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A Last Look at ApplixWare 75

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the blast-from-the-past dept.
Linux.com (Also owned by VA) is taking a look at the once widely popular office suite, ApplixWare. From the article: "Passed to a subsidiary of Applix called VistaSource that later became independent, ApplixWare was repositioned as a combination of a basic office package and a developer's toolkit running from a common main menu. For a while, it was even renamed AnyWare. Now at version 6, ApplixWare is back to its original name, with versions available for AIX, GNU/Linux, and SPARC Solaris, with earlier versions still supported for Windows and FreeBSD. The trial download for GNU/Linux shows ApplixWare's age, but it also shows a trick or two that its newer rivals might learn from."
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A Last Look at ApplixWare

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  • Passed to a subsidiary of Applix called VistaSource.....

    I hadn't heard of a subsidiary of Applix called VistaSource.

    But a quick google finds that VistaSource is 60% imcomplete ;-) [engadget.com]

    Thank you, thank you - try the salmon.
  • I know after deploying Applix some years back, I do miss having it around. I thought it was simple to use and quite nice for the users. The fact that all my users were on Solaris boxes helped though.
  • Just imagine (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AirLace (86148) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @11:42AM (#15205084)
    Just imagine if all the work that has been going into cleaning up the behemoth OpenOffice codebase had instead been directed at an open source version of ApplixWare. Maybe the world would be a slightly better place today, but obviously the Applix guys have decided to take their office suite to the grave with them.
    • Re:Just imagine (Score:4, Insightful)

      by j-pimp (177072) <zippy1981@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @12:16PM (#15205412) Homepage Journal
      Just imagine if all the work that has been going into cleaning up the behemoth OpenOffice codebase had instead been directed at an open source version of ApplixWare.

      Just imagine if they opened up the source for Word Perfect 5.1 for DOS. There were third part font managers for it os in about a year you would have something that would talk to your X font server or read your True Type font directory. Some people want the WISIGY, and I don't know how the graphical preview mode could be ported over to the console mode, but these problems could be solved if we could get the code for the SCO port as well.
      • I'd settle for a Carbonized version of MS Word 5.1.

      • Just imagine if they opened up the source for Word Perfect 5.1 for DOS.

        Oh, boy, that would have been really cool. One of the greatest word processing programs. Ever.

        For word processing, of course. Not particularly a good program for lame attempts at doing DTP, even if it had rudimentary support for that too.

        Somewhere along the way, people forgot that, ultimately, word processing and typesetting are separate tasks, and if you really look at the current contenders, they're not really good at either...

        • Somewhere along the way, people forgot that, ultimately, word processing and typesetting are separate tasks, and if you really look at the current contenders, they're not really good at either...

          Very insightful comment.

          I would add that there are three separate tasks being done by M$-Weird and its ilk. In addition to word processing and typesetting, the third task is long technical document preparation, with TeX and Lotus Manuscript being a couple of notable examples.

          I have fond memories of using a conte

      • Re:Just imagine (Score:3, Informative)

        by 1u3hr (530656)
        I don't know how the graphical preview mode could be ported

        Print to Postscript, display directly or as PDF. I use some older DOS DTP apps (running under Windows), mostly I work in their own interface, but instead of printing to the actual printer to check layout I do PDF proofs most of the time now; simple enough to automate this.

    • I used Framework back in the day. I believe it was on of the few truly integrated software packages ever. The rest are mostly cut and paste. I liked the Outliner as the main glue that you could tie all the other modules together with. Once you learned the Fred language you could do very powerful things. Don't know what happened to the ownership of that one. But I would enjoy using that program again under linux with perhaps some graphical candy added.
    • Although it's not quite as mature as ApplixWare, Siag is a very nice office suite that could be developed further. I agree that OpenOffice isn't the answer but there are other office suites out there to build on. The only drawback is that no development has happened with Siag in 2.5 years.
  • I got Applix ware and it got me threw college. The next year they had Word Perfect 7 for Linux so I used that until Jr. Year then I used StarOffice. Applix Ware did have some nice features espectially for publishing. But It wasn't an Office 97 killer but it worked. But if you are using the email client be sure that it is set to delete email on download otherwise it will keep popping the same message over and over again.
  • Wildly Popular? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by guisar (69737)
    When the alternatives were the Motif or Sunview provided text editors and a Framemaker version that cost about the same as a PC, I guess Applixware might have been "wildly popular" in the same way Yugos might be wildly popular among those who had been waiting for three years for their Trabant to be delivered. Applixware sucked then and it sucks now.
  • by haaz (3346) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @11:46AM (#15205121) Homepage
    I noticed some time ago that the PowerPC Linux version of ApplixWare had been dropped. Getting them to port to LinuxPPC was a point of pride for me, and the product of my work with ApplixWare's Richard Manly. (Where are you, brother?) It sold fairly well by our standards, and assuming you've still got a LinuxPPC box, ApplixWare 4 is still a very usable package. (I don't know why you would, but you could. ;-)

    Much to my surprise, my old comrade señor Carro declared PowerPC dead after our little adventure collapsed, which happened after I left, leaving him alone on the sinking ship. In realistic terms, with Apple's switch to Intel processors, he's right. There's still lots to do with embedded and server PPC, though. Good luck whoever's still working on it; nods to Cort, Ben H, Paul M, Gary T, Dan B and K.S.
  • by karmaflux (148909) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @11:50AM (#15205157)
    Anyone else notice that Mr. Wittamore's comment is timestamped "By pwittamore (221609) on 2006.04.26 7:45 (#88706)" while the story itself is timestamped "Wednesday April 26, 2006 (08:01 AM GMT)"?

