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Is StarOffice Ready To Take On Office?

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the should-it-even-battle dept.

Sun Microsystems 439

A reader writes "CNET has an article about: Is StarOffice ready to take on MS Office? A quote: "Bottom line for Sun and StarOffice: If you keep aiming where Microsoft has already been, then your opportunities will be in China. A better tactic is to take aim at where the IT market is going to be and your opportunities will be much wider.""

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Short answer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2256965)


Longer answer (-1)

ubertroll (153053) | more than 12 years ago | (#2256984)

Who cares?

Re:Longer answer (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257061)

It rubs the lotion on the skin.

Re:Longer answer (-1)

ubertroll (153053) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257079)

Do you follow some kind of lotion fetish?

Re:Longer answer (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257157)

It rubs the lotion on the skin or else it gets the hose again.

Re:Longer answer (-1)

ubertroll (153053) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257164)

Oh, that one, yeah, was kinda funny.

Take on this (-1)

ubertroll (153053) | more than 12 years ago | (#2256969)

* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a| | \ | | a
t| `. | | : t
s` | | \| | s
e \ | / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~--| \ | x
* \ \-~ ~-\ | *
g \ \ .--------.__\| | g
o \ \_// ((> \ | o
a \ . C ) _ ((> | / a
t /\ | C )/ \ (> |/ t
s / /\| C) | (> / \ s
e | ( C__)\__/ // / / \ e
x | \ | \\__// (/ | x
* | \ \) `---- --' | *
g | \ \ / / | g
o | / | | \ | o
a | | / \ \ | a
t | / / | | \ |t
s | / / \/\/ | |s
e | / / | | | |e
x | | | | | |x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *

Re:Take on this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257047)

you rule man!

Re:Take on this (-1)

ubertroll (153053) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257052)

I know.

Re:Take on this (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257089)

That looks like the kind of 'wide opportunity' that Taco would jump all over.

China (4, Funny)

szcx (81006) | more than 12 years ago | (#2256973)

Bottom line for Sun and StarOffice: If you keep aiming where Microsoft has already been, then your opportunities will be in China.
Is that a Bad Thing? China is a pretty big market.

Re:China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2256998)

It's not that big if you can only sell 3 copies and suddenly the entire country has the software.

Re:China (3, Informative)

szcx (81006) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257016)

StarOffice is free. That's kind of the point.

Re:China (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257026)

Gee, thanks for the explaination you filthy shitbag.

Re:China (-1)

Shitsack Comments (256887) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257107)

"shitbag" is dangerously close to infringing on my trademark.

Re:China (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257147)

And you sound dangerously close to the RIAA.

Re:China (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257180)

The RIAA is full of shit.

Re:China (-1)

Shitsack Comments (256887) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257188)

So is my sack.

Re:China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257029)

Then who cares how far it can push into the corporate world? Really. If the developers are willing to do this work for free, why would they worry about taking away marketshare from MS?

Do it for the money, or do it for the love. Don't begrudge the other guy for doing it for reasons other than yours.

Re:China (2)

geomcbay (263540) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257102)

Then who cares how far it can push into the corporate world? Really. If the developers are willing to do this work for free, why would they worry about taking away marketshare from MS?

Well, Sun's reason for continuning to develop StarOffice is primarily to get people less dependent on Windows in general. If StarOffice were to become a valid competitor to Office it would allow people to install other operating systems, like Solaris, and get the same work done, since it is cross-platform.

Of course, anyone with any sense can see that in reality they are just pissing money away -- they'd need their application to be far and away better than MS Office to ever be a real threat -- the free price-tag isn't enough -- everyone knows the drill, IT managers are willing to pay for the hope of support & to avoid retraining costs & just general friction against change at this point.

Re:China (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257129)

Speaking of cross-platform StarOffice, how is the Mac port going? That would probably rank higher on the average IT manager's mind than desktop Unix.

Re:China - MS-Office is FREE in China too! (1)

microbob (29155) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257049)

MS-Office is FREE in China (and Japan and....)

Re:China (2)

geomcbay (263540) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257077)

China is a potentially large market that has become accustomed to getting software for free and won't pay for applications. Just like Linux users, really.

