"Editor's Note: With this review we begin a four-part series on
the major office suites in the Linux world: StarOffice, KOffice,
WordPerfect Office 9, Applixware Office for Linux, and the GNOME
Office Suite. All five are in varying stages of completion:
StarOffice, Applixware, and WordPerfect are all fairly mature
products with proven track records, while KOffice and GNOME Office
Suite are both in relatively early stages of development."
"Taken as a collection, StarOffice provides a thorough and
complete suite. Hints from Sun indicate that it will gain
prominence in the coming months as its new owners prepare for yet
another assault on Microsoft's dominance of the corporate
"If we have any complaints about StarOffice, it's that there's
no way to extract individual components from the whole for use
outside the somewhat strange and Windows-like StarDesktop.
StarOffice takes a while to start, and tends to be memory-hungry.
Users who already have an established desktop environment tipping
their base system requirements to the high end may find it
frustrating to have to deal with a desktop environment within a
"On the other hand, for a company preparing for the transition
to a Linux desktop, or a company dealing with the sorts of issues
having a more heterogeneous environment in place entails,
StarOffice's insistence on owning the desktop begins to make more
sense. Having the techs using the same software as the suits, who
in turn are using the same software as the clerical pool, makes for
a smoother environment for all. There's no need to deploy a single
operating system to continue to get work done if everybody's
working with the same software. Sun clearly has a stake in
corporate IT decision-makers picking up on this wisdom, and it will
be interesting to see their ongoing efforts in this area."
"For most users, StarOffice will provide everything they
could need and a few extras that show the software is designed with
some care and a sense of quality. We recommend it on the basis of
its own merits as well as its unbeatable price: free."
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