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StarOffice 8 May Be MS Office Killer

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the just-don't-make-it-angry dept.

Sun Microsystems 335

UltimaGuy wrote to mention an eWeek article that seemed topical, given the recent discussions about the OpenDocument format. They're running a piece discussing StarOffice 8's killer position as an alternative to Office. From the article: "However, whether StarOffice 8 can succeed as a wholesale or partial replacement for Microsoft Office will depend on the organization thinking about making the switch. Several improvements in StarOffice 8 are aimed directly at improving compatibility with Microsoft Office-formatted documents, but converting complex documents between the two suites' formats will in some cases require tweaking to preserve document appearance. In addition, while StarOffice 8 can be extended through macros and scripting, much like Microsoft Office can, these extensions won't migrate to Microsoft Office without being rewritten. However, StarOffice ships with a Macro Migration wizard that will aid in the migration of Microsoft Visual Basic macros to the StarOffice Basic macro language. There's also a Document Analysis wizard that helps determine where trouble spots might lie in the transition to a StarOffice format."

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Yep.. (5, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683439)

Same headline as usual I see. Everything "may" kill the leading product, but the chances of it happening are slim to none. The reason they're the leading product is the average person trusts them, the average person has no idea what star office is and won't care. If they're lucky they'll get 10% market share, if they arn't they'll llive for a few years and then die hopelessly.

Re:Yep.. (4, Insightful)

exoromeo (864886) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683454)

Agreed. Same thing with the IPod, Itunes, Windows, and so on. It may make a dent in their sales (a small one that MS may not even really notice), but as for killing it, I don't think it'll happen. MS Office has too big of a head start and too large of a market share. So, unless MS itself does something colossally stupid, Star Office killing MS Office won't happen.

Re:Yep.. (5, Insightful)

The_Spud (632894) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683486)

In addition the 'killer' product not only has to be as good as what it is replacing it has to be way better to justify relearning how to do basic tasks. While moving between star, open or microsoft office is trivial for technical people, the average user has major problems with the gui being slighting different and commands being in different menus.

The other big problem is that many companies have invested a huge amount of money in VB Script automation. The cost of the license for something like MS office is trivial compared to the amount spent on custom development . Unless the open source offerings can provide some sort of compatibility layer for macros and such like corporate migration is really unlikely.

So while having good open source alternatives to MS office is a good thing there is slim to no chance of them ever replacing Microsoft word as the defacto word processor.

Re:Yep.. (5, Insightful)

tdemark (512406) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683518)

While moving between star, open or microsoft office is trivial for technical people, the average user has major problems with the gui being slighting different and commands being in different menus.

Ummm... you've seen these [] , right?

Re:Yep.. (4, Insightful)

jocknerd (29758) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683559)

Then you better switch to now. Because Microsoft Office 12 will have massive GUI changes to it. So based on your argument, your users will be better off with OpenOffice since it will be closer to the current versions of Microsoft Office in gui style and location of buttons and icons.

Oops, Meant to respond to parent's parent. (1)

jocknerd (29758) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683594)


Re:Yep.. (1)

The_Spud (632894) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683670)

I haven't seen office 12 and if there are massive changes to the GUI then they would be better not upgrading or if they need a newer version, go with open office as you suggest. However its a bit harsh using a non released version of the ms office software to try and argue that switching is currently a good thing.

Re:Yep.. (1, Offtopic)

johansalk (818687) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683691)

What a Mac OS X rip-off. Which reminds me, I wish open source developers would stop copying the microsoft look-and-feel in the hope that users will find it familiar, since it seems microsoft responds to this by *gasp* making a new interface! I wish OSS developers would just innovate and drop the needless burden of the Microsoft legacy.

Re:Yep.. (1)

Jeff Hornby (211519) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683765)

The problem is that in order to do good innovation you need a research department. While there might be other ways to run such a department, the following set of rules usually work:

1. it needs to be a full time job for a number of people (because they need to devote a large chunk of their energy to this)
2. they need to work together in a geographical sense: while this may not be a requirement, this has always worked. Note that I don't think anybody has ever tried a physically distributed pure research team (that's true research, not just working out the details).
3. They need a lot of funding for things like conferences, copies of papers, equipment, etc. These are critical so they can see what other people have done to inspire their creativity.

Note that all of these require a lot of funding which is in short supply in the OSS world. Like it or not, true innovation is going to continue to come from corprations and universites for the foreseeable future.

Re:Yep.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683569)

The question big companies will have to ask is "will it be cheaper in the long run to convert to MS Office 12 formats and onward or switch to an Open Document format?"
The open document formats should be compatible (or if not the converters publicly available) for the future.

The continous break then upgrade cycle that MS imposes on major users is the reason a lot of smaller companies (and some larger ones) try to stick to Win 98/Office 97 as a working combination. They do have a machine running the latest MS Office suit to convert received emails into something that is kind of compatible with Office 97.

Several larger document users have elected to get off the MS Office treadmill and this may be the exit strategy of a number more. Others will perhaps return to WordPerfect.

Re:Yep.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683584)

The reason they're the leading product is the average person trusts them, the average person has no idea what star office is and won't care.

No, the reason they're the leading product is the average person got them with their computer, and computers are confusing enough that once they've learned how to operate the office suite they already have, then they have no interest in learning how to switch and operate something new that is 99% the same as what they already have.

