SuSE Linux Drops StarOffice

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-09-17 Print this article Print

Instead the German-based Linux vendor is opting for the free OpenOffice alternative.

German-based SuSE Linux is the latest vendor to drop Sun Microsystems Inc.s branded StarOffice 6.0 desktop productivity suite in favor of the free OpenOffice alternative. SuSE on Tuesday confirmed to eWEEK that it had decided not to include StarOffice 6.0 in SuSE Linux 8.1, the latest version of its Linux operating system for personal and business computers. This move follows Suns announcement in March that it intended to charge users for StarOffice 6.0.
Holger Dyroff , who heads SuSEs U.S. operations, told eWEEK on Tuesday that cost was the primary factor in its decision not to include StarOffice with SuSE Linux 8.1 Personal Edition. The company has also switched to OpenOffice for the Professional Edition as "this is our offering for the very technical Linux power user."
"They want a license-free, open-source based product. They are not interested in support from Sun or in the branding. SuSE also has to be aware of costs and if demand for a product is not there, we dont do it, as is the case here," he said. SuSEs move follows the decision by leading Linux distributor Red Hat, Inc. to not use StarOffice in any of its future distributions, not just because of the charge but also as it included non open-source technologies. SuSE Linux 8.1 Personal and Professional will be available on October 7, and includes the free 1.0.1 desktop productivity suite. For those users who want Suns branded and supported StarOffice product, SuSE is making this available to them as a separate offering, known as SuSE Linux Pro-Office, for $24.95. "This is much cheaper for them than the $79.95 retail price of the product, and it includes StarOffice 6.0, KDE 3.0.1 and SuSE Linux 8.0 patches," Dyroff said. That is in addition to the recommended retail price of $39.95 for SuSE Linux 8.1 Personal and $79.95 for SuSE Linux 8.1 Professional. Going forward, SuSE intends to continue to offer Pro-Office at an additional charge for these products, he said. But as SuSE targets specific versions toward the home and home office user, who want Sun support for StarOffice and where branding is more important, StarOffice will be integrated into the operating system, he said. "We are looking at a per client license here anyway because of the other things we are bundling in that allow users to run products like Microsoft Office 2000 on Linux. The cost of StarOffice will be built into the base price of that home office Linux version," Dyroff said. While he was reluctant to talk too much about this new home office version of Linux, he said it was likely to be released before the end of the year. SuSE Linux 8.1 includes the YaST2 (Yet another Setup Tool) system assistant that allows users to complete the installation in less than 30 minutes, Dyroff said. The updated hardware detection also automatically integrated the latest USB2.0 devices and Firewire devices, he added. "Only a mouse click is necessary to set up printers, sound cards and TV cards. YaST2 now provides a module for the configuration of special hardware components, such as joysticks. Even output devices, such as touch screens, vertical LCDs, 3D solutions and multi-head systems can be configured," he said. The new system profile manager, SCPM (SuSE Configuration Profile Management), facilitates the easy management of multiple system configurations. And SuSE Linux users who commute between different locations can now use local peripherals, such as printers or scanners with a single click. Laptop users will also find improved wireless LAN support that can be easily configured, while data encryption with WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) provides maximum security in wireless LANs, Dyroff 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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