StarOffice Now Free From Sun

Wednesday September 1st, 1999

Oliver Strutynski writes, "Sun has aquired the German software company Star-Division and is now giving away their product, StarOffice, for free. They also plan to release the source code under a 'community license'. Star-Office is an MS Office compatible office software running on a variety of platforms including Win32, Solaris, OS/2 and Linux."

From what I recall, StarOffice was free to individuals before Sun's purchase of StarDivision, but the release of the source code is a great step.

#1 Good!

by zaw

Wednesday September 1st, 1999 8:42 AM

How much is MS Office 2000? I didn't pay for mine.

I use Star Office it feel just like MS Office.

MS kill the Browser Market that Netscape created, Now Sun will kill Office Software Market that MS dominate.

Free OfficeSuite is good but they are also killing Lotus and Corel as well to.

#9 StarOffice Now Free From Sun

by Kovu

Wednesday September 1st, 1999 7:15 PM

Corel has other stuff, like CorelDraw, and IBM has other stuff, too. Office 2000 costs between $400 and $700. RIP OFF. Can you say, NEED TO DIE?

#2 This Puppy's HUGE

by SomeSmartAss

Wednesday September 1st, 1999 8:51 AM

I'm currently downloading StarOffice (wi/5+hrs left remaining), and its a Massive hunk o' code. Sun's objective is to make the suite web/portal based, but I don't think we have the proper bandwidth (even with T1/Cable hookups) to run this from an applet yet (didn't Corel try that a while back)

Of course, its not like I'm some Java guru or anything either, but I still don't see this type of thing as being a viable web app yet...

#13 This Puppy's HUGE

by Anon

Thursday September 2nd, 1999 6:38 AM

The Java version is quite different... As far as I understand, it is supposed to load classes dynamically as they are needed, and to keep lots of the code running only on the server side.

#26 This Puppy's HUGE

by Anon

Saturday September 4th, 1999 10:26 PM

It seems to me that Sun isn't trying to port the current StarOffice directly to Java (like Corel). They're probably developing a new "web-based office-suite" from scratch. If Sun can make a fine balance between dynamic loading and client-side cacheing and keep it lean, it would be a possible concept.

#3 Source?

by sj12fn

Wednesday September 1st, 1999 9:08 AM

I know Sun was supposed to make Star OSS, but where's the code? Links would be nice.


#7 Re: Source?

by bergie

Wednesday September 1st, 1999 12:15 PM

Sun will release StarOffice under the Sun Community Source License, which is not quite Open Source or Free Software license.

But it is still better than the old and more proprietary method.

The Slashdot story on the matter is at

#11 Re: Source?

by MattyT

Wednesday September 1st, 1999 10:05 PM

Not necessarily. It sends a message that the user community will accept the compromise, and that's a dangerous message to send to companies.

IBM, Apple and Sun all have had or still have licenses which don't meet the free software guidelines. If they don't meet it, they should be ignored, until they choose to make it free, and not treat users like Sun is doing them a favour.

#4 Star Office thoughts

by rgelb

Wednesday September 1st, 1999 10:01 AM

Has anyone used Star Office on Linux? I thought it was excrutiatingly slow. I'll see what its like on win32.

#5 Re: Star Office thoughts

by wheezy

Wednesday September 1st, 1999 10:17 AM

It isn't exactly excruciatingly slow, but it is a giant memory hog. It creates a MS-Windows-like environment within an X window, complete with "start" menu and all that stuff. It isn't exactly what you'd call bug-free either, but it currently seems to offer the best MS compatibility out there.

I'm personally waiting for the Gnome office suite to mature. Some very sharp people are working on it, and the MS compatibility (although still inadequate) has been steadily improving.

#6 Problematic License?

by Anon

Wednesday September 1st, 1999 10:21 AM

My understanding is that the SCSL (Sun Community Source License) is much more restrictive than most Open Source licenses. Would be much better if they released it under the MPL (Mozilla Public License).

Mike Crist

#8 Problematic License?

by MattyT

Wednesday September 1st, 1999 5:37 PM

SCSL is NOT "open source", or under any normal definition of "free".

The best option to ignore it. It is tempting for companies to do this, but the community must clearly say it is not good enough!

#10 headline

by Kovu

Wednesday September 1st, 1999 7:17 PM

To me, that means STAR OFFICE IS NOW FREE FROM SUN as in, Sun sold it or the deal fell through or something. You about gave me a heart attack. How about SUN TO OFFER STAR OFFICE FOR FREE?

#12 StarOffice Now Free From Sun

by Anon

Thursday September 2nd, 1999 6:27 AM

It looks like they took it down. I'm getting a 404. The CD is pretty expensive for being free as well.

#14 StarOffice Now Free From Sun

by mstearne

Thursday September 2nd, 1999 9:29 AM

I wound up buying the free $16.95 CD. For $9.95 for Shipping and Handling they better wrap it in silk :-). But I believe (hope) that the CD comes with the Linux and the Win32 version. This allows me to avoid 120MB download of the versions. Plus I can install it on other computers and to get the word out. Also, is there a Mac version planned?

