office suite.
  • This would make my day. Everyone knows open source makes things better.

    Right now i think staroffice sucks, but it's free (kinda) so i use it over applixware.

    It'd be much better if us open-sourcers were developing it.
    Patrick Barrett
  • This sounds great! Two things I'm interested in (1) What the HELL is Staroffice written in, and what GUI toolkit does it use (someone said some weird QT derivative, (2) It's a nice GUI, and if it was extracted and made into a GUI/API Framework, possibly companies could use it to port their apps to linux easier. Nonetheless, I use Staroffice 5.1 everyday under linux, and it's great - a good, solid, well-featured app. Only thing is, will Stardivision be under Sun, or will all those developers just disappear...
  • Considering Sun's track record with quote-unquote open source licenses, I seriously doubt this will happen. If it does, it's going to be something like the "Sun Community Source License" a.k.a. the "We can take advantage of the latest buzz and still give nothing back to the community" license, which is nearly worthless since it makes it virtually impossible for people to make modifications to the source and be able to redistribute them. (See the Blackdown Linux JDK port for reference on how difficult it is to be an open development group and still work within the boundaries of Sun's SCSL.)

    In short, I'll believe it when I see it.


  • If this is true, then Sun is probably going to put it under their SCSL. If they do that, it won't be open source, since SCSL puts limitations on redistribution.
  • This is great news for all users of Star Office. Sun has said they plan to release almost everything under the Community Source License, and it is good to see them keep their word. If you are interested, I wrote an article regarding why Sun bought Star Office [osopinion.com]. For those who see this as a desktop only issue, the conclusion may suprise you.
  • This is outstanding. I have been afraid (very afraid) support for certain OSs might disappear. Oh yeah, I was just talking to a friend of mine at Sun this morning about Sun and Star Office......his lips were sealed. Maybe now I know why.
  • Given their questionable involvement in the open-source effect, this would give them the chance to release something to the OSS community that doesn't really bite into their core business (which right now appears to be selling servers and Java-related stuff). And there's every chance that an open-source StarOffice could integrate with an open-source Mozilla, providing the free counterpoint to Office/IE.

    Sun saves on developers and time (unless they just intended to buy it and let it stagnate); they get brownie points with the free-software geeks; they get a competing office product that's already nicely cross-platform.
  • Sun hates M$, M$ rules because of Office, Sun sees the potential in Linux, Sun buys StarOffice, Open sources it(kind-of, for the PR, PHBs) Communinity makes it SuperNova Office, Bill becomes a pauper when M$ stock plummets, hilarity ensues.
  • If I remember correctly Bill sold off most, if not all, of his M$ stock a while back.
  • I doubt it, Sun has not been one to entirely embrace the open source market. I could see Sun keeping it free - and developing a Mac version. (insane laughter at M$) But I have this funny idea that Sun Open Sourcing Staroffice is wishful thinking.

  • I would love to see StarOffice go open source. I think it a very nice program, being able to run it under linux and (god forbid) windows, the good integration with M$ Office, and a fairly efficient interface. As much as I like it, I think it too bloated (~70 meg download is too much) and suffers from M$ envy. Star Division seemed to be making M$ Office for linux which I don't want. I would love to see the open source community get their hands on this program and make it quicker, more usable, and create a complete replacement for Micro$oft Office. I would love to be able to start recommending this program to Windows and linux users alike. A good office program, compatible with M$ Office, is one of those things that is keeping linux out of a number of corporate environments.

    -- All misspellings and grammatical errors courtesy of yours truly --
  • (1) What the HELL is Staroffice written in

    C++, AFAIK

    and what GUI toolkit does it use

    StarView, I believe (a home-grown C++ API/Framework -- see next item)

    (2) It's a nice GUI, and if it was extracted and made into a GUI/API Framework, possibly companies could use it to port their apps to linux easier.

    Already done, although StarDivision no longer markets this (why not??). I played with it several years ago when I was a Windows programmer (Win3.0/3.1 days). At that time, cross-platform was not an issue, so we ended up using Borland's OWL. Had a Unix version been part of the req'ts, it definitely would have gotten the nod. The API even implemented MDI and WinHelp on *nix, plus it was a very clean API (unlike MFC).