Re:China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257158)

Sure, China is a big market. However, you have to keep in mind that per capita disposable income in China is still in the 3 digit realm (in US$). I suspect your typical user (if they can afford a computer at all) is going to be spending much of that on software. Compound that with the Chinese government's "Sargeant Schultz" policy on software piracy. If I was a software developer, I don't think I'd be going out of my way to court such a market.


A Coward

OK, so I'm a coward. Sue me.

Free Cocaine Giveaway: @# +1 ; Interesting #@ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257191)

Only morons use "word processors". The l337
use vi.


Bottomline: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2256976)

No, Staroffice has a long way to go before most companies adopt it as their standard office app suite.

Microsoft owns that market, it's a logical outgrowth of their also owning the OS market.

Re:Bottomline: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257153)

Well, I work for a 40k employee (in USA) company that has StarOffice as the official office suite... Anyways, SO will gain market share, slowly but certainly. Its feature-full enough, free and open, compatible enough; just linux is steadily gaining ground.

Obvious innovations (5, Funny)

zpengo (99887) | more than 12 years ago | (#2256985)

StarOffice never even *had* a paperclip. How's that for innovation and wisdom?

Re:Obvious innovations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257008)

OpenOffice has a light bulb instead. True innovation, indeed.

It Won't be ready... (0, Offtopic)

int-21 (50528) | more than 12 years ago | (#2256990)

Until it comes with built-in Code red IV

StarOffice's ace in the hole (2)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 12 years ago | (#2256995)

First off, is being behind in feature creep really that bad of a thing?

The ace in the hole for StarOffice is that it is free. Who cares if it lacks some whiz-bang feature that most people hardly use, if it costs nothing?

That in itself makes it competitive.

Re:StarOffice's ace in the hole (2)

oddjob (58114) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257042)

So what if it costs nothing? If it doesn't help me get my work done, its worth nothing.

Re:StarOffice's ace in the hole (1)

gss (86275) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257112)

Ok so name one feature that Microsoft Word has that StarOffice doesn't that is preventing you to do your work. Not that easy to come up with something is it?

Re:StarOffice's ace in the hole (2)

Metrol (147060) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257190)

Ok so name one feature that Microsoft Word has that StarOffice doesn't

I got to thinking the same thing when a friend of mind needed a spreadsheet app installed on his laptop. He had Word 2000 preinstalled, and had saved a bunch of files with it, and all I had was a copy of Office 97. I figured this would be a prefect place to install StarOffice for his spreadsheet needs.

Turns out what he really needed was the Invoice template for Excel. No such quick templates come pre-installed with StarOffice, and I really didn't have the time to go looking. He ended up getting a copy of Office 2000 after all.

Mind you, this user was actually pretty happy with StarOffice, for what he used of it. Definitely not a power user. It was what would seem to be a relatively simple thing to a more advanced user became a major stumbling block for this one. There's a lot of focusing on these kinds of little things that Microsoft has done that keeps users in the fold. Competing apps need to keep this in mind as they atempt to make converts.

Re:StarOffice's ace in the hole (2)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257093)

Who cares if it lacks some whiz-bang feature that most people hardly use, if it costs nothing?

Where does this myth come from that Office is loaded with features no one uses? Please name me some features that "no one" uses.

Guess what? Almost every feature in Office was created from actual needs within companies.

Re:StarOffice's ace in the hole (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257184)

Yeah, I particularly love the resume wizard. Nothing like sorting through 20-30 identical resumes when searching for a creative, motivated, unique applicant to a position.

True story, It was unbelivealbe how many people just used the cookie cutter wizard to present themselves for a job.

Its not so much a feature thats not used, but a feature that shouldn't be used.

Re:StarOffice's ace in the hole (2)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257101)

"Who cares if it lacks some whiz-bang feature that most people hardly use, if it costs nothing?"

Are we talking about the same StarOffice here? The copy I've had the gross misfortune of using (version 5.2 -- the latest version, AFAIK) possess such useless features as:

  • A help-agent window that will not close when I click its little 'X' -- the best I can do is minimize it and shove the title-bar mostly off-screen.
  • A user-interface that duplicates the Windows desktop for no good reason
  • A built-in web browser -- at least MS has the excuse that all they're doing is providing a few hooks to IE

But wait! That's not all. You also get:

  • A level of stability that makes Microsoft Office look damn good in comparison
  • Mediocre support for Office document formats (admittedly, this is a tricky proposition, but it's also the one reason I actually use StarOffice)
  • Random interface bugs that'll make you yell, scream, and curse

Re:StarOffice's ace in the hole (2)

fleener (140714) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257114)

I agree. Word 95 does everything 98 percent of users need (except perhaps its being outdated in inport/export filters). Most business people only need basic word processing and that can be served by much less powerful suites than StarOffice.

