StarOffice 6.0 Launch Garners Substantial Interest

As previously reported by BetaNews, Sun is planning a revamped version of its open source office suite. Over 17,000 customers registered to download a beta of StarOffice 6.0. Key features include Asian language support, XML as the default file format, and various enhancements for performance and stability.

According to a press release, over 200,000 customers managed to download the software within its first week of availability. Commenting on the suite's sudden popularity, Mike Rogers, Sun's vice president and general manager Webtop Applications Group said, "The response to our StarOffice 6.0 early access program has been tremendous."

He continued on, "The StarOffice 6.0 productivity suite is among many Sun products to have instantaneous success. We sent e-mail notices to 10,000 people who'd expressed interest in the past, and 81 percent clicked through to download the product. Clearly, there was a strong pent up demand for a compelling office suite based on open standards, multi-platform technology without having to pay an outrageous price."

Sun is pushing the ability of version 6.0 to load only portions of the suite into memory while performing routine tasks, a feature that will lower utilization of system resources. The open source community has also worked to remove bugs and optimize code.

These improvements, Sun claims, will make StarOffice very attractive to businesses looking to cut costs. Additionally, a new interface -- similar to that of Microsoft's Office 2000 -- allows for a simple transition.

"In the face of decreasing IT budgets, StarOffice 6.0 provides users a high quality, low-cost choice for office productivity software," said Mike Rogers, Sun's vice president of Webtop Applications Group, in a statement. "We've developed the new features, interoperability and compatibility enhancements based on feedback from our existing users and the open-source developer community via"

The final version of StarOffice 6.0 is slated for a retail release in the first half of 2002. In order to promote quick adoption of 6.0, OEMs will ship the suite with new PCs shortly thereafter. A free download will be available for internal use only, and a full boxed package will sell for roughly $40 USD at major software outlets.

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