Re:Yep.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683718)

well fuck me I got first post.. and modded up...

Re:Yep.. (3, Insightful)

Bob3141592 (225638) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683720)

Same headline as usual I see. Everything "may" kill the leading product, but the chances of it happening are slim to none. The reason they're the leading product is the average person trusts them, the average person has no idea what star office is and won't care. If they're lucky they'll get 10% market share, if they arn't they'll llive for a few years and then die hopelessly.

Yup. The dominance of MS Office isn't because of its technical superiority -- not by a long shot. Therefore a technically superior product won't replace it. It's dominance is because it's economically expedient, especially with its economies of scale. People looking for all sorts of jobs put MS Office on their resume. Who's going to put Star Office on their resume, and why? Heck, usually MS Office is just referred to as "Office," as it is assumed to be the default standard.

That's the challenge that a competitor to Office has to deal with. Not a technical one, but a psychological one on a massive scale. And unfortunately, that's nearly impossible.

That's Nice And All (2, Insightful)

Roofus (15591) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683440)

But in my experience, %99.9 of things labeled a Foo Killer never even come close to killing foo. iPod clones / competition are a prime example. Every two weeks we get an article about an iPod killer, and then we never hear about it again.

Re:That's Nice And All (1, Funny)

Cat_Byte (621676) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683450)

But in my experience, %99.9 of things labeled a Foo Killer never even come close to killing foo.

Foo is dead. Just ask FreeBSD.

Re:That's Nice And All (1)

xgadflyx (828530) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683511)

I suppose that .1% margin is where VHS comes in......LONG LIVE BetaMax!

Re:That's Nice And All (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683681)

The fact that the its a fookiler, and not a oofkiller is proof right there. When we talk about MS Office being a Staroffice killer, perhaps I'll listen.

Re:That's Nice And All (1)

mnlife (917800) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683721)

They keep saying this about Linux and various open source products and Microsoft OS, but the fact is it never happens. MS is going to enjoy a monopoly for a long time.

Wishing them the best (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683441)

Microsoft intentionally breaks things from release to release so that different versions of Word and Excel are incompatable and exibit the same problems that you see on star ofice and open office.

If they have the magic-bullet that can detect all the different versions and convert them to a decent representation of the document they may have something.

Hell, simply marketing a Microsoft office document converter will make a company very rich.

Re:Wishing them the best (3, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683674)

Please offer some proof to backup this claim. All versions of office can open documents saved by a previous version as far as I know. I'm willing to change my mind if you can give some good solid proff though. An example of proof would be a document saved under word 97 that can't be opened correctly under a newer version of Word.

Re:Wishing them the best (1)

johansalk (818687) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683736)

I heard Staroffice is more capable of opening old microsoft office formats than the new MS Office. Is that true?


ringbarer (545020) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683442)

Yeah, just like StarOffice 7 was going to kill MS Office. And Six. And Five.

Do the world a favor and SHUT THE FUCK UP!

No way man! (5, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683445)

MS XML will keep MS Office on top for years to come!

Re:No way man! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683499)

And for some reason in all these articles we're seeing about Massechusets, the cost of migrating everyone to the incompatible-with-old-versions Microsoft Office XML is negligable.

So why will MSXML be the deciding factor? The only possible benefit I could see would be to combine it with an XML enabled database but that would require not using all the nasty DRM stuff, and users actually structuring documents rather than hitting "Bold, Italic, Big" whenever they want a title. It also probably won't give much benefit anyway, and is also possible with Open Office XML.

I expect the deciding factor, if Microsoft can get away with it, is increased vendor lockin thanks to DRM and tighter integration between Office and their various server products.

Office just needs to hold on for long enough that they can get all that in place, so obviously big moves to OpenDoc format must be stopped and and it seems to me that Microsoft are willing to sink to the depths to do it.

After all, who cares if you get your wrist slapped for antitrust after the event? By then it will be too late, and Microsoft's goal of perfect vendor lockin is worth any amount of wrist slapping to them.

Re:No way man! (1)

thinkmast (662468) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683734)

No way until they have a little clippy at the bottom right helping me with word.

In the end (5, Informative)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683449)

In the end, it's not going to matter how open ended and interoperable StarOffice or it's file format is, it's going to come down to what's more convenient at the present time. For companies, this means swap everything over to StarOffice, (possibly) retrain their staff, as opposed to waiting out for Office 12, upgrading to it and having everything work the same.

However Microsoft has already alluded that users of Office 12 may need to be retrained anyway, so SO8 and O12 may be on a fair playing field, and actually come down to quality of software, something Microsoft has been paying a lot more attention to recently.

What about ? (5, Insightful)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683491)

Companies will keep their installed versions of Office and won't even care of upgrading to Office 12 ?

Re:What about ? (1)

BVis (267028) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683528)

Yes. I recently had a position at a Fortune 500 company that was still standardized on Office 97. The cost of the site license and the resources necessary to upgrade were deemed too expensive.

Granted, their IT policies also amounted to "Let the users do whatever they want whenever they want, and never try to correct them or you're fired." IOW, they were colossally dumb where IT was concerned.

Re:What about ? (1)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683565)

Then they're not going to pick either Office 12 or StarOffice 8, because they're unlikely to care about it, or as the other commenter pointed out, it's too expensive. However, StarOffice 8 has more competitive pricing ($99 for 5 computers, I don't know about site licensing), and that may give it the advantage for companies looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest, but aren't prepared to spend the money to do so.