Re:StarOffice's ace in the hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257160)

In much of the world, Windows and Office are free, too; or at least, VERY much priced below retail. Not legal according to MS, but to the locals, that's Redmond's tough luck. Now try competing just on price...

Staroffice is pretty crappy (0, Flamebait)

skrowl (100307) | more than 12 years ago | (#2256996)

Staroffice is nowhere near the quality of Office XP.

Corporate users care more about usability, standards, and TRAINING than license costs.

Re:Staroffice is pretty crappy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257058)

what standards you fucking troll

Re: standards -- hahahah (0, Flamebait)

microbob (29155) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257118)

Let see, like farking up .DOC formats between versions?

Geee, sounds like 'standard operating procedure' to me.

Re:Staroffice is pretty crappy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257128)

most corporate users are lemmings that can't think for themselves and use whatever they are told to use as a "standard". What in the hell standards does Microsoft follow? F U buddy!

Re:Staroffice is pretty crappy (1)

super-flex-o-matic (517410) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257152)

any way you can proove this? last time i got it installed the only "bad" thing was that it took a minute to start. but after starting it was a good working environment. don't corporate users also care about SECURITY ? ____ MacsAintComputers

Parallel to Win vs. Linux? (4, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257002)

Do you see a parallel to windows vs. linux?

The biggest point he's made is the user familiarity. Something difficult to overcome. Something that Linux has been working on to try and grab the Windows population.

Say what you must, but everytime I show KDE to Windows only users, they look puzzled. The minute I pop up a terminal, they're gone. Its the familiarity that's the hardest wall to scale. People don't like change.

Ready or Not (4, Informative)

geomon (78680) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257004)

Star Office is positioned to move forward, but they have not released anything for quite awhile. I have been waiting for something beyond the 5.2 release so that I can show our management that we can duplicate the current office app for less money.

StarOffice needs to get something out quick to keep the off-line (not .NET) crowd from finding another alternative.

Hell yes and it SHOULD look and act just like Offi (1)

microbob (29155) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257013)

See, what he doesn't get is when MS expires their current version of OfficeXX and there is a FREE version that does the same thing, I think people will naturally migrate to the FREE version.

Why pony up more $$$ for the new MS office?

These are frugal times.

Where are they going? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257015)

I don't care wether Sun is making improvements to exsiting features in MS Office or if they are adding new features, just as long as StarOffice can do what I need it to do.

staroffice question (2)

dougman (908) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257019)

Is StarOffice still a full suite only or can I download and use individual components?

Internet Radio!!!!

UltraRadio []

Re:staroffice question (2, Insightful)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257046)

The latest OpenOffice, based on the StarOffice codebase, is downloaded in one big chunk but then you can select which components to install. Rather than firing up the StarOffice "desktop" MDI, OpenOffice (as well as the next release of StarOffice) will be going to a more Unix-like single-window-per-document arrangement.

Re:staroffice question (2, Interesting)

jhittner (66567) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257091)

I dont think thats true from what I have read. StarOffice 6(not released yet) will be based on the openoffice code. Staroffice 5.2 is a totally different code base. Ive been using openoffice builds and they are far better then staroffice 5.2, and they also open microsoft word docs perfectly.

Correctness first. (3, Insightful)

davec (11882) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257020)

Before Star Office talks about taking on Microsoft Office, they should get the spreadsheet to give correct results. As it is now, I'd rather use Visicalc with an Apple ][ emulator.

Re:Correctness first. (-1)

ubertroll (153053) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257065)

I bet they used it at VA Linux to calculate their business plan.

Re:Correctness first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257097)


Slow Down Cowboy!

Slashdot requires you to wait 20 seconds between hitting 'reply' and submitting a comment.

It's been 7 seconds since you hit 'reply'!

Re:Correctness first. (1)

quamper (229753) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257087)

i've never had any problems using the spreadsheet module... can you give an example of something to try to generate erroneous data?

