Performance Computing: Starry-Eyed StarOffice

“Originally developed by Germany’s Star Division, StarOffice
began as a cross-platform competitor to software products from
Corel, Lotus, and Microsoft. Though StarOffice was the favorite of
software reviewers, Europeans, and Linux aficionados (with the
dearth of end-user applications for Linux, StarOffice stood out
like the proverbial sore thumb), the software never made a dent in
the American software market.”

Enter Sun Microsystems, which developed StarOffice in such
a way that it was easy to port the package from platform to
platform (there are Linux, OS/2, Solaris, and Windows 95/98/NT
versions available). This cross-platform flexibility led Sun
officials to reason that StarOffice could be extended to every
desktop, no matter what the OS
, by rejiggering it as a Java
application suite and extending it even further as a Web-centric
application. You won’t need a Microsoft desktop-or a GNOME, or KDE,
or OS/2 desktop, for that matter-the StarOffice desktop will
replace them all.”

“This takes direct aim at Microsoft, where the mantra is whoever
controls the desktop controls the user, with the OS going along for
the ride. The synergy between Windows and Office is how Microsoft
manages to rule on the desktop. StarOffice is just Sun’s latest
attempt to elbow its way back onto the desktop.”