Home > Microsoft > How Microsoft Can Embrace Linux How Microsoft Can Embrace Linux Eugenia Loli 2004-07-25 Microsoft 70 Comments Considering Redmond’s slim odds of conquering developing nations, why not offer them a low-cost Linux version of Office? About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 70 Comments 2004-07-25 7:12 am Anonymous No way they do it. That would be to admit defeat. 2004-07-25 7:50 am Anonymous Office is about the only thing thats holding back significant migration over to Linux in most companies at this point. 2004-07-25 8:03 am Anonymous Yet more evidence that general business magazines are utterly clueless when it comes to the tech scene. Even by the Authors own admission, it would be a temporary solution that killed them in a few years. Here’s to hoping they take his advice. -> Fritz 2004-07-25 8:08 am Anonymous If poor countries are becoming such a problem for Microsoft, they can just market a specialized low-priced Windows/Office version (that would ONLY work with the local language, hence preventing other markets from buying this cheap version) 2004-07-25 8:13 am Anonymous Piracy is rampant in poor countries, they have crap for internet connection. A Windows CD costs the same as a Linux CD, they don’t care. I know because I myself come from a poor country. 2004-07-25 8:23 am Anonymous Because they don´t want users to switch to Linux? 2004-07-25 8:33 am Anonymous ….sell a low cost version of Office for OSX! 2004-07-25 9:55 am Anonymous …switching to Mac? Seriously, Linux is not only non-ms choice out there which works. And it’s based on Unix 2004-07-25 10:43 am Anonymous It’ll be a cold day in hell, and fligs will fly, and it’ll snow green snow in the summer before we see Microsoft Office for Linux. The thing about Microsoft is they want to win, at all costs. Look at their SPF implementation @ hotmail. They changed it just enough to call it something different (sender ID). They want everything they do, to be branded in their trademarks and look inhouse developed, because any use of open standards and technologies (others than those they really have to follow) is a defeat in their eyes. Dont ever expect them to embrace Linux, ever. But thats just all the better, as OpenOffice.Org supports OASIS fileformat standard. This is gonna make informaion sharing in organizations much easier, OASIS is the answer to my prayers for the last 10 years . 2004-07-25 11:13 am Anonymous What is it exaclty that makes it that people can use MS Office but not OpenOffice.org? I always wonder, we use ONLY OpenOffice.org and Wordperfect in our offices and we do not MISS anything nor does anyone complain about the fact is not MS Office but OpenOffice.org. We use Ooo to make orderforms, orders, letters, faxes, internal use of our database, mail merging, businesss cards, some DTP, some design etc. Really what are we missing? 2004-07-25 11:14 am Anonymous @what about of course not, macs may be one of the best things out there but they are also one of the most expensive. @Office for Linux Not very likely, it’s not the way ms works. Making a version of Office for Linux only increases the usage of Linux, a platfrom which they just can’t control like they can control windows. 2004-07-25 11:31 am Anonymous OK, in the past MS has protected windows with every tatic (many dirty) in the book. But you have to take a long-term view, if they are going to face competition on the desktop market and MS Office isn’t there, they loose twice – they loose the OS revenues and they loose the MSOffice revenues. Remember that they make a heck of a lot more money from Office that they do from Windows, if it looks like they might loose that monopoly then I think you could expect a Linux version. Overall MS Office is more important to them than Windows is. Of course, they want to keep both so I’m not going to be holding my breath…. 2004-07-25 11:33 am Anonymous “What is it exaclty that makes it that people can use MS Office but not OpenOffice.org?” To me it is: 1) Lack of $INCLUDEPICTURE field support 2) Comments (essential for groupwork): implemented poorly in OOo and don’t preserve all info from Word 3) Different cell height calculation (distorts formatting) 4) Poor table implementation (no Table item in menubar (will be in 2.0 though), badly organized context menu, having to deal with 2 sets of cell borders) 5) Inferior keyboard customization ability (you can’t choose an arbitrary key combination, have to select from a limited predefined set) 6) Macro language largely undocumented (SDK is not a documentation); macro recorder generates incomprehensible code… I’ve been watching OOo’s progress for quite a long time and would gladly switch to it, but it’s just not possible now: I have to be 100% compatible with my customers, and my productivity is significantly lower with it than with Word 2000. 2004-07-25 11:54 am Anonymous They might consider it — but only if those Linux PCs became completely interchangeable and compatible with their Windows counterparts. However, that scenario remains several years off. Where is he? Office XP runs on Linux if you really want it (Codeweavers Crossover Office), the major OSS office’s eat M$ files with only minor problems, and open formats like that of O³ and PDF are spreading. What exactly is his assumption based on? It works already and will be far better by next year; in ‘several years’ it’ll be as usual as it can get. Oh well, business mag editors, what do they know about techs. regrds, Marcel 2004-07-25 11:55 am Anonymous Fantastic. Instead of Microsoft giving away heavily discounted Windows and Office, which costs Microsoft nothing extra in developming and marketing costs, he offers Microsoft to invest money into porting MS Office to Linux, and give it heavily discounted. In developing and poor countries, anyone who wants gets software for free. No copy protection stops it. Trust me, I know (hit: RUSSIAN guy:). That is why Russian companies sell Linux powered boxes and offer technical advise of how to install Windows on them. Which people do, saving 100-150 dollars. Not other way around like in rich and spoiled America. Microsoft should low the price of software, and it will, starting with poor countries. As for rich countries asking why they can’t get the same sweet deal as poor countries on software, here is my advise to Microsoft what to say back: if you in America agree to have the same salary as Russian employees (about 200-300 dollars US a month- yes, a month!)