Little more than a month after the release of OpenOffice 3.0, Sun Microsystems has officially unveiled a major update to StarOffice, the OpenOffice twin that comes with a price tag. Like OpenOffice 3, released to great fanfare in mid-October, StarOffice 9 can run on Mac OS X, a computer operating system used by a well-known …
... or because ...
"Or you may find yourself paying for StarOffice simply because you don't know any better" - or because you just like paying for the software you use? It's not like $35 is more that few rounds in the pub.
Star vs. Open
I used Star Office for quite a while until Sun decided they would start charging at which point I went to a flacky MS Office. Stayed there until I noticed Open at which point I switched and have not looked back.
Only just noticed...
...that StarOffice has been pulled from Google Pack, which is a shame.
It's strategic thinking
If I recall correctly, the original argument put forward by Sun was that corporate IT departments had a fundamental mistrust of anything that's free. If it's given away it must be worthless. Furthermore, the whole open source thing was perceived to be alien when it came to support.
By offering something packaged in the same way as the other alternatives, enlightened IT people could show the beancounters how much of a huge saving they could make, rather than try and get them to take a risk on something free.
As a result, Star/OOo has been accepted as a viable alternative to the older (better!) versions of MS office. Corporates pay a small amount and feel comforted by the warm glow of support, normal people just get it for free and Sun gets a few bucks for their troubles. Sounds good to me.
One final thought. Does anyone ever use the support? Has anyone ever had any help from MS when Word breaks? Or do people just STFW for the answer?
But don't tell the beancounters....
Good thing is that their support (enterprise level, at least) is superb. My friend's company had some issues - they got a patch in 2 days. They needed extra functionality, little thing, but patch landed in 2 weeks. You don't see this kind of stuff often. And for that price tag?
Also El Reg forgot about extras that come with StarOffice that are not present in OpenOffice. There're some filters, and other goodies. Check their webpage for details as I'm not a user so don't know really.
Or you may find yourself paying for StarOffice simply because...
It helps pay for all the developers that Sun employs to contribute to Open Office codebase?!
Well, one of the reasons for charging for SO is so that it can be stocked in PC World. An awful lot of muggles out there have *NEVER* downloaded and installed a piece of software.
By putting this piece of software in a box with a price tag, it will reach people that OO never would.
The only reason
"Or you may find yourself paying for StarOffice simply because you don't know any better."
Actually, you have a point. It's the only reason, really ... Except noone remembers StarOffice anymore, nowadays, so it's gonna be some years before that only reason begins to be valid ...
You can prepare your next story about SUN ditching StarOffice again :-)
You do actually get other 'value-add' too, including clip-art etc. that you do not get with OpenOffice.
Re: Tabloid news...
Of course El Reg is tabloid news. Everyone knows that, so you take whatever is said with a grain of salt. That's what makes it so interesting. Some (most) of what is said is total bunk, but it makes it fun trying to figure out what is correct and what is not. I would hope that most folks that read El Reg are critical thinkers.
You also get...
...Adabas D as a commercial database app. Anybody remember when they dropped the image editor component (was still there in 5.1—pretty good one, actually, could use Photoshop plug-ins and everything; back then it was the clincher for me to buy SO because the GIMP was still a little rudimentary at that time)?
SW Patents are fun...
MS likes to rattle around about owning some patents used in OOo, while Sun sits pretty in mutual assured destruction land, able to shield their customers from a long frivolous lawsuit.
It doesnt matter that your business will eventually win MS's suite, they'll tie up (a whole lot of) your cash, and thats in extra tight supply these days.
Credit where credit is due.
Folks often forget that it is SO that supports OO. Sun did not have to give code for OpenOffice from day one but they did and Sun deserves credit for their gifts to opensource. JMHO