Linux Journal: Rising Sun

With the acquisition of StarOffice and support arrangements
with Linuxcare, Scott McNealy’s Palo Alto outfit continues its

“Sun Microsystems bought StarDivision, a private company now
headquartered in Fremont, California. StarDivision, the product of
16-year-old German computer programmer Marco Boerries, is known by
most for its Windows-like office suite, StarOffice, which features
word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications, and is
a widely used GUI (graphical user interface) for many who rely on
the Linux operating system. The deal, rumored to be worth around
$540 million, will allow Sun Microsystems to provide computer users
with StarOffice’s applications from a variety of sources: an
Internet-based application, a free download, or a relatively
inexpensive CD-ROM. This approach to distribution is actually a
carry-over from StarDivision’s own business culture and may be a
harbinger of software distribution to come: applications and tools
moving from their status as entities in and of themselves to their
new role as mere “features” of a larger relationship between
computer users, their boxes and Big Server.”

“By comparison, Sun Microsystems’ service arrangement with
Linuxcare is a bit more about good housekeeping than it is about
real groundbreaking. To be sure, having Linuxcare take care of the
Linux ports of StarOffice will retain those Linux users who relied
on StarOffice for its amalgam of productivity tools. The Linuxcare
arrangement includes such services as customized training and
“enterprise integration”, as well as end-user and developer
technical support. Given Sun Microsystems’ plan to open the source
code for StarOffice (a move welcomed by the Linux community…, if
no one else), the support of the geeks at Linuxcare could be what
makes the opening of the StarOffice source code truly worthwhile
for users and developers alike.”