Linked by Howard Fosdick on Mon 13th Dec 2010 23:11 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless It's hard to predict the future because we humans prefer to think in terms of familiar paradigms. Even the most brilliant of our species are subject to this flaw. Now, Microsoft faces its turn. The owner of the operating system that likely runs your personal computer, the company that achieved monopoly with Windows and ducked the Department of Justice's scythe to keep it, faces a midlife crisis as the world goes gaga over portable consumer devices. This is the story of what's happening to Microsoft in the handheld operating system markets -- and how it parallels the earlier, similar journeys of IBM Corporation and Digital Equipment Corporation. Can Microsoft achieve dominance on mobile devices?
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RE[5]: Comment by Neolander
by lemur2 on Tue 14th Dec 2010 11:56 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Neolander"
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OpenOffice has the best compatibility with Office which the open-source world has to offer, but it's not perfect. Complex documents may or may not work. For a home user or a student like me it's okay, but on a larger scale it's really not okay.

MS Office has very poor compatibility with other Office suites. In that aspect it is way worse than OpenOffice in every way.

Where two parties are interchanging documents and they use different Office suites, in general it will be the party which uses Microsoft Office which has the most problem. Using Microsoft Office is even a problem with your own organisation's older archived documents.

The need to exchange exceedingly complex MS Office documents (that may not work) is very small. Even when the other party has a different version of Office, such an exchange may not work. Choose any format OTHER THAN MS Office formats in order to have a more successful document interchange.

Apart from that, there's also a problem of intrinsic software qualities. Oo's UI is obscure in places, they cloned office 2000 and it was not the best UI microsoft has ever done to say the least. Impress is okay for light use, but Writer makes some simple things very complicated (ex : OO formulas vs MathType, paragraph numbering...), and let's not even talk about Calc vs Excel.

Yet OpenOffice still has 10% to 20% installed base, and growing. It is by far and away the best solution for document interchange and archival purposes. It amply meets the needs of well over 90% of uses cases for an Office suite ... perhaps more.

Finally, there's plug-in compatibility. Office has some very interesting add-ons like XLSTAT, which are obviously not compatible with OpenOffice.

Then XLSTAT is clearly not a technology that one should be using for information interchange or archival. This remark probably applies even better to MS Office itself.

Windows is yet another issue. There are two problems here : hardware and software.

Since there are no standard interfaces to hardware anymore, modern hardware requires drivers. Drivers are made by the manufacturer and OS-specific, which means that Linux is often doomed to using either crappy proprietary drivers (as they don't matter in terms of market share, the HW manufacturer does not pay attention to what it codes) or second-class community drivers made from reverse engineering, which are often coming late at the party, unstable, or poor in some areas (3D acceleration, power management).

There are alternative sources of open source drivers which you ignore.

The first source is where open source developers are given the programming specifications, from which they can write a good open source driver without reverse engineering.

Another source is when the OEM targets Linux first and Windows is a latecomer afterthought:

The mobile and handheld space is, after all, more about ARM than it is about x86.

And then, there's software. Where are AutoCAD, Photoshop, After Effect for Linux ? There are sometimes (not always) equivalents, but they don't have the same UI, and often do not offer exactly the same functionality - which results in a productivity loss.

After Effect: well, not every use case is covered by Linux. Where is a decent-performing Blender for Windows?

Why would you assume that the productivity had to be higher on a Windows desktop? There are a number of features of a Linux desktop, such as clipboard history and virtual desktops, that could well mean better productivity.

Edited 2010-12-14 12:11 UTC

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