Google Pack now offers Sun's StarOffice

The software, which normally costs $70, is free through the Pack

Google Pack, Google's software download package, has added Sun Microsystems's office suite, StarOffice 8, to its offerings. StarOffice, which Sun normally sells for US$70, is free through Google Pack.

StarOffice is Sun's answer to Microsoft Office. In 2000, Sun released StarOffice's source code, which is the underpinning of OpenOffice.org, a Sun-sponsored open-source project.

StarOffice 8 lets users create documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It supports most Microsoft Office formats, except for the new formats in Office 2007. It can also export documents as PDFs.

The Google Pack version of StarOffice integrates a Google Search toolbar in all of the StarOffice applications.

Google said it recommended using a broadband connection for faster installation because the file size is as much as 210MB, depending on the language. It could take up to several hours to download with a dial-up connection. However, because Google Updater will manage the download, users can still surf the Web and otherwise use their computers, Google said.

"It will be interesting to see why Google didn't choose to include OpenOffice.org, the primary difference between StarOffice and OpenOffice.org being that StarOffice includes some proprietary components like clip-art graphics, fonts, templates and tools for Microsoft Office migration," according to the Googlesystem blog, which covers news about Google.

Comments on the blog say that Google's decision to offer StarOffice instead of OpenOffice is related to the software distribution agreement the company signed with Sun in 2005.

Google could not be reached for comment.

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Linda Rosencrance

Computerworld

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