Next week Sun Microsystems is to launch the latest version of its office productivity suite, StarOffice — but now users will have to pay for it properly.
Until recently StarOffice was free to download or available at a minimal cost on CD (around £25-30 for a boxed copy with manuals). But on Thursday next week Sun is expected to announce a more heavily featured StarOffice in version 6.0, as well as standard pricing.
StarOffice 5.2, which used to be 'free', is now on Amazon.co.uk priced £24.99 for a boxed kit with manual.
But you can still get it free — and not just that, you can get what is essentially StarOffice 6.0 for free.
Sun gave out StarOffice's source code under an open source licence which is now available as OpenOffice 1.0 from the OpenOffice.org Source Project.
No details are yet available but Sun's PR said the cost would be 'less than £100 per user' which we're assured undercuts the competition, for which read Microsoft and, to a far lesser extent, Lotus.
Now this isn't a huge amount more but it's a heck of a lot more than StarOffice was before and a whole busload more cash than free.
We'll let you know next week what Sun has put in the paid-for version that would make it worth the hassle.