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What Microsoft Could Learn from OSS and Linux 271

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the they-seem-to-be-doing-ok dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An article on OSWeekly.com discusses a few things that Microsoft could learn from OSS and Linux. 'As Microsoft continues to understand that open source does not mean they cannot generate a decent profit, I honestly wonder if they will eventually "get" that releasing MS Office code to the open source community is their only option. Since the whole threatening to sue thing will be met with the same fan base response, just like the RIAA, it is certainly not a wise decision. And if Microsoft thinks Open Office is a pain now, try suing people over it, then see how many people refuse to buy their products.'"
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What Microsoft Could Learn from OSS and Linux

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  • Code Release (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:28PM (#19496849)
    if they will eventually "get" that releasing MS Office code to the open source community is their only option

    They dont have to release code.. just give out a 100% accurate specification, and don't threaten to sue just because you write a program that can parse Word 97/07 docs.

    This goes for any closed shop. Especially hardware vendors. We'll write the code, just release the docs! :)

    • by billstewart (78916) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:38PM (#19497029) Journal
      Microsoft's got a tight-knit set of products out there - businesses want to run Office because everybody else does, so they buy Windows to run it on, and buy upgrades to Office when it comes out, and buy upgrades to Windows when Office needs them. And they run Exchange for somewhat dodgier reasons, but again they buy Windows to go with it, and if they've got Windows they can run Office. And they developed IE and IE-dependent web site products mainly to make sure that people didn't replace their operating environments with Mozilla and Java, which would have made it easier to junk Windows.


      Just about anything else could be released as Open Source, or given away free, and they'd do ok. They've done some things like that - Netmeeting was the first widespread H.323 voice/video/data/conferencing product, and while they didn't give out the source, the product was free beer (on Windows, of course), and was a reasonably standards-based reference implementation that everybody else in the industry could use. But messing with Office is messing with the crown jewels.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by DaveWick79 (939388)
        What MS does well is package products that are fairly easy to integrate and work well together out fo the box. Office is a cash cow for MS so they would have no reason to open the source. Microsoft is in business to make money, and satisfying a vast minority of customers who would like them to open up more is far down the priority list. Another similar situation is.... Apple! Asking MS to open up windows or office or any of their software is like asking Apple to GPL OSX. At least Apple has the Ipod bu
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by asninn (1071320)

        But messing with Office is messing with the crown jewels.

        Or the family jewels, judging from their (re)actions...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by westlake (615356)
        Microsoft's got a tight-knit set of products out there

        and then there are the must-have third-party apps and plug-ins that integrate with Office. along with the countless macros, templates, tutorials, etc., that do not exist for OpenOffice.org.

      • Are you actually praising the upgrade train and trying to tell me that people like it? That's the impression I get when I read:

        Microsoft's got a tight-knit set of products out there - businesses want to run Office because everybody else does, so they buy Windows to run it on, and buy upgrades to Office when it comes out, and buy upgrades to Windows when Office needs them.

        Let's get this straight. M$ is coercive monopoly [usdoj.gov]. People do not want Vista [slashdot.org] because it's expensive [slashdot.org] and restrictive [badvista.org]. People are not

        • by Kalriath (849904) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @08:43PM (#19499677)

          Let's get this straight. M$ is coercive monopoly [usdoj.gov]. People do not want Vista [slashdot.org] because it's expensive [slashdot.org] and restrictive [badvista.org]. People are not buying it. The only thing they want less than Vista is a new Office design, complete with a format no one can open that forces them to buy the OS they don't want.

          I think half the problem with Vista sales, is how many copies they give away for free. Seriously, I have FOUR Vista licenses, all legitimate, none paid for.

          I think it's worth pointing out to you as well that Office 2007 works perfectly fine on XP so you're talking shit that it forces them to buy an OS they don't want, and to add insult to injury you can open Office 2007 documents in Office 2003! Further proof, that you're a fucking moron (you know, with how often you get moderated Troll, I wonder how you can post more than once a day).

          The real question is how long hardware vendors can hold their breath before deserting M$ entirely. They have waited six years for Vista and it's a dud. Retailer have been squeezed into buying 20,000,000 coppies of Vista that no one is buying, which adds insult to the poor hardware sales injury. The complex and anti-competitive standards M$ has pushed on hardware makers has made hardware purchases a real crapshot, solved only by purchasing systems as a unit or meticulous research. How long are they going to back that kind of inefficiency when the result is a stab in the back like Plays for Sure [slashdot.org]?

