Sun to Show Off Enhanced StarOffice, JDS

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-02-14 Print this article Print

At LinuxWorld, Sun is previewing its StarOffice 8 beta, with better interoperability with Microsoft Office, and Release 3 of its Java Desktop System, featuring expanded device support.

Sun Microsystems Inc. plans to preview the beta of its upcoming StarOffice 8 desktop productivity suite, currently slated for release by midyear, as well as Release 3 of its Java Desktop System, due next quarter, at the LinuxWorld Conference in Boston this week. Herb Hinstorff, a director at Sun, told eWEEK that the Santa Clara, Calif., company, will be highlighting the expanded device support in the third release of JDS, which is based on the Linux 2.6 kernel.
"We will be reminding people that the JDS provides a true alternative desktop with some security and affordability advantages over the legacy alternatives and how Release 3 advances that," Hinstorff said.
Also at LinuxWorld, HP and Novell are opening up more code. Click here to read more. On the interoperability front, a big focus will be on improvements, including better interoperability with Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft file formats (Samba 3.0 is included to provide better file format interoperability) as well as improved Internet Explorer compatibility in Mozilla. "Linux and other alternatives have to fit really well into legacy environments; they have to be able to coexist easily in these environments, and we have concentrated on providing that," he said. Among the key enhancements to StarOffice 8, which moves to a public beta this week and will stay open for the next six weeks, is better interoperability with Microsoft Office. "We have made significant usability enhancements so that when users download and use it they will see the changes we have made to the look and feel of the product," Manish Punjabi, Suns group manager for StarOffice/, told eWEEK. StarOffice 8 will also have better import/export filters. Sun is also trying to reduce the migration cost from an enterprise standpoint as well as lower the risk of migration through better migration support. "We will now support the conversion of Visual Basic-based macros to StarOffice-based macros," Punjabi said. "We also made significant enhancements to the database functionality, which is now more like Microsoft Access." In addition, StarOffice 8 will provide, for the first time, an automated way for users to migrate their macros. The StarOffice spreadsheet application will now support 65,536 rows, the same as number supported by Microsoft Excel. "This is a document format compatibility kind of attribute," he said. With regard to presentations, StarOffice 8 enables users to import and export their animations developed in PowerPoint, which will convert over to StarOffice, Punjabi said. Next Page: StarOffices "big step forward."

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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