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Fri, Sep 22, 2006 4:44 pm

Running StarOffice 7 for the First Time

Sun's Solaris 10 operating system comes with the StarOffice 7 office package, which I've found handles Microsoft Office documents I've created on Windows systems or that I receive from others.

When I first started one of the StarOffice applications to read a Microsoft Word document, I was asked to install it and then was presented with the option of a "workstation" install or a "local" install.

 
Select Installation Type
  
Choose the type of installation.
 
(*)Workstation Installation
 This installation will be carried out so that the programs can be
started directly from the network. 1.5 MB are needed for the local files.
  
( )Local Installation
  Installs all StarOffice 7 components locally on the workstation.
This installation requires 284.3 MB memory; temporary 284.3 MB.

The choices weren't entirely clear to me. It seemed to me that the first was suggesting that I might be loading the software from another system, either a server of my own or one of Sun's servers. I expect to use the office package a lot and want to run it locally not over the network. However I wasn't sure that I was correctly understanding the options presented. It seemed to me I should select the "local installation" option, but I wasn't sure, so I did some searching online.

It seems I'm not the only one confused by the options presented. In a February 2004 posting to his blog on the O'Reilly Network website, John Adams voiced a similar complaint:

Sun's choice of office suite is a no-brainer: StarOffice 7. I find one thing to be rather weird about Star Office, and also OpenOffice, and that's that you need to install them once for each user. Furthermore, the choice of installation options is confusing. I was given a choice between Workstation Install and Local Install. I want both! I consider my computer to be a workstation, and I want the software installed locally. The correct, and completely counterintuitive choice here is the Workstation Install, which is described as the install to use when running the StarOffice software from a network location, except that I'm not running it from a network location, I'm running it locally. Had I not already been through this a time or two in the Windows world, I'd have made the wrong choice. In fact, under Windows, it's always a frustration to get OpenOffice configured so that it can be used by multiple users, but I digress.

From his posting I concluded that perhaps the local installation makes a copy of most of the StarOffice files for each user rather than allowing users on the same system to share the application.

I also found a thread at Nomenclature change on installer: "Workstation" and "Local" ins on the OpenOffice website where others complained the nomenclature was confusing. From that thread, I concluded that the workstation install was best for a multi-user system, so I chose that option.

I love the software and think it is a great alternative to Microsoft Windows, but I'm afraid most users would find those installation choices confusing also.

References:

  1. Seasonal Revenue for Webloggers? Or, Digital Democratic Fundraising
    By John Adams
    February 18, 2004
  2. Nomenclature change on installer: "Workstation" and "Local" ins
    May 12, 2004
  3. StartOffice on Sun Ray Terminals at UD
    University of Delaware IT Help Center
    October 3, 2005

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