StarOffice was originally created by German company Star Division, later bought and GPLed by Sun Microsystems. Binaries are available for Windows, Linux, Solaris and OS/2.

StarOffice was notorious for bloat - it was known as the "Microsoft Office for Linux", in both good and bad senses of the phrase =)

Good because StarOffice is very featureful, just as useful as all others out there, isn't too buggy, and can also import most of the Office stuff; Bad because it's big and slow.

Personally, I downloaded version 4.0 which was an 80 megs tarball. Well, 5.1 was more than 120 megs installed... and my 5.2 install is 251 megs! We're truly talking of MSOffice-caliber bloat here...

It was also notorious for its "Desktop" approach; In Windows, it replaced the Windows desktop with its own, and in Linux, it generated a huge window under which it rendered everything in Windows 95-style windows.

StarOffice 6.0 fixes a lot of things when it will be released (a beta is already out): The integrated desktop is gone, it saves files in XML format, and is somewhat lighter, too.

StarOffice's components:

Home pages, as of writing:

One reason Sun bought out StarOffice was to integrate the new XML specifications into it. This will advance XML, and it will allow StarOffice to share documents and files easily, hopefully reducing the different file formats that are used in office suites. The new XML specs are available over on StarOffice v6 is expected to ship (or be released) in the second half of this year.

Most unfortunately, as has been made evident from
Staroffice v6 isn't going to be free in any sense of the word -- unless you are an "educational user", yet you will still have to pay for the cost for "media" which is usually a bit pricey -- so if you're not looking to pay perhaps the OpenOffice incanation of the software (which is missing several proprietary features present only in the Sun-branded version, though I hear they are working on open source replacements for these shortcomings). Regardless of how entitled Sun is to charge for this product, this is nonetheless a dissapointing development for the prospect of widespread Staroffice usage especially with wine increasing in efficiency, compatibility and usability.

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