And I'm using the latest openoffice build which is quite a bit different from staroffice 5.2 so maybe thats it?

Informative my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257090)

How is this "informative" without even an example of where staroffice is supposed to be wrong?

Re:Correctness first. (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257100)

IIRC in the past two times that we have visited this topic (in the past week or two) we have already decided that the only way that SO can compete would be to have PERFECT conversion to/from MS. Problem is that they don't and by the time that they do MS will already have another Office Suite that will have to be supported...

It does not include NEARLY as many features necessary for GENERAL use..

Until SO gets these things they are toast.

Prove it (4, Interesting)

koekepeer (197127) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257138)

Show me some real life expamples where starcalc fails to give a correct answer when calculating. I mean real life.Show me a link to a site that shows the failure of starcalc and then I'll accept your argument.

Please, I'm not trying to start a war here, but I hear this kind of thing all the time "we tried this and that and application xyz didn't do it correctly". When these kind of things are stated by M$, we call that FUD, when Slashdot users post them we think it's a valid argument.

Sorry about the rant but it's the lack of nuance that drives me further and further away from the comments on /. , I just read the headlines now and follow the links, since discussions seemingly lead to nowhere nowadays. And it didn't get beter with the moderation system, but I won't start on that since my adrenalin is already at an all time high now.

Can you tell? ;)

(relax now, ease back, easy... easy... phew that was close)

mod me down i don't care, just had a BAD day

Not really (3, Insightful)

Ryn (9728) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257022)

A group of developers at my company has tried converting to StarOffice. That attempt has lasted for a couple of weeks, when people were trying to get the needed functionality out of the SO (something to do with spreadsheets). Bottom line is: we are still using MS Office, and no matter which way you look at it, it's simply allowing better functionality. Office 2000 may not be the best app bundle in the world, but it certainly does the job better than SO.

Re:Not really (2)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257189)

I think the problem with StarOffice is that they don't have their business apps well-designed like you get with Microsoft Office apps. Now you know why Microsoft spends a fortune on their Usability Lab, which has almost no competition from other companies.

I don't know if that's the point (3, Interesting)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257023)

My feeling is that Sun StarOffice exists because Microsoft is poking a stick in Sun's eye (big servers), so Sun is poking them back (office suites). If big name vendors such as IBM/Lotus and Corel/WordPerfect could field full featured suites and utterly fail to compete on price with Microsoft, it won't be any different with Sun.

That, and as an eat-your-own-dogfood shop, Sun probably felt having a piece of essential internal infrastructure under the control of a small company teetering on the edge of existence was probably a bad idea.

Now, when Microsoft's OEM licence practices are altered by the courts, StarOffice may well become a standard OEM freebie. However, that doesn't mean that many corporate users will or could switch.

Re:I don't know if that's the point (1)

microbob (29155) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257071)

it won't be any different with Sun

But, but, but, SO is FREE. Those other losers can't compete with an entrenched software package by charging. The very same reason MS didn't charge for IE, there was no way the could dislodge NS if they charged. Same if only SUN can get it bundled with Win at the OEM level.

Re:I don't know if that's the point (3, Informative)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257098)

But, but, but, SO is FREE.

First of all, Sun will be charging for support contracts, so not quite free for most corporate use.

Also, IBM tried offering SmartSuite essentially for free to shops they had a relationship with. They were also bundling it with their PCs and selling it very cheap at retail. The result was that they got very very few users -- I worked for a place that tried to standardize on it, but rampant MS Office piracy and document compatibility pretty much killed that idea.

Re:I don't know if that's the point (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257155)

The fact that IBM failed at marketing a certain product is no indicator that another company will fail at marketing a similar product. IBM is notoriously bad at marketing, so you can't use them as an example.

Re:I don't know if that's the point (1)

dirtydog (51697) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257086)

If you think that Mickeysoft is running on big servers, then you need to rethink your definition of big. Micro$haft can't even get into what is Sun's low end of midrange, let alone the BIG stuff. The best they can do is to compete with a minimal E220 or maybe a 420, and that's just for CPU and memory. The Wintel box will still get the shit kicked out of it in I/O.