Re:What about ? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683631)

Not only that but retraining for Office 12 will likely be minimal compared to retraining for an entirely new product. If the users were already trained for Office the amount of training required to move to Office X++ isn't going to be that much.

But, if you are moving to an entirely new software suite then it's going to be a whole new ball game. Especially with interoperability issues.

Re:What about ? (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683698)

except they can come unglued when new machines are purchased with Word12 bundled on them... we're currently having this problem with inter Word compatibility cos our new machines come with Word 2003 and some of our old machines are having problems reading documents that have been through those word2003 machines, even though, we've saved them in word97 format...

we're now actually contemplating switching everyone to OpenOffice 2 rather than upgrading everybody to Office 2003... we want to take the hit once, rather than everytime MS try to force it upon us.

Office 97 rulez!!! (1)

seweso (842331) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683746)

Office 97 is the best version of office ever, simple and clean, office 2000/2003 has nothing i want.

Re:In the end (1)

xyvimur (268026) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683529)

SO8 may have nice features, but I wouldn't expect sudden phasing out of MS Office. It might be a slow decrease in number of Office users - but it won't be radical - I would guess it will look similar as for the browser market - slow decrease of IE (despite other browsers respect standards, have many plugins, etc) and slow increase of FF and alternative browsers...

Retrain... nonsense (4, Funny)

OSXCPA (805476) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683551)

I've used every version of word since 5.0, WordPerfect 5.x and 6.x and now OpenOffice, plus others.

It shouldn't take more than 15 minutes of looking at the menus - which are almost identical for most end-user functionality anyway - to grok OpenOffice.

Inertia keeps MS Office in place - the vast majority of the functionality of Word, for example, is either unused or not-understood anyway. I am asked *weekly* how to insert tables, align text, etc., by people who have never used anything else but Word for their entire professional careers. Say 'mail merge' and you get blank stares from most users, IME.

Yah, it has fine functionality - my only substantive gripes with Word are the price and the opacity of the .doc file format. I use OO at home, but I don't expect my Corporate Overlords to bother switching. Ever. They would have to think too much about something they regard as beneath their notice - that, and the admin staff would likely scream bloody murder. They'll allow a retraining on 'new features' of Word, but if you try to explain that 'gee, this would be a perfect time to try a new/better/free/different/similar alternative to Word, since the file formats a re new...' you'll get absolutely nowhere - they 'know' word, and that is powerful motive for maintaining the status quo

Outlook replacement? (2, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683451)

Anybody can build a word processor. Take a 1st year college kid's programming project. Add features. Add features. Repeat. Spreadsheet, same thing. The question is, does Star Office contain a perfect replacement for OUTLOOK? If it doesn't, there's no chance in hell it'll be used outside of the geek community. On top of that, is it 100% scriptable by office clerk types, like MS Office is?

Re:Outlook replacement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683496)

Word processor...
1. Take a 1st year college kid's programming project
2. Add features. Add features. Repeat.

Re:Outlook replacement? (3, Insightful)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683533)

Spreadsheet? Wrong! OK, I love OpenOffice 2.0 beta, but Calc is a hopelessly worthless piece of junk for anyone doing any serious analysis or report creation using spreadsheets. And yes, people, a SQL report looks like utter shit compared to a chart with bright colors for the executives your reports go out to in the end. "DataPilot" is not something some college kid can just sit down and code in a couple of evenings, and it shows from how useless and difficult to use it is in OpenOffice compared to Excel's PivotTables and PivotCharts.

If only I had time to help make some massive improvements to DataPilot I would, but I simply don't right now. And I would feel like helping because DataPilot sucks, and they need some business analysts with programming abilities to show them what kind of power really needs to be there for people like me to fully switch to OOo2 or SO8.

Re:Outlook replacement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683614)

"compared to a chart with bright colors for the executives your reports go out to in the end"

Dude, you sure you're on the right forum? Nothing but a bunch of pimply-faced know-it-alls living in our mom's basement downloading porn here.
Executives?! LOL, RIGHT! As if we'd work for the man (if we could actually find jobs that is).

Re:Outlook replacement? (1)

Zemplar (764598) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683550)

Eventually this may help, Evolution for Windows [] .

Re:Outlook replacement? (2, Informative)

jsight (8987) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683596)

Interestingly, the project that you mention is kind of dead at the moment. Novell is paying some guys to convert if for them, though.

Re:Outlook replacement? (1)

Zemplar (764598) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683712)

I did put "Eventually" in italics, but perhaps should have used bold?

Anyway, the SourceForge project page lists five active developers, so I wouldn't quite call it "dead" just yet.

Novell needs it. Groupwise client sucks. (1)

jocknerd (29758) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683622)

I just started a new job where I am forced to run Windows. We use Groupwise for our email. I've got to say that Evolution's mail client runs circles around Groupwise. I sure hope Novell incorporates Evolution into Groupwise.

Re:Outlook replacement? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683676)

It seems weird that no one has ported it before now. Outlook is a piece of shit. Really. I have to use Outlook 2002 day in day out and the only thing going for it is that it's an email and calendar built into one. The mail portion is on par with Netscape Communicator 4.x (actually worse since NS didn't lock up randomly while syncing to the server), the calendar is a simple PIM.