          Retailers haven't been "squeezed into" anything. Around here, we still have XP on shelves, and not so much Vista. If people want it, they get more copies in. Sounds like normal market workings to me. I can't decipher the rest of your rant (except PlaysForSure - which is about as crap as FairPlay in the long run).

          Their "crown jewels" are third rate and increasingly irrelevant. Digital restrictions are an obvious dissaster which must be removed if they want any media market share. After six years of development, mostly wasted on digital restrictions, we get Vista. I've never, ever, heard anyone say they like a new Office format that causes them to go spend a bunch of money. M$ can't fix these problems on their own and no one is going to ride to their aid unless the result is really free.

          If they're third rate, why do people use them? Not because they're forced to - after all, OO.o does a fairly good job of opening Office documents - but because they CHOOSE to. Start getting OO.o on shelves in stores, and chances are, people will buy it. Face it, when people want to buy an Office Productivity application, they go down to the local store and look at what's there. They don't search the internet for "free office". That right there is something that OSS could learn from Microsoft. Marketing.

          M$ has a choice to make: go free or die. I have not had any of their stuff in my house for six years and I could care less. Either way they are a diminishing threat to hardware and file formats.

          No need to respond to that, that's just utter bullshit. They don't need to "go free" any more than Apple needs to "go free" or Sony needs to "go free". Seriously. Morons like you HARM the Open Source movement more than help it - typically you whiney, zealous imbeciles are what the entire community is typecast as. Getting rid of that reputation would be a good start to actually getting somewhere in the market.

          Also, you mention that you haven't had an MS product in your house in six years, and apparently care a great deal about it (because you could care less, as opposed to couldn't care less). In that case, shut the fuck up because you don't use the products, and therefore you don't know anything about them,
          • by Kalriath (849904)
            It occurs to me that I'll probably get marked Flamebait for that. Still, although I don't like Microsoft's business practices I do believe that if you want to bash them, bash them based on facts not bullshit.

            And twitter really is a whiney zealot. You know it too.
      • And they run Exchange for somewhat dodgier reasons

        It may be hard to imagine, but there's a very clear reason why people use the Exchange/Outlook combination: nothing else has done such a good job at integrating contacts, e-mail, and calendars. Seriously, I've talked to a lot of Linux guys and OSS advocates who cannot grasp the value in it, but it really ends up being very useful and functional. For all the criticisms you might have of Microsoft, their products in general, and even Exchange in particular, it's difficult to find a client/server package that can replace Outlook/Exchange.

        In fact, I would go as far as to place "insufficient Outlook/Exchange replacements" as one of the big stumbling blocks for Linux/OOo migration. Evolution does a decent job, but still not perfect, and is only available for Linux. A Windows version has been in the works for some time, but AFAIK it's not even in beta yet.

        It's not even that Outlook or Exchange is perfect. Certainly not. There's lots of room for improvement, but neither the OSS community nor any other company is really filling the need.

        • Mod Parent Up (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@g m a il.com> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @08:16PM (#19499513) Homepage Journal
          He speaks the truth.

          I don't care for Microsoft's business practices. And many of their products are horribly flawed.

          But Outlook/Exchange are staples in the business world, and I don't see a really alternative.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by aybiss (876862)
          LOL this *has* to be a troll. OK I'll bite. :-)

          So what you're saying is that an office package in which I can't do something as simple as search my own multiple mailboxes is 'doing a good job'? I'm a 100% Windows guy who supports this useless frack of an app on a daily basis, and it makes me positively nauseous just thinking of the entire world using the same piece of utter shite to manage their schedule and contacts every day.

          The 'integration' you're talking about? Yes, they've stuck three sub-standard pro
    • The article misses a huge loss that MS will take if it ever releases anything remotely open-source. Not something technical, but something under "marketing". It will lose the idea that closed-source is better in a vast majority of their markets.

      • by h2_plus_O (976551)

        It will lose the idea that closed-source is better in a vast majority of their markets

        I'm not so sure customers really care about open vs. closed source. All the real information I've seen suggest they just want to do their own work, and want something they know *will* work- and be supported in the future.

        ...so your "half the point" might be irrelevant to most people- I think the only people who really care about open/closed source are propeller-heads like us.

