No StarOffice for Mac users, Sun says

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No StarOffice for Mac users, Sun says

Sun Microsystems senior director of desktop marketing Tony Siress has denied reports that Sun and Apple Computer had been working on a version of StarOffice productivity suite for the Mac OS X operating system.

The company had been in talks with Apple to see "what it would take" to make a version of StarOffice that had the look and feel of an Apple application, Siress said. These talks, however, were really little more than the same theoretical discussions that have been going on over the past couple of years, he added.

An alpha version of OpenOffice for Mac OS X already exists, the result of work by developers Ed Peterlin and Dan Williams.

Sun held a conference call with the two OpenOffice developers on Monday to clarify that Sun and Apple were not working on their own project to create a version of OpenOffice for Mac OS X by the end of the year and then follow that release with a commercial version of StarOffice in 2003, as was reported in the press recently.

"It had us a little concerned," Williams said. "The reports had the effect of making us think Sun was developing this secret project with Apple. That was news to us."

Peterlin and Williams said it would take one to three years from now for them to make an "Apple-ready" version of OpenOffice on their own. The developers want to add all of the features typical of Apple applications and tie the software into Apple's Aqua user interface.

With more developer help and contributions of resources from Sun and Apple, a polished version of OpenOffice.org for Mac OS X could be completed in a year or less, Peterlin said.

StarOffice is already available for Microsoft Windows, Sun Solaris and the Linux operating system, and is based on the open-source OpenOffice productivity suite developed by the OpenOffice.org group of volunteer developers.

Sun funds the maintenance and operation of the OpenOffice.org Web site, but developers work for free on the project.

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