Why pay for software when you can get it for free? Sun Microsystems Inc. is hoping that users buy the logic and choose to download its StarOffice suite for free instead of paying for Microsoft Corp.’s Office. Sun has released StarOffice 5.2. that includes Writer, a word processing program; Calc, a spreadsheet; Impress, a presentation program; Base, a database application; Draw, a graphics program; and Schedule, a calendar. The suite also includes StarOffice Mail, a communications tool that lets you retain StarOffice Writer functions when sending e-mail; and StarOffice Discussion, a newsgroup application. StarOffice is compatible with Windows 2000, NT, 98, and 95; Linux; and Solaris. It can run on PCs, UNIX workstations, servers, or internal local area networks. Version 5.2 is compatible with Microsoft Office file formats. StarOffice Writer also has a new business card template, more column formatting options, and expanded AutoCorrect and AutoCompletion functions. Impress has a new player for software presentations, so you can make your presentations on a PC by installing only the player, not the entire StarOffice suite. StarOffice 5.2 offers many similarities to Microsoft Office, but the two have key differences. With StarOffice rather than opening each application, you open the entire suite. StarOffice creates a desktop for you, which contains everything you have stored on your PC’s desktop. You can access each of StarOffice’s individual applications from this central starting point. Sun is in Palo Alto, Calif. and can be reached at http://www.sun.com.
Prices listed are in US currency.