Re:I don't know if that's the point (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257105)


I'm glad you're still living in 1998. Wake the fuck up.
Sun's U3 boxes can't even beat Dell 8-way Xeons in the SAP benchmarks. The 32 way Unisys Win2k box beat the 64 way Sun box in the SAP benchmarks. How's that for I/O? Check the SAP site yourself.

Re:I don't know if that's the point (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257117)

Thinking specifically of the 32-CPU Unisys boxes, which are being marketed with sweetheart deals specifically towards Sun customers. No, I don't know how many they've sold or where they line-up against Sun's product line.

Re:I don't know if that's the point (2)

Squirrel Killer (23450) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257161)

...StarOffice may well become a standard OEM freebie.
Actually, I've seen StarOffice OEM installed on some eMachines, not that that's a ringing endorsement...


It's already there (4, Funny)

fobbman (131816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257035)

"A better tactic is to take aim at where the IT market is going to be and your opportunities will be much wider."

Considering much of the IT market has been laid off in the last 12 months I'd say that giving it away is keeping pace with that. The only way they could do it any better would be to provide CD's of StarOffice at the local soup kitchens.

Only if Free is needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257043)

Do I think Star Office is good enough? Yes.
Will I be able to convince Co-workers to use it? No.
Unfortunately, nobody is willing to learn to use something else. "It costs too much to retrain.." In short, "free" is the only selling point that Star office has. Joe Average could care less about XML as the document format.... You get my drift.

Web Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257059)

Star Portal, or Star-whatever they are calling it now, has some real interest to me. Imagine distributing a free office suite to anyone on your LAN via web servers. And they could dial in or use broadband and get the same thing. But it won't be useful until they ditch the way it loads an entire Star Office environment every time. Who wants that?

Re:Web Version (1)

quamper (229753) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257111)

they are moving away from that it seems. At least in the latest openoffice build (which is comperable to the SO 6 release) they did away with the gawd awful integrated desktop because no one wanted it and it was buggy as hell (proof open source projects do tailor to the user) and they are making everything more modularized so things load faster..

I've been running open office at home for a while now and other than an occasional word import quirk I've been more than happy.

It even does pivot tables nicely

Revision tracking (2)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257060)

Does StarOffice have tracking of revisions yet? That was one of the features that I noticed it lacked last time I looked at it (a while ago, admittedly). Without that feature, they might as well well forget any serious usage.

Re:Revision tracking (2)

bwt (68845) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257186)

If their native document format is XML based, why not just use CVS?

Funny (3, Insightful)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257063)

The funny part is that you state:

Is StatOffice Ready To Take On Office?

Note that you don't have to state MS Office, because everyone already knows what you mean. No, StarOffice is not ready to take on Office.

Ask the plebs (5, Interesting)

nagora (177841) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257069)

We've had a new office assistant (human, not software) working for us for the last week and I don't think he actually knows that I've put him on SO instead of MSO. For a lot of tasks at the lower-end day-to-day market SO is already more than many people need. It seems too limited for accountants but at a price of £30 as opposed to £511, it's pretty damn good.


It needs perfect import/export (2, Insightful)

bobalu (1921) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257072)

What it really needs to make it is perfect file compatibility with Office. When you multiply the cost of Office by thousands of employees it's a serious chunk of change, and in a recession some smaller companies might finally be willing to try it.

Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (0, Troll)

Shoeboy (16224) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257075)

Well this is exactly what I expected from CNET, a load of FUD. Let me dispel some of the myths in this article:

Myth: Office has a broad range of functionality.
Fact: Office is a buggy useless piece of crap like all microsloth applications. All it's good for is pissing you off with that damned paperclip.

Myth: Office makes you productive.
Fact: Linux makes you more reproductive. Chicks dig it, and the spreadsheet in Star Office can tell you which ones are ovulating. Where are your priorities.

Myth: Star office is not suited for the US corporate desktop.
Fact: Star office is made by Sun, a comany name that is not easily ridiculed. By contrast, Microsoft is regularly referred to as Microsloth, Microsucks, Micro$oft, and Micro~1 on slashdot. Who'se better suited for the corporate desktop now, bitch?

Remember slashdot rule #12: No matter how illogical, factually incorrect or malicious it may be, it's not FUD if it attacks Microsoft.

Your friend,

IT departments finding out what their users use? (1)

klevin (11545) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257076)

"Ahhhhh! No, not that! Why would we want to find out what the users want and use? We might have to think then!"

