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I have been puzzling over the purpose of StarOffice, which is Sun’s not-free version of the OpenOffice.org office suite. Last time I looked, there was little on Sun’s site to explain what you get from StarOffice (better spelling support? more clipart?) beyond a range of support contracts you can purchase, which could be (are?) also offered for OpenOffice.org. But earlier this year at a Sun sponsored event I attended they were pushing StarOffice for universities. It’s free for academic use! Well so is OpenOffice.org.

Why push StarOffice over OpenOffice.org? I don’t know.

Why push one or the other I do understand. Shifting large numbers of people to an alternative to Microsoft Office would be a big win for alternative operating systems, of which Sun has at least two in their Linux based and Solaris offerings. Microsoft Office is one of the main applications that drives Windows sales.

But splitting the market with two offerings where one, StarOffice, is an older, less talked about more costly, version of the other?


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