Let's give them what they want: Microsoft Office!

Posted 31 Oct 2002 at 13:52 UTC by casantos Share This

Well, it finally happened. One of the main Linux distributions (SuSE) is ready to give end-users (sell them, actually) what they seem to want after all: Microsoft Office.

The announcement of SuSE Linux Office Desktop sounds as a public admitance - by SuSE, at least - that free software can not compete with the Evil Empire, and that the best policy is "if you can't beat them, joint them". Sounds also as a proof that it is not possible to play in the software market without following the rules. And big corporations - like Microsoft - make the rules.

This direction may be a business mistake, posted 31 Oct 2002 at 19:10 UTC by jbuck » (Master)

There is certainly a niche for this sort of thing (Windows applications running on Linux), and I'm cetain that Codeweavers is making good money (since they're getting a major cut of the cash from all the Linux flavors that run Windows apps, like Lindows, Xandros and now SuSE), but we're just getting to the point where there's a movement to desktop Linux, despite the problems, as a cost-saving measure. Microsoft Office all by itself now costs more than an entire low-end PC. Asking people to pay the fees for a proprietary Linux system, plus the fees for Office, when they were probably stuck buying a Windows license as well, means that they don't save money, and the emulation provided by Wine is never going to be perfect. And the customer is back into the same box as he/she was before, tracking the per-seat licenses and having to worry about disgruntled employees snitching to the BSA.

The other worry is that Wine has improved to the point where it now spreads some types of Windows viruses (e.g. Klez).

Better to focus on curing the remaining glitches in OpenOffice so that the customers can be Microsoft-free; a limited number of Crossover seats can be bought as a transition for the customers who really need that stuff. It may be better strategy for the Wine stuff to be presented as a marketing checkoff box; that is, tell the customers that what you really want to do is detox yourself from Microsoft dependency, but in the meantime you can use the Codeweavers stuff as a sort of nicotine patch.

Provides a conversion path, posted 31 Oct 2002 at 19:39 UTC by mbrubeck » (Journeyer)

On the other hand, this provides a gentler Free Software adoption path than was available before. Companies aren't forced to give up the OS, word processor, spreadsheet, and everything else all at once. You can dump Windows and begin using free software one piece at a time. Use OpenOffice.org for new documents and start converting old ones, but continue using the MS Office license you already paid for to work with (or help convert) old files with macros or formatting that OpenOffice doesn't understand yet.

I think that most corporations considering desktop Linux will plan on replacing Office too. Having a decent upgrade path and continued use of software they've already bought will make this easier, not harder.

Corel, posted 4 Nov 2002 at 11:22 UTC by realblades » (Journeyer)

I believe Corel already tried this. There's a distribution based on debian that has wine and Corel's office suite on it.

I believe it's easily the worst distribution I've ever seen. :)

If that kind of thing helps people get away from the braindead platform, then it's ofcourse good. Then again it's quite possible that it ends up being as successful as the competing office packages, for example. Ends up being yet another example why "Linux doesn't work" or whatever they manage to make out of that.

memory, posted 14 Nov 2002 at 10:30 UTC by jul » (Master)

Once upon a time, the early linux users were not thinking in terms of 'free software' as much as they do today. Some were longing for Bill to port his office to linux. As a matter of fact, the community heard (was it an hoax?) that Bill would port office to any platform that had more than one million users. And some (I in particular) thought it would be great. In 1996, we knew we had more than one million users, but still... nothing would come. I was really astonished : why would someone that was trying to make more money everyday avoiding to sell his software?

As a matter of fact, it would have diversified his OS/choices giving him a foot in the UNIX market. And GPL/BSD licences would even made it possible for him to make his own (great) distro to prove GNU/linux developpers were worser than windows' one.

This guy has ported office to mac/OS and has spent 150M$ in Apple to be considered as non-monopolistic, he could have done it for free on linux/BSD platforms.

Funny no? Mr W. Gates Jr. III must be related to the mad hatter.

Freedom is like coke, once bitten - hooked on it for life :)

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!

Share this page