The only reason it even exists as far as I can make out is because once a company gets MS Exchange, it's about the only client that is designed to work with it.

Personally I'd love to see Evolution on Windows. Its presence might shake the tree a bit. Even better (for me) would be to see Sunbird / Thunderbird merged and using the Novell Exchange plugin. I think Thunderbird is a killer email app, but the lack of Exchange support hurts it in the business environment.

Re:Outlook replacement? (1)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683579)

Anybody can build a word processor. Take a 1st year college kid's programming project. Add features. Add features. Repeat.

Exactly which college did you go where anything remotely resembling a spreadsheet was created by 1st year students? The closest thing I've seen is a calculator, and even that would have to be refactored highly in most cases, then transformed from a console app to a Windows form.

You may need to replace adding features with completely scrapping most of the program and adding hundreds of thousands of lines of code.

Re:Outlook replacement? (1)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683623)

Exactly which college did you go where anything remotely resembling a spreadsheet was created by 1st year students?

Georgia Tech. When I went there CS1411, the second programming course, had a quarter-long project associated with it. It varied from quarter to quarter, but it was generally either a BASIC interpreter, a simple compiler, or a spreadsheet. Implemented in Pascal. Real Pascal -- not Borland's Turbo Pascal. The quarter I took it we did a compiler, and if I'd actually listened to the teacher and started thinking about it more than 2 weeks before it was due then I would've done a lot better on it.

Of course, that curriculum was being replaced when I was there -- the intro programming courses are now in C or Java and they don't do anything nearly that complex. They've probably changed them again, since that was a decade ago.

Now to be fair -- was the output of that project anything you could realistically build upon? Probably not. Mine certainly wasn't. But it did give you a better idea of programming problems that can't be solved in just a couple of hours.

Re:Outlook replacement? (1)

Misroi (834266) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683593)

Anybody can build a email client and personnal manager. Take a 2nd year college kid's programming project. Add features. Add feature. Repeat. Calendar, same thing. ;)

Even if it was the exact replica of microsoft office and half the price, it wouldn't kill office. Why? most people don't need the compatibility between os, and fear learning something new. Add to that microsoft's marketing and the fact that star office 8 can't read perfectly all your old documents. Meh

Is that hell freezing over? (-1, Troll)

Netsensei (838071) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683460)

In Sovjet Russia, Star Office kills you!

Re:Is that hell freezing over? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683585)

Personally, I think that more appropriate killing would be of those who think that the Soviet Russia and old Koreans jokes are still funny even after their 2 billionth iteration, which Slashdot probably reached several years ago. Add the moderators who continually mod them as "Funny" to that list. (Not advocating violence here. Just dreaming about it.)

Re:Is that hell freezing over? (1)

HoneyBunchesOfGoats (619017) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683650)

Unlike most of the Soviet Russia jokes that get thrown about carelessly, this one actually works on more levels than one, and in the same way that the original joke did. (Hint: one of the Soviet Union's symbols was a star.)

mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683601)

A Soviet Russia joke that actually works on the right levels? Unpossible!

Re:Is that hell freezing over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683641)

Just had to beat a dead horse today? I can't see how anybody still finds that funny.

Re:Is that hell freezing over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683694)

In Soviet Russia, dead horses beat you!

Unimportant in the face of peak oil (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683470)

The upcoming disaster of peak oil production and the resulting global economic collapse renders all advancements in energy-dependent technology worthless.

Kill the I/O (3, Informative)

Tarqwak (599548) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683482)

As long as StarOffice/ startup time is I/O (HDD speed) bound it wont kill anything.

*YAWN* Another M$-Killer... (1)

Trolling4Columbine (679367) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683487)

I'll wait for the "Netcraft confirms: Micro$oft is dying!" article.

Re:*YAWN* Another M$-Killer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683615)

Netcraft might not write a article, but Microsoft is indeed dying, just in another area, and every bit counts to chip this illegal, suffocating, behemoth of a company out of our lives. See here []

omg (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683492)

Great, it has 95% compatability with MS office. The broken 5% is just going to piss you off, waste your time, ruin your documents and make you look like a CHEAP FOOL in front of your business clients, peers and superiors.

If you want to lose your job, select open source crap.

Re:omg (2, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683515)

If you want to lose your job, select open source crap.

Like those great failures, Yahoo and Google?

Not while it runs on Linux (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683498)

Linux is *not* user friendly, and until it is linux will stay with >1% marketshare.

Take installation. Linux zealots are now saying "oh installing is so easy, just do apt-get install package or emerge package": Yes, because typing in "apt-get" or "emerge" makes so much more sense to new users than double-clicking an icon that says "setup".

Linux zealots are far too forgiving when judging the difficultly of Linux configuration issues and far too harsh when judging the difficulty of Windows configuration issues. Example comments:

User: "How do I get Quake 3 to run in Linux?"
Zealot: "Oh that's easy! If you have Redhat, you have to download quake_3_rh_8_i686_010203_glibc.bin, then do chmod +x on the file. Then you have to su to root, make sure you type export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5 but ONLY if you have that latest libc6 installed. If you don't, don't set that environment variable or the installer will dump core. Before you run the installer, make sure you have the GL drivers for X installed. Get them at [some obscure web address], chmod +x the binary, then run it, but make sure you have at least 10MB free in /tmp or the installer will dump core. After the installer is done, edit /etc/X11/XF86Config and add a section called "GL" and put "driver nv" in it. Make sure you have the latest version of X and Linux kernel 2.6 or else X will segfault when you start. OK, run the Quake 3 installer and make sure you set the proper group and setuid permissions on quake3.bin. If you want sound, look here [link to another obscure web site], which is a short HOWTO on how to get sound in Quake 3. That's all there is to it!"