  • >Why buy a new OS if the old one does everything >you want?
    simple... just up the version number, make a few interface changes... and people will flock to buy the upgrade.
  • The two most important applications for a desktop computer today are games and games, and then a browser...
  • will there really be an effor by the open source community on star office? I think the source is just to big, especially considering download for start office is something like 36 megs. It is a good idea, but it may suffer the same fate as mozilla, where it will recieve some outside input, but not that much. Just My opinion thou. It will be nice if you find a bug, , but will you want to debug it? How long will it take to compile?
  • No doubt there are many proprietry components used in the development of Star Office. If the suite was open source, then either these components would also have to be open sourced, or there would have to be a lot of work put in to replace them with open source equivalents.

    This would be a similar venture to Netscape open sourcing Mozilla. The question is, will this project (if it eventuates) suffer from community and developer apathy in the same way as the Mozilla project?

  • Games: Quake* (supported by a small company called Id)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sun buys a company for millions of dollars. Gives away the software on Solaris, Linux, and Windows. And goes further, and gives away the source with the only limitation being that you can't resell it without paying a fee, but you can share it with anyone you desire and make as many mods as possible as long as you redistribute for free. This to me is an INCREDIBLE GIFT for a corporation to do, and sure, they have motives for doing it (as all atruism is self-serving), and all the Slashdot kiddies can do is whine whine whine. Basically, the zealots here are like Christians who won't accept donations from atheists.
  • SO's file conversion isn't perfect, but it would be great for the free software community to get its hands on it. I despise M$ Word, but my coworkers use it so I often have to read its files.
  • by Micah ( 278 )
    Uh-oh. Does that mean it's time to sell my Corel stock?

    And it has been doing so well lately.... *sigh*
  • The one actual change to the program mentioned by Sun so far (aside from generally more interest in server distribution) has been their intention to switch to XML for better compatibility. This is fantastic overall, even though XML makes fairly bloated files in terms of size.
  • 1) I don't see massive speed improvements coming anytime soon. Sun wants to push the server version. The press hype stresses the fact that so needs a powerful computer to run. So basically, they let the desktop version continure to have issues, so the thin-client version looks very attractive in comparision. The Sun Community Source License gives Sun final control of all patches. Which means you can expect simple bugfixes (it crashed when I did this, so I fixed it) to be used, but anything bigger is very doubtful.
    2) Ouch. What does this mean for poor Corel? Yes, I know that WordPerfect is vastly superior in many ways, but its recent mild resurgence in the Windows world has had a lot to do with its positioning as a low-end office suite. Manufacturers looking for a cheap way to add value need look no further than StarOffice. Not a big deal in the short run, but it could prove really dangerous eventually to those poor Canadians.
    3) Hopefully they just won't bloat it any further. Do what MS has always hoped to do: wait for hardware to catch up. With 128 megs of RAM and a 600+ mHz PC, SO would be quite bearable.
    4) Anybody used Applix Anywhere, Applix's free-ish Java office suite? Man, that's slow as a dog. Wonder how it's doing commercially.
  • All I wanna know.
  • Yep. If true (about open sourcing StarOffice), this is a clear second front on the assault on MS's market share. "Cutting off their air supply", to quote Microsoft from a different context.

    Linux is depriving MS of sales on the OS front, and a free office suite would do the same on that front. StarOffice already runs on Windows and (IIRC) on Macintosh as well as Linux, providing obvious migration paths. (At least one Windows user I know of has switched to StarOffice just so it'll be easier if/when he later switches to Linux.)

    It could have some of this effect even without being GPL'd if it's, say, 'free beer' software or almost open source, but the effect will be much bigger with a real open license. Meanwhile Sun can bundle it with Solaris or as a Java client and make its money on that side. (It needs to justify the cost of buying StarOffice to its stockholders somehow.)

    Interesting that the most active stock on the market this morning was Applix, up $7 or so, on the strength of its Applixware for Linux. Corel is also up. The market obviously recognizes some potential there. Microsoft can't be happy about this. (Wonder if it'll prompt an "Office for Linux"? Smart move would be to develop that in-house but hold it until Windows and Office sales are really starting to hurt.)

    (BTW, Bill has enough invested in other things that he's unlikely to ever be a pauper even if MS stock went to zero. And he could always get a job as a programmer, if there's any market for Basic)

  • That would be because microsoft.com is probably the single most useless site on the internet. It has an incredible amount of information, but they put a lot of effort into making it impossible to find.

