Sun will Support OpenOffice.org

Sun Microsystems on Monday plans to announce that it will provide support for the OpenOffice.org productivity software suite, citing a wave of momentum behind the open-source project. The support, which starts at US$20 per user per year, will be offered to companies that distribute OpenOffice.org, not directly to end-users, according to Mark Herring, senior director of marketing for StarOffice/OpenOffice.org and Network.com. "For a lot of distributors, they wanted to distribute OpenOffice.org and had no option for back-line support," he said. OpenOffice.org and StarOffice, Sun's accompanying commercial product, are compatible with Microsoft Office and identical in terms of capabilities, which include word processing, spreadsheets and presentation software. But until now, Sun only supported StarOffice.

Another difference will remain -- Sun does not plan to provide indemnification against lawsuits for OpenOffice.org, as it does for StarOffice, Herring said. Sun's move comes as OpenOffice.org is being downloaded 1 million times per week, with total downloads to date standing at about 110 million, Herring said. Out of that number, Sun estimates that "tens of millions" of people are actively using the software, according to Herring. The most recent version is 2.3. Version 2.4 is expected in March and will contain significant new features, according to the openoffice.org Web site. "Microsoft Office is still the dominant tool out there -- only a fool would deny that," he said. "But [OpenOffice.org] has had a huge amount of momentum." Sun believes the average OpenOffice.org user skews younger on average, and that download activity in Europe and the U.S. has been greater than in Asian countries, he added.

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5 Comments

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It's good Sun are supporting this, but I think OO.org has lots of good (could be better) documentation online for free and anyway if you've used MS Office, it's a no brainer taking the freedom route. But it's good for companies that want to save money and still feel 'supported'.

James7 said,
It's good Sun are supporting this, but I think OO.org has lots of good (could be better) documentation online for free and anyway if you've used MS Office, it's a no brainer taking the freedom route. But it's good for companies that want to save money and still feel 'supported'. :cool:

True; the freedom to buy support - or not too :)

Better still, in future hopefully more will pop up and support OpenOffice.org, thus create a vibrant industry of competing service companies.

I have Open Office, because I don't want to pay hundreds of pounds for almost the same thing, just relabelled as Microsoft Office. So I'm glad to see the Sun are actively supporting and advancing the software :)

Good Times.

.Vamp said,
I have Open Office, because I don't want to pay hundreds of pounds for almost the same thing, just relabelled as Microsoft Office.

It's the other way round, I'm afraid. Microsoft Office came first, then this lot copied it and made it open-source. Yes, it's good that it's free, but why make up their own formats as well? That just adds more confusion to the market. I just wish that there was one format for each type of file.

BTW, I love Microsoft Office. Yes, it does cost an arm and a leg (unless your mum works for the NHS and gets it for £18! ), but it looks better, is easier to use, it's quicker, and there's more you can do with it.

MightyJordan said,
It's the other way round, I'm afraid. Microsoft Office came first, then this lot copied it and made it open-source. Yes, it's good that it's free, but why make up their own formats as well? That just adds more confusion to the market. I just wish that there was one format for each type of file.

is easier to use, it's quicker, and there's more you can do with it.

Actually, Microsoft Office was not the first office suit around, so, by your logic, I could say that MS Office copied everything it has...
(And if you really want to pursuit that, the base of StarOffice was launched before MS Office, in some kind of obnoxious platform. Old stuff is old)
It's good that is free and runs pretty much everywhere. The formats that it (now)supports are part of an open standard, and prior to this, it used what you could expect: StarOffice and MS Office ones binaries (and it still does).
This doesn't add confusion to the market, if it adds anything, it's openness and competition... As for the "one format for each type of file", erm, you have a big shared root, and they you have distinct characteristics... That's how it works.
The rest of what you said is mostly debatable (except for the eye-candy, MS Office does look good although I didn't enjoyed that whole ribbon thing, sometimes it doesn't make any sense in terms of usability), but you can't say that they can't do anything about it. It's open: you or anybody can contribute with code, suggest features, issues; you can track what they are doing, and this community is made of big companies and common users, which share the same voice and goal.

It's up to you.
Sorry that I couldn't keep this very coherent, but I need to sleep.