- then you’ll get software for the same prices as Russians do. My other advise to Microsoft is the following: give American people the same sweet deal you give to OEMs. Sell Windows XP Home for $50 retail- and prosper. 2004-07-25 12:20 pm Anonymous For me it’s just the interface which bothers me the most with OO.o. It doesn’t even feel right in KDE let alone in Gnome. They really need to over haul the GUI engine for OO.o to allow it to blend into the enviroment it is installed in be it windows, linux kde/gnome or Mac OSX. 2004-07-25 12:32 pm Anonymous That’s what they are paying Sun to do. 2004-07-25 12:48 pm Anonymous “In the U.S., the costs of Windows and Office are painful but still small items relative most corporate budgets. Even at a cost of $300, it’s a pittance for a U.S. employer who pays more than that per employee for health insurance each month.” How can a serious author compare the purchase of software from a convicted monopolist to the renewal of health insurance ? 2004-07-25 12:51 pm Anonymous I’m sorry but Microsoft will never sell office on linux. In fact they will only sell lower priced versions of office in other countries before doing a linux version. Microsoft will never sell office at a lower price here because it’s their cash cow with Windows being #2. Linux continues to take other countries by storm but here in the United States, we’re still dominated by Microsoft. 2004-07-25 12:57 pm Anonymous Wow… what an amazing insight into pour countries you have to show off… Is there some sort of “poor-men`s-language” I have missed? What languages are spoken in “poor” countries in your opinion? How about some french in Afrika, spanish/portugise in South Amerika, english in large parts of the (poor) USA as well as other underdeveloped regions of the world..? If you were aming at some crazy kisuaheli, well, that has never been a real concern, anyways… Poor people from China and India already have their localized versions and they account for half of the world`s population. They even speak crazy german in the Dominican Republic quite often ! BTW, for the little I use Windows these days, I am using an XP of a language I don`t even speak/never learned (because I have a license) + I get along pretty good with it. Instead, I have a better idea for MS: How about improving their offers plus add a reasonable price tag..? 2004-07-25 1:24 pm Anonymous >Instead of Microsoft giving away heavily discounted Windows and Office, which costs Microsoft nothing extra in developming and marketing costs, he offers Microsoft to invest money into porting MS Office to Linux, and give it heavily discounted. Nothing ever came of it but I recall some time ago there were reports (partly rumors partly real apparently) that MS already had a working version of Office for Linux, either developed internally or by an Israeli company. Even so, the only way I think they’ll ever release it is if Linux gains a much larger share of the desktop market. Competition from Open Office could possibly force the price of MSOffice down but I don’t see it prompting a release of a linux port. 2004-07-25 1:50 pm Anonymous >MS already had a working version of Office for Linux I am sure Microsoft does not have MS Office running natively on Linux. Any Israeli and Russian company could relatively quickly port MS Office to Linux through some sort of WINE and bulk some naive American investors of their money in the process.:) >the only way I think they’ll ever release it is if Linux gains a much larger share of the desktop market. Exactly! Microsoft will not die- it will adapt. If it gets to the position where Windows is not the most popular desktop OS, it’ll reduce development efforts for Windows platform and shift them to Linux platform to produce software that natively runs on Linux and beats the crap of free or patrially free alternatives coded in a spare time. Then, it’ll be just MS Office for Linux against OpenOffice for Linux. 2004-07-25 1:50 pm Anonymous I guess OO is sufficient for most needs that a normal user needs to have. Also if you really need a MSOffice you need to have just one copy for it and then use that in conjunction with OO that might be the best solution IMHO Sincerely, Anmol Misra 2004-07-25 1:54 pm Anonymous I was really suprised to see it but at my sister-in-laws work she is using a thin client that seems to be running off of Redhat and she used MS Office for everything. Maybe the latest versions won’t work but she opened all the MS Office files just fine and it looked just like it does on Windows 2000. 2004-07-25 2:48 pm Anonymous Could be that they use CodeWeavers Wine or Win4Lin, etc… 2004-07-25 3:33 pm Anonymous if linux got to the point where it displaced Windows as the dominant OS it will be because the linux apps such as openoffice also beat MS Office. Remember linux: the apps have to be much much better than windows apps in order to get people to switch. 