User: "How do I get Quake 3 to run in Windows?"
Zealot: "Oh God, I had to install Quake 3 in Windoze for some lamer friend of mine! God, what a fucking mess! I put in the CD and it took about 3 minutes to copy everything, and then I had to reboot the fucking computer! Jesus Christ! What a retarded operating system!"

So, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that what seems easy and natural to Linux geeks is definitely not what regular people consider easy and natural. Hence, the preference towards Windows.

Since when has StarOffice been an MS Killer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683501)

I'm hearing this for quite a few years now. When did I first hear this? Ummm...2001? Get real, guys. This isn't likely to happen anytime soon. MS Office may be from Microsoft, but don't underestimate the product. Nothing can beat it right now and it doesn't look like anything will in the near future.

SO8 OpenDocument support and Massachusetts (1, Redundant)

oysterman (918904) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683519)

Star Office 8 will make a wonderful contender that will be in Massachusetts govt list of consideration. This will shut up those who thinks you can't live without Microsoft Office or those who thinks OpenOffice is not there yet. Best part is it supports OpenDocument too. I feel OpenOffice 2.0 and Star Office 8 will give MSOffice a run for it's money. MS days are numbered.

Re:SO8 OpenDocument support and Massachusetts (4, Insightful)

BVis (267028) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683558)

Star Office 8 will make a wonderful contender that will be in Massachusetts govt list of consideration.
Massachusetts hasn't switched over to OOo or StarOffice yet. There's still plenty of time for the effort to get mired in the bureaucracy or killed by some pinhead politician who thinks he's doing his constituents (and by that I mean the big companies that own him) a favor by "maintaining Massachusetts' position as a leader in industry cooperation and integration", i.e. using Microsoft products "because that's what everyone else uses".
MS days are numbered
See my sig. It's a very large number.

Re:SO8 OpenDocument support and Massachusetts (2, Interesting)

Delphiki (646425) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683630)

There's still plenty of time for the effort to get mired in the bureaucracy or killed by some pinhead politician who thinks he's doing his constituents (and by that I mean the big companies that own him) a favor by "maintaining Massachusetts' position as a leader in industry cooperation and integration", i.e. using Microsoft products "because that's what everyone else uses".

God forbid someone would want their documents to be usable by other groups they work with or that someone would want citizens to be able to download government documents and read them in a program they already have. Sure, OpenOffice is free, as long as you have heard of it, and have broadband, or a couple of days to spend downloading. Haha, nobody likes dial-up users anyway. Screw them.

Oh man, the fact that moving to an open format will prevent 98% of the population from being able to read government documents without downloading or buying a new program they've never heard of and don't want is great. I'm surprised people in the government didn't think of this sooner as a way around the freedom of information act. Just give everyone copies of documents in formats they can't use.

Re:SO8 OpenDocument support and Massachusetts (3, Informative)

finkployd (12902) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683680)

Gee, where did anyone say you had to have Open or StarOffice? How about PDF, that is an open format is most likely te primary way files will be made available to the public. Not to mention there is nothing stopping MS from supporting OpenDocument either, which I believe was really the goal of this hard line approach. It is simple economics, if they want Mass. as a customer, they will deliver what the customer wants. It certainly wouldn't be difficult from a technical persepctive since they already support dozens of obscure fileformats already (WordPerfect 5.1 anyone?)


MS Office will go on... (5, Insightful)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683520)

I like competition, in fact I like it alot (go Yankess!). Anyway, no single program is going to kill MS Office. Or any MS product as widely used as Office. Maybe a second version, maybe a third but it is going to take time.
There are just too many people using it (MS Office) right now, and as we all know people can't handle change. This might be the start of the downfall of MS Office but it is in no way the killer.
First they need to get popular. Then that popularity needs to spread among Information Services people. Businesses need to show an appreciation for the product and want to share that appreciation. They will tell others businesses and that will spread the word.
But programs like this need to learn how to walk before they can run with the big dog.

Re:MS Office will go on... (1)

oysterman (918904) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683560)

Sure no single product will kill Ms Office.. But a stack of OpenDocument compliant products will really suffocate MS Office.

Re:MS Office will go on... (1)

lee_dec_28 (802962) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683684)

"I like competition, in fact I like it alot (go Yankess!)."

Uh huh. The Yankees are the M$ of Major League Baseball. Double the payroll of any other team, double the pockets. :)

Re:MS Office will go on... (1)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683699)

Hey I'm from NY, what can I say. I have loved the Yankees since before Steinbrenner. Am I supposed to stop that because they are popular now?
(not that they ever weren't popular)

Killer? When it finally starts... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683521)

It's hardly going to be a 'killer' when even MS Office starts up faster under WINE (no preloading). Open/StarOffice is a colossal mess of old code inherited from StarDivision -- it's immensely slow, bloated, memory-hungry and inelegant.

Oh sure, no doubt 500 geeks with 3 GHz machines will reply "It's fast on my box" but so what? There are TENS OF MILLIONS of circa-1 GHz 128 MB PCs in businesses and homes around the world, and for them, OOo is so much slower than MS Office it's almost unusable. Kudos to the OOo developers for eliminating a massive target market.

