Passengers Gain Access to StarOffice, Linux on Flights

Singapore Airlines is offering access to Sun’s StarOffice 8 office productivity suite free of charge to passengers on its new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. StarOffice, Sun’s proprietary version of, runs on the aircraft’s Linux server and is accessed via a seat-back terminal at each passenger’s seat, according to Sun.

Thanks to new USB ports embedded in the armrest of each chair (near the headphone jack), passengers now can use a USB key (aka thumb drive)—or other portable drive—to access their documents, spreadsheets and presentation files from software running on the plane’s Linux server.

StarOffice 8 supports both Open Document Format and Microsoft Office formats, and can export files to PDF format. Thus, passengers won’t need to use their laptops if they are doing work on Word documents, spreadsheets and presentation-type files—all they need to do is carry the documents with them on a USB key or other USB storage device, such as an MP3 player.

“With heightened security, access to laptops during flights can sometimes be restricted,” said Wong Heng Chew, managing director at Sun’s Singapore division. “The availability of StarOffice … offers Singapore Airlines’ customers the opportunity to work on and access their information in an open, secure and freely available fashion independent of any vendor or file formats during their flights.”

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