2004-07-25 4:00 pm Anonymous The fact is that creating a Linux port of Office would cost a lot of money. Then you have to look at the Linux market. Most of it is for free (both as in speech and as in beer) software. If these countries are going to go with an open-OS, why wouldn’t they go with an open-Office Suite? Moving to an open Office suite would be a lot easier than moving to an open OS. It would be a lot easier for Microsoft to create a version of Windows/Office that couldn’t be used in places like the US than it would be to port Office to Linux and, if it isn’t costing them more, most places would rather stay with the de-facto standard. The concept just doesn’t follow. They would be paying more money to make a product that they would be selling for less money and to a smaller audiance and an audiance that usually wants to stay as far away from MS stuff as possible. They would loose money. 2004-07-25 4:05 pm Anonymous >I am sure Microsoft does not have MS Office running natively on Linux. Why are you sure? On what basis? The company in question did in-fact exist and were reportedly working on *something* in regards to Linux and MSOffice. At the same time the rumor mill was saying that MS had Office running under Linux, and that it had been spotted in MS offices. Does that prove that such a beast exists? No. But I think something was going on and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if MS had ported office to Linux (even if it was just a winelib port) just as a test. They’ve been investigating Linux in thier test labs for a long while now. 2004-07-25 4:53 pm Anonymous Well, I myself don’t really see the advantage for Microsoft to port Office natively to Linux. As somone already remarked, why don’t they just sell a cut-down version of Windows together with Office? That’s a far cheaper and easier way of reaching the same goal. As for an already existing port of Office for Linux, I see no reasons why it doesn’t exist. There is a Mac version, as we all know, so why wouldn’t they have/maintain a Linux version? This very much resembles the “Marklar” thing with Apple (Apple maintaining a Mac OS X for x86). 2004-07-25 4:59 pm Anonymous they can just market a specialized low-priced Windows/Office version (that would ONLY work with the local language, hence preventing other markets from buying this cheap version) That would be a problem with poor spanish-speaking countries. 2004-07-25 5:16 pm Anonymous It’s not like they keep customizing bits + pieces of MS Office to have their Mac-version handy, just in case — this is a complete piece of code in its own right which evolved over years… nothing like saying, “OK, from now on we will make a cute little extra release for Linux as well..”. If there was a Linux version, you could buy it, because it would cost them $$$$$ and time; this is not the kind of goofy kid’s-play shareholders support without making business from it. 2004-07-25 5:22 pm Anonymous They’d be better off releasing Office w/ an FOSS license. Microsoft should continue doing what they are doing, investing in themselves and improving their products through competitive measures. Right now they appear to be ramping up. Only time will tell, but I imagine Longhorn will be a tough battlefield for OSS. Microsoft needs more security, more stability, more performance and a better end user experience. OSX, on the other hand, might be more than prepared for this fight (by having a better design) if/when it happens. Right now OSX and even Linux win the OS-Wars hands down because of stability, performance, security, and cost, etc. Ease of use is a minor problem in the emerging markets and is rapidly becoming less of an issue in FOSS. 2004-07-25 5:25 pm Anonymous Make a Linux version and sell it for twice the price, to recover the costs of porting it or something, just to be mean. :> 2004-07-25 5:27 pm Anonymous A dangerous plague is sweeping the land… a plague of sharing. It hides under the the seductive name of ‘Free Software’ or sometimes ‘Open Source’, but underneath it is just plain and simple sharing. I’ve warned the world of this threat on many occasions, but I’ve discovered my warnings were not broad enough. You see, this evil called sharing is not limited to just software. You can find signs of it everywhere, along with the economic ruin that follows it. Why just the other day I discovered this place called a ‘soup kitchen’. It was providing meals… for free! Just image the damage that would be inflicted on the restaurant industry if this soup kitchen thing catches on. The effects could already be seen in that neighborhood; all the other people in the soup line seemed very poor, and there was not a five star restaurant to be found anywhere nearby. I’ve even seen evidence of this sharing epidemic among our own employees. Just the other day one of the interns brought in muffins and gave them away, you guessed it, for free! Perhaps it would not have been so bad if she had actually purchased them from a bakery, but she actually admitted to baking them herself. She said she enjoyed doing it and was happy to give them away so other people could enjoy them to! Can you imagine the impact on the bakery industry if this sort of thing catches on! But it doesn’t stop there. She went on to thank several of her coworkers for helping her move into her new apartment. Yes, you heard correctly, people actually helped her move, FOR FREE. Image all the work lost to moving companies from this sort of activity. Perhaps giving away free muffins seems like no big deal to you. After all, the damage that one person can do is limited to the number