Sun spots office

Sun Microsystems has released a new version of its open-source-based Star Office software, and will promote the suite at events throughout the Middle East in November.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  October 19, 2005

Sun Microsystems has released a new version of its open-source-based Star Office software, and will promote the suite at events throughout the Middle East in November. The Star Office 8 software is based around technology from OpenOffice.org, an open-source suite of programs developed by users around the world. Sun’s suite includes Star Office Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress, (presentation), Base (database) and Draw (drawing) applications, and runs on multiple operating systems. Graham Porter, marketing manager for Sun MENA, says, “As the number of operating systems available in the regional market grows, the attractiveness of Star Office as compared to competitors has increased because of the compatibility and flexibility of the package. Star Office 8 works on Windows, Linux and Sun's recently open sourced Solaris OS, on either Sun's SPARC processors or x86/x64 based systems.” Sun says Star Office has a high level of compatibility with Microsoft Office software, and includes migration tools for users to convert MS files to Star Office. The suite also includes Arabic localisation options, a spell-checker and clip art. “The Middle East has been working hard to reduce software piracy and one of the main hindrances to this has been the complaint that software is too expensive,” says Porter. “Star Office is a real alternative, being 50%cheaper than other software packages. It is also Arabic-enabled and neatly fits the local requirements.” Open source software is experiencing a minor boom at the moment. Mozilla’s open source browser Firefox has attracted several million new users after security analysts recommended users to ditch Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, and Linux is becoming increasingly popular with both corporate and home users. OpenOffice itself is also gaining followers, offering most of the functions of more expensive suites for free. The Star Office software is available to download from Sun for US$69.95 for one licence: the company says volume discounts are available for business customers.

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