Sun Microsystems has begun offering a downloadable beta version of StarOffice 9, its office software suite. The beta release is free; the release version of the application is currently priced at $69.95.
StarOffice is based on the same underpinnings as the open source office suite OpenOffice.org. It provides an alternative to Microsoft Office using applications that support the XML file format. Individual components of StarOffice include a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, drawing tool, database tool and formula generator.
Improvements Sun has made to StarOffice over OpenOffice include additional font support, new templates, a different spell checker, other file import filters, a clip art gallery and other changes.
Up until the beta version of StarOffice 9’s release, StarOffice only supported Windows, Linux and Solaris operating systems. This is the first release to offer native Mac support.
The StarOffice 9 release runs on Intel Macs only and measures 183.37MB.