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Installing StarOffice 4.0 on RedHat 5.1

Editor, CPUReview

Copyright July 29, 1998

Today while shopping, I found StarOffice 4.0 (Commercial version) at a local cdrom shop. I already own (and use) ApplixWare, but I could not resist - given the usually positive reviews, I just *had* to try it.

Please note that Caldera currently has a special on StarOffice 4.0 - $49.95US. That is an excellent price for a commercial license. Also note that StarOffice is available via ftp without cost for non-commercial use.

I wanted to see how it would perform on a fairly low performance system, so I loaded it onto my server. In order to benefit others, I thought I would document my installation. I will use it for a few days, after which I will write a review on my 'user' experiences.

The Software

StarOffice comes on two cd's, in a jewel case. The first CD contains StarOffice and also appears to contain OpenLinux Lite along with some additional contrib packages. The second CD, a pleasant surprise, appears to be OpenLinux Base. This means I will have a busy couple of nights - I'm going to have to try out OpenLinux.

The Computer

The Operating System

The Installation

I read the instructions - and the 'README' file. I logged in using my regular user account, went to /mnt/cdrom/StarOffice_40, and entered './setup'.

After the installation program started up, I got the infamous dialog "line 1: syntax error at token 'I' expected declarator; i.e. File..." prompting me to press ok.

In all honesty, I must admit I was expecting this problem - I remember people asking for help with this very same problem while reading the Linux news groups. I went to Dejanews to find out how people solved this problem.

I used "Staroffice 4.0 RedHat 5.1" as my search string, and got 61 matches.

First Try

The very first match was a posting from Simon Gao, who on July 27 wrote:

This is a well known problem with RedHat 5.x. The problem is that StarOffice4 requires libc.5.4.28 above file system. Check out at www.waldherr.org/soffice and you find how to solve this problem.

Off I went to Stefan Waldherr's web site. There I found that the version of StarOffice I purchased today is already outdated - and that I should download the latest version. As most people who purchase the commercial StarOffice package will get the same version I got (and as I did not want to wait to download 4.0.3 yet) I just downloaded the staroffice wrapper and proceeded to see if I could install 4.0 as shipped on the CD.

I become root to install the rpm. The rpm would not install, I was treated to an error message:

Error during install, staroffice tar file not found.
Looking for any of the following files or directories

Since I *REALLY* did not want to download 4.0.3 yet, I got stubborn.

Second Try

I looked through some more messages, and based on the information I found, I tried the following:

I ftp'd libc-5.4.46-1rh42.i386.rpm from ftp.redhat.com/pub/contrib/i386, and tried to instal it.

I got a "failed dependencies: ld.so >= 1.9.9 is needed by libc-5.4.46-1rh42.i386.rpm" message.

Good thing I kept my ftp session open. I now ftp'd ld.so-1.9.9-1rh42.i386.rpm. This time I got a pile of glibc conflicts. Nope, there *HAS* to be a simpler way.

Conclusion: Third Time Lucky

Back to the drawingboard - or DejaNews, as the case may be. I found an article by Tommy Fredriksson, originally posted in stardivision.com.support.unix. Tommy wrote:

In article <35A4B35E.CAA00699@actech.com.br>
> I just got StarOffice 4.0 ServicePack 3 but I can't run on my RedHat Linux
> 5.1 box, it shows that dreaded "line 1 syntax error at token 'l'", etc. RH
> 5.1 is libc6-based (glibc), but I also put libc-5 on my /lib directory.
> Even this would not make it work. Could someone help me on this?

Put your "libc-pack" anywhere you can find it - tell /etc/ld.so.conf (on top) where you put it and run ldconfig -v and look for errors - if non, install SO. That's all...

Based on this message, I improvised. To save all of you some work, here are some step by step instructions on how to install StarOffice 4.0 on RedHat 5.1:

  1. Go to http://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/GCC/
  2. cd to the home directory of the user you are installing it for
  3. download libc-5_4_46_bin_tar.gz into the current directory
  4. become root
  5. mkdir ~/tmp
  6. cd ~/tmp
  7. tar xvfz ../libc-5_4_46_bin_tar.g
  8. cd lib
  9. cp * /lib
  10. edit /etc/ld.so.conf
  11. add a new line at the top, "/lib" (without the quotes)
  12. ldconfig -v
  13. go back to the normal user session under X (stop being root)
  14. cd /mnt/cdrom/StarOffice_40
  15. ./setup
  16. follow the prompts - I chose custom install, and let it install everything.
  17. you can safely remove ~/tmp after you have installed StarOffice

It Works!

Following the README, I typed Office40/bin/soffice. After some disk activity, it ran! Note, I did not time how long it took, but it seemed like 20-30 seconds.

I chose to create a new document. I resized the window, and docked the paragraph style floating bar on the left hand side. The text in the default view was pretty poor, so I chose the 'Optimal' view (why don't they default to Optimal?) under the 'View' menu. This looked much better.

I proceeded to type a few lines, and chose to print. I let it print as if to a PostScript printer. Lo and behold, my HP4L printed out the text quite nicely!


I am afraid that a review of StarOffice will have to wait for another day. So far, I like what I see, however I will only be able to intelligently comment on its features after using it for a while.

Caldera or StarDivison has to make installation easier. I fully intend to try OpenLinux, and I am sure that the StarOffice installation will be much smoother than under RedHat. At this point, a Linux beginner who tried to install StarOffice on a RedHat system, and was not used to using excellent resources such as Dejanews, would have a very frustrating experience.

The fine help available on the net from individuals like Tommy Fredriksson, Stefan Waldherr and many others, makes a mockery of the assertion that Linux has no support. I hope their postings and this article will save some time for those trying Linux for the first time.

I hope you enjoyed this article,

Editor, CPUReview

Copyright © 1998, William Henning
Published in Issue 32 of Linux Gazette, September 1998