IT directors happy to pay upSun's decision to start charging for StarOffice has been welcomed by members of the IT community, in both the corporate and public sectors. When StarOffice 6 hits the shelves in May, it will no longer be a free product. Windows and Linux versions of the office software - which has word processing, spreadsheet, presentation applications and email functionality - will reportedly cost $50 to $100 per seat, but Sun has not yet revealed the prices. In fact the company has not confirmed the introduction of the change in policy, but a Sun official did let slip to the German press details of the move. Media reports also suggest that there will be increased support from Sun - a very tempting factor for IT directors considering a move to a cheaper alternative to Microsoft Office. Frank Coyle, IT director at Menzies Distribution, told silicon.com: "I would like to move to StarOffice, although there is the legacy issue and it will not be painless." Coyle went on to explain that the idea of a product being completely free actually deters the board from committing. "No one wants to be accused of taking the cheapest option just for the sake of cheapness." He added that the new cost implication for StarOffice would make no difference as to whether he would implement it. He said: "No one believed the free option would go on forever and the cost is not anything like Microsoft's Office when you consider the penalties of being locked-in to a product. Even in the more cash-strapped public sector, the move has been welcomed. Matt Johnson, ICT co-ordinator at a UK primary school, explained that he has faith in the newly priced software. He said: "I hope that StarOffice 6 leads to a lot of schools purchasing a very good product at a very good price. The money saved buys more equipment and more books, which can only be a good thing." Sun purchased the creator of StarOffice, StarDivision, for $73.5m in August 1999, to compete with Microsoft's Office suite. Although originally under an open source model, Sun will be able to get around charging for the suite because those parts of the software that are under GPL (general public licence) will still be available free at http://www.OpenOffice.org .