  • Is an extremely interesting idea; maybe if it happened hordes of developers would descend on it and speed it up some... all major distributions would include it, and it would be usable for commercial purposes. It would be even nicer if it was released under the LGPL, GPL or the "Artistic" license instead of Suns Community license.
  • It's already waaay ahead of where Mozilla started out. But I still shudder to think of the AMOUNT of source code that will have:

    -rw-r--r-- 1 straker skunk 147813223 Mar 11 2000 soffice-5.2.tar.gz

    I swear, that sucker's going to make the XFree86 source tarballs look manageable :-]
  • 36 megs?! i wish, it was more like 70+!!

    however, you gotta remember it's an entire office suite with a weird kind of microsoft desktop emulator thingy.

    hopefully, you'd be able to get the source for each separate module -- like they aren't coupled together.

    and, i think your comment about mozilla is kinda FUD, cause there's a whole lotta interest going on now (and i think it's probably one of the most important projects (strategically) going). also, it wouldn't be released as something the community needed to "fix", anyway...
  • Star Office dev team/mgmt = SO.

    33. The money may not be in end-user licensing--but in selling consulting time to modify SO scripts that automate the document flow of a company (think VBA).

    32. The money may not be in end-user licensing--but in consulting time to link together Oracle Financial/SAP R/3 logic with custom made SO documents and spreadsheets.

    31. The money could come from create Sun "MS Terminal Server--like" VNC servers that serve hundreds of SO sessions--companies and schools can save on administration with this method of deploying SO.

    30. It took a long time to educate enough people to script MS Office a certain way--it certainly will be the same situation with Sun's SO--this means advertising money, creating a certification infrastructure money--to balance the balance sheet consider utilizing the cheaper development model of GNU software and third party documentation--this is most effective if a significant percentage of your SO developers and technical writers comes from the hungry and over-drive world of OSS.

    29. End-user licensing is unhealthy when you use existing non-net-download methods. The cost is high (paid to distributors of glossy boxes), the erratas late (wait for the next version boxes), and the only people you can contact in the view of end-users is Sun's SO division, not their local consultants.

    28. With net-distribution, you save on bandwidth (each download would be the glorious 500+ Megabytes after all) with source and executable mirrors.

    27. Consumers will associate SO download with visiting local SO Consultant's website--which happens to be an important source of executable and source mirrors--even distributors of physical cds--but they are SMART DISTRIBUTORS--be they certified by SO certifications or Sun employees--Consumers would immediately be exposed to the possibility of scripting and customizing their product--hiring consultants--Sun can get revenue by training consultants and testing consultants as SO gain important customization features.

    26. If GPLing the source of SO provides the incentive and thus trend and drive for consumers to download from SO mirrors--this will educate them to the importance of getting persistant connections such as cable modem and dsl--with these connections as the norm Sun technicians can better remotely login to user's computer and fix problems, educate, and enhance copies of software. Again, lowering technical support hours and effectiveness. (Tools like VNC enable SO technicians to visually remote control Macs, PCs, and UNIXes, servers and even dumb terminals to debug settings and problems)

    25. In return for consumer investment in DSL and cable modem--Sun can push other net-reliant technologies like Sun webservers and java products. Opening the channel to other products. (This is a long stretch--sorta like saying the hog that Win9x/Office has helped bring about the requirement for powerful computers that could finally make use of unix's many great features--bringing about a renaissance of Linux--so I'm making the analogy to requirement of DSL and cable modem to get work done as opening the floodgate to the use of java and other net products)

    24. Making SO on Java work is a trillion dollar proposition. It involves the assumption of more than just getting networking to work--it's reliable java stations and java servers, programmers understanding the ins and outs of the latest Java technologies. Let's talk about educating programmers... What's the chance that your everyday no-cs education programmer will care about the source of JFC? How about SO on Java? How about the scripts that automate SO on Java? It's like a stepping ladder--there are more interest as you get more higher level. But most importantly--if you closed any of the tiers (JFC/SO/Scripts for SO) it gives scripting programmer doubts--who can they trust nearby who actually seen and played with the codes? Who can fix the bugs? GPLing SO on Java helps to bring future programmers and scripters confidence they'll find support nearby--maybe even for free. The argument gets better when you realize with the GPL developers will read SO's source even if they only use a tiny portion of SO's code for a totally unrelated project--but I'm saving this for a latter point.

