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Google Pack Adds StarOffice

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the little-stars-everywhere dept.

Google 156

derrida writes The GoogleOS Blog has the news that Google Pack, their collection of applications, now includes StarOffice. 'It will be interesting to see why Google didn't choose to include OpenOffice.org, the primary difference between StarOffice and OpenOffice.org being that StarOffice includes some proprietary components like clip-art graphics, fonts, templates and tools for Microsoft Office migration.'"

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156 comments

Isn't it obvious? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20203907)

Sun paid them.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (2, Insightful)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20203933)

Either that or some kind of favour for a favour. And exactly what that involves I really don't want to know.

Jolyon

Re:Isn't it obvious? (4, Insightful)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204071)

'It will be interesting to see why Google didn't choose to include OpenOffice.org, the primary difference between StarOffice and OpenOffice.org being that StarOffice includes some proprietary components like clip-art graphics, fonts, templates and tools for Microsoft Office migration.'
Ahem...isn't that enough? Tools for MS Office integration being a must_have these days and all....

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204323)

Ahem...isn't that enough? Tools for MS Office integration being a must_have these days and all....

For home users? All they'd really need is "Save in Word format", and OpenOffice has that.

I do agree that the proprietary components probably tipped the scale towards StarOffice, just not the one you pointed out.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (3, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204415)

Or maybe they recognize that some PHBs won't go with "free", and StarOffice has the needed "we can get multiple licensed copies for a fee" thing going ...?

... and that google may want to encourage a more diverse ecosystem, with more vendors, as a couterweight to an either-or choice - MS-Office or OpenOffice?

What google did wasn't evil - they're supporting StarOffice, and this will help continue to develop the product. Competition is good, mkay? :-)

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204977)

This isn't targeted at home users, it's targeted at business users. Sure, home users are welcome to use it too, and importing/exporting Word and Excel is generally good enough in that case. The StarOffice migration tools are very business-oriented:

http://www.sun.com/software/star/staroffice/enterp rise_tools.jsp#Setup [sun.com]

The big one from that list is the macro migration wizard. There's also an analysis wizard that examines your documents and calculates migration costs and risks. For a business with thousands, or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of MS Office documents, these kinds of tools are essential. If the users (or worse, the IT department) had to manually migrate their MS Office docs to ODF, the project would be dead right there. That could be a deal-breaker even in a small business, and certainly is for a large business.

Certification? (1)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205313)

For a business with thousands, or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of MS Office documents, these kinds of tools are essential.
Sun will also be in a position to provide Star Office certification for tech support personnel. This in turn could lend credibility to a possible Google certification for Google Pack expertise. Major vendor certifications make business/corporate managers less queasy about recommending new software.

C'mon man! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20203947)

I just so happen to disagree. Let's deal this one out, IRC style!

*Anonymous_Coward slaps Anonymous_Coward around a bit with a large trout

Mod Parent UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204497)

*lollerskaters*

Nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204205)

It's just a corporate cuddle party [wikipedia.org]

Re:Isn't it obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204277)

Sun paid them.
That, and the usual it's-only-good-if-it-comes-from-silicon-valley myopia.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

watchingeyes (1097855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205249)

So what if they did? I'm not saying that they did...in-fact, I highly doubt it. But would it really matter? Consumers are getting a paid-for office suite for free. I don't care if Eric Schmidt and Jon Shwartz got together for a crazy orgy sex fest to put this deal in place, it still benefits consumers.

Ask That Question Again (4, Insightful)

photomonkey (987563) | more than 6 years ago | (#20203923)

From the summary...

"StarOffice includes...tools for Microsoft Office migration"

I think that they suspect that they can wean people off some of the Office stuff rather than just forcing them to go cold turkey.

Re:Ask That Question Again (2, Interesting)

Groggnrath (1089073) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204049)

rather than just forcing them to go cold turkey


Isn't this how Linux got Ubuntu? People don't like massive changes all at once.

Re:Ask That Question Again (1)

photomonkey (987563) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204099)

That was exactly my point.

Re:Ask That Question Again (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204555)

I don't know what tools are specific to StarOffice. Will it convert all the files in a directory to StarOffice format? Does it have an MS Office ribbon interface? Does it have the old MS Office interface? Does it have VB?

In my experience OO.org will migrate MS Office files just fine, even files that MS Office itself can't or won't open. Of course not all features are supported on all platforms, but that goes for MS Office as well, not to mention that MS Office does not exist on *nix, which means that those users have to use something else.

I think they are including Star Office more as a special incentive to attract users for googlepack. It probably does not hurt their relationship with Sun either, although I do not see what the long term benefit of that would be.

In any case, it continues the trend that the added value provided by google to mac users is more limited than other platforms. It saddens me that Apple considers them such a good partner. For instance, I would have much rather the iPhone got reliable map results from Mapquest than pretty bad results from google.