of muffins that one person can bake. The cost of production puts a cap on the amount of destructive sharing this person can do. But when we enter the realm of software and other forms of intangible ‘intellectual property’, the cost of production quickly bottoms out. After the first one, the rest are essentially free! In a free software world, there is no room for Microsoft’s 85 to 90 percent profit margin on Windows and Office. The company might be forced to survive on the thin 5 to 9 percent margins that most of the technology industry suffers with. Even worse, it might have to rely on other sources of revenue, like support services. Imagine the impact to the economy if all that money currently being funneled to Microsoft software was instead left in the hands of our customers. Imagine all the ways in which those companies and home user might squander that money. I realize some of you out there will try and argue that spreading money around is better for the economy than concentrating it in one place, but that argument only holds water if someone besides Microsoft is capable of innovation, and we all know how silly that idea is. In conclusion, we must all do our part to stop this plague of sharing. Just as surely as mechanized looms threatened the weaving industry of the early 19th century, the cooperative development methods of the so called free and open source software movements threaten our current proprietary software industry. The sharing must be stopped. http://www.osnews.com/comment.php?news_id=7788#comment 2004-07-25 5:38 pm Anonymous China is looking to support its own OS, as part of a patnership with japan and south korea. India is probably doing the same. Pirating software is quite popular throughout the developing world as well. The developing world has the OS thing taken care of. What the developing world needs are cheaper computers. Intel silicon is too much and unecessary. The developing world does not have the cash to pay for inefficient bloated Operating systems which are used to justify space heaters (also called intel CPUs). MS can lower prices for the developing world and that is all they can and should do. 2004-07-25 6:03 pm Anonymous I don’t understand the point. Microsoft can sell Windows and Office bundled for $1 in a developing nation if they choose. Or less. They are not constrained by US pricing. Its not as if this would cut in to US profits – most people get Windows with a new PC or at their place of work with a site license. Both of these channels get around the foreign price issue. The rest of the market outside of these two channels is small, and is already served by pirated warez selling for $0. 2004-07-25 6:28 pm Anonymous “…switching to Mac? Seriously, Linux is not only non-ms choice out there which works. And it’s based on Unix ” Because Mac costs more than Windows? Maybe not in TCO, but the initial investment in Mac is definitely more. At a lowest cost of $800 for a Mac, they just aren’t very competitive with $500 Dell’s (and I bet that price drops if you order 4,000). 2004-07-25 6:33 pm Anonymous I can actually picture Bill sitting in his lavish office room, laughing and in tears over this proposal. 2004-07-25 6:44 pm Anonymous What would the point be? The only thing that I can see that would be the best and safest way for Microsoft to embrace the Linux community without “admitting defeat” would be to follow a standard. Like ADS or even Exchange using standard Kerbos and IMAP. If Microsoft had enough sense they would understand the benefit of interoerability with Linux. -N 2004-07-25 7:07 pm Anonymous you have to take in account, the regular user IS lazy, lazy in terms of configuring. Compare MacOS. They have commercial programs like ms office, adobe photoshop, indesign, Illustrator, quark express, Cubase(? or comparable) and so on. No wonder they currently have more market on the desktop niveau (or professionals ofcourse). Now, suse and fedora are easy to install and to setup, commonly tasks are no problem. If there would be Office and so on available for Linux, the marketshare would be a lot larger, meaning this for the commercial products that they will have (and must) be easy installable (double click and setting up with wizard). With this calculation I do not take in Account wine, as I already said before, average users are lazy (even a “dpkg -i <package>” or “rpm -ivh <package>” is too difficult for them). so, I do not think MS will ever build a linux ms office version (as long as yet windows has sadly a strong monopoly) === I hope you understand my bad english as non native speaker 2004-07-25 7:38 pm Anonymous I’ve had similar experiences. Recently i was in a coffee shop. People didn’t have to pay license fees to get inside! This could ruin the whole club business. Actually, people even sat together at tables and EXCHANGEd WORDs for free – and the most dangerous thing: They found it EXCELlent! Then someone fetched a beer (very dangerous thing – commonly reffered to in th linux “community”), drank half of the bottle (!) and then JUST HANDED IT TO HIS FRIENDS without charging for it! This is a very dangerous threat for the whole beverage industry. Some people even rolled their own cigarettes instead of buying prepackaged manufactured ones! He didn’t even apply “Smoking kills” badges to his pirated versions! The threat of those anti-capitalist “sharing communities” is taking enormous dimensions and is spreading in a viral way! 2004-07-25 8:10 pm Anonymous “Also if you really need a MSOffice you need to have just one copy for it and then use that in conjunction with OO that might be the best solution IMHO” Why not use MS Office instead if you