    23. GPLing SO has the way of also answering anothe important question with the first choice. The question is When do we GPL? The first choice answer is now. The second choice is later. The mozilla project suggests now. The Darwin/Quicktime Streaming Server suggests now. Why? What's their incentive? Finding out could help you determine what role SO is about to take on when it's popular among MS Office folks. Here are my assessments: 1. They feel their users/developers could benefit from these product's compliance with standards--somehow they determine that GPL help them achieve that goal. 2. That their users/developers would choose their products over non-GPL products because they have access to key technologies they can take home and use in other projects (Mozilla's Gecko renderer as activex object for example, or the Rhino drop in javascript on java product, or the XML renderer)--some how the decision to GPL now helps them find developers who use the exact same technologies in diverse industries but these developers as a result can contribute to the future health of Mozilla and Darwin/QT Streaming Server product)

    22. GPLing SO will help business users with weather-worthy old computers to walk away from your SO-Customer relationship with less "abandonware" pains. When some SO developers and SO consultants move on to fresher products of the future--business users can walk their path knowing they can try to hire a developer who can tackle and repair the bugs not only associated with busines logic written in scripts--but unforseenable bugs that reside in SO's executables and libraries.

    21. SAP R/3 products that are based on a solid DB+OS+NET+IRON can now trust on a few stable fundation. They'll be able to incorporate SO onto the age old hierarchy (SO+DB+OS+NET+IRON). Before we get theoretical. I can see it already as a more document or spreadsheet oriented front-end to business logic--one small businesses and big businesses are familiar with--with the help of extensive exposure to web sites. This aids businesses to make more money with your products.

    20. Businesses can also use such a SO+DB+OS+NET+IRON to isolate softwares that needs to be designed in the most scalable way and request proper and real world modifications to SO. The end result being a serious development track of SO that could benefit SO on Java. You'll be able to understand better than Microsoft what it is like to create a Office application designed for scalability--giving administrators and MIS people the same benefit of reliability and ease of configuration.

    19. There will be businesses already sold on this idea of extending SO for scalability even if you never spend on dollar on researching this possibility. Giving them the GPL source allows you to freely benefit from such end-user development and research (which may go very far--as one can see with NASA's contribution to Linux's networking kernel and NIC driver research in order to benefit from a working Beowulf product).

    18. A user like NASA doing the extending for you has a way of not only doing research for you. But supporting the product without you. Reselling the product without you. This is all very scary to those who rather entertain the possibility of one copy of software = one check sent to Sun economy--those in Sun and SO's competitors (MS/Corel/IBM/Apple). But the only one who can giggle AND be nervous at the same time is Sun/SO--because NASA would be using your software--not someone elses. Other's have nothing to celebrate.

    17. Outside developers sympathetic to BeOS/MacOS/Research OSes/Embedded OSes/Evil Empire OSes/UN*X varients users would not forget your GPL'ed code base--they'll try to port these products to these platforms. To the users of these platforms--Sun would finally be seen as a champion of popular software--not just expensive super-computer research. And they'll be open to related products Sun has to sell them.

    Bonus Point for Free. I lost my points 16-10 when netscape crashed due to what I suppose is an buffer overload to the slashdot reply forms. I went around looking through the core files and found nothing. No backup. Nah dah. Good thing I copy and paste 33-17 to a text file and have perfect memory of points 16-10. Unlimited undos, journaling of all changes, and all sorts of features might need SO's own team to develop--but your dedication to a GPL'ed source will mean that other products of unrelated nature will benefit from SO's components in the future. Imagine a drop-in unlimited undo-history module to enhance the text frame one would definitely love to have when perl scripting a quick and dirty application. If something breaks you get a free bug report--even since these group of users are in the 3rd-world countries--not using a full-blown PC--but rather a setup-box. Maybe I didn't remember all 16-10 points. Oh well. Let's hope future generations of computer users can benefit fully from Sun/SO's innovation.