I'm sure there are IT/IS departments out there that are intelligent and responsive. I just haven't found one. My latest example: the IS department where I work just rolled out a web page that allows someone who is using a machine that's not logged into the Windows Domain (i.e. someone running a Linux system) to change their domain password. The domain password for the main WIndows Domain is used for all IS run file servers and also for email accounts (we have the privilege of using Exchange server for email). So, this a good thing, right? Wrong. Why is that, you ask? Because this webpage only works if you're running IE on Windows. Turns out that the only reason for this page is for people who are remotely logged into the network (and thus are in a different domain). So, I email IS to ask them about this, and their response was that IE was the "Corprate Standard", now go away. Never mind that they could just ask for the username and current domain password before allowing changes, rather than using some funky "WWW-Authenticate" method, that might make things easier.

It needs (2, Interesting)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257080)

1) Better word filters, it's beaten up a couple of my .docs
2) Better gui integration, I don't need it to take over my desktop, it should just sit in there like every other program. I HATE primadonna projects that add self importance by taking up desktop real estate (what the hell do I want some video game adding hundreds of desk icons and taskbar AND everything else it can under windows).
3) Drop in support. You gotta add this to your path and add this and add this, for functionality that is ALREADY in your directory hierarchy. Why can't they just use the same directories everyone else does? I have a /home, a /usr/bin, and all that already, I don't need /usr/share/local/staroffice/home & bin & multiple layers of symbolic links

Re:It needs (2, Insightful)

shinji (34318) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257136)

I hate the fact that people say it needs to have better this filters and importers. (My documents can't be imported well.) Microsoft is to blame for this. They have closed file formats and filters have to be reversed engineered. If they used a nice open format converting could be a snap. Of course then they would have to compete on the level is my (spreadsheet|editor|etc) better and easier to use than anyone elses. Its high time users demanded interoperiablity and the way you do this is you don't pony up the bucks until a company adds the features you want.

Re:It needs (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257182)

Hey, I know and I agree, but I tell you what, you try asking M$ to play nice and document themselves for interoperability. People have been trying for a good long time now.

Economics? (2)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257081)

I would think that with the coming economic downturn, being able to offer an alternative to Microsoft's draconian (not to mention expensive) licensing scheme would be attractive, particularily to the bean-counters who are likely going to be calling the shots. I just installed Mandrake 8 and it was pretty much painless and as far as what the average user does...clicks on their e-mail, clicks on their word processor, and browses the net, there isn't a whole hell of a lot of difference.

The clincher for many businesses however, will be not so much (Lin)ux/ Star office's functionality or having to accustom users to a different way of doing things, but rather the must-have app that only runs on Windows. THATS why Microsoft has the lion's share of the desktop market.

not quite there yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2257082)

i find star office very confusing to work with. I am used to ms office and separate programs for every kind of work (spreadsheet, word etc). It very hard to orient in one application, and quite frankly it takes too long. Instead of one click i have to tart it up and go thru a menu. If they woulda add just a lil more uniform design (kinda like word perfect), i would have no problems switching.

I don't know about all this, but (5, Insightful)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257088)

I have been using Star Office for awhile, after I dumped Office 2000.

I'm sorry to say, I actually like it. I have even encouraged people to install it.

Yes, it may not have all of Office 2000's functionality, but it is close, and there are several benefits.

1. It's free(as in beer, but not as in speech (read on, however).
2. It's cross-platform. There are linux binaries (and solaris, I believe) on sun's website. This may just be the office suite of choice for linux (at least beginning linux users) users, as it does not require much to get it working.
3. 6.0 looks really sweet.
Plus, come one, people. It has 98% the functionality of office 2000. That is good enough for at least 75% of people out there, because most people don't use the bloated features avaliable in office. Yes, you have to do things slightly differently. But generally, whatever you wanted to do in office, can be done in staroffice.
While my third point is kind of irrelevant (it makes me hopeful, though), I think the first two are serious advantages that IBM/Lotus/Corel don't have. Sure, you could get Corel's Java Wordperfect, but it kind of sucked, and it didn't have all the features of star office, and the full version cost money.

Finally, StarOffice is forming the core of OpenOffice, which has (IMHO) the potential to become fantastic. In fact, the first full featured beta is avaliable, I may just switch.