    • hmmm.. if they give out a spec, everyone will rip the piss out of them for both the bugs that make the program fail the spec and for lameness in the spec itself. If they release the source, hilarity at any lame coding.
      Any open source microsoft office will be a _new_ project.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)
      My thoughts exactly, there is NO reason for them to open their code. Business wise they really dont need to open their file formats either. But that would be a good inexpensive gesture on their part to help avoid future monopoly type actions against them.

      The make plenty of money with office ( and windows ) totally closed, and dont realy need the 'free market' to be on board.
    • by kosmosik (654958)
      > They dont have to release code.. just give out a 100% accurate specification,

      But if there is no documentation of the format the only documentation is the code itself! Have you considered that?

      I bet that they don't have one! There is no MS Office formats specification there is just only one implementation in software and that is it. It is not a standard and I bet even internaly in MS it is not documented/standardized throughly. They probably just add new functions to new versions and make the old functi
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jc42 (318812)
        I bet that they don't have one! There is no MS Office formats specification there is just only one implementation in software and that is it.

        Nah; I'd bet that they have a typical corporate software development environment. There's not just a spec for everything; there are several conflicting specs for most of their software. And the programmers generally ignore the specs, because they understand quite well that they'd better work on what their management wants (this week), if they want to keep their jobs.
    • by cdrguru (88047)
      The problem with hardware is that it is mostly software these days. If they release the specifications for writing the hardware the only way they keep making hardware is to lock it down somehow.

      The alternative is they release specifications and someone in China makes an exact copy of the chip. Completely illegal and violates lots of patents, but who ever heard of a patent in China. With our new-found world trade treaties and desire for cheap goods for all the US is certainly not going block import of the
  • Title (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrMunkey (1039894) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:29PM (#19496859) Homepage
    Wow, could we have picked a title that would be more inviting to trolls? TFA is alright, but when I first saw that title I instantly thought, "Here we go again!" I guess that's to be expected on /. though :)
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:29PM (#19496863)
    The next headline we'll see is "Hippy's Show Soldiers How to Clean Rifles".

    Leave the money makin' to the convicted monopolists, shall we boys?
    • by MightyYar (622222)
      Oh, I'm gonna get it for that extra apostrophe. :)
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Oh, I'm gonna get it for that extra apostrophe. :)

        To say nothing of the 'ie' -> 'y' :)

    • by VJ42 (860241) *
      Actually, the next headline will be "Europe Unveils New Space Plane for Tourist Market".

      /me is a subscriber so can see into the mysterious future. ;p
      I also just like being a smart arse...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by caluml (551744)
      What is a Hippy Show? Did you mean Hippies?
  • Piracy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShedPlant (1041034) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:30PM (#19496887) Homepage
    Microsoft already has the benefits of their product being free for home/casual users. It's called "piracy".

    Besides which, Open Office is in no way a real threat to MSOffice's success and market dominance. Like Microsoft is supposed to throw away their monopoly because someone else has made a word processor for free? Right.
    • by rhizome (115711)
      Besides which, Open Office is in no way a real threat to MSOffice's success and market dominance. Like Microsoft is supposed to throw away their monopoly because someone else has made a word processor for free? Right.

      Well it worked for Firefox!
    • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @06:02PM (#19498155)
      Microsoft already has the benefits of their product being free for home/casual users. It's called "piracy".

      Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition 2007 [amazon.com] is $122 from Amazon.com, retail boxed. Three seat license. Currently - and predictably - #1 on the Amazon software sales chart.

      There is of course the OEM edition and academic pricing.

      The Geek is far too quick to equate max retail list with the street price for a legit copy of Office. But the deeper truth is that MS Office is still overwhelmingly dominant in every market and still best of class.

      Sun Star Office 8 [amazon.com] - a solid alternative, one might argue, for the home user - is $73 at Amazon and #1000 in sales.

  • Get real (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tribbin (565963) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:33PM (#19496947) Homepage
    "I honestly wonder if they will eventually "get" that releasing MS Office code to the open source community is their only option"

    Why in the hell would they do that or be enforced to do so?!

    You can't enforce anybody to 'open up code'.

    Supporting ODF or opening their own formats or codecs would suffice.
    • Re:Get real (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Short Circuit (52384) <mikemol@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:47PM (#19497185) Homepage Journal
      Get real, indeed. The summary writer clearly doesn't understand the situation. There's no reason for Microsoft to open the code for office in a manner that allows community copying.

      My prediction? Microsoft is going to convert their Office product to a series of ActiveX applