Palo Alto, CA — At the O’Reilly Open Source Convention in Monterey, California, Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced it will release the source code of its StarOffice Suite, a leading, high quality, office productivity application software suite, to the open source community under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Sun also announced OpenOffice.org will be formed and managed by Collab.Net and will serve as the coordination point for the source code, the definition of XML-based file formats, and the definition of language-independent office application programming interfaces (APIs.) StarOffice is the leading, full-featured productivity suite for all major platforms, including Solaris Operating Environment, Windows, Linux, and, later in the year, the Macintosh. StarOffice 6, the next version currently in development, will serve as the source code base for OpenOffice.org. With the upcoming StarOffice 6 technology, the next generation architecture of separate applications and componentized services will be introduced.
“Sun’s open-sourcing of StarOffice Suite is the single largest open-source software contribution in GPL history and it adds a key application suite to the open source portfolio,” said Marco Boerries, vice president and general manager of webtop and application software at Sun Microsystems, Inc. “This announcement will leverage StarOffice Suite’s role as the leading productivity suite for multiple platforms and will further increase our momentum as the only competitive alternative to other office suites. Sun will also continue to develop and aggressively market future versions of StarOffice Suite, which will be based on OpenOffice.org.” “Since innovation happens in many places, making the source code for StarOffice Suite available will enable the enormous community of developers to bring their expertise and energy to improve and expand the reach of this full-featured software suite. But OpenOffice.org is much more than just source code – it also includes APIs and XML-file formats. This will allow developers to easily work across platforms and have a huge impact,” said Boerries.
OpenOffice.org will host StarOffice source code. OpenOffice.Org will also specify XML file formats for documents; specify language-independent APIs; and provide Microsoft Office file filters, so developers can more easily modify existing programs and customize specific applications to fit their needs. Widespread community support OpenOffice.org has already garnered major industry support from many open-source luminaries, including Tim O’Reilly, Miguel de Icaza, Brian Behlendorf, and Andy Hertzfeld.
“Microsoft’s lock in on its Office file formats is arguably at least as important to their monopoly position as their control of the operating system itself,” said Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly and Associates. “The availability of StarOffice under the GPL will give Linux a boost on the desktop, but more importantly, the wide availability of StarOffice Suite’s code for reading and writing Microsoft Office formats will allow other open source projects to provide compatible functionality as well. Open data is the other side of the open source coin.”
“Sun’s announcement to make their office suite free software under the GPL and SISSL licenses will be a benefit to everyone. Their choice of Bonobo as a component framework will enable powerful scripting and code reuse not only on the desktop, but on the system as a whole,” said Miguel de Icaza, president and founder of HelixCode Inc. “When I started GNOME three years ago, I had two goals: a 100% free, easy-to-use desktop environment and component architecture for GNU/Linux. With Helix Code and Sun working together, we can finally see this vision realized. The GNOME community is now investigating the best way to integrate these technologies just released with the GNOME environment with the goal to bring a comprehensive solution to everyone.”
“The release of StarOffice under an open source license is a tremendously cool thing,” said Brian Behlendorf, co-founder and CTO of Collab.Net. “The influence of closed standards and proprietary software has made the office productivity application space an extremely difficult arena for the open source community to address. Sun’s action today resolves this problem by providing a much needed application.”
“One of the last remaining barriers to wide-spread adoption of Open Source software on the desktop is the paucity of high quality, easy-to-use applications. Today’s announcement of the GPLing of Star Office goes a long way toward filling that gap,” said Andy Hertzfeld, co-founder of Eazel, a leading Linux development software company. “Everyone at Eazel is very excited to work with Sun’s talented team to integrate their world-class productivity applications with the Gnome desktop.” Major Linux companies, including Red Hat, Caldera, SuSE, TurboLinux, Easy Linux, Mandrakesoft, Stormix, Conectivia, Definite Software PLC, and Macmillan, have signed agreements to redistribute StarOffice 5.2 software, making it the number one office productivity suite for Linux and most have pledged support for OpenOffice.org.
“We support Sun’s commitment to an open desktop for all UNIX/Linux environments,” says Paul McNamara, vice president of Products and Platforms, Red Hat Linux, Inc. “The availability of professional applications like StarOffice software with Red Hat Linux only serves to further validate the platform and the future growth potential of Linux.” “Sun strengthens their commitment to the Linux community with their announcement to open source StarOffice,” said Dean Taylor, vice president of marketing for Caldera Systems, Inc. “This combination of StarOffice performance and OpenLinux reliability, helps us deliver a quality product and needed application to the Linux community.”
“As a Linux solutions provider, SuSE helps consumers, small to medium-sized businesses, corporations, government agencies and educators around the world make informed decisions when purchasing computer technology,” said Roland Dyroff, CEO SuSE Linux AG. “With Sun’s commitment to open source StarOffice this expands the market for product implementations based on open standards.” “As long time supporters of StarOffice software on Linux, MandrakeSoft is excited Sun is making the source code available. The benefits that the open source community will bring to this feature rich suite will continue the momentum in the market for this exciting alternative to Microsoft Office,” said Frederic Bastok, COO of MandrakeSoft, a leading Linux publisher. For more quotes from leading Linux vendors, please visit http://www.sun.com/developers/openoffice .