A multi-platform office package released for OS/2, Microsoft Windows (16 bit and 32 bit), Macintosh, Sun Solaris and Linux introduced in 1995. Developed by the German company StarDivision that had been developing office application software since 1984, and had been offering some sort of office bundles on the English speaking markets since 1988 and as such in fact predate the Microsoft Office package.
The package later became the basis for OpenOffice.
- StarWriter - Word processor
- StarCalc - Spreadsheet
- StarDraw - Drawing program
- StarChart - Charting application
- StarSchedule – Personal information manager
- StarMail – E-Mail client
- StarDiscussion – USENET client
- StarImage – Image editor
- Web browser – Web browser
- StarBase - Database front end.
This product package for Windows 3.1 consists of StarWriter compact, StarBase and StarDraw.
- 1992: StarOffice
- 1993: Office Pack 2.0
- Office suite
- 1995: StarOffice 3.0
- 1996: StarOffice 3.1
- 1997: StarOffice 4.0
- 1998: StarOffice 5.0
- 1999: StarOffice 5.1
- Last known OS/2 version: Sun StarOffice 5.1a (last updated 1999-08-24)
- 109258-02 (2002)
- Known issues
The system is relatively bug free but there are a few setup issues. The most common complaint is that the last version of StarOffice (the Sun branded one) installs correctly but fails to start after reboot with an unrecoverable error message, and will not run after that. The issue is actually simple to fix, when the installer creates a program object it does not specify a working directory, simply open up the properties notebook for the StarOffice program and copy the folder from the "Path and file name" section to the "Working directory" section, minus the program name, i.e. if it is "C:\OFFICE51\SOFFICE.EXE" then the working directory should be "C:\OFFICE51".
This and a few other minor setup niggles made a lot of people believe the last release of SO 5.1 was buggy and reverted back to one of the StarDivision releases of SO 5.1 or stopped using it altogether. Actually the Sun release incorporates all known fixes and is fairly is rock solid, what seems to have happened is that someone in Sun's USA office did the final packaging of all the releases and that person was simply unfamiliar with OS/2.
The 32 bit version of StarOffice Microsoft Windows also gained a reputation for instability but what was happening there was that people did not install the IBM and later Sun version of Java that came with the StarOffice package but chose to use the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine that MS offered as a download for Internet Explorer users, however that VM was (intentionally) not fully compatible with the Sun Java implementation and it caused crashes with StarOffice 5.x. Using the Java implementation supplied by StarDivision fixed those problems. It is perhaps understandable that people choose to use the MSJVM as the computer press and in particular the USA press made lots of noises about MSJVM and how it was supposed to be faster than the Sun or IBM Java versions for Windows, however that was only true running under Internet Explorer, standalone the IBM version was faster.
Links & publications
- Volker Weber: Büroelefanten: Corel Office 7, SmartSuite 97, MS Office 97, StarOffice 4.0 - from c't magazin 1997-05-12
Discontinued commercial software