For DISA, StarOffice is a bargain

The price was right. When Defense Information Systems Agency officials went looking for a new desktop productivity suite, they settled on StarOffice 5.2 from Sun Microsystems Inc. The reasons: "Functionality and cost," said DISA spokeswoman Betsy Flood in a written response.

StarOffice's functionality includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation graphics and database applications compatible with DISA's Global Command and Control System (GCCS) Version 3.4 workstations, which use the Sun Solaris Unix operating system, she said.

And as for cost, there is none. StarOffice is available as a free download from Sun.

DISA plans to install StarOffice on 25,000 workstations, with deployment to begin early next year, Flood said. It is currently using VistaSource's Anyware Desktop (formerly Applixware Office).

DISA is distributing master tapes with StarOffice to be loaded on servers at 600 Defense Department locations, said Susan Grabau, a Sun product line manager.

Another thing DISA officials like about StarOffice is that it also runs on the Linux and Microsoft Corp. Windows operating systems, said Army Lt. Col. William Hoppe, DISA's chief GCCS engineer, in a prepared statement.

A boxed version of StarOffice costs $39.95 in stores, but anyone may download the suite at no cost from Sun (www.sun.com).

This isn't the first time DISA has shopped around for inexpensive software. The agency signed one-year contracts in 1997 with McAfee Associates Inc. and Symantec Corp. for $3.7 million—less than $10 per user—for antivirus software site licenses. DOD users can download the latest software at www.cert.mil.

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