"StarSuite 6 appears to have set off on a long march to
challenge Microsoft's Asian monopoly of office productivity
applications. With the blessings of the Chinese government, Sun
Microsystems established an Engineering and Research Institute in
Beijing. It then signed a definitive Technology Licensing and
Distribution Agreement with three leading Chinese software
companies to bundle StarSuite (the Asian version of StarOffice) as
part of their Linux offerings. The three companies are CS&S
Network Technology Co., Ltd., Red Flag Software Co., Ltd. and
Beijing Co-Create Open Source Software Co., Ltd. (Co-Soft).
These are interesting developments in a country where fewer than
one in 10 city residents use legitimate software and audio-video
products. But institutional users could be facing new pressures to
go legit. According to the South China Morning Post, "all
government departments were told to use legal software in the
lead-up to China's entry into the World Trade Organization, and the
National Copyright Administration said it would check corporate and
government users of pirated software."
Crackdown or no, the Microsoft hordes are about as welcome in
China as Genghis Khan, and there appears to be considerable
interest in the open StarSuite/Linux alternative. ConsultingTimes
caught up with our friend, Iyer Venkatesan, the StarOffice product
manager, for further details on the deals."