Get out into the real world, see what kind of desktop PCs the majority of companies are using, and you'll realise why OOo's comical bloat and sluggishness is a major issue.

Oh, and now with 2.0, you need Java -- an entire language, virtual machine and supporting libraries -- just to get some fundamental features. It's laughable.

And it just goes to show that, no matter if something is 'open source', one company can still be in control (Sun pushing Java in the most inappropriate places -- Run Macro?!?)

No (1)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683526)

StarOffice 8 May Be MS Office Killer

Will it be adopted by businesses around the world? Will it come standard on your Dells, HPs, and Macs? Will it look and feel practically identical to the current Microsoft Office? Will it be able to connect to Exchange and Sharepoint servers for collaboration?

If your answer to any of those questions is "No", I fear the answer to the headline will be the same.

Re:No (1)

Markus_UW (892365) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683580)

HP still sells PC's?? I didn't know that...

I thought they were just a printer company these days.

Business Opportunity (2, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683536)

Isn't there space in the market for a company or app which converts from MS to StarOffice? And/or what are the licensing implications for a large, multi-site company to purchase one single copy of MS office and have their IT department use it to convert incoming MS files into StarOffice format?

Re:Business Opportunity (1)

arethuza (737069) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683573)

This would be cool as an email gateway that processed all attachments.

Re:Business Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683612)

Isn't there space in the market for a company or app which converts from MS to StarOffice?

No. I know people here would like to believe it, but there is no chance for StarOffice to win out over Microsoft Office. MS Office is a good solid product and businesses will gladly pay for it to get their work done rather than screwing around trying to open documents in StarOffice only to have them look like crap. In the overall business scheme of things, the cost of an MS Office license is irrelevent.

Re:Business Opportunity (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683679)

Isn't there space in the market for a company or app which converts from MS to StarOffice?

There used to be a tiny little space in OOo's File/Wizards/Document Converter/ menu item, but somene's filled it now. Guess what with?

Re: Freedom? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683547)

Freedom? Since when is treating one proprietary format (.pdf) different than another (MS' .doc, .xls, etc) "Freedom"?

Had you actually read the article you'd know that those responsible for the decision are aware of this:

"On the question of why Adobe's PDF format meets the definition of "open format", state officials said it was a "grey area" but that Adobe's legal and licensing terms were deemed sufficiently open."

It's consederably more open than the MS formats : ex_reference.html []

"The PDF specification was first published when Adobe® Acrobat® was introduced in 1993. Since then, updated versions of the PDF Reference have been made available from Adobe via the Web. A significant number of developers and systems integrators offer customized enhancements and extensions to Adobe's core family of products. Adobe publishes the PDF specification to foster the creation of an ecosystem around the PDF format. The PDF Reference provides a description of the Portable Document Format and is intended for application developers wishing to develop applications that create PDF files directly, as well as read or modify PDF document content."

Do I agree with you that the pdf decision can be considered problematic? Yes, absolutely, however there aren't that many alternatives, are there, whereas there are alternatives to MS formats.

Since the spec is published and there exist independant (open source) implementations of that spec, I would consider it "open". Apparently so do Adobe and Massachusetts. It doesn't have to be governed by comittee or some non-profit to be open (to me). PDF is fully documented, and anyone can make their own implementation. That's a fully open format.

Please, do tell us how PDF is a closed format. Bloated yes, awkward yes, not suitable (and not meant) for editing yes, but closed?

Good diets, clean cars & responsible fiscal po (2, Insightful)

O2dude (460818) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683562)

Replacing MS Windows or Office or Outlook or what have you with a better product _might_ happen one day. But I think that just as people will continue to have heart attacks, to pay too much at the pump or be confronted with social ferment and civil unrest because of their stupid governments, people will make do with 'good enough' software that 'gets the job done most of the time'.

The reason being that most people relate best to what they understand and how they think. And that is in most cases: average. So mickeysoft and most other corporations are in the business of selling average. Average is where the numbers are, average is where profit lives.

The thing discerning people should be gunning for, is not 'replacing' current mediocre software, but making sure that the interchange of data remains moderately simple for those of us that care about quality.

DRM, application lock-in and other information sharing roadbump nastyness are the real issues. World domination is a stupid goal, but making sure the information elite still can talk to the unwashed masses is essential.

This time we mean it! (5, Insightful)

therealking (223121) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683566)

Come on, they've been calling it an MS Office killer since it's release. It's not going to kill MS Office, especially when it's ability to read office doucments.

You guys need to understand, "open standards" mean squat to the users, they are only important to the techie types. Most people are NOT looking for an alternative to MS Office and aren't not going to be swayed with out something really amazing

StarOffice? no. OpenOffice 2? If done right (3, Insightful) (910009) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683570)

StarOffice I don't think will kill MS Office. However, 2.0 if the marketting is done right could be what Firefox 1.0 was. It could bring a good amount of MS Office users over. OOo 1.x didn't do it because it was missing too much stuff. The interface was very different than MSOffice, many features didn't exist, and file compatibility was poor. All this has been corrected, and with a good amount of marketting and press coverage it could be huge.

Re:StarOffice? no. OpenOffice 2? If done right (0)

therealking (223121) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683604)

6% is not a good amount. And maybe you've been missing all the Firefox buzz lately, but it seems to have capped once people found out it's only security was it's obscurity.

