Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

February 1999

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Star Office 5.0

The saga continues

A NotAReview by Peter W. Lazenby (

Some of you may recall my previous review of Star Office 5.0, in which I reviewed little, whined a lot, and was generally disappointed in the product I had purchased for USD99.00. Since Star Division released the product free for non-commercial use, I expected the version I had paid for to be something more than the downloadable version. In short, I wanted the super-deluxe edition, complete with hard copy manuals, more features than the free version, and a nice box to display alongside my other OS/2 software purchases on the shelves above the computer. What I got was one lonely little CD apparently containing the same product as the freely available version with the addition of the recommended java version update, and the recommended fixpack level.

Well, things have changed. Canada Post knocked on my door one day bearing a parcel, for which I had to pay CDN11.00 in taxes. Without reading the sender information, I cut the delivery person a cheque to cover the costs, signed on the dotted line (actually it was a solid line), and received my parcel. Only then did I notice who had sent it... Star Division, Freemont, CA.

Cutting open the package (you can't rip that stuff open, no matter how excited you are... it's purposely designed that way to make you search for a knife or some scissors, thereby taking the edge off your excitement) revealed... my super-deluxe edition! They call it Star Office Professional... ok, close enough. In a box that I could proudly display alongside my other OS/2 software (well, if I turned it sideways on the shelf at least... it's just a plain white box with a label stuck on the front) was the CD, and two hard copy manuals.

Aside from a user glitch, installation was flawless. The glitch came when the install program asked for my media key. No key in the manuals, no key on the CD itself, no key in any of the packaging that I fished out of the garbage... argh! I canceled the install, took the cd out of the drive, stuck it back in its case, and tossed it on the table where it landed face down revealing my media key. The label containing the media key is on the back of the cd case... the only place I didn't look (d'oh).

Ok, installed, t's crossed, i's dotted... let's compare the two and you'll see why I was so disappointed previously:


Warpstock Super Deluxe Special Priced Edition That Wasn't

Super Deluxe Edition (a.k.a. Star Office Professional Edition)

Starting main Star Office Desktop

45 seconds

25 seconds

Starting HTML application

20 seconds

5 seconds

Online registration

3 attempts failed (I gave up at this point)

Worked on the first attempt

Text entry

Up to 10 seconds lag between typing, and seeing the characters appear on the screen

This version can keep up with my typing. Only the odd split second delay when I really get going.

PMView window capture

Worst case was 5 minutes... I went and made coffee while waiting. Afterwards, I couldn't enter anything via the keyboard. Gave up and started over from scratch.

2 seconds. Still can't enter anything via keyboard afterwards. Hastily created a dummy so5.html file so I could save this document without keyboard entry.



Less windows-ish, but still windows-ish <sigh>

At this point, one would expect to see a comparison between the features in the two editions. Unfortunately there are two reasons why I can't. First, the Warpstock Super Deluxe Special Priced Edition That Wasn't (hereafter called WSDSPETW) was so slow that it was almost painful to do anything, therefore I didn't do much at all with it. Second, the hard drive where I installed WSDSPETW went south (so I thought... found out after replacing it that it was only a power connector). I successfully restored all the data on that drive, except WSDSPETW. Not because I couldn't... because I didn't want to. Actually there's a third reason... I really have no use for any office suite. I probably write all of 3 letters per year and for that, IBM Works works :) I don't care for wysiwyg HTML editors (though I wrote this article in the Star Office HTML tool with much switching between source and wysiwyg formats). I don't know enough about spreadsheets to require a full-featured one, and I have a plethora of graphics apps already.

Why did I buy WSDSPETW then? To show my support for native OS/2 applications, and for OS/2 itself.


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