Sun Microsystems has announced that it will make available in mid 2003 a Java-based development kit as an upgrade to Sun's business version of StarOffice 6.0. This new development kit should aid IT programmers wanting to provide customized desktop applications.
This could make it more feasible for Sun's proprietary StarOffice software to compete with Microsoft's Office software products. Sun's StarOffice division intends to use Java as a scripting language for StarOffice, to allow customers to take advantage of Java's security features. Java's security model works by limiting the areas of the computer the code can manipulate. "The Java security model that is used in the browser is useful in an office suite as well," said Joerg Heilig, Sun's Director of Engineering for StarOffice. "When you include Java code for scripting purposes, you can restrict what Java can do at the operating system level."
In the next major release of StarOffice, Sun will introduce more refined security control, giving IT system administrators the ability to restrict access to specific files and to prevent changes to an application's user interface, Heilig also noted.