German software developer SoftMaker has released a free 30-day download of the beta GNU/Linux version of SoftMaker Office 2006, a proprietary office suite that retails for $70. The suite includes word processor TextMaker, spreadsheet PlanMaker, and subsystems for databases and drawings. These tools are fast and robust, and include a moderately complete features list -- somewhat less than the equivalent tools in OpenOffice.org, but greater than those in KOffice or GNOME Office. However, where TextMaker is a full-featured application with only a few areas where functionality is basic, PlanMaker is sparse to the point of often being inconvenient.
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