    Wittamore apparently posted it fifteen minutes before the story was posted.
  • Applix file dialog (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @11:57AM (#15205208) Homepage Journal
    FTFA:
    The applications also share a Save dialog -- or "Directory Displayer," as ApplixWare calls it -- with several features that I'd like to see on modern programs, including a complete directory tree, a history, and the ability to set permissions as a file is saved.

    While I think a complete directory tree is unnecessary (personally, I think the way GTK 2.6 and KDE/QT handl directories are both fine, with the "bookmarks" along the left side like in Windows XP file dialgs, though I am partial to the GTK 2.6 dialog), I do think that adding the ability to set permissions on a file would be a welcome addition to the GTK 2.6+ dialog box.
    • by jmorris42 (1458) *
      > I do think that adding the ability to set permissions on a file would be a welcome
      > addition to the GTK 2.6+ dialog box.

      I'm afraid the first questions a GNOME developer would ask is "Does Windows have that? Does Apple do that? Would idiots know what it is useful for?" Then you would be laughed at and the proposal ignored. File permissions are a 'legacy UNIX' thing and have no place in a 'modern graphical environment'. Which is why I'd dearly love to see some UNIX folk get together and rethink a
      • Last time I looked Windows had file permissions as well, in the form of ACLs. I wish people like you would stop being hysterical about one GUI environment looking like another GUI environment, so fucking what if it looks like Windows or MacOS, funnily enough the vast majority of people who use computers use Windows or Macs and a familiar interface can't hurt in the quest to supplant them. It's not like Apple didn't originally license their interface from Xerox and it's certainly not like Microsoft haven't n
        • > Last time I looked Windows had file permissions as well, in the form of ACLs.

          True enough, but only admins appear to be supposed to use them. In theory Windows users could get just as much use out of them as us UNIX folk but their customs and usages don't encompass anything related to security. And neither does GNOME. Look at .desktop files. They are executable (by nautilus and friends) yet lack both the #! that other 'script like' files of it's sort would normally have AND can invoke executable con
      • I'd dearly love to see some UNIX folk get together and rethink a desktop for UNIX

        Just wondering, why wouldn't you get SunOS? Isn't that what Solaris was, prior to them shitcanning CDE in favor of Gnome as a window manager? It certainly seems like the likely contender for the "graphical UNIX" honor. I guess you'd have to share credit with all the CDE platforms: SunOS, HP-UX ... AIX probably, too?

        I guess it's arguable that there's some Windows/MacOS influence in CDE, but when you look at the list of companies
        • > Isn't that what Solaris was, prior to them shitcanning CDE in favor of Gnome?

          Mostly. Of course it was a piece of designed by corporate committee closed source crap, but other than that it was ok...... for the early 1990's. Big hunks are closed still although Motif was opened once it was too old to be relevent. Had they opened it in say 1995 it could have been a contender, since it would have been allowed to evolve.

          Openstep is a potential contender but a real dark horse right now.
        • Moving from SunOS to Solaris had NOTHING to do with GNOME. Hell, I doubt GNOME was even a project at the time. Instead the move was about changing to a SysV UNIX instead of the traditional BSD UNIX, because AT&T told them to.
        • I never used CDE, but it just seems like 'a GUI by UNIX gurus' has come and, depending on how you look at it, gone. CDE isn't 'gone'. It's still in Solaris by default and is still the desktop of choice for tons of UNIX CAD workstations. CDE, though, is wayyyy dated. It was fine in the early 90s, but it lacks decent file management, easy applications installation, and many of its settings are managed solely by text files.
        • Obviously you've never used it, since if you had, you would not have brought it up. CDE is one of the worst GUI's ever designed. It is similar to FVWM (which is sort of a clone of CDE) but is much worse. It is terrible, terrible, terrible. The only people who like CDE are die hard living-in-the-stone-ages Solaris folks whose main application is xterm.
  • Applix (Score:3, Informative)

    by syphax (189065) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @12:09PM (#15205334) Journal
    Man, the ApplixWare I used (vintage 1998 or so) made Office 97 look stable. I liked it otherwise, though.

