If you still haven't gotten around to upgrading to Microsoft Office 2000
you may want to wait a little longer before you run off to the software
store and fork over your hard-earned cash.
good reason to pause. With StarOffice Suite,
Sun MicroSystems has come up with an excellent alternative to Microsoft
StarOffice is a complete package that incorporates all the features you
need in Office productivity software.This
is an impressive collection of tools - ranging from a basic HTML
editor to an easy to use Database
program. You'll also get a powerful word processor, an integrated web
browser, an email program, image editing software, a spreadsheet program,
and presentation software.
the really interesting part?
It's absolutely free. And you can download the program from the Sun Web
Site right now.
Sound good? It
does to a lot of people. Sun has already logged nearly two million downloads
in the four months since putting the software on the market.
Origins of StarOffice
August of last year, Sun acquired StarOffice with the takeover of German
software manufacturer StarDivision,
setting the stage for the announcement that the company would distribute
the software free of charge over the Internet.
The most useful aspect of StarOffice is the way in which the StarOffice
web browser is neatly integrated into the overall scheme of the program.
in the URL of a web site you need to visit
while you're working on a text document or editing a spreadsheet and the
page loads swiftly, without you having to go to the trouble of launching
a new application.
This is a real advantage, given the way most people work these days -
bouncing back and forth between office applications and browser. StarOffice
saves you time - and in the long run will probably save you money as well.
program integrates file managment in a similar way. You'll have convenient
sidebar access to important tools like Windows Explorer
and your Web bookmarks even while you're
working on documents in StarOffice.
It's worth noting that some critics complain about the way Star takes
over the desktop. Once you've launched the program the interface itself
can't be minimized, in order to launch other applications you'll need
to use the program's built-in navigation system, a fairly easy task once
you get the lay of the land, but perhaps not the wisest design decision
on the part of the program's creators. And although this feature may irritate
some people, it's easy to work around.
StarOffice for the first time can be a disorienting experience. If you're
used to using an application like Word or Wordperfect you may want to
close your eyes for a second as the program launches.
first glance, nothing is where it is supposed to be. The familiar toolbars
and icons are all gone. No reassuring animated Microsoft cartoon character
pops up to welcome you to the system. No, not even a single dancing paperclip...
Don't panic. Once
you get a feel for how the system works StarOffice is very easy to use.
It'll take a little while to master the system. But once you have the
basics down, you'll be able to pick up even advanced tasks fairly quickly.
StarOffice does have it's weaknesses.
spreadsheet program is not Excell. The HTML Editor is not DreamWeaver.
StarWriter ain't WordPerfect - but it's well on the way.
interface could definately use a makeover, but on the whole, this program's
price and easy availability over the web make it an obvious choice for
people looking to watch the company bottom line, or concerned about annual
from Sun MicroSystems (65MB)
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