Here’s a break from news on the 2008 election. On Friday, Google Pack added StarOffice as one of the bundled programs it offered. StarOffice is an office suite produced by Sun Microsystems that competes with the more popular Microsoft Office. This is an interesting move as it allows the free download of the otherwise $70 office suite
First some background information. Sun and Google signed a distribution pact in late 2005 where Google bought some servers from Sun and Sun agreed to promote the Google Toolbar. When Google released the Google Pack software bundle (of which users could choose to include or exclude any of the applications offered) during the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, there was speculation that they might offer OpenOffice.org, the open source office suite that performs the vast majority of the fuctions of StarOffice, which has some added proprietary elements such as new fonts, clip art, and Microsoft Office migration.
This new offering is the first item to be offered through Google Pack that usually has a price. It has offered trial applications, such as the Norton Antivirus 2006 software it included, or basic versions of services, such as the Trillian chat client it first offered or the PC Tools Spyware Doctor it offers now, but never did it offer anything that normally costs money to acquire in the first place.
So, if you think it sounds appealing, you can download it as part of the Google Pack. The only thing you need to install besides it is the Google Updater, which is the installer. After you have installed it, you can uninstall the Google Updater. Of course, if you don’t particularly care about a few extra fonts, clip art, or Microsoft Office migration, and if you want a completely open source application, you can get most of the function of StarOffice in OpenOffice.org.