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LinuxPlanet: Editor's Note: Brilliant Disguise: Sun to Release StarOffice under GPL

Aug 07, 2000, 17:12 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Reichard)

"According to [StarOffice developer Marco] Boerries, a prime reason to release StarOffice under the GPL was to commoditize office applications, giving users and developers the power to walk away from the relatively expensive Microsoft Office. (We all whine about the Microsoft tax on new machines, but the real Microsoft tax occurs in the corporation, where companies are forced to pay high prices for Microsoft applications.) Despite StarOffice's presence in the Linux community, only 27.5 percent of StarOffice downloads come from Linux users; a whopping 70 percent comes from Windows users, and the rest comes from Solaris users. "

"By getting StarOffice to market in 2000 with extensive support for XML, Sun will beat Microsoft to the punch, as XML support in Microsoft's Office.Net isn't scheduled to arrive until 2002. ... The final part of the plan that makes the release such a sweet maneuver is that Sun won't be losing any revenues by releasing StarOffice under the GPL, as the product isn't currently generating any revenues for Sun."

"Releasing StarOffice under the GPL was certainly a brilliant stroke for Sun: it empowers the Open Source community with a powerful tool that can be implemented in any number of ways, and it puts Microsoft on the defensive. It doesn't get any better than that."

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