This very old page may no longer be of any use, for several reasons including my expectation that Linux distribution packages for LibreOffice (the successor to have fully taken care of not only installation but also enabling LibreOffice for multiuser usage. However, I will leave this page in place for historical reasons, and in case any of its contents might still be relevant.

From rick Fri Mar 14 11:06:45 2003
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 11:06:45 -0800
To: "Robert G. Scofield" (
Subject: Re: [off-list] CD burn request for Saturday's demo
User-Agent: Mutt/1.4i

Hi, I'm not posting to the LUGOD mailing lists these days on account of extreme lack of faith in the listadmin, Mr. Salzman. Details at . Accordingly, this is in private e-mail.

Quoting Robert G. Scofield (

> I got my Open Office CD from some mail order place, and the CD has no
> install instructions. So I had to pull out my old Star Office 5.1
> instructions. There are about three different types of installations.
> The best, if you have more than one account on your machine, is the
> "network" install followed up by the "user" install. This gives a
> couple of megs of stuff for each user who then accesses a central
> program. This requires adding some type of switch to the ./setup
> command.

They're really done a sucky job with documentation of that -- both in and in Star Office. The way it works is:

(1) Create a directory stub, e.g. /opt/soffice, that you'll install the package to. Chown that directory to the username you'll install it as. (You do not need to be root to install it! Root authority should be avoided for software installation for complex, buggy software like software installers when it's not necessary.)

(2) Change logins to that username. You'll need to have X11 access. Do that whichever way appeals to you. The lazy way is to logout, then login and run X11 as the user to do the installation as. (There are better ways, e.g., "ssh -X username@localhost", which requires that your system be running an ssh daemon.)

(3) Run the ./setup with an option of "/net" to do the basic install for the system as a whole (around 150 MB). If you don't include "/net" at this stage, what you get is an installation usable by only the installation username.

(4) Each individual login that wants to actually use must then also run ./setup, under his own username, without the "/net" option. This creates a tree for user-specific files within the user's home directory (around 2 MB). Fortunately, if the user starts up /opt/soffice/bin/soffice (the program) the first time, instead, it's smart enough to launch ./setup on his behalf.

You'll also want to have KDE links, /usr/local/bin symlinks, or whatnot, pointing to the binary(ies) in /opt/soffice/bin/, since that's such an out-of-the-way spot.

One gathers that this extremely awkward shuffle -- and the usage of a non-standard command-line switch delimiter (switches use "-" in Unix)[1] -- harks back to Star Office / having been developed as an MS-Windows single-user application by developers with an MS-Windows single-user mindset: Thus, multi-user installation was an afterthought, and thus the use of DOS command-option syntax.

The versions for Linux should long ago have done away with that mess, or at least documented it better. Too bad they haven't gotten around to that.

Cheers, "Heedless of grammar, they all cried 'It's him!'"
Rick Moen -- R.H. Barham, _Misadventure at Margate_

[1] The Web forum post below from "Sanal" at Sun Microsystems states that Star Office 6.0's installer also takes "-net" as valid syntax. Therefore, very likely does, also.

OpenOffice 1.0 installation issues
Date Posted: 11-jul-02, 17:35
Posted by: m_dv Hello,

I downloaded OpenOffice v1.0 from, and tried the installation until I get and unexpected problem. I'm using a Toshiba portege 3110CT laptop, running RedHat 7.3 with current updates. The problem basically is durring step number 5 on the Linux set-up installation instructions in of OpenOffice v1.0. Anyway, the problem is the following. After step 4, I actually follow step 5 which is to go /opt/OpenOffice.org1.0/ however the folder /opt/ is empty. Yes, I did as step 4 said, prefix=/opt.

Any help with will be greatly appreciated, thank you!



Not sure if both OpenOffice 1.0 and StarOffice 6.0 have the same installation procedure, but this is how installation is done in StarOffice 6.0. You may want to replace all references in the below explanation from StarOffice 6.0 to OpenOffice 1.0 and try your luck.

If you have a multiuser environment, you need to use the -net switch when running the installation the first time. It doesn't matter if you use a single Linux box or a "networked" box. The "net" install should NOT go into /root (this directory is offered by default when installing as root, change it to /opt/staroffice6.0 or /usr/local/staroffice6.0).

Step by step:

1. Uninstall your current installation by running staroffice6.0/program/setup as the same user who installed the program;

2. Be sure that the files ~/.sversionrc and ~/.user60.rdb have been removed from the user's staroffice directory (/home/username/staroffice6.0 or the place where Staroffice was installed).

3. Log in as root and run your installation file with the switch -net (or /net): ./so-6_0-ga-bin-linux-<your_language>.bin -net When prompted for the installation directory, change it from /root to /opt/staroffice6.0 (or another directory which is accessible by regular users);

4. When done, log out of root and log in as the first one of the regular users;

5. Run /opt/staroffice6.0/program/setup (without the -net) and install to the user's $HOME directory (Worstation install, 4MB each user); enter user-specific information (e-mail address, etc...);

6. Log out of that user, and log in as each one of the other users, repeating step 5.

7. Each user may uninstall their own Workstation install by running the same setup of step 5; Root may uninstall or modify the whole program (base install) by running: /opt/staroffice6.0/program/setup -net

8. Remember, if you forget to remove $HOME/.sversionrc hidden files, you'll get the "already installed" error when trying to reinstall.

For further questions; please refer to the following URL to post queries regarding OpenOffice1.0.

Hope this helps,

Sun Microsystems Inc.