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[6]: Comment by Neolander
by Neolander on Tue 14th Dec 2010 21:50 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Neolander"
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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.

As someone else said, it does not matter. MS Office is currently the de facto standard, therefore everyone uses doc/docx for exchanging re-writable documents. It's a sad fact of life, and open-source office suites just have to cope with it. If people were reasonable, everybody would be using PDF anyway.

Yet OpenOffice still has 10% to 20% installed base, and growing.

Because it's free and because most office suites users are casual users which would already be satisfied with abiword anyway.

It is by far and away the best solution for document interchange and archival purposes.

No, no, and no ! If you want a document which looks exactly the same way on all computers and printers you can think of, PDF is simply the only way to go. A missing font is generally all it takes for ODT/DOC documents to get their formatting completely messed up (when it's not worse).

Moreover, on the average guy's computer, you're much more likely to find a decent PDF reader than the exact same version of the office suite you're using. The core PDF standard is much more stable, and readers are more mature.

It amply meets the needs of well over 90% of uses cases for an Office suite ... perhaps more.

That's the reason why office might fall someday... But looking at the arguments a friend gave me when he told me that he was going to buy Word instead of using OpenOffice, I somehow doubt it.

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.

Again, this also applies to nearly anything but PDFs, 7-bit ASCII text files, PCM, and similarly primitive formats. The problem is, when you want something a bit more powerful, you have to look somewhere else. Ardour, Audacity, and Cubase don't use standard file formats either, that doesn't make them less interesting as long as everyone in your team is using them.

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.

Wake me up when it actually starts to give more interesting results than 2D acceleration and GPU fans blowing hot air at full speed.

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.

Again, I don't deny that, but I'm talking about the desktop here, which is exclusively x86 since Apple realized that PowerPC was a dead end on this category of computers.

If you put an AutoCAD user in front of it, will he master it in 10 minutes ?

Photoshop users have their gripes with GIMP, and single window mode is only one of them.

They will tell you about the extensive use of contextual menus in photoshop for faster use when you're experienced (at the cost of much harder learning), non-destructive editing features, CMYK (though I heard that GEGL was going to bring that someday), GPU acceleration (ditto)...

Interesting... Though I don't use it, I suppose that this is something like Adobe Lightroom. Didn't know that the open source world went this far.

Since you seem to have some deep knowledge of open-source software, may I ask you if you know about a good data plotting and analysis software (something in the spirit of Origin or IGOR Pro) which runs on both Windows and Linux ? I'm on Windows since I moved to a laptop, as the power management of current desktop Linux distros made me want to smash my head on my desk, but I consider getting back in the open-source OS world once that is fixed, so I would like to keep using software which works everywhere.

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

Well, the current betas didn't shocked me by their awful performance, although they have their quirks in other domains (dammit, where is my multicut gone ?).

I can also argue that Windows has a number of professional 3D apps of the level of Blender : 3DS Max, Lightwave...

Why would you assume that the productivity had to be higher on a Windows desktop?

I don't assume that. I assume that people always perform better with the tools they're used to. Switching to something else means a decrease in productivity during the time they get to learn their new tools.

So Linux and open source tools don't only have to be as good as the Windows ones before people decide that the aforementioned loss is worth making the switch : they also have to get much better in some way.

There are a number of features of a Linux desktop, such as clipboard history and virtual desktops, that could well mean better productivity.

Arguable. I spent more than 5 years solely running Linux, and I never managed to find an everyday use to virtual desktop. When I have so much applications running that the taskbar gets filled up, I always find some mess which I don't use anymore and should close. The fact that my computer only had 512 MB of RAM until recently may have helped this.

Same for clipboard history : never got to really use it. The sole interest of Klipper, in my opinion, was that it addressed the broken way copy and paste works on some linux desktops :
-Copy something
-Close the app
-Paste... Paste... Crap, the copied content was not actually copied, it's gone with the app !

Edited 2010-12-14 22:09 UTC

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