already own it? That would be the best solution. I for one would rather see a low cost version of Office for Windows instead of a Linux one… 2004-07-25 8:13 pm Anonymous It is rare to find a company building and supporting commercial (closed) software across the various slightly different Linux distros. You make it sound as if different Linux distros are fundamentally incompatible. In reality, it’s pretty easy to package an app so that it works on the various distributions: if you go to OpenOffice.org, you can download the OO.o installer, which will install the program on your Linux computer regardless of the distro you have. I really don’t see MS willing to make any effort to pioneer this and be among the first to set an example that it can be done. Alias has already done so with Maya. Also, the MainActor editing program (quite impressive, btw) is a commercial program that installs on a variety of distros. By the way, your message’s subject line automatically paints you as a troll with very little credibility. Try sounding less arrogant if you want to be taken seriously. As it is, it’s you who are starting to sound desperate. 2004-07-25 8:27 pm Anonymous “It is rare to find a company building and supporting commercial (closed) software across the various slightly different Linux distros.” IDL, Nuff said. If you build it right you have linux, unix, and bsd supported in one release. 2004-07-25 9:32 pm Anonymous Why would MS want to make products for 2% of the market? 2004-07-25 9:47 pm Anonymous I am sure that Microsoft does not have MS Office running natively on Linux (yet), because today it is easier to sell sand to desert tribalman than software to Linux user. As long as Linuxland stays the land of free of charge software, don’t expect MS looking there. If Lindows gets it right with Click-n-Run for annual fee, and Red Hat with licenses (sorry, entitlements) it sells- then expect Microsoft join them, too. Smell of money, you know… 2004-07-25 10:30 pm Anonymous Development countries (and others) can just as well use OpenOffice. By use it, and help develop it they will develop their own comptence and create local jobs. 2004-07-25 10:59 pm Anonymous I am sure that Microsoft does not have MS Office running natively on Linux (yet), because today it is easier to sell sand to desert tribalman than software to Linux user. Funny, I’m a Linux user and I buy software…another case of unsubstantiated opinion presented as fact, Russian Guy? One could argue that Windows users aren’t ready to pay for software either, considering the rampant piracy of commercial Windows apps… As for Lindows and RedHat, they provide the OS, not applications, so your parallel is inaccurate. The fact is that some commercial apps on Linux, such as Maya, are in fact purchased by customers. In the lower end, businesses such as Codeweavers, Transgaming and MainConcept have show that you can indeed sell Linux apps. Of course, until there are more apps to buy, Linux users won’t be able to buy them. It seems to me that what you’re proposing is the usual catch-22… 2004-07-25 11:00 pm Anonymous The author says that countries don’t want to use proprietary software, they want to use open source software. So the solution is to release a proprietary software product on an open source platform. Huh?!?! WTF?!?! The fact is that most people that want to go open source, go open source. If they want to use proprietary packages like Office, they’ll stick with Windows. It makes no sense to get cheap, open Linux and then expensive, proprietary Office. Totally wacky. Jared 2004-07-25 11:11 pm Anonymous Microsoft already makes products for about 2% of the market, its called Office for Mac. The reason they do this is because its a valuable market, and because it makes them look less monopolistic (the same would be true if they ported it to linux) The reason they won’t port it to linux is that Linux is hardware agnostic. Linux isn’t by definition limited to a small percentage of hardware. If they ported it, they would stand to lose one of their only money making products. Microsoft can’t make Office for Linux anymore than Apple could make OS X for x86. With Office not tied to Windows, microsoft stands to lose the OEM sales that keep windows profitable, as companies like Dell would be more than happy to dump the windows tax and pocket the $50 for. Without the twin monopolies of office and windows, Microsoft would be in very deep trouble. They would actually have to attempt to compete on an even playing field again. 2004-07-25 11:21 pm Anonymous “It is rare to find a company building and supporting commercial (closed) software across the various slightly different Linux distros.” You list OO.o here as a counter-example, why? I really don’t see MS willing to make any effort to pioneer this and be among the first to set an example that it can be done Your examples are Maya and MainActor. Maya’s system requirements for Linux are “RedHat™ Linux® 9.0 or Enterprise Linux WS 3.0” http://www.alias.com/eng/products-services/maya/system_requirements… This means if I call them to complain it didn’t install and run on Linspire or Lycoris, they can officially tell me “that’s too bad, read our system requirements”. Besides, arguing over a couple applications is moot. I didn’t say they would be THE first to prove it could be done, but AMONG the fist. 2004-07-25 11:33 pm Anonymous >Microsoft can’t make Office for Linux anymore than Apple could make OS X for x86. Well, they could both make them if they wanted to. And there’ve been reports on many sites that Apple did in-fact port OSX to the x86 internally. There was even speculation in the mainstream computer press that OSX for x86 was immenent. Neither one probably had any intention of producing a product for release (if these rumors are true), in fact releasing either one would be a near death blow for either company. But, I can easily see both of them being done as research or “proof on concept.” 