Re:Ask That Question Again (3, Informative)

fmarkham (1091529) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206503)

From the StarOffice FAQ http://www.sun.com/software/star/staroffice/faqs/t echnical.jsp#q_13 [sun.com] :

Q: What are the differences between StarOffice 8 software and the OpenOffice.org 2.0?
A: StarOffice 8 software is a commercial product built on OpenOffice.org's open source code to provide the best value, multi-platform Microsoft compatible office suite aimed at organizations and consumers. OpenOffice.org 2.0 is the leading open-source project aimed at users of free software, independent developers and the open source community. StarOffice includes licensed-in, third-party technology such as:
  • Spellchecker and thesaurus
  • Mail Merge Wizard does not have the ability to send mail merge documents as emails.
  • Select fonts including Windows metrically equivalent fonts and Asian language fonts
  • Select filters, including Asian word processor filters
  • Integration of additional templates and extensive clipart gallery
  • Migration Tools and Macro Migration Wizard. The converted macros does not run in OpenOffice.org
  • Sun Java System Configuration Manager for Solaris, Linux and Windows.
In addition to product differences, StarOffice offers:
  • Updates/upgrades on CD
  • Sun installation and user documentation
  • 24x7 Web based support for enterprises and consumers
  • Help desk support
  • Warranties and indemnification guarantee Training
  • Professional services for migration and deployment

Re:Ask That Question Again (5, Interesting)

watchingeyes (1097855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205377)

Or perhaps they're planning on some future integration between Star Office and Google Docs (Star Office using Google Docs as a backend online storage option with on-the-go editing and collaboration features over and above Star Office's default set come to mind...).

Google Docs Backend for StarOffice (1)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205673)

Mod Parent Up!

If Google integrated on-line and off-line storage for documents in an easy to use package, that might just be the feature that gets people off of Microsoft Office. Combined off-line and on-line storage might be enough of a feature to force a paradigm shift.

Re:Google Docs Backend for StarOffice (2, Insightful)

watchingeyes (1097855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205743)

I'm hoping they do (I would switch to StarOffice in an instant, even if I have to run it through Parallels). However, there have been other things in the past that have seemed blatantly obvious to me but that Google has either taken 3 years to do or else have never bothered doing, things that seem obvious to me...

(Group chat in gchat, web clip for igoogle vis-a-vis OS X Leopard [I actually wanted this BEFORE Apple even introduced it], desktop gmail application that provides identical functionality instead of having to use it through clients with crappy interfaces, Google calendar auto-syncing between mobile devices; pcs and the service itself, desktop client for Google notebook with support for offline use [Google gears support would be less than ideal, but would probably suffice]....and, well, the list goes on and on, so I'm not hedging any bets on what Google will do).

Obvious (4, Insightful)

LowSNR (1138511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20203925)

StarOffice includes some proprietary components like clip-art graphics, fonts, templates and tools for Microsoft Office migration.
I'd say they just answered their own question. Google wants to court MS Office users. Is this a surprise in any way?

why Google didn't choose to include OpenOffice.org (-1, Troll)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#20203929)

because they hate freedom?

More likely because it is better.

Re:why Google didn't choose to include OpenOffice. (2, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206265)

More likely because it is better.

StarOffice 8 might have received considerably more QA testing that OpenOffice and has some value added content, but two years of bug fixes and enhancements say OpenOffice is better.

The situation is a bit like Netscape was with Mozilla. If I recall, Netscape 6 was based off Mozilla 0.7 or 0.8. But by the time it had been tested and released, Mozilla was already several versions beyond. As long as you were prepared to trade off stability, you were better off sticking with the open source version because it was usually faster and had more features.

The reason? Who cares! (1, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20203943)

They sure have their reasons. As a company, I'm sure Google can see above stupid ideological reasons (Open vs Close). Many people forget that Google is a company and profit IS their number one goal. So they should not be discarding the best of 2 products just because there are some propietary components....

Purist may puke by just thinking about this, but sane persons would just forget funny ideals and get the work done by chosing the tool that fits better for this case.

Re:The reason? Who cares! (1)

watchingeyes (1097855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205417)

The fact that you were modded down shows how out-of-touch with reality a lot of people on Slashdot really are. Every business person I've talked to says freedom takes a back seat to utility, price, ease of use and ease of migration any day of the week. Most companies aren't choosing Linux just because it is open source, that is merely icing on the cake (except for cases like Google perhaps, as they heavily customize Linux). They are choosing Linux for its cost, stability, etc etc.

Re:The reason? Who cares! (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205949)

There are a lot of dumb business people. Most businesses fail, actually.

