Google Offers Free $70 Software

Forty months ago, Sun and Microsoft buried the hatchets (the same ones they'd been hurling at each other's skulls). As part of a broad agreement, Microsoft promised it wouldn't sue Sun for any StarOffice patent or copyright infringement.

Little did Microsoft know that Google would use this deal against it. Last week, Google announced that it's giving away StarOffice, which ordinarily retails for $70 bucks.

Now, before you get too excited, keep in mind that the paid version includes support. With the Google version, you're pretty much on your own. If you look at it that way, it's nearly the same as simply downloading OpenOffice, which is also free.

While some critics contend that this is a major challenge to Microsoft Office, it's simply a marketing/distribution deal. And since the Google home page is so sparse, I doubt most users will even know the software is available. If Google really wants to unseat Office and Windows, it'll have to do a lot better than this!

What say you? Share your thoughts with other Redmond Report readers be e-mailing me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

And check out our interview with Sun's Scott McNealy about the Microsoft deal here.

Solaris on Mainframes?
IBM and Sun have reached a major agreement that seems aimed at thwarting Hewlett-Packard. The first part of the deal -- calling for Solaris to run on IBM Intel-based servers -- sounds a little silly: Solaris has run on Intel for years.

But plans to port Solaris to IBM Big Iron is a whole 'nuther story. This is potentially a very big deal. As servers proliferate, there's not just management complexity but huge electric bills, as well.

One approach to consolidate these servers is virtualization. Another is to run apps on bigger servers, and they don't come any bigger than a mainframe (supercomputers aside).

Have you looked at rationalizing your infrastructure, and are mainframes making a comeback? Have any of you looked at Microsoft's Infrastructure Optimization model and, if so, what do you think of it? Let us all know by writing dbarney@redmondmag.com.

A Service-Oriented Architected House
When most of us think of architecting a house, we imagine room shapes, door openings and roof lines. Peter Rhys Jenkins thinks of software -- in this case, SOA software.

At IBM's recent SHARE conference, Jenkins, an IBM employee, described his SOA-based house -- a house three years in the making. This fully automated, 12,000 square-foot abode includes a system that detects (and eliminates with extreme prejudice) mice in the barn and -- through RFID tags stuck in family members' shoes -- makes sure that only friendlies are let into the house.

To me, this is like a car with too many options. Instead of driving, you spend all your time and money fixing seat warmers, power windows, air conditioning and your kids' stupid DVD players!

Admin Tool Goes Open Source
Script Start, an automation tool that focuses largely on log-in scripts, is now open source.

The tool from Georgia-based Entrigue Systems has a graphical interface and can "map drives, install printers, configure Outlook profiles, modify environment variables, adjust Internet proxy settings [and] configure RDP connections," the company's Web site explains. Hmm, sounds a bit like our friends from ScriptLogic!

Going open source doesn't mean Entrigue has given up on capitalism. The higher-end version that includes product support will be sold for $990 for each domain controller.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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