Thursday, November 13, 2003 - Personal Technology: Mossberg on StarOffice - Personal Technology: Mossberg on StarOffice: "The key virtue of StarOffice is that it's cheap. Sun sells it for $80, compared with the hundreds of dollars Microsoft charges, especially for versions of Office that include the Access database program.
In fact, StarOffice can be had free. Users can download a free open-source version of the program, called OpenOffice 1.1, at OpenOffice is essentially identical to StarOffice, except Sun provides a better spell checker, more fonts and more database capabilities.
But these price advantages aren't as great as they once would have been, because Microsoft has been stealthily cutting the price of Office for consumers. A version of Microsoft Office called the Student and Teacher edition costs only $149, and can legally be installed on up to three PCs in a household. It is supposed to be sold only to students and teachers, but Microsoft also says it can be purchased by anyone living in a household with pretty much anyone who attends, or teaches at, any kind of educational institution. And, in fact, most stores ask no questions at all when you buy it.
But as I said last year, this program is mainly for light users preparing basic documents who either can't afford Office, or hate Microsoft so much they'll live with some complexity and limitations."

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