Santa Clara (CA) – Sun has begun distributing StarOffice, the commercial version of the open source productivity suite OpenOffice.org, through Google.
The StarOffice version offered through Google Pack is virtually identical with StarOffice 8 that is currently offered as $70 download from Sun's website as well as a free office package for students, researchers and teachers.
The only difference of the Google Pack version we noticed is the integration of a (removable) Google-based web search feature across the StarOffice applications, which includes a word processor, a spreadsheet application, a presentation tool, a database, as well as a chart creation software. As far as we can tell from a first look at the software, this free version of StarOffice 8 appears to be a fully functional version of the "regular" package.
According to Sun, StarOffice 8 is compatible with Microsoft Office documents and supports the Open Document Format (ODF).
The Google Pack StarOffice weighs in as a 143.3 MB download (up to 210 MB with language packs).
StarOffice was originally developed by the German company StarDivision in 1994; the first version of the sofwtare was introduced in 1995 as StarOffice 3.0. Sun acquired StarDivision in 1999 for $73.5 million and almost immediately made StarOffice (back then v5.2) available as a free download.
The first open source version of the software was released as OpenOffice.org 1.0 in 2002.