Support for Mac OS X
and improved document format support are some of the improvements in
Sun Microsystems' StarOffice 9, which was released on Monday.
Fuel from fat - and from viruses
here's an interesting use of genetic engineering. Scientists at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology have genetically engineered a
virus to make a better lithium battery. Researchers at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) modified two genes in a
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It was a natural step for the Office
suite to support Mac OS X, because of its increased popularity and
because Apple users shouldn't be excluded from the move to open
document formats, said Kent Åberg, business development manager for
education and research at Sun Northern and Central Europe.
The support for many document formats is
one of the main reasons customers should pick StarOffice, according to
Sun. In addition to its native Open Document Format, it has support for
Microsoft Office — both legacy and new OOXML files — and for PDF
(Portable Document Format), so that such documents can be imported and
Being able to open and edit more document
formats without having to buy a number of different programs is
becoming more important, according to Åberg.
"Otherwise, you can't get to your own
information without buying the same software as the person who created
the document," Åberg said.
Another important part of StarOffice 9 is
improved support for extensions, which adds features including the
ability to edit PDF files, create reports, blog and publish wikis.
Other changes in StarOffice 9 include a
new start centre, which gathers all the different tools in a way that's
easy for the user to understand, and the addition of Mozilla's
Thunderbird email client and Lightning extension for calendaring.
Toppling Microsoft Office has so far proved very difficult for Sun, but Åberg is still hopeful.
"The interest in software based on open
source is greater than ever, and more organisations, companies and
people are starting to look at products which challenge established
truths," he said.
But there are still those who hesitate to
go with open-source software because they think that full support isn't
available, according to Åberg.
StarOffice had less than 1% of the global
market last year, and its free twin OpenOffice.org also had a
relatively small installed base of approximately 5%, according to
OpenOffice.org also had a 5% market share
among US internet users over age 18, according to a survey done between
May and November of this year by market researcher ClickStream
Google Docs had a 1% market share in the same study.
StarOffice 9 and StarSuite 9, which is the Asian language counterpart, are available for US$34.95, compared to US$69.95 for the previous version of the office suite.
Volume pricing for the enterprise starts
at US$25 per user. Enterprises can also choose to subscribe to a
package that includes licensing and support, and comes in one- and
OpenOffice.org 3.0, available free,
includes the same features as StarOffice 9. The OpenOffice.org update
was announced Oct. 13 and was downloaded 3 million times in its first
week of availability.