Re: Sun/StarDivision StarOffice software suite

Subject: Re: Sun/StarDivision StarOffice software suite
From: jwynia -at- earthlink -dot- net
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 06:47:25 -0700 (PDT)

I thought I'd chime in with my experiences with StarOffice. I've been using it off and on for a little over a year. I feel that it has quite a few strengths, but some weaknesses that hinder it.

One of its strengths as I see it is a little more of a desktop publishing-style editing environment. StarOffice's word processor seems to be a little more page oriented than Word. In most of my cases, SO's WP does a better conversion from Word 97 than anything else.

As for the integrated desktop . . . it is loved by some and hated by others. I myself have a love/hate relationship with that particular feature. It is handy to be able to flip back and forth between different office apps. StarOffice has achieved a level of integration what MS Office has been trying for a long time. I guess after using it, I'm wondering if that was a noble goal to achieve. Part of the problem is that I don't have very many days when I need to use the word processor, database, spreadsheet, web browser etc. all regularly for the entire day. I can't remember the last time I needed to use a spreadsheet. The problem this causes is that pretty much the whole suite is loaded into RAM to be able to access a document. I guess rational folks would look at the price point difference and say that $550 saved can buy a lot of RAM.

The effects of the Sun purchase of the suite? Where Star Division had been focusing on implementing it as a desktop office suite, Sun seems set to try to implement it as a distributed "net application". So, while the current version (which was developed before the purchase) resembles a current office suite, the next version may not. That could be the best thing to happen to computing or it could be bad. Only time will tell.

Bottom line for me? It's free, it only took one overnight download to get, and even if the next release isn't good, I can still keep the copy I downloaded and burned to CD. I use it with MS Office and Corel Office. I don't think that any application is the "nirvana" of tools. For graphics I use the same philosophy: Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, ImageMagick and the GIMP.

J Wynia
Writing Geek/Pixel Pusher
jwynia -at- earthlink -dot- net

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