Free Star OfficeAugust 30, 2007 at 10:45 am | Posted in Computers, Online services, Software | 6 Comments
One of the competitors to Microsoft Office is Star Office, produced by Sun. It normally sells for $70 US. The same code is used to produce the free Open Office suite. I use Open Office myself.
As this blog post on Wired observes, Star Office ” includes proprietary clip art graphics, fonts, and templates as well as some additional Microsoft Office conversion tools.” that Open Office doesn’t have.
As the above blog also notes, the free Google Pack includes Star Office 8 (current) for free. As the download page (linked) includes the ability to choose which apps you want, its a simple matter of just getting Star Office. Some of the other programs are also well recommended and there is light versions of Norton Security and Spyware Doctor. You want to be careful with how many always-running applications you add though.
The Google Photo Screensaver is a nice upgrade to the XP one. You can do full screen or collage settings and include your own pictures, Picasa web ones, an RSS picture feed (the default) and any blend of them.
StarOffice is similar to Open Office in many ways, though I notice there is no “Math” icon in Star. Its probably integrated. I turned off the Search (Google) toolbar from the View menu. The OO and Star toolbars were then the same, aside from a Google search button in Star. The Gallery in Star is indeed a lot larger, as is the templates selection. So it depends on your needs as to which choice is better – Open or Star.
After you select the downloads, Google gives you an Updater program to run which downloads and installs the apps for you and tracks updates to these and other related apps like Skype and Firefox I had installed manually. This makes it very simple but denies you the ability to download and install them manually. I prefer manual so I have a local backup of the installers. But I can see this kind of controlled install means that Star Office and others don’t get their software distributed except through managed channels. Updater is also an update monitor (as so many programs have now) and a taskbar tray icon. You may want to select Preferences tab, Advanced Options and change Updates to Notify. Otherwise it will simply update all of the installed software list automatically. Personally I like to manage this so my system isn’t bogged with updating when I boot up. And I’m not sure I want to upgrade into a Google branded version of other programs.
So – if you like Templates and Clipart and like to have installs and updates taken care of for you, Google’s free version of Star Office is a great choice. If you like it manual and prefer to use your own art work and templates, Open Office is your choice.