Sun Set to Release StarOffice Beta

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-03-06 Print this article Print

Heating up the office desktop productivity wars, Sun will release first beta of StarOffice 6.1 next week.

Sun Microsystems Inc. will release the first beta of StarOffice 6.1 next week, further heating up the competitive war in the office desktop productivity market. News of the upcoming StarOffice 6.1 beta, which is focused on the corporate and enterprise customer, follows that from Corel Corp., which on Wednesday unveiled the first beta of WordPerfect Office 11, expected to be available in North America late next month. For its part, Microsoft Corp. next week is expected to release the second beta for Office 2003, formerly code-named Office 11, which is due for final release by mid-year.
Suns product line manager for StarOffice, Iyer Venkatesan, told eWEEK in an interview Thursday that the first StarOffice 6.1 beta will be available as a free download for the general public, but will be limited to 50,000 participants. "We are screening participants in the first beta to make sure all the platforms and languages are fully represented.
"We have already had more than 10,000 pre-registrations for the beta and are also working with our current enterprise customers to participate in the program," he said. The first beta program will run for about two months, followed by a second beta in early May that will be restricted to a handful of enterprise customers and a few public consumers. That program will also run for about two months, with the final release of the product slated for early fall. "The 6.1 release is really an enterprise-focused release, and a lot of the feature-set is geared toward the larger corporate market as opposed to the consumer market. We have added accessibility to the product, which allows people with physical disabilities to use it. "This will now help us promote the product with the U.S. government and its agencies, as it now meets the government requirement that all the products it standardizes and uses are accessible," Venkatesan said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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