    16. Don't remember.

    15. Don't remember.

    14. Don't remember.

    13. Don't remember.

    12. I'm going to extend out my neck and claim what's important to wordprocessor and spreadsheet business users and consultants of past and future--they're ultimately very excited about these things: a) potential great music that can be produced from an amazing relationship between the scripting engine and the application/b) amazing scripting engine features and ability to bring the proper features to the surface and hide the unnecessary features out of the executable when the consultant is customizing the product for a business/c) ability to not only add to SO through things like MS's ActiveX objects (which is basically BONOBO in Linux) and not excited at all about these things: x)speed of scripting engine--especially if it's an proprietary engine--learn from BeOS--they don't force any scripting language on anyone/y)number of features in new applications when they aren't exposed to scripting engine or very useful even when exposed/z)huge manuals that explain all the new features to those who need it and those who don't. Conclusion/Claim: GPL fuels the real world touch and experience and dynamic nature of the former (a/b/c) where as close-source fuels the research oriented touch of the latter (x/y/z).

    Another Bonus Point for Free. GPLed software based of mature and large projects does not force outside developers and contributors to the fundation source base to use SO or understand all of SO in order to sustain their contribution to SO. Even if they try to make a tiny technology inside of SO work (like Rhino in Mozilla) for them--this little technology could play a key role (say a unlimited undo text editing module from SO) in set-up boxes--without any managers knowing. The technology and brain-share is helping SO--however--it will concentrate on key technologies. It's always rewarding when someone out there make it their No.1 to make sure an seemingly unimportant part of your project work well and perfectly in the real world--it gives you a chance to leave features in even if you lack the programming money or time to sustain it otherwise.

    11. The interest of wordprocessor and spreadsheet users and consultants are in automating these documents as a poor-man's way of bringing business logic to the webserver scripts running on the same computer. Give them the piece of mind that thousands of eyeballs are looking and fixing security bugs that may exist in SO and the scripting engine or architecture SO may deploy--just as major webserver projects and scripting engines for webserver projects GPL their source. Why don't they adapt a Sun half-ass OSS licensing like the Sun community license? Because under that shadow there are no incentive to use the source. Potential eye-balls will only use something they can apply elsewhere for free--free to modify at will. Only retarded idiots will submit to the reading of thousands of lines of source code which will benefit no one but SO developers.

    10-1. That's Letterman's job.
  • Soffice is written in C++.
  • StarOffice open sourced nice. Sun paid $14 million to take off-the-market a competing productivity suite from LightHouse Design.

    O-O written in Obj-C, using OPENSTEP (open spec) API's, Open Source community should liberate this suite of applications. Wordproc, spreadsheet, flowcharting, outlining and presentation graphics, the LightHouse suite was very cool&

    Why opensource a wordproc when you can ask for the entire suite?

  • Starting up SO on a P90 with 80megs takes less than 30 seconds. It's just a memory pig, so if you have 64MB, the load time starts to get really long.
  • Lefty: When they send for you, you go in alive, you come out dead, and it's your best friend that does it.
  • A lot of interesting observations about SO have been made here already: RAM hunger, excess config, interface hogging, Licence issues, etc. Don't hold your breath for Sun to fix any of this: they have publicly stated that SO is only a "bridge" product for StarPortal.

    It's therefore in Sun's commercial interest to drive workstation users off of the giveaway product and onto the portal version, for which they will collect big from the portal operators. I'm not sure yet how that will work out in terms of vendor independence: will you be required to store your docs on the portal operator's disk, etc.? We'll have to wait and see.
  • i think your comment about mozilla is kinda FUD,

    think that all you wish. I am only stating what I have heard about the project. It is getting more actoin now, cause it is actually usable, but how many outside developers compared to inhouse developers do thay have? like percentages? I have heard that there are mostly in house development. I'd love to find out otherwise thou, so if you have other info please share it with me.

  • I read the paragraph on page B4 of the WSJ and it says that an announcement will be made Tuesday, so hopefully we will learn more then. It also looks like the blurb may only be available in WSJ's pay section.
    I thought of posting my thoughts on this in response to the earlier Freshmeat article responding to the Open Letter to Red Hat, but they make more sense here.

    An open source office suite like KOffice or Gnome Office does not attack the real issue.

