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Comment **No Title** (Score 1) 183

It's so easy to bash companies with a profit motive.

But bashing Sun or bashing StarOffice or whatever anti-Microsoft solution (though bashing Microsoft is fine...) misses the point, IMHO.

At best, the referenced piece on ZDNet is ignorant. At worst, it'll be influential FUD-fodder.

To me, Linux is an important product (and way of building and distributing a product) that serves an important goal: widening the horizons of corporate IT types and regular computer users the world over to an \alternative\ way of thinking about software and computing in general.

StarOffice, in it's own weird way, is similar.

The Internet is a wonderful thing; the WWW could very well be *the* killer app of all time. Both of these things have proven the case, albeit in their infancy (in the case of the WWW), of the beauty and power of network computing. Think about it. We can all get to /. as long as we have a networked computing device with access to a browser. Most of us can do all of our non-device-dependent software development given appropriate access to remote computing resources. The coming wave of ASPs will be an interesting test of the viability of WWW-hosted applications.

I, for one, do not consider being responsible for sysadmin duties (backup included) to be gratifying. As long as I have reasonable access to my resources, I'm happy. X-Windows is a nifty 'portal', after all, right?!

So what does this all have to do with StarOffice and Sun? Even if it's not exactly what Sun has in mind, their endorsement of StarOffice -- and the relative ease and low cost of folks acquiring it for evaluation (if not deployment) -- will help open more minds to the fact that they can, in fact, exist without a traditional Microsoft/PC/desktop orientation. How's that? It's all about making them aware of \alternatives\.

Of course Sun wants to sell more hardware. Actually, I think their primarily interested in selling *something* that they believe in that helps them make money. I'm hopeful that they've learned that focusing on hurting MS doesn't necessarily help them. If they can enlighten the computing world to the benefits of network computing -- and we all can continue enlightening the world about \open source\ software, then the good guys can win without looking like hypocrites.

For now, let's applaud Sun for having a strategy to help users. StarOffice is a means, not an end. My preference is to always use GPL-ed stuff, but I'm even more passionate about having choice.

Let the games continue!

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