Smart business people don't set themselves up to be dependent on third parties who can take advantage of that dependency, because they lose everything if they're stupid enough to make that mistake.

Software costs become marginal if you're free, they eventually become an unsustainable liability if you're not.

Google would have been stillborn in the garage if they had been dependent on Microsoft for their OS.

Now they're one of the worlds greatest entrepreneurial success stories.

The cost, stability, utility and ease of migration are direct results of the freedom. As in, those qualities would not exist if it wasn't free.

Re:The reason? Who cares! (1)

watchingeyes (1097855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206253)

OK..now that I'm done reading that, I must ask what the whole point of your little tirade was. I was merely stating my observations about why people are doing certain things. I never said whether or not I agree with them.

The United States invaded Iraq in 2003 Statement of fact

The United States was wrong to invade Iraq in 2003 Statement of Opinion

See the difference?

$69.95 U.S. (4, Interesting)

krischik (781389) | more than 6 years ago | (#20203967)

Did I miss something? I allways thoght that StarOffice is a commertial product - One you actualy pay for - $69.95 U.S to be precise.

So how does google do it then?

Martin

Re:$69.95 U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20203995)

That's 'list price'. If you order a hundred million, you can get it significantly cheaper.

Google have plenty of capital.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204001)

StarOffice 5.2 and earlier were all free for non-commercial use. Last time I checked, a site license for StarOffice from Sun for educational establishments cost $25. They never made much money from selling the software; most of it came from the support contracts that went with them.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (2, Informative)

stm2 (141831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204179)

StarOffice education license was free, at least in version 7.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

watchingeyes (1097855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205437)

Exactly, I used to use StarOffice as a student free-of-charge. I switched to OpenOffice when I moved to a Mac though, and now I'm thinking of getting iWork 08.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (5, Interesting)

kaiwai (765866) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204029)

Actually, its a free product in Solaris x86/SPARC - as for Windows, ever thought that *maybe* Sun approached Google and will use that as a way to get people to atleast *try* StarOffice 8 - then if they want support and so forth, to pay for it? Its all about getting the Sun name and brand out there, making the name known by non-technical people; making it more accessible rather than it being viewed as the domain of the purely UNIX geeks.

For me, I hope Indiana/Sun hook up with Google and use the Google hype, and integration with Google and Indiana to push it further out there as an alternative to Windows.

Star Office at Amazon.com (1, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205679)

ever thought that *maybe* Sun approached Google and will use that as a way to get people to atleast *try* StarOffice 8 -

Star Office 8 at Amazon.com:

#1 in Linux sales.

#28 in Windows Office Suites.

Where it is sandwiched between Upgrade MS Office Pro at $270 and Word Perfect 11 at $30.

I'll wager you didn't know there were 28 runners in the Windows Office Suite-stakes.

#1 in Windows Office Suites and #1 in Amazon software sales is MS Office Home and Student 2007 at $110 with a three-seat license. Retail boxed. No academic ID required.

Pre-orders for Apple's iWork 8 for the Mac put it at #8 in Amazon software sales. MS Student Teacher Office 2004 for the Mac is #2.

MS Office holds 17 of the top 25 positions in Windows Office Suites.

OpenOffice.org 2.2 is #20 in Windows Office Suites at 49 cents on CD new and used.

The last time I looked, which was about a week back, Star Office 8 ranked around #650 in Amazon software sales. MS Works 8 around #50.

Its all about getting the Sun name and brand out there, making the name known by non-technical people; making it more accessible rather than it being viewed as the domain of the purely UNIX geeks.

I'll wish Sun the best of luck. But I don't think it is going to happen.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204031)

Obscurity is a bigger problem than losing a bit of money. There is not really much difference between OpenOffice and StarOffice, only the tiny bits that are owned by other people, who do not want see their spellchecker or whatever open sourced.

I doubt to be honest that getting licences for StarOffice is the direct commercial motivation for Sun, it was cheaper to buy the StarOffice company than buy MS office software for all their workers, if it allows other people to use Solaris then all the better.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (5, Funny)

dn15 (735502) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204037)

Did I miss something? I allways thoght that StarOffice is a commertial product - One you actualy pay for - $69.95 U.S to be precise.

So how does google do it then?
I present two possibilities for your consideration:
  1. Google made a deal with Sun for promotional purposes. I doubt they were selling many copies to begin with but might make good advertising for the Sun brand.
  2. They pirated it using BitTorrent and are now illegally redistributing it.
I'll let you decide which one is more likely. ;)

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204327)

Thieving bastards!

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204495)

I wonder about Sun's stance towards StarOffice/OpenOffice. Are there really many people who buy StarOffice? For what reasons?

