Google made a big change in the Google Pack. The free Google Pack software package started out with free Google applications like Google Earth, Google Desktop, the Google Photos Screensaver and Picasa (the photo-editing program that Google purchased).
Google began including other programs like Firefox (with the added Google toolbar), Adobe Reader, RealPlayer, Spyware Doctor (Starter Edition), Norton Security Scan ,Google Talk, and Skype.
Now, you can add Sun Microsystem’s StarOffice to the list! What’s StarOffice?
We have to go back a few years for the answer. Sun Microsystems purchased an office suite and named it StarOffice. Originally available for Linux, Unix and Solaris, StarOffice was a complete suite including spreadsheet, word processor, database, fonts, themes and more. Some of these were from the original and/or developed by Sun. Others were licensed third-party products incorporated into StarOffice.
After a couple years, Sun created a public relations coup with its contribution of much of the StarOffice source code to the open source movement. Sun created an unusual open source license for this, not the usual Gnu Public License (GPL).
The GPL would allow anyone to download, share, use, change, distribute and sell a product. There are a lot of conditions, but two important ones were that: (1) if you sold it, you had to make the source code available for free; (2) if you modified a GPL-licensed program and distributed the modified program, you had to make the source code of your modifications available.
The license for OpenOffice allows anyone to use, but restricts redistribution and prohibits selling it by anyone other than Sun Microsystems.
With the license they created to released the StarOffice source code to create OpenOffice, Sun has the rights to incorporate OpenOffice into their product(s). That’s what’s in StarOffice — OpenOffice plus more add-on’s like fonts, themes and a different database than the one in OpenOffice.
Should you get StarOffice with the Google Pack? If you don’t have a good office suite, you should. If you already have OpenOffice, you may want to or you may not. Like any other derivative, a given version of OpenOffice will be available first, and then it will be incorporated into the next version of StarOffice.
Tip: if you already have Google Pack, you won’t find StarOffice as one of the available downloads. It looks like you have to uninstall in order to get Google to show you the entire set of applications that are available.
The free Google Pack was discontinued in 2011.