Subject: Re: [open-source] Sun to start charging for Star Office
To: NetBSD User's Discussion List <>
From: Jim DeLisle <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 03/21/2002 10:39:33
Sean Witham wrote:

> Steve Bellovin wrote:
>> ------- Forwarded Message
>> FYI.
> If they are going to charge for the right to use it (and not just the 
> right to gain support) then MS windows users may as well just buy MS 
> office. They will have better interoprability with all the other MS 
> windows users with office and have something they are use to...
> Just my opinion.
> --Sean

I could hardly disagree more. Sun has put a great deal of money and

effort into making StarOffice a viable alternative to MS Office. True 

(and I'm not discounting this in the least) a great number of non-Sun 

developers have also put alot of effort and time into making StarOffice.

So, now, after a couple of years when Sun feels that StarOffice may have 
some legs in the corporate world, Sun decides that they are going to 
start charging for it. Big deal. As odd as it sounds, most corporate IT 
shops _still_ place the value of a product on the cost of the product. I 
know that after years of open source OS's being around, you would think 
that would have changed. But it really hasn't seemed to. If Sun decides 
that they could actually have a larger installed corporate base if they 
charge a modest fee for the use of the product, then more power to them. 
Maybe this would even help fund further development on Star and Open 
office. Or, maybe this would even help keep a staunch protagonist to MS 
from folding up an alternative product (ala WordPerfect). I don't think 
that Sun is looking to make a huge profit from this, they just seem to 
be looking at a way to help StarOffice fund itself better.

What is the difference between this and the way any number of other open 
source packages are developed? Sure, you can get (for example) the Linux 
kernel and a slew of support packages on your own for free by 
downloading them and muddle through setting up a system on your own. Or, 
you can download ISO images of your favorite distribution (both Linux 
and *BSD). Or, you can show your support for a company or group or 
individual and send them a few dollars for a packaged installation. I've 
bought NetBSD from Wasabi because I believe in what they are doing and 
wanted to show my support. I buy Slackware Linux distributions because I 
think Patrick is one of the unheralded Linux heroes of our time.

If OpenOffice was yanked, I would feel differently, like Sun had taken 
advantage of the developer resources that gave so much to help make 
StarOffice what it is.

You still have a choice. No one is taking that away from you. Which is 
exactly what MS does _not_ want to let continue. Show your support. 
Maybe not by buying a copy of StarOffice, but maybe by contributing to 

It's still your choice.