Re:StarOffice? no. OpenOffice 2? If done right (3, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683688)

Explain to us how a free version with less features and interoperability will be a killer for Office while Star Office will not? The 70 dollar price tag? Uh pal, MSFT came into the position they are in now because of penetration into the corporate sector. Once it was entrenched there, people wanted to be compatible with the office so they bought it for the home. Star Office offers brand recognition and is backed directly by Sun Microsystems. From the perspective of an IT purchaser, they will look at Star Office before they would look at Open Office. These guys don't want to mess around with downloading an installer for beta/alpha versions of Open Office but rather want a stable release with extra features like spell checking, dictionaries, clip art libraries and pre-configured database interfaces.

A price tag of 70 bucks is nothing. How much time does it cost you to setup Open Office properly and how much time is spent updating beta releases? Price that out at a typical IT workers pay rate and figure out which one is cheaper. *Hint* ?It's the Star Office version.

About the scripting... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13683575)

Has it been designed with security in mind? One of the types of files you can't trust as an email attachment is a word processing document such as Word Perfect or Microsoft Word. You might as well open an executable as a word processing document. If I get a Word document or a spreadsheet, I write back and tell the sender to use plain text, I can add formatting myself if I want it.

Has the ability to run executable files, delete files, be sent to didgy websites and other stupid actions been copied from Microsoft?

If not, this would be a great selling point: "Star Office documents are safe to open as email attachments!"

DOA (1)

Peldor (639336) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683605)

"but converting complex documents between the two suites' formats will in some cases require tweaking to preserve document appearance."

Another office suite that's dead on arrival. See you in a couple of years. I'm sure it'll be the same story.

Features, compatibility, interoperability, price (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683607)

All three of the properties in the subject need to be covered but you will see a weakening of Office's grasp.

Compatibility isn't 100% (probably never will be, it's a moving target). A company with the resources can migrate and test it's current documents to see if savings can be made.

In terms of features it is lagging a bit, there needs to be some killer features integrated. Being able to interogate databases, embedding SQL reports or statements into documents to bring back data or information etc..

Price is much cheaper (even free if you're confident about using open source).

Okay, I'm confused ... (5, Funny)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683621)

So: FreeBSD is going to kill Linux, Linux is going to kill Sun, Sun is going to kill Microsoft, Microsoft is going to f-ing kill Google, and Google is going to ... kill evil?

My, America *is* a violent place these days, isn't it? :P

Shocker... another 'killer' app (1)

JustASlashDotGuy (905444) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683627)

StarOffice 8 will be a 'MS Office Killer', about as much as firefox will be an 'IE Killer'. There's a lot more to being a 'MS Office Killer' than just being able to view/edit Word documents and play with Macros. I know for my company, we have several apps that tie directly into Excel and actually require Excel (I work for a CPA firm). They could give StarOffice away for free, pay us to stop using MS Office, and even offer to install it to all of our PCs for us and it still wouldn't be enough. I suspect many other firms are in the same boat. I hasn't heard of any of our venders ever mentioning support for anything other than MS Office.

Perhaps StarOffice 8 will be the 'MS Office Killer' for home users that use it to write letters to Aunt Sally.... or perhaps for Jonnie IT that just likes to 'different' so he can think he's cool.

Oh well.. nice hype tho.

Still not ready for primetime =oP (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683632)

It seems the grammar checker [does it have a grammar checker?] is not working right:

From StarOffice 8 Demonstration []
"Create new database or connect to exist ones"

Man... talk about nazis!

What is an MS Killer? (5, Insightful)

sethadam1 (530629) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683633)

I am going to tell you something: MS Office WILL fall. So will Windows. History tells us it will happen. The only questions are when and how.

It's a safe bet that "when" is not anytime in the near future, so "several" to "many" years soonest. So is StarOffice 8 an MSOffice killer? No. And Sun knows that. So on to the "how."

What they hope to do is get into just a few businesses. for the home, StarOffice at work. They will get better at compatibility. They will get the name out there. Empires don't topple in a millisecond. It takes chinks in the armor. Google is a chink. Firefox is a chink. AIM is a chink. Linux is a chink. And StarOffice wants to be one too. None of them was a threat 5 years ago. Now they are all forces to be reckoned with. Anyone trivializing the role of StarOffice needs only think back a few years ago and remember what these other things were then.

- Mozilla mostly sucked; there was no Firefox.
- Google was the best search engine, but was definitely not the main one: Yahoo, Hotbot, and Alta Vista ruled.
- AIM - actually, all of IM - was barely used. Only ICQ was really established.
- Linux was still 2.2 and was pretty much unusable by non-techies.

StarOffice 8 may not be the nail in the coffin, but it IS significant. It's the first useable drop in replacement with commercial backing. And in a few years, we'll see where it's at. If that's not news, I don't know what is.

In other news... (1)

EvilStickMan (684609) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683635)

Dvorak might be the QWERTY killer!

BetaMax might be the VHS Killer!

Napster might be the RIAA killer!

Open your eyes! Sure, here in techno-savvy land it looks like StarOffice has the potential to vreak the monopoly of Microsoft when it comes to document productions, but we have to be honest - millions of people are not going to jump ship just because an open source product all of a sudden had another release. Just the mere idea of switching will likely invalidate the millions of dollars companies spend on Microsoft Premier Support packages. The ubiquity of Microsoft Office is going to be the key factor here.

