Sun Microsystems Inc.'s decision to start charging users for its upcoming StarOffice 6.0 desktop office productivity suite is coming at a price: Linux sales and service company Red Hat Inc. has decided not to use StarOffice 6.0 in any of its distributions going forward.
To be precise, Sun is making StarOffice 6.0 free only for Solaris. However, there is a new, free Office Productivity suite available for all flavors of *nix - OpenOffice, which is based on the previous open source Star Office code.
The biggest difference between the two is format support. OpenOffice does a fine job with .doc, .ppt, .xls, and .rtf files. StarOffice adds support for dBase and databases in general, which OpenOffice does not have. If you work with simple databases in an office setting -- that is, with databases on the level of something like MS Access -- this feature alone is going to make you prefer StarOffice over OpenOffice.
I've been working with StarOffice for quite a while now - no problems whatsoever.
Have just installed OpenOffice - using it I experienced my first ever complete crash under Linux... Apart from that I like how OpenOffice starts in modules. Staroffice under Windows pretty much occupies the whole desktop plus resources.