Where Is StarOffice 8?

And, come to think of it, where is OpenOffice.org 2.0? Creators say they're working out bugs, and they never had set a delivery date.

Both OpenOffice.org 2.0 and its commercial big brother StarOffice 8 were expected to be available this summer, but both office suite arrivals have been delayed.

Last February, Sun Microsystems Inc. released the beta of its office suite, StarOffice 8. It was then slated for a mid-year release.

At the same time, OO.o (OpenOffice.org) 2.0, the open-source office suite, which is the foundation for StarOffice, was nearing completion. By late May, it was in a late stage of beta testing.

OpenOffice development ran into some problems with the open-source development community with its use of features that would only work with Suns proprietary implementation of Java. This disagreement was, however, quickly smoothed over.

Subsequently, many observers thought that OpenOffice.org 2.0 would appear in early summer and that StarOffice 8 would arrive in July.

That hasnt happened. So, why the delays?

Im "not sure if we would really call them delays," said Louis Suarez-Potts, community manager for OpenOffice.org.

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"After all, this is an open-source project. You know, the kind that issues code when it is ready, not when marketers want it," Suarez-Potts said.

There had also been earlier reports that OpenOffice.org was in the slow lane towards completion because the project didnt have enough developers.

At the time, OO.os marketing lead Jacqueline McNally is reported to have said that version 2.0 would be delayed until at least June or July.

That reporting was in error, though, according to Suarez-Potts. "No, that was a misinformed comment. OO.o 2.0 rather is a very significant step and there were lots of bugs that needed to be resolved. Were pretty close but not quite there.

"The latest builds are very close to being usable on a daily basis. QA [quality assurance] must be done, of course, and we always do need people to help out with that. All projects do."

In mid-August, OO.o developers are still getting it ready for its beta 2 release, according to Stefan Taxhet, Suns technical coordination manager for OO.o.

For the most part, based on the OO.o developer mailing list messages, the remaining bugs appear to be small and easily fixed.

As for StarOffice 8, Sun is now saying that there has not been, nor is there now, an official release date.

"Despite press reports quoting a Sun person, weve not officially announced the release date for StarOffice," said Russ Castronovo, Suns PR director for products and solutions.

"Neither are we commenting on when it will be delivered," Castronovo said.

Sources within Sun, though, said that StarOffice 8s release schedule was changed at the beginning of the year before OpenOffice.org development was slowed down by bug-fixing.

Once the schedule was changed, sources said that Sun decided to give the developers more time for bug fixes before launch.

Other sources within Sun said that StarOffice 8s release date will almost certainly be officially announced at Suns quarterly Network Computing product launch event on Sept. 12 in New York.

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