    • The first priority should be a cross-platform Office Suite. An Office suite just for Linux doesn't instantly make people switch to Linux instead of Windows. Applix, Wordperfect, and StarOffice already exist and the defection has not occurred. We can all complain about how much these Suites suck, but MS Office sucks too. People will put up with the pain if the gains are worth it. It worries me a bit that SUN is now in control of the most platform independent Office Suite and they have a vested interest in one of the platforms. StarOffice needs to be ported to Mac (the second most popular desktop OS). They used to promise it on their web pages but after months of non-delivery it disappeared without notice.
      I am an ASIC engineer and in my field you often end up with the marketing and sales people on Windows boxes and the engineers on UNIX boxes having to fight through Word DOC email. I love UNIX and would love to have it on my desktop, but that doesn't mean that I think we should put UNIX on all of the marketing departments machines. People should be able to choose their platform and I think an Office Suite that empowers this will be rewarded. Right now people in our office can't even use Mac if they want to, because MS Office doesn't interoperate very well.
    • The Suite must start out as Word DOC compatible or noone will care. Even if my company switches to StarOffice our customers will still send us files in Word format and only be able to read Word format. Fortunately switching DOC formats hurt MS so bad that Office 2000 is compatible with '97, SUN should take advantage of this extra time to make document exchange perfect.
    • SUN should try and work with WordPerfect and Applix to create an open document format that all Office Suites agree on. This won't be perfect, but at least as an open standard they should be able to read each others formats. SUN will not succeed if they let MS control the file format, and SUN should be smart enough to realize that they should not try to take on MS with the same proprietary attitude.
    • I hope that SUN understands that this is the best way to attack MS. AFAIK MS makes more money on their Office suite than on their OS. Star used to give Office away to non-commercial users, and they were far from pulling in one-tenth of what MS was. However much money SUN might make on StarOffice won't make a dent in their bottom line. However providing an OfficeSuite to any platform will encourage more people to use more SUN products, where they can actually make the money (Java licenses, Solaris sales, and workstations). If SUN wants to make money off of StarOffice they should not let that get in the way of making it open source. Do not try to take on MS on their own terms; in this case selling a proprietary Office Suite.
    • The two most important Applications for any desktop OS today are a browser and an Office Suite. With Mozilla and StarOffice maybe we will finally have a chance to have people give *nix a try.
    • A lot of people have been disappointed by the Open Source community response to Mozilla, however I think the problem has been that when Mozilla started their codebase sucked. The project made the correct decision to rewrite everything, but until I can hack on the same code I use on a daily basis I probably won't contribute any code, the itch isn't there. If StarOffice is actually decent code and SUN doesn't piss of the OpenSource people too much, maybe they will see a greater response than Mozilla. Equally as likely is that the code blows as much as Netscape 4.x and there will be a transition period similar to Mozilla that SUN will have to be tolerant through.
    PS Other people have commented on the SCSL. I don't know much about this so I won't speak directly on it; except to say that I'm not a big fan of the GPL and "GPL or else" campaigns. GPL is not that great for companies, something more like the license Mozilla is under would make more sense and hopefully still make the community happy.
  • I hope morer people get involved into OSS StarOffice than they did Mozilla.

    Things that make SO cool:
    It does everything I need an office suite to do.

    Things that make it suck really hard:
    1) It does everything I need an office suite to do VERRY SLOWLY.

    2) it tries to replace desktops rather than integrate with them.

    3) make it smaller. with the propritary staticly linked API's, it really takes a toll on 32 megs of ram which is already taken by either GNOME or KDE. Hell I remember when 32megs wal more than anybody needed (about a year and a half ago).

    4)It ahs WAY too much configuration options. KISS man, KISS.
  • Regardless if they put it under their SCSL license, it is basically Sun saying to the world, "Hey! Here's our latest attack at Microsoft! FREE Microsoft Office clone! Not only does it work on our machines, but just about ANY machine! Enjoy!"

    We don't necesarily need the source code, the fact stands that Sun has a marketing machine and can make it very well known that there is a free MS Office clone out there that works on just about any computer.

    Converting people is one thing, but have you seen how much MS Office costs these days? If the features people want are in a freebie, they might just switch.

  • If nothing else, this will let all the other suites add the read/write ability of office97 formats to their packages. That would really be the best thing that could come from all of this.

    Civ CTP is awesome! Thanks Loki!
    Romans 10:9-10 [gospelcom.net]

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982