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Sun will offer back-line support for OpenOffice

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Sun Microsystems on Monday plans to announce that it will provide support for the OpenOffice.org productivity software suite, citing a wave of momentum behind the open-source project.

The support, which starts at US$20 per user per year, will be offered to companies that distribute OpenOffice.org, not directly to end-users, according to Mark Herring, senior director of marketing for StarOffice/OpenOffice.org and Network.com. "For a lot of distributors, they wanted to distribute OpenOffice.org and had no option for back-line support," he said.

OpenOffice.org and StarOffice, Sun's accompanying commercial product, are compatible with Microsoft Office and identical in terms of capabilities, which include word processing, spreadsheets and presentation software. But until now, Sun only supported StarOffice.

Another difference will remain -- Sun does not plan to provide indemnification against lawsuits for OpenOffice.org, as it does for StarOffice, Herring said.

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