Sun has introduced the latest version of StarOffice, an open source desktop productivity software suite for consumer and business users, with new features that make it easier to work with documents created using Microsoft products.
StarOffice 8 software comes with five elements: Writer for word processing, the spreadsheet tool Calc, Impress for creating presentations, along with Draw (drawing) and Base (database). The suite, which is based on the open source technology OpenOffice.org, runs on Windows, Linux and Solaris operating systems and it’s compatible with documents created in Microsoft Office.
According to Sun, Version 8 has improved import and export features with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents – even password-protected Word and Excel files and presentations with complex animations, autoshapes and slide transitions.
The software also has features that look more familiar to Microsoft Office users, such as the Format Paintbrush for easily transferring styles from one section of a document to another.
Sun claims that version 8 is the first productivity suite to use the OpenDocument format (ODF), a file standard for exchanging and saving editable content such as text documents, spreadsheets and presentations. ODF was agreed by an industry consortium known as Oasis and is intended to be an alternative to proprietary document formats.
The Enterprise Edition of StarOffice 8 includes management tools to simplify configuration across desktops throughout a company. Administrators can manage a migration from Microsoft Office using the built-in MS Office file analyser tool. Also included is a Macro Migration Wizard to convert Visual Basic macros, a commercial spellchecker, the Adabas D database engine and additional clip art, fonts and templates.
The suggested list price for the packaged version is €82.38; it costs €57.65 to download from the internet. For enterprise customers, StarOffice 8 software is priced on a tiered, per-user basis. Educational organisations can avail of the software for free. StarOffice 8 is available at http://www.sun.com/software/star/staroffice/get.jsp.
By Gordon Smith