As it is, however, even if StarOffice falls off the face of the earth, methink the project is a success. There are a substantial number of users (maybe not compared to Office 2000, but a fair number nevertheless), it's free as in beer, it forms the core of an office suite that is free as in speech, and is cross-platform.

Lacks compatibilility (1)

darkpenguin (442917) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257092)

This might seem a bit backwards but I think the thing that really keep StarOffice from competing with MS Office is it's lack of support for MS formats. Unfortunately, the MS formats have become one of the standards used. While SO claims to be able to support formats such as .doc, they really don't. In addition, SO introduced it's own format. That's just what we all need...Another format to attempt to comply with.

Re:Lacks compatibilility (1)

basking2 (233941) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257132)

As one who does not own MS Office and doesn't pirate software, I happily send .doc files back and ask for .ps, .pdf, .txt or if they could print and mail the thing to me. :-) I'll even print out HTML or RTF if they render the same way twice. :-)

Learn from the failings of Star Office (3)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257109)

As much as I hate to admit it, StarOffice is a classic example of the schism between commercial software developers and open source advocates. The latter love to tout free alternatives to commercial software: "Star office!" "The Gimp!" But then realistically, when you try to use the free clone in an real environment, it quickly becomes obvious that it is not nearly as ready for prime time as its proponents claim it to be. This is not to put down all open source development, but it is a small cry for realism and restraint among zealots. Look a it this way: who knows more about office suites, college students who write two papers a year, or people who work 40 hours a week in a business?

It is also regrettable that Star Office tried so hard to be like Microsoft Office. It would have been better to develop a simpler, more rock solid, legitimate _alternative_, rather than what comes across as a wannabe clone that misses the mark.

I don't understand (2, Funny)

JCMay (158033) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257116)

This whole "if it's not M$, I can't use it" mentality-- it's nuts. I have a difficult time believing that people are that rigid or unable/unwilling to think.

How much more could StarDivision (isn't that who Sun bought it from?) have done to make it easy to use? F7 is spellcheck for both M$-office and StarOffice (or as the corporate hacks here called it, "TarOffice."). The different buttons look the same: "B" for bold, "I" for italics.

I don't understand the trepidation and fear that people have. Can someone explain it to me? Productivity software are tools. Like hammers. Nobody shows fear at using a peening hammer when all they've seen before is a claw hammer. They're both hammers, and as such work about the same way. M$ Word and StarWord are both WYSIWYG word processors; they work very similarly.

The car analogy works-- do people tremble in fear at the mention of driving a Honda simply because they've only ever driven Fords? Or are Pontiacs so different from Lexus that their respective owners couldn't drive the other ones?

Experiment (1)

LeftHanded (160472) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257120)

Our primary Development department tried SO, mainly on Windows machines. They disliked it, and had troubles with some of the document template / form fillin types of tasks we were using for code change forms and suchlike.

However, our secondary development group all run Linux machines as our primary platform. We all use SO, because of its similar interface to MS Office, as well as its success at rendering MS Office documents. What will be a welcome change is individual applications, rather than a monolithic system that brings the machine to its knees. Hint for SO users: run a lighter weight window manager such as Blackbox or IceWM rather than a desktop environment such as Gnome or KDE.

Not without grammar checking. (1)

krafter (10695) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257121)


Until it has grammar checking capabilities like word has, and WordPerfect, it will not replace Word on my computer.

Chris (

OK, A bit of a new thread here... (2, Insightful)

taliver (174409) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257133)

I'm going to suggest some things that I don't believe Microsoft has put into office. With any luck, either KOffice or StarOffice are listening and will look at these features:

1. Make a presentation software that's not completely limited to the slide show format. The metaphor should be a stage, and allow for notes on slides, multiple projectors, speakers, etc. Imagine a networked display system between three laptops (two for display, one to control/syncronize, an have your notes on it).

2. Combine word with CVS and give complete modification histories, and keep all undos in files. Sure, they grow large, but you could also show precise branches and replay changes done by one person on another file.

3. A Spreadsheet program that has HUGE libraries of functions, and allows other functions to be written in any language under the sun, compiled, and then used nicely. Also, allowing spreadsheets to use scripts from the command line would be nice.

