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Letter to the Editor: StarOffice Could Do A Lot For Linux If We Let It

Apr 17, 2001, 01:00 (67 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jurgen Defurne)

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By Jurgen Defurne

There are many articles and replies which complain of the fact that some shops will not convert to Linux because of lack of something that can replace Outlook and its backend.

I doubted that, but I investigated. In 1999, I brought Star Office 5.1 home from COMDEX, used it, and I knew that I had seen something about scheduling services. I looked into (in the meantime new version 5.2) Star Office and found indeed some comment on the matter in the online help. Star Office Schedule and Star Office Schedule server do the tasks that you know from Lotus or Outlook.

The only problem is this: Schedule Server can not be downloaded from the Internet, it is only on the CD-ROM. For me, this is a little bit problematic because the CD only costs $10, but there's an additional $25 in transport costs (if I order it on Sun's web site) to transport it to Belgium.

The conclusion is this: shops and companies which depend on office suites, with scheduling and groupware functions, should be able to make the transition to a Linux shop fairly painlessly. I know two users (my father and my wife) who like StarOffice much better than MS Office. They find it more powerful and easier.

The hardware requirements for a workstation should be fair. I run StarOffice here on a Pentium Pro 200 MHz. I have 128 Mb, but 64 Mb should be sufficient, especially if you take out all the daemons that I run here and which are not necessary for a desktop system.

Creating a desktop system for an office environment should be as easy as:

  • doing a minimal install of Linux
  • adding X
  • read the Font Deuglification HOWTO
  • adding a TT font server (I use xfstt)
  • adding TT fonts (you are converting from a Windows shop)
  • Add a minimal window manager. You should even be able to use SO as the only program in the session, logging the user out if he quits.
  • Provide for printing and fax services on a server

Of course, there should be some extra things (maybe a decent print management system, which provides pausing of a job). Documents should also be centralized so they can be easily converted.

There must surely be shops that can be convinced to make the switch using these tools.

Comments and suggestions are welcome, flames should be redirected to /dev/null.

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