Kill! (0, Troll)

Nuffsaid (855987) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683636)

Don't want to sound like a troll, but I'm a bit tired of this American fixation on killing things (and persons!). In my (probably outdated) English vocabulary "to kill" and "to prevail" have different meaning. It seems that in too many minds you can't be satisfied about your achievements if you don't destroy any competition. You are Number One or you are nothing. "Loser" is an insult, "killer" is a compliment. In my own language "loser" is not a compliment, too, but it doesn't imply a total despise for the person, just a recognition of a particular failing that at most should move to compassion, not to further offense. Offending the weak is coward, in my opinion, not strong.

Moreover, accepting nothing less than total obliteration of any competition is childish and leads to psychological inability to manage the many situations in real life when this turns out to be impossible.

Sorry for the OffTopic, but this kind of mindset is too frequent and springs out in a lot of disparate places.

Why is it... (1)

Hosiah (849792) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683655)

*Everything* has to be discussed in terms of whether it will, or won't, kill, maim, cripple, weaken, tumble, block, spoil, ravage, or skin the knee of Microsoft? Can't we just once discuss a software title all by itself? Does the entire universe revolve around Redmond?

Here, like this: "I've used OpenOffice applications infrequently, and while I wouldn't describe them as perfect, they show some promise of being a solid software title in the near future.", or "I love my OpenOffice suite! The features are just right for what I need!", or "I'm not much of an OpenOffice fan. Their performance leaves much to be desired."

Not like this: "It's better than Microsoft!" "No, it isn't!" "Yes it is!!" "No, it isn't!!!" etc...

Hahaha!!! (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683689)

This story deserves to be modded +5 Funny.

(Seriously, we should be able to mod the stories.)

For StarOffice, at least at MY job... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683700)

There's a single reason we wouldn't migrate to StarOffice. Because when we save the document in "OpenDocument" format, there's no guarantee that the person that needs to recieve that document (outside the company) will be able to read it.

And that folks, is the crux of the problem. If we can't have compatibility outside the company, it's much harder for us to make use of the product. Fortunately, OpenOffice is free and we can always send a link with our document. "If you cannot open this file, please download OpenOffice, from -- a mere 2623523523 megabyte download."

There has to be a better way to start getting Office out of the workplace but I don't know what it is. Either way, I use Office at home and work ONLY because Outlook is in the suite of products. Maybe when Mozilla's lightning comes out, I can go completely open source but until then, Office it is.

They'll never even hit 10% (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683726)

The bottom line is: Star Office can never beat MS Office, because it emulates MS Office. To send MSWord and PowerPoint to their well-deserved place on the ash heap of history, will take a replacement that shoots higher. It's not good enough to match the MS Office feature set and be cheaper. The cost of the software is trivial, compared to the lock-in that comes from familiarity alone.

For an Open-source office replacement to kill MS, the word processor has to be better than Pages and InDesign combined. The presentation program has to be better than Keynote. The spreadsheet has to be better than Lotus Improv. Not better by a little bit, either: they have to completely blow MS's products away. They have to make the deficiencies of MS's products glaringly obvious to anyone who spends a couple of minutes comparing them.

Until the Star Office guys aim that high, they won't make a dent in the monopoly.


Macros Poorly Documented, Document Object Model? (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683739)

The Basic script language that StarOffice uses is poorly documented. At a minimum I need a method to crawl through the document object model. In Star I could not find a decent opbect model reference much less examples of how to access portions of the document. Even worse, I could not see how one could develop custom add-ins using Toolbars and Buttonbars. And as another tiny annoyance, how do I support custom metadata? The OpenDocument format is less than clear and I don't see BuiltInDocumentProperties or CustomDocumentProperties like in Word documents.

Those who cry... (1)

asylumx (881307) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683742)


Not likely (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683743)

Most PHBs are never going to go for switching to StarOffice. There is a definite advantage from the business perspective of a single-source vendor for office software. For one thing, interoperability between different software functions at a company. For another, better forecasting of costs.

Sure, StarOffice may be cheaper in the long run... but I don't know how much it will cost me to change over. I know that I'll be under or at budget with MSOffice. The risk of going over budget (for many in management) precludes switching to another *Office package. It's not about total cost in many companies, except at the very top -- managers don't want to stick their neck out.

Needs Mac OS X support (3, Insightful)

mrjatsun (543322) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683747)

Certainly not going to kill MS Office. But hopefully it will chip away a little. If it keeps the MS Office market from growing, and even makes it shrink a little, I think that's a big success in itself. MS is having a hard time finding places to grow their company (why there's going to be so many versions of Vista :-) ). Hell, If it keeps some folks from upgrading to the next version of office, that's a big plus in my book.

I think the biggest mistake os StarOffice/OpenOffice is not supporting Mac OS X out of the box. A package that is supported on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris (I work for Sun :-) ) is what is really needed to be successful in the long run. PDF would have never had made it if it didn't do that...

Is there a document test out there? (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 9 years ago | (#13683763)

Are there some publicly available complex Office documents that could be used to test compatibility? I hear a lot of complaints about how StarOffice-saved files look different in MSOffice, but I've never seen that happen myself. Could someone please post an example? That way office suite programmers could use it as a test case to debug their layout engines.
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