2004-07-25 11:52 pm Anonymous The danger for MS is that another Office package locks-in on the Linux platform and MS suddenly finds it self on the same side of the counter as current alternative Office packages. That would be ironic. There are 2 elements – the denial and the cold cash. Offering Office for Linux is going to fuel Linux at the expense also of Windows. But if the projected bottom line is greater enough then MS might just swallow their pride and denial and do it. Maybe they already are. Secretly. Because when needed MS cannot afford the delay of first having to develop the product. 2004-07-25 11:59 pm Anonymous There are many windows specific features in Office that are not on OSX. This is the reason MS does not simply just recompile office to run on OSX. They are different enough that MS employs a large team of Apple developers for Office X, IE etc.. I would be curious to know what percentage of the office codebase are shared between the two, but I would assume that a Linux port would similarly require a large (larger?) staff of Linux developers. I know MS placed some pressure on Apple to do more to promote OSX to justify this dev team at MS. I can’t say for sure how successful OSX is as a product, but I don’t believe that a Linux version aimed at developing nations would be profitable, setting aside the other reasons they would want to avoid doing it. It would be wiser instead (and more likely) for MS to build a low cost version of Windows for these deloping nations. 2004-07-26 12:03 am Anonymous ..how successful Office X is as a product*… 2004-07-26 12:38 am Anonymous The day MS releases Office for Linux is the day that Windows is not profitable anymore and MS loses the desktop dominance they now enjoy. Considering it will probably take 10 years of major mistakes on the part of MS before Windows were to lose on the desktop I don’t think we’ll be seeing Office for Linux anytime soon. 2004-07-26 12:40 am Anonymous Part of the reason Linux is taking off in emerging markets, isn’t that it’s “free as in beer“, it’s also “free as in speech“, and for some strange reason, that appears to be a compelling reason in that sort of market. If Microsoft were to offer a low-cost version of MS Office for Linux, it would only address the “free as in beer” aspect. What Peru was mostly about was the “free as in speech” aspect, as anyone not liberally blessed with sheer stupidity could have seen: Peruvian Congressman refutes Microsoft’s “Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt” (F.U.D.) concerning free and open source software. http://www.opensource.org/docs/peru_and_ms.php The basic principles which inspire the Bill are linked to the basic guarantees of a state of law, such as: * Free access to public information by the citizen. * Permanence of public data. * Security of the State and citizens. If you have a proprietary file format such as Windows Word (the Latest and Greatest), which isn’t readable by Windows Word (the Latest and Greatest)-1, it fails the Permanence of Public Data test given above. To guarantee the free access of citizens to public information, it is indispensable that the encoding of data is not tied to a single provider. The use of standard and open formats gives a guarantee of this free access, if necessary through the creation of compatible free software. To guarantee the permanence of public data, it is necessary that the usability and maintenance of the software does not depend on the goodwill of the suppliers, or on the monopoly conditions imposed by them. For this reason the State needs systems the development of which can be guaranteed due to the availability of the source code. And that’s the reasoning for the several and various states that decided to go Free/Libre Open Source Software – if the file format is published as source code and the compiler’s source code is also published, there is nothing that is hidden. There is no hidden back door, either. Microsoft are not happy, but that’s the way the world goes – adapt or die. 2004-07-26 12:41 am Anonymous You list OO.o here as a counter-example, why? To show that an app can be installed on a variety of distros from a single package. I know OO.o is not a commercial product, but there’s no reason why a commercial vendor couldn’t use that type of installer (or the Lokin installer, or the autopackage.org installer once it’s ready). Maya’s system requirements for Linux are “RedHat? Linux® 9.0 or Enterprise Linux WS 3.0” Yes, but it installs and runs on other distributions as well. They might not offer support for them, but that would be a trivial matter for a company such as Microsoft. It would be wiser instead (and more likely) for MS to build a low cost version of Windows for these deloping nations. Except that the problem isn’t necessarily cost, but vendor lock-in. This is often indicated as the primary reason in such countries to eschew Windows in favor of Linux. 2004-07-26 12:57 am Anonymous I have no doubt that if they wanted to, Apple could have OS X running on X86 (rumor would indicate that there is such a thing, locked away somewhere in Apple HQ), or that Microsoft could port Office to Linux (also rumor indicates that it may exist). The point is that neither of them will ever release such a thing because it would be suicide for them as their business models would collapse. Apple is a hardware company, selling the OS and the hardware as a package is how they make their money. Microsoft has a office/os dual monopoly that allows them to charge huge fees that allow them to prop up the rest of their business. 