I assume that Sun runs OpenOffice in order to provide people with a means to move off of Windows, as well as earning good will in the open source community and marketing benefits (brand recognition and whatnot). So I guess it seems weird to me that they simultaneously split themselves between the OpenOffice brand and StarOffice brand, which is likely to confuse some people. The only benefit that I can imagine is a slight increase in purchases of StarOffice licenses by people who think they're substantially different software. However, I assume that StarOffice doesn't make massive numbers of sales, and given a small number of sales and a cheap ($70) price tag, I wonder whether the money raised by selling licenses is enough to pay for the poor branding.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

GPL Apostate (1138631) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204801)

I bought StarOffice in the 'retail box' format back when it was distributed in the US by Red Hat. That was back in about 1998 or so. I still have that thick manual somewhere here, and the installation CD which I'm sure will no long run on a modern Linux. It was somewhat more than $70 at the time. I also used to have ApplixWare for Linux, a version bundled and sold as a retail-box item from Caldera.

I preferred ApplixWare at the time, and wish the Applix Office suite was still available.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205233)

I can only speak for myself, but I bought it because it was much much much more polished than openoffice was at the time, and provided much better compatability with MS Office. Granted, it was a while ago, and it was more than $70, so I'm sure things have changed.

Now my linux-as-a-hobby days are pretty much over, and since all of my work is for windows shops, thats what I use at home as well, along with MS Office, since other interests take up my hobby time, and quite frankly, I don't want to put the effort into running a different OS than what I need for work -- if I start doing works for linux/unix shops, I'll switch back to linux at home, for the same reason.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

watchingeyes (1097855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205483)

I wouldn't mind using OpenOffice again, but because I'm on a Mac (which, admittedly, with Microsoft taking so freakin long to release an Intel office suite for OS X, has a dismal choice of office suites for my Macbook) and the Mac has a shitty port of OpenOffice with NeoOffice and an even shittier official port, it's pretty much out of the question.

Because my needs are pretty basic, I'm going to be taking a look at iwork 08.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (2, Funny)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204785)

I present two possibilities for your consideration:

1. Google made a deal with Sun for promotional purposes. I doubt they were selling many copies to begin with but might make good advertising for the Sun brand.
2. They pirated it using BitTorrent and are now illegally redistributing it.

Using Slashdot logic: 1 involves "deals" and "advertising" so it is probably evil. 2 involves piracy and BitTorrent so is probably just fighting the evil of copyright and outdated business models. And Google do no evil, so must be 2. Am I right?

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205107)

OR
3. Maybe they are scared that with an open source license like the LGPL, it could be manipulated into something they couldn't agree to and have to either change their product "midstream" or accept terms that they aren't comfortable with. OR possibly worse and get into a position where they unwittingly gave away property they didn't want to because of the associations to new licenses.

At least with a proprietary license, they have a contract and can control to some extent what they are going to be subjected to. And maybe they saw that as being more important then getting pushed into a Novell-MS situation.

Anyways, it would be interesting to know their real thinking behind the move.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

watchingeyes (1097855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205525)

Google distributes their own code under the GPL and other licenses all the time. Why would them distributing someone else's code be any different?

Can i have some of what you are smoking please?

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205971)

Maybe Google just doesn't want too many questions asked about GPL? Some people heard of "viral nature" of GPL, and now they are afraid. A standard commercial license of the "me pay, me use" sort would be more comfortable to many.

Besides, the non-free StarOffice does have modules that are relevant to Google's customers. How would a typical customer create flyers for a yard sale if there is no clip art included? This is a better deal than OpenOffice just because of that.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

watchingeyes (1097855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206309)

That may be the case, and I'm not disagreeing, but as a side comment I must say that any CIO of a non-software firm that thinks the GPL is dangerous needs to be punted back to kindergarten, because they clearly aren't very intelligent. Unless your planning on modifying and distributing GPL'd code, the benefits far outweigh the problems.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206459)

If the world follows your advice we'd have no CIOs left :-) Many are narrow-minded PHBs who get all their technical knowledge from the CIO Magazine and from Gartner. The reason is that the CIO position, like CEO and CFO and COO, is a non-technical one, since it involves mostly office politics mixed with periodic begging for money. Technical skills are detrimental to getting the position. It's highly paid and is on top of the food chain, so to become a CIO you'd better have some MBA. "It does not matter what you know; it matters who you know."

In a small startup you can easily meet a CIO who remembers Linux kernel boot parameters; in a large company your average CIO probably can't use a computer. That type of CIO can easily believe anything, and they feel more comfortable by paying other people's money for peace of their own mind. Licenses like GPL they like send to Legal, and when the lawyers are done the GPL's goose is not just cooked, but incinerated.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206389)

Google pack has Firefox, the licensing for Firefox isn't too different.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206015)

but google controls their code. They don't need to worry about external changes breaking compatibility with some part of their rather complex system.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

watchingeyes (1097855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206287)

And they would have more control over StarOffice than they would over OpenOffice? How do you figure? You do understand the difference between proprietary and open source, do you? Are you trying to agree with me and you incorrectly used the word "but", or are you just talking for talking's sake?