4. Speaking about the command line, how about a nifty little piping interface that allows for a tool setup with all sorts of little switches on each icon (representing the different switches on the command line) and then drag pipes from one command to another, then let the data flow in.

Just my 2 cents.

as I see it (1)

dermotfitz (470733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257134)

The big difference is that Office is only for Mac and Windows. StarOffice is on Solaris and Linux and others as we all know. So as far as I am concerned it certainly has a chance to go ahead of MS in this respect. I also think most people who use Office can use StarOffice easily. So it's an easy migration. Especially for the tight-fisted boss or the home-user.

Not as good as an etch-a-sketch however.

Nope (1)

shd99004 (317968) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257140)

I've tried StarOffice a few times just to see what it was all about... I must say that MS Office is still my favorite, no doubt about it. Perhaps in the future it will compare to MS Office? Microsoft do have a lot of resources though, and this research lab too... their Office applications will only get better and better and I wonder if any other office applications will beat them any time soon.

Sun should practice what it preaches first. (1)

2Bits (167227) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257148)

Well, why don't Sun require that OpenOffice
be the standard inside Sun first? Put all your downloadable documents in that open XML format too.

I went to the technical seminars at Sun's headquarters, those presentors all made jokes on MS and its softwares. Guess what these presentors run on their machines? Guess which software they used to do the presentation? I didn't find it very funny. I bash MS from time to time, but at least, all my machines (except those belonged to the company) run Linux or BSD.

Star 'pig' office (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257163)

Not having a Windoze machine on my side of our office, i do use staroffice / openoffice.

the functionallity is fine, it is just different than Word or Excel.

For the things i do it works well ... except .... it takes forever to load. I mean a l-o-n-g time.

I know my computer is about 2 years old (dual 550 XEON, 256 ram, RH 7.1) but from the time i click the staroffice icon , till i see the screen , i can go get lunch.

Koffice seems to be a nice framework , but still blows up and the filters dont work, but .. i think the K folks have something that looks and feels good. A little dusting and cleaning and Koffice may be more attractive than Staroffice

Not ready (2, Insightful)

j7953 (457666) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257165)

Is StarOffice Ready To Take On Office?

As long as people can say Office, and everyone knows they're referring to what is actually called Microsoft Office, no, StarOffice doesn't have a big change.

Want to take on Office? (5, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257172)

1) Perfect (or nearly so) compatibility with the .doc, .xls, and .ppt formats. Too much stuff out there in these formats to not have it.

2) Make it available everywhere. People use AOL because they made getting their software easy. They put CD's everywhere. Downloading it from the internet is not good enough. Very few people have a fast network connection at home and even if they did they wouldn't likely download it. Sun needs to provide it to all OEMs, carpet bomb the US with CD's containing StarOffice From Sun, etc. Yes this costs money but it won't hurt Office unless it is done.

3) Make it as close to Office as possible in look and feel, at least for a while. If people feel they know how to use it already, they will be much more inclined to switch. It doesn't matter if the interface to Office stinks, it is what people are used to.

4) Do a cost analysis and trumpet it everywhere. If StarOffice is even close in features and is highly compatible, you'll get the attention of IT managers and CFOs. Businesses only care about saving money. Make their jobs easier/cheaper and they'll migrate in droves.

Unfortunately I think Sun doesn't want to do any of this. Unless they do, StarOffice is going to be an also-ran for at least several more years.

Irrational Office Loyalty (3, Interesting)

Wansu (846) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257174)

There's something else at play here. I have noticed that many secretary types, my wife included, stubbornly cling to Office. There's the perception that other software doesn't work the same and isn't fully compatible. They are afraid their work will somehow be "lost". This isn't just about Office, it applies more broadly to Windows. To sell some other kind of productivity software to my mother-in-law, you have to get past this objection. Many rank and file clerical type employees do not want to learn some new software. This goes beyond familiarity. It's irrational. But that is what Star Office is up against.

I've been quite fond of StarOffice (1)

+a++00 y0u (324067) | more than 12 years ago | (#2257185)

I've been using it since version 4 something, and currently use 5.2

I've been awaiting the latest, greatest from them, and look forward to using it both at home and at work.

Will it really take on MS Office? Probably not, but really, I'm not sure that bothers me. I made my choice, it plays well enough with MS Office, and life goes on.

I'm not sure the article served any purpose other than to get people worked up over another software debate.

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