Reader Peter wrote to say he was having problems with Star Office, which is now available free as part of Google Pack:
You cover Google Pack’s inclusion of Star Office in your latest newsletter. There is one major problem with this Google Pack.
When I click to download it (on my Windows 2000 machine), Google then "helpfully" informs me that ‘Google Pack requires Windows XP or Vista’ and won’t let me proceed with a download.
Well thanks for "protecting" me, Google, but my Windows XP system is one I also use for recording music, and as such, it has no extraneous security gunk either installed or running on it and so NEVER gets connected to the internet.
So I do all my downloads on my Windows 2000 system and transfer them to the XP machine if I wish to install them there. Even Microsoft allow me to do that, so shame on you, Google!
Anyway, what I find interesting is that I have downloaded just about all the other Google Pack applications individually to try them out, and have never had any problem with either the download or the installation using Windows 2000. So presumably the problem I’m getting now is caused by the addition of Star Office to the pack.
And what I’m wondering is what has been included in Star Office that requires the presence of some Windows component that was only introduced from XP onwards?
The only other application I’ve ever come across that will not run under Windows 2000 is OneNote 2007, which I guess was perhaps to be expected seven years on. But I thought Star Office was touted as a multi-platform application?
Best regards, Peter
Thanks for the question , Peter
There’s a simple answer with respect to Star Office. There’s nothing in Star Office that requires XP. Sun’s web site (www.sun.com) says that Star Office 8 requires Windows 98 or later.
On the other hand, all versions of Windows before Windows XP are no longer supported by Microsoft. Most vendors are abandoning them, as opposed to testing and rewriting their programs to make sure that their programs work in the earlier versions.
I suspect this is a recent change by Google so that they don’t have to consider supporting (or even testing) these products with outdated versions of Windows.
Several of the available programs in Google Pack (you can choose to download any or all of the available programs) are not supported by their manufacturers for anything before Windows XP. As such, I think Google has made a good choice to block the download to earlier OS machines.
I think they would have done better, though, if they made the download decision based on whether your were trying to download a program that wasn’t compatible with pre-XP versions of Windows.