I personally think it was a good idea to include StarOffice. I just think the whole "zOMG the GPL duck and cover!!!" reason that the original poster came up with is BS, that's all. Google and Sun both promote open source and have both released code under the GPL plenty of times in the past.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204127)

Why is it so surprising? Even Norton is a paid product in every sense of that word. Last I checked, it was a scaled down version with Google Pack. I think same thing will happen with StarOffice.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

watchingeyes (1097855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205543)

I doubt it. Unlike Staroffice, Norton actually has significant sales.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204139)

So how does google do it then?
With money? Besides, I expect there are volume discounts.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204647)

Thats only for window users - after all they are used to getting screwed.

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

Sizzlebeast (987883) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205215)

Quote From the GoogleOS Blog:

StarOffice 8 is a full-featured office suite that contains a word processor, a spreadsheet tool, applications for presentations, databases, math formulas and drawing. It has support for most Microsoft Office formats (except for the formats introduced in Office 2007), but it can also export documents as PDF out of the box. The software normally costs $70, but it's available for free in Google Pack. It's worth noting that StarOffice has a huge installer (more than 140 MB), so you should download it only if you have a fast Internet connection.

Re:That's not fair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205873)

You can not actually read the article; that is so unfair. Cheater!!!

Re:$69.95 U.S. (1)

Cosmix (24810) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205925)

They make it up in volume.

Linus is right (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20203985)

I am with Linus on this one. For the life of me I can't understand what this sucking up to RMS is about.
Linus himself does not think GPLv3 is a good thing. So why do people keep adopting it.

RMS is male version of PMS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204243)

Lemmings do as lemmings told.

Re:Linus is right (1)

mh101 (620659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204417)

What does that have to do with Google distributing StarOffice?

Answered Own Question (0, Redundant)

danlock4 (1026420) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204043)

'It will be interesting to see why Google didn't choose to include OpenOffice.org, the primary difference between StarOffice and OpenOffice.org being that StarOffice includes some proprietary components like clip-art graphics, fonts, templates and tools for Microsoft Office migration.'
I think you've answered your own question.

People don't want choices (5, Insightful)

Asmor (775910) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204057)

I'm going to give the summary the benefit of the doubt and assume the question was intended as why they don't include both OO.org and StarOffice.

The answer, of course, is that people don't want choices. Be happy that Joe Schmoe might even consider installing some weird program that's not made by Microsoft, don't expect him to decide whether he wants OpenOffice.org ("What is that, some website?") or StarOffice.

Google chose what they thought would be most useful to most technically-disinclined people.

Re:People don't want choices (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204135)

OpenOffice.org ("What is that, some website?")

Which would sound probable considing Google's products.

Re:People don't want choices (4, Funny)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204289)

OpenOffice.org ("What is that, some website?")

duh! every Joe Schmoe knows websites ends in .com

Re:People don't want choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204771)

Because everyone drives the exact same car, right?

Re:People don't want choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204815)

Because everyone drives the exact same car, right?
No. ... But a particular ad will only try to sell you one particular brand of car.

Google's answer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204247)

Google: "We're gonna fucking bury Microsoft!"

A big fuck you to Ballmer and the other assholes at Microsoft. Nobody is interesting in using you shitty products.

Glass

Staroffice without Linux... (5, Interesting)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204637)

My previous hospital (a very large tertiary-care facility) made the switch from Microsoft Office to Staroffice in late 2005. I had a decidedly mixed experience.

At first, I thought it was the coolest thing around -- can use opendocument formats and pdf. Unfortunately, the administration set them up on Windows 2000 workstations instead of switching to Linux. After several weeks of use, for the majority of tasks there was *no* difference (typing memos / patient letters, simple spreadsheet stuff.)

However, for anything more advanced (pivot tables) I found myself relearning stuff (StarOffice calls it a DataPilot). This wasn't too bad.

My biggest gripe was the small incompatibilities between .ppt and ooimpress; when presenting to an audience of hundreds you can't all of a sudden have text flowing off the slide or the .bmp come up black. If I wanted to share something (most everybody else still runs Powerpoint) I had to doublecheck the whole thing prior to doing the slideshow. There were also many small incompatibilites with Excel importing.

Openoffice / Staroffice is also definitively slower than Microsoft Office on startup and for most tasks I used. After awhile most doc's / staff members griped, "I am just saving the hospital money that I would never have seen anyway, why do I have a headache using this generic stuff when we could just have the real thing?"