#15 Bought it

by BehrQattz

Thursday September 2nd, 1999 9:54 AM

I bought a copy on CD for $9.95 plus shipping from Sun's site. That's nothing to be able to have it on CD. MS Office 2000 Std is $440, Corel and Lotus is around $270 (Heh, no monopoly pricing by MS, now is there?). I plan on sharing it with my friends, relatives, and business associates. I do hope for a Mac version, as I'm preparing to move from WinNT4 to MacOSX on a G4 in the next year.

#16 correction

by Anon

Thursday September 2nd, 1999 9:57 AM

It was free for non commercial use before but now it will be free for all, but this web thing worries me Web apps sux plain and simple

#17 Bought it

by BehrQattz

Thursday September 2nd, 1999 10:03 AM

I bought a copy on CD for $9.95 plus shipping from Sun's site. That's nothing to be able to have it on CD. MS Office 2000 Std is $440, Corel and Lotus is around $270 (Heh, no monopoly pricing by MS, now is there?). I plan on sharing it with my friends, relatives, and business associates. I do hope for a Mac version, as I'm preparing to move from WinNT4 to MacOSX on a G4 in the next year.

#18 Star Office...

by rgelb

Thursday September 2nd, 1999 10:53 AM

I downloaded & installed on Win32 and I have to say that it sucks. Speedwise, it is ok. They fixed a lot of slow portions. But what is the deal with creating their own desktop. I might want to use other software and stuff on my desktop. Moronic. They can probably shave 2-3 MB off their distribution if they remove this ridiculous feature. I think it will turn off tons of people, which is a shame. As for MS compatibility, it is not too bad, particularly for simple documents. However, once I gave it a complex word document with tables, drawing, arrows, it rendered it completely innacurate.

#19 Could this become a new thin OS though?

by SomeSmartAss

Thursday September 2nd, 1999 12:34 PM

I've been playing with it here for a bit now, and I'm starting to think that this entire thing could actually REPLACE windows entirely. Replace the IE embed with Mozilla, and a basic kernal/GUI interpreter back-end, this suite is actually all the computer most office workers & students need.

Combine this with the new Pluglet API, that (sh/w)ould download/install new components only as required, This could allow for end-user needs based workstation customization, and instant upgradability.

#22 There's free and there's "free"

by Anon

Friday September 3rd, 1999 4:54 AM

I suspect that StarOffice falls under latter, i.e. binaries and source code but with no right to modify or redistribute the thing.

It doesn't bother me too much though since I don't like StarOffice anyway (free or not). It's bloated and implements a quirky Windows L&F shell even on Unix. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to build it too? Worse than Mozilla by several factors I bet.

Perhaps if the thing appears on a magazine CD, I may give it a whirl but otherwise, forget it.

Now if Lotus released SmartSuite for free on Linux that *would* be worth trying out.

#25 YOu think Lotus Smart Suite's Better??? yuck...

by SomeSmartAss

Friday September 3rd, 1999 2:02 PM

Have to use it at work, and I'm less than impressed.

#23 You can turn that desktop into an app window (n/t)

by mozineAdmin

Friday September 3rd, 1999 6:07 AM

#24 You can also custom install wi/out the taskbar N/T

by SomeSmartAss

Friday September 3rd, 1999 2:00 PM

#21 Star Office...

by mstearne

Thursday September 2nd, 1999 11:46 PM

Wow, on the webcast Sun spoke a little more highly of it. I ordered a disk and would like to check it out. I don't use Office programs really at all except for a little time tracking in Excel and various bullshit Word documents. What does it do to your desktop? Is this feature optional, and is it on Linux too?


#20 StarOffice Now Free From Sun

by Lynggaard

Thursday September 2nd, 1999 2:34 PM

shipping to Denmark is $25, and it takes more than a month to get it here

Im off to the school It-center to burn some Cd's

#27 Is it going to stay free ?

by Anon

Sunday September 5th, 1999 2:24 PM

I downloaded the Star Office version for Win32. Looks just like office. It is big though, shows up as 12MB without any documents open and swells to 17MB opening a "word" doc and a spreadsheet.

Also have to agree that the 2nd desktop paradigm is a little bit silly and just adds noise to the interface. They need to let you turn that off right away. The problem I see is investing time in the creation of Star Office native format documents and then having Sun pull the plug or bump the price for upgrades having established an installed base.

I've lived in relatively poor Latina American countries where software piracy is rife, partly because Latins don't really view it as wrong and partly because in their economies $500 is a lot more to pay than in the US.

I think Linux and Star Office could be a nice alternative for those who don't want the Microsoft Police knocking at the door.

I was also wondering about using Star Office and X Windows to provide an equivalent to Citrix WinFrame ( office apps running on a super server with low end PCs acting as X Terminals ). Could be an interesting alternative.