2004-07-26 2:13 am Anonymous Yes, but it installs and runs on other distributions as well. They might not offer support for them, but that would be a trivial matter for a company such as Microsoft. But the fact they don’t just list “Linux kernel 2.4 and later” as their system requirement is exactly what I am pointing out. Few commercial, closed source companies do list such a broad Linux system requirement, and that is basically what you propose MS be one of the first to do. MS does maybe have the money and technical ability to set the example for others to follow, but the motivation is hardly worth it. The Linux platform generally is not very embracive (sp?) of such closed software. This is something Windows has going for it, and not something Microsoft is about to set out to try and change. 2004-07-26 3:14 am Anonymous Another strategy possibly more akin to forcibly raping Linux would be to introduce its own version of Linux with a Windows window manager and office, uberbloat & a tellytubbies interface. M$ don’t need to reinvent the wheel. They just need to half inch the penguin’s and add some funky hubcaps! — Topical News & Abuse: http://bms.r0gue.net 2004-07-26 3:43 am Anonymous My Question is the same as Gartners: How many of these Linux PC’s in these low cost countries stay on Linux? How many pirate Windows after the purchase? Doc Searls made a comment that the BSA would just go after these pirate users after the fact, but how can you prosecute a government that uses pirated software and or condones it. There is no world court to prosecute Iraq, for example, for using pirated versions of Windows and Office. 2004-07-26 4:03 am Anonymous There is no world court to prosecute Iraq, for example, for using pirated versions of Windows and Office. Well, maybe if the United States actually recognized the authority International Criminal Court… Now, I’m curious, do you have figures indicating the use of pirated software by foreing governments (as opposed to private users)? Or is this just speculation? It’s one thing to accuse governments of bein lax in fighting piracy, another one to claim that governments themselves routinely pirate software…though I wouldn’t be surprised if China and Russia did on a large scale, but it’s a big world out there, and I’m of the opinion that one shouldn’t generalize as you do. Then again, we all know how hostile you are towards the idea of Linux gaining market share… 2004-07-26 6:22 am Anonymous That would be a cold day in Hell…. 2004-07-26 3:32 pm Anonymous Those guys who wrote the article do not get it. They think too straightforward. MS will flank Linux. MS stuff will work on Linux along with WinFX, new API for managed apps. What Java could not make on Windows, MS will implement on Linux. And they already have Mono. Why do you think MS opened specs for .NET and even helped Ximian with Mono? They learn on other’s mistakes very well and they know what they are doing. 2004-07-26 3:52 pm Anonymous Microsoft simply can not release office for linux as it is the ONLY thing that keeps a lot of people from switching… 2004-07-26 10:44 pm Anonymous “I am sure that Microsoft does not have MS Office running natively on Linux (yet), because today it is easier to sell sand to desert tribalman than software to Linux user.” Strange how all these companies which sell software for Linux do exist. The typical home user running Linux might not care, or might not want to pay much, but if you work in a corporate environment where you switch from IRIX with PRO/E to Linux with PRO/E why wouldn’t you pay like you payed for the software for IRIX? Anyway, you make the (incorrect) assumption that because Microsoft doesn’t sell MS Office for Linux, they haven’t ported it over either internally or by another company. Mind you, that Microsoft has ported software over to various platforms and architectures in the past including: * Microsoft Internet Explorer for various Unices (HPUX, Solaris, MacOSX). * Windows NT for various Unices (Alpha, MIPS, Itanium). * Windows SFU for Windows including various tools from *BSD and GNU. * Microsoft Office for MacOSX. Assume that IBM wants to port Lotus Notes to GNU/Linux. They start on 1 jan 2005, and want it finished on 1 april 2004. In the meanwhile they might have a complete port at 1 march 2005 while they’re not selling it for example because they’re testing it. Does Lotes Notes exist for GNU/Linux then? Yes. Just not in public. Now if they stop with the project because of whatever reason the port at least exists, or existed while the public might now or might now (they at least do have internal WINE configs for Lotes Notes btw). So who knows what Microsoft or 3rd party companies by contract has ported internally and what not? Some do know this, because they work at Microsoft. Question is wether they are allowed to tell the public such facts, i doubt they may do so. Since you do not work at Microsoft or aren’t tied to them in this process you do not know what you are talking about. “Your examples are Maya and MainActor. […]” RedHat is basically the defacto standard at companies. I doubt there are many companies in this world which do run Lycoris and would want to run Maya. As a result, a better example would be for example SUSE. If you run (eg) SUSE there are several solutions to the problem: run RedHat, try the demo on SUSE, ask Alias for fixes/advice/other_customer_experience, run a different product, etc. None are particulary pleasant though. 