Don't get me wrong; I use Linux exclusively at home (except for one WinXP box for VPN to work through a Juniper client that is a pain under Linux). I use OpenOffice at home.

However, for the enterprise the average user doesn't care that the IT department will save a few hundred thousand dollars a year -- they just want what is better or faster, or lacking that, what they already know how to use. The average user also doesn't care about the open source philosophy that you and I do.

The hospital still uses Staroffice (at least when I left) and you could request a workstation to be equipped with Microsoft Office if needed. I wish that the hospital had gone with Linux workstations, with Citrix / virtualization of apps that are Windows only, which would have given the clear benefits of Linux (stability, no spyware installed, etc.) with Staroffice.

The short story is - Staroffice in itself was slower and (from the average user's perspective) not as good as Microsoft Office, the current standard, and was perceived as an inferior product. I *really* think that had this change been bundled with a switch to Linux on the desktop, which would have enhanced the user experience (no more popups / junkware slowing down the system) it would have been a great thing; but by itself it was not that useful. Again, just one user's experience, but this was a large corporation with thousands of workstations.

  - Anybody else have similar experience with ditching Microsoft halfway in the corporate setting?

Re:Staroffice without Linux... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204741)

Staroffice without Linux is like a porno without sex.

You could do it, but that's not the point. :)

Re:Staroffice without Linux... (1)

Chilled urine. (1132739) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205239)

My biggest gripe was the small incompatibilities between .ppt and ooimpress; when presenting to an audience of hundreds you can't all of a sudden have text flowing off the slide or the .bmp come up black. If I wanted to share something (most everybody else still runs Powerpoint) I had to doublecheck the whole thing prior to doing the slideshow.

My advice: make a PDF of your presentation. xpdf, Preview, and acroread all support full-screen mode.

Re:Staroffice without Linux... (4, Informative)

Budenny (888916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205243)

I took a small organisation to Linux and OpenOffice. The secretary/admin had only ever used MS Office previously. It was acceptable. There was a clear reason: money was very tight indeed. This certainly helped, it wasn't just ideology, there was a legitimate motivation rooted in the organisation's values of limiting overhead spend. There was a certain amount of confusion about small details of different operation of spreadsheets. The issue is, they are very similar but not quite identical. Most of the things she was used to worked about the same however - particularly filtering. However, pivot tables/data pilot turned out to be very hard to get used to. Mailing list label generation in Writer was another difficult point. I am terrible at this stuff myself and found it quite hard to teach. Well, hard to learn first.

Linux by contrast, the OS, turned out to be easy for everyone. It was indeed very stable. It turned out to supply lots of other free specialist software that we needed, and the people who needed it, not having run any proprietary equivalents in the past, just learned the new stuff and quite liked it. We created a couple of accounts for different people who work on different days, and they liked having the freedom to arrange their stuff how they liked.

Multiple desktops are one of the surprising things in Linux for new users. You must always teach them carefully and show people how to use them, and once they get used to them, they are something that is used all the time. What they really like is being able to leave one bit of work exactly as it was, move over to another workspace, do something else, and come back to exactly what you left as you left it. If you do move people to Linux, don't neglect to teach this. They will really come to appreciate it.

The big deal with calc turned out to be not the differences, which were a small irritation, but spreadsheets themselves. To get what we needed done, we ended up having to use array formulae. If you do this you will find that the average intelligent and computer literate person, even one who has worked quite a bit with spreadsheets, simply stops here. So we ended up with a spreadsheet that had a sort of mental 'off limits' tag on one of its worksheets. This works, I don't understand what it does, I don't want to know, if it goes wrong I will call up x and have him fix it. But this was a function of spreadsheets and arrays, not the way OO handles them.

There was a sort of side effect for our own admin. She left us, but before she went I watched a couple of other part timers being taught how to use the system, and the general account was, its a bit different, this is how it works, when you get used to it, its fine. But there was a definite increase in confidence that had come from mastering some new stuff, which at first had seemed rather forbidding, but had turned out to be adaptable to need.

If you do this, you have to understand you are asking people to do something unknown and a bit frightening, and absurd as it seems, something they really do not know whether they can do. I got the feedback a couple of times that 'I was so nervous about this, but I've actually learned it better than I thought I would'. You have to very much take the line that it just takes a bit of time, let them make mistakes, be instantly available when they need help, never get impatient. Pick the right time to explain just the right amount of what lies behind things. If you get them through the first few steps, the increased confidence will take them the rest of the way.

One of the most reassuring things you can say to people as they start is: you cannot do any damage to the system. Explain that they are signed on as a user, there's a backup of all the data, and nothing they do is going to damage anything. This is enormously reassuring.

