In light of the recent findings in the Anti-Trust case against Microsoft, and the proposed to Microsoft break-up, it might be prudent to start looking at alternatives for various Microsoft products. There are a couple of office suites available, including AppleWorks, but there is about to be another major player on the Macintosh field – StarOffice – and they already exist for the Unix and Windows platforms.
What is StarOffice?
StarOffice, now produced by Sun Microsystems, Inc., is a leading desktop productivity tool suite. It is available in eight languages for Windows 95/98/NT, Linux (x86 only), Solaris x86 and SPARC and OS/2. A Macintosh compatible version is scheduled for release later in 2000, along with updates to the existing releases.
StarOffice offers Microsoft Word-compatible word processing, Microsoft Excel-compatible spreadsheet, Microsoft PowerPoint-compatible presentations, along with a drawing package, a database access package, a network calendar package and many more productivity capabilities – in a fully Internet-ready suite. Specifically, StarOffice consists of:
- StarOffice Writer – word processing
- StarOffice Calc – spreadsheet
- StarOffice Impress – presentation software
- StarOffice Drawand StarOffice Image – graphics software
- StarOffice Schedule – calendar
- StarOffice Mail – e-mail
- StarOffice Base – database interface
- StarOffice Discussion – newsreader
- StarOffice Math – formula software
- StarOffice Workplace – desktop environment
An important question is just how compatible is StarOffice. Sun state that StarOffice is more compatible with Microsoft Office than other office suites on the market today and that it provides a transparent capability to export and import data with Microsoft Office.
It is also a truly cross platform application with support for most Windows platforms, various versions of Unix – including Linux, and will also shortly add both MacOS and Web Portal versions.
On the language front, StarOffice is available in English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish versions.
The current version of StarOffice, v5.1, is free to download from the web, or a CD that includes the application and the user documentation for all supported platforms can be purchased for US$39.95, plus S&H.
The user licence allows you to freely install StarOffice software on multiple computers within your own INTERNAL organization (or school.) Others must download it
There are two ways to get StarOffice by visiting www.sun.com/products/staroffice/get.cgi, where you can (a) download StarOffice or (b) order the CD-ROM. Note: The downloads are about 65meg in size, for each platform.
StarOffice for Macintosh will be available later this year.
Much of the information in this article was obtained from the StarOffice pages on the Sun Microsystems, Inc., web site (www.sun.com/staroffice).
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