    The original company, Applix [applix.com], has gone through some interesting transformations. After ApplixWare, it focused on CRM for awhile, but has since returned to focusing exclusively on TM1, its OLAP database. Once upon a time, you could buy TM1 for Linux for $100; now, licensing a TM1 server cost 5 figures and the primary platform is Windows (I think there is still some development for HP-UX and maybe one other Unixy platform). It's pricey and somewhat buggy, but has some OLAP capabilities (speed, flexibility, Excel integration) that make it unique.

    There's an open-source project PALO [opensourceolap.org] with similar features that looks promising. It went 1.0 about a month ago.
    • Re:Applix (Score:2, Interesting)

      by johnw (3725)
      Man, the ApplixWare I used (vintage 1998 or so) made Office 97 look stable.

      Weird. I used ApplixWare for years and found it very similar in style to Word 6, with the big difference that it would run for weeks on end.

      I only moved because it seemed to have ceased development and OOo's Word filters are *much* better.

      John
  • What's next? A distro review of Yggasdril Linux?
  • I think their name has been clearly affected by Microsoft's decision to name their most famous product Windows Vista.

    Since VistaSource have existed for years and both Microsoft and VistaSource are software makers, I can almost smell a trademark lawsuit. VistaSource had better hurry up as well. If you don't protect your trademark you will lose it.
  • Back when I worked for Montgomery Investment Technology [fintools.com] we worked on addins to the Applix spreadsheet. The main code was written in C and then called from their ELF language. I remember we had some functions with lots of parameters and it caused all sorts of issues in ELF. At the time, ELF had a limit on the length of the function name and arguments. This called problems with functions like:
    http://fintools.com/WebHelp/index.html?bondsanalyt ics.htm [fintools.com] . We had to have arguments like a, b, c, d, etc. Arg.
  • by mislam (755292)
    It is super fast to load and run. I remember buying and running it long time ago in mid 90s. Liked it quite a bit. Then in next couple of years came StarOffice (now OpenOffice). Which was bloated, slow but feature rich. Anyway, it is interesting to see that Applixware is still hanging out there.
    • That is the way I remember Applix, too (1993-1996 timeframe). There was nothing else at the time for Solaris. We managed quite well with it, and some of the more clever folks were able to do impressive things with the Applixware scripting language (ELF).
  • Surprisingly enough, it keeps working for me with FreeBSD-6.1, even with the latest gnome libraries. Just have to do some shlib-magic (using LD_PRELOAD and /etc/libmap.conf [nixdoc.net]), but it "just works".

    I wish, they'd release either a more modern binary package, or the source code so that a proper port could be made...

    • Just have to do some shlib-magic (using LD_PRELOAD and /etc/libmap.conf ), but it "just works".

      Jesus H. Christ in a sidecar carrying a crutch and bouncing on a pogo stick, if that's "just works" then I'd seriously hate to see what "works with some difficulty" looks like...

      • Jesus H. Christ in a sidecar carrying a crutch and bouncing on a pogo stick, if that's "just works" then I'd seriously hate to see what "works with some difficulty" looks like...
        That's software for you. The good part, though, is once one person has figured it out, there is no need for anyone else to worry -- or even see the hackiness of it.
      • I'd seriously hate to see what "works with some difficulty" looks like...
        Oh, and even more importantly, "works with some difficulty" would mean occasional crashes. This is something Applix does not do. Once you figure out, how to start it with all symbols resolved (it was linked on FreeBSD-3.x), it is a lot more stable than the new and shiny KOffice, for example.
  • I see this as a reminder that what we often need is a fast, simple, but reasonably featured word processor without all the overhead of OpenOffice, etc. Perhaps something like Wordpad (just not crippleware) for Open Office, that will fork a full version of Open Office writer if it can't read a file. Something that would handle most casual office documents, or get most students through at least the first part of college, something with a spell checker, basic table support, margin control, maybe even embed s
    • At the risk of being redundant, I should recomment abiword. Nice little word processor. Used to be a little unstable, but they've probably fixed all that by now.

      -matthew
    • Amen! Say Hallelujah, brother! You hinted at one of the last remaining openings for a breakthrough app - Linux or Win: a word processor for people who . Yes, and isn't that everybody? Short spec: all keyboard (customizable) defaulting to an improved WordStar set; fiercely useful integrated text database (can set to auto capture the clipboard) and reference handler. Preset article, book, script, proposal, etc., templates; full-screen mode; wonderful file manager (option to display while editing); open-file t
  • I had Applix 5 years ago and didn't end up using it as my primary office suite. I've often wondered what it had evolved into, but I always figured that I wouldn't be willing to pay enough to find out.

    Turns out, though, that it's now apparently downloadable for multiple platforms, though I haven't seen the EULA yet (I'm gonna download it now and we'll see what the license terms are...)

    Link to download page is here [vistasource.com].
  • I bought ApplixWare in 1996 or 1997 from Red Hat. They had a price reduction back then, making it affordable for me. (Red Hat accidentally charged the full amount to my credit card, maxing it out. But that was corrected quickly.)

    After being frustrated by Word 6.0 for a few years, this was heaven. No more crashes.

    I still have it on my hard disk, but it's been years since I last used it.

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