2004-07-26 11:09 pm Anonymous So who knows what Microsoft or 3rd party companies by contract has ported internally and what not? That completely correct statement invalidates rest of your reasoning. Since you are not working at Microsoft, you do not know what you are talking about, too. All you can do is observe Microsoft trend and speculate where it leads, and how soon. Today, you say, they might have MS Office running natively on Linux. I do the same observations, but in my opinion they do not have it yet. Did you miss yet in my stetement? It means, today they don’t have it and haven’t done anything serious, but some day they will, may be, if Linux wins. If it gets as much traction on desktop as BeOS or OS/2- one might not seen MS Office running on it natively in his or her life. Of course, guys like one who claims he pays and pays and pays for Linux software might make an substantiated opinion that today everyone is willing to pay for Linux software, so that Microsoft will greately benefit financially from having MS Office for Linux here and now. These guys forget to mention that they won’t pay for Microsoft software even if it runs on Linux. Microsoft does not forget it. So, until there are people using Linux who treat software as a useful tool and not a religion, willing to buy good software from anyone who sells it does not matter what is the company name- until then Microsoft will not be interested in MS Office for Linux. They would rather reassign developers to produce another Windows Service pack or improve communication between Longhorn and MS Office, which is critical for Microsoft, than waste money on Linux port which is only critical for Linux zealots who still can’t figure out why users jon’t switch to Linux on desktop- despite all Windows shortcomings. Try harder, may be you’ll figure it out. Here is hint: it is not because there is no Office software from Microsoft for Linux. 2004-07-27 1:03 am Anonymous So, until there are people using Linux who treat software as a useful tool and not a religion, willing to buy good software from anyone who sells it does not matter what is the company name- until then Microsoft will not be interested in MS Office for Linux. But there are people using Linux who treat software as a useful tool, and not a religion. There are tons of them – and the majority don’t post on web sites. Some examples: Dreamworks, Weta Digital, HP, IBM… So, following your logic, this should mean that MS is therefore interested in releasing Office for Linux… And, yeah, I do buy Microsoft products. I bought Windows 98, Windows 2000, Office 2000, and I buy the occasional Xbox game. And yet I’m a Linux user… Linux users are far from the stereotypical construct you’ve assembled in your head. The reason MS doesn’t (publicly) port Office to Linux has nothing to do with your personal gripes against some imaginary Linux-using ogre, but rather with the fact that this would likely trigger a large number of Linux migrations. On the other hand, if MS doesn’t explore this new market, they could potentially be shut out from it by OpenOffice.org…OpenOffice is a relatively young program, but already it is starting to replace MS Office in limited areas. Imagine where it will be in a few years! It will definitely be in a better position to threaten the MS Office monopoly (which itself sustains the MS monopoly almost single-handedly). So MS is faced with a conundrum: either it keeps on ignoring Linux by refusing to port its crown jewel to it, and risks losing Office dominance, or it tries to take the wind out of OO.o by releasing MS Office for Linux, risking to lose OS market share… See, it’s not as simple as some would think… 2004-07-27 1:31 am Anonymous “That completely correct statement invalidates rest of your reasoning. Since you are not working at Microsoft, you do not know what you are talking about, too.” Partly indeed. Which is -IMO- reflected in my post. I do not know if MS makes portable builds of what software internally, or with whom they have deals to port software over. I do know it happens with software in general, and i wanted to state that possibility. I also wanted to state MS has done this before even with the product we’re discussing. My post explains how we non-insiders are not able to know such details. “All you can do is observe Microsoft trend and speculate where it leads, and how soon. Today, you say, they might have MS Office running natively on Linux. I do the same observations, but in my opinion they do not have it yet. Did you miss yet in my stetement?” No, and frankly, i do not care for your ”opinion”, because it is not based on any solid grounds. They are, as you put it yourself, speculations. “These guys forget to mention that they won’t pay for Microsoft software even if it runs on Linux. Microsoft does not forget it.” You’re good at generalizing! Who’s “they”? The anti-MS people? Sure. Question is wether they’d want to even _run_ it. The people who run KDE or GNOME in office who want the damn thing to work fine AND don’t want to pay too much? They might chose MS Office, or OpenOffice, or KOffice, or whatever proprietary or open alternative is there. It depends on many factors, perhaps some kind of religion is a factor, but not at all of them and the question is for how many percent it does and even more the question is in how many percent it is the factor on which (heavily) the conclusion is to not chose for MS Office. “So, until there are people using Linux who treat software as a useful tool and not a religion” Nice troll. There are many of them. And here i am, saying farewell to your trolling monologue. I hope Anonhe won’t eat the next bait. I surely won’t.