All in all I would say, go for it. If you focus on the needs of the users and helping them, there's no reason it won't succeed.

mixed Linux, MS, OOffice in small medical practice (1)

midgley (629008) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206747)

We have avoided MS Office for some time although it is used extensively in the NHS. We get on OK. In fact most of our letters are done using a small custom program I called "Letters Outward" when I wrote it last century. We depend on one DOS application which I've not been able to run in emulation[1], so we require a session on a Windows box for each copy of that.

[1] unlike the police department in Kiev - I think their Clipper ap was rather smaller.

Re:Staroffice without Linux... (1)

Scruffy Dan (1122291) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206759)

the biggest issue for most (I assume) is that Star/open office can't reliably read and write MS office formats. anytime you make a slightly complex document/spreadsheet/presentation, you need to check that it will look the same in MS office. and thats why I use MS office

It makes a huge difference... (4, Informative)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204643)

...my coworkers refused to switch to OpenOffice, even though it was completely free. The dealbreaker? lack of clip-art, templates, etc. It's more likely than you think. Most of us might not care about silly things like that, but most people that I've run into tend to rely heavily on clip-art and templates.

Re:It makes a huge difference... (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205601)

Aren't there Web sites that carry these things for downloads and use?

Re:It makes a huge difference... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205805)

Aren't there Web sites that carry these things for downloads and use?

MS Office Home provides one-stop shopping for MS Office tutorials, templates, click art, etc.

It's a handsome site, easy to use, light-years removed from OpenOffice.org. And, yes it matters. Most of us don't have the time to re-invent the wheel. To spend endless hours searching for free, professionally designed, co-ordinated, themed and cataloged clip art.

Re:It makes a huge difference... (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205877)

Well, Web sites should carry them and then have OpenOffice link to the sites.

Re:It makes a huge difference... (1)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206053)

If there's anywhere where you can get Office-quality and ease-of-use clip-art and templates, please tell me. The best I've found is cheapo templates on the OOo website.

Re:It makes a huge difference... (2, Informative)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206113)

...my coworkers refused to switch to OpenOffice, even though it was completely free. The dealbreaker? lack of clip-art, templates, etc.
On Ubuntu, Kubuntu: sudo apt-get install openclipart-openoffice.org

This gives openoffice the clipart from http://www.openclipart.org/ [openclipart.org]

As for templates, there are some in OpenOffice, just not many.

Re:It makes a huge difference... (1)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206977)

thanks now if only there were more templates.

Re:It makes a huge difference... (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 6 years ago | (#20207175)

Clipart?

http://www.openclipart.org/ [openclipart.org]

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

It's been 10 seconds since you hit 'reply'.

OH NOES! (0)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204663)

Google includes more featureful equivalent of software package in download pack.

Well I, for one, have just pissed myself in fear.

StarOffice is blog aware (3, Interesting)

sagefire.org (731545) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204743)

I am guessing that Google plans on using the Star Office blogging add-on to bridge the gap between desktop app and web-app.

Imagine writing a document and telling it to save to your Google account online and then being able to work with it remotely via Google Docs and blogger (also owned by Google).

Then again, maybe Sun has an aqua-native Mac OS X port that they have been secretly working on? That would make it much more attractive too.

Eric Schmidt is no dope. Seeing a Google-Sun collaboration does make me think of all of the old Apple-Sun rumors. And, Schmidt is on the Apple Board.

Basically, Star Office is OpenOffice.org + extras. So, if he could make a deal to distribute that for free, why bother with Star Office - "extras" at all?

Turns out to be uninteresting and irrelevant (0, Troll)

GPL Apostate (1138631) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204919)

I went to pack.google.com, figuring that since I have a gmail account I am on good terms with those folks and could join up and use some of this cool stuff.

The window in Seamonkey on my NetBSD machine came up saying 'Google Pack requires Windows XP or Vista'. It also provided a friendly link telling me where Google Pack for the Mac could be found. WTF?? They don't even know how to identify a browser string and COMPLETELY cut me out? I maintain one machine here with Windows 2000 on it, which should be enough, one would think. When did Google turn into an operation to promote 'upgrades to XP'???

Re:Turns out to be uninteresting and irrelevant (1)

Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205003)

At the moment there's no Google Pack for Mac. That link just takes you to their Mac software page where you can get Google Earth, SketchUp, and the rest of their Mac stuff. No super-secret Aqua version of StarOffice in sight.

Re:Turns out to be uninteresting and irrelevant (1)

mastershake82 (948396) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205155)

I don't understand what your issue with this is. The applications they distribute are compatible with Windows. It's somehow wrong for them to inform you of that fact?

Re:Turns out to be uninteresting and irrelevant (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205657)

yes but you do know that the best way of getting a clean download for a Windows System is to use a Linux/Unix system

StarOffice == ODF == Good (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205159)

I don't really worry too much about it not being OpenOffice... It is still Google trying to get people to migrate from MSOffice... And StarOffice is yet another ODF thing, so google seems to be including tools for migration from MSOffice formats to ODF, and I see that as a good thing.

Both OpenOffice and StarOffice are equally bloated thanks to Sun anyways...

Re:StarOffice == ODF == Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20206371)

XML is fucking retarded.

Plain text works perfectly on all platforms. Jpegs and bitmaps work just fine for pictures.

Want fancy layouts for print? Use a professional publication application, NOT MS Office, OO.o or StarOffice.

Again, XML is fucking retarded in all its forms. Why can't people see that plain text is the solution for the ultimate in document compatibility?

But still can only install to C: drive... (1)

waytoomuchcoffee (263275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205181)

I would love to try this out, but as my tiny, high-rpm C: drive is dedicated to my bloated, monopolistic OS, there is no room for anything else. When, oh WHEN will the Google Gods add a path option in the advanced options?

Re:But still can only install to C: drive... (3, Informative)

xsspd2004 (801486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205443)

Wait until it downloads, pause Google Updater, grab the temporary file from D&S\AU\ApData\GU\cache. It should be an exe once it is downloaded. Rename it to something meaningful and presto, StarOffice. You can install wherever you want.

I don't really see what makes it any more compelling than OpenOffice.org so far.

Warning, I didn't read the EULA, so proceed at the risk of Google Street View taking a picture of you running around your house in the underwarz.

Argh! (1)

logixoul (1046000) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205385)

the primary difference between StarOffice and OpenOffice.org being that StarOffice includes some proprietary components like clip-art graphics ...
Who else read that as Clippy?

Depends on usage, entirely (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205479)

I've tried using OpenOffice. I use it for school. But when someone sends me a Word 2007 document, what do I do? Last I had checked (a few months ago, I admit), there was no way for OO to open a Word 2007 file.

Or, try powerpoint. OO's presenter or whatever isn't bad, but PowerPoint ... well, easily looks far more professional.

And frankly, I think a lot of businesses would rather pay for Office because it allows them to have professional looking documents much quicker (i.e., templates and such).

Whether or not "we" need it is irrelevant; Microsoft has succeeded in producing and marketing software that is somewhat easy and efficient to use for.. well, offices. Until Linux/OSS productivity packs like OpenOffice can achieve the same, and well, many people will still prefer Microsoft Office.

And it's not just because it's what they are used to. People are also used to their old cars, but a lot of them want new ones :) Especially if their old one had random problems all the time... but if the new one was really hard to figure out, they might just rather have the old one with random problems. Shoot, I just used a car analogy.

Re:Depends on usage, entirely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20206049)

"And frankly, I think a lot of businesses would rather pay for Office because it allows them to have professional looking documents much quicker (i.e., templates and such)."

While your reason is fairly accurate, I feel most IT departments would certainly think twice, or even thrice, when trying to work Microsoft's licensing scheme into their budget... It has this really nifty balloon effect on your "total" cell :)

Re:Depends on usage, entirely (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206361)

The 2.3 beta of OO has that ability. It seems to be quite close to release. I expect there'll be some bugfix releases before the quality of that filter matches the 97/2000/XP filter.

Re:Depends on usage, entirely (1)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206689)

But when someone sends me a Word 2007 document, what do I do?

Ask them to send the document in a different format. Also, politely remind them that what they sent was stored in a proprietary format (yes, OOXML is proprietary), much like sending someone a document written in Latin and expecting them to be able to read it.

I make it a point to respond to every word document attachment with a request for information in a non-proprietary format, even if I don't care about reading it anyway (I get a few every week). However, you will find that 90%+ of people will completely ignore your request. I have only done this with personal e-mail, not business.

More information on dealing with this information here: We Can Put an End to Word Attachments [gnu.org]

Um, an *interesting* question? (1)

rascher (1069376) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205537)

"It will be interesting to see why Google didn't choose to include OpenOffice.org ... clip-art graphics, fonts, templates and tools for Microsoft Office migration." My guess is that they chose StarOffice because it has clip-art graphics, fonts, templates, and tools for MS Office migration. You know, glaringly trivial shit for most users.

Google Docs? (1)

ultramkancool (827732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205707)

Why would they pull this instead of pushing Google Docs?

It Will Be Interesting? (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206163)

No it won't. It's trivial at best, especially since the answer came with the question: more good stuff. It's an obvious choice that makes the question alone lame, and with the answer attached ridiculous.

Slow news day?

You *STILL* cannot run (1)

ancient_kings (1000970) | more than 6 years ago | (#20206933)

Excel macros at all in StarOffice. I've been asking them to support this feature for 6 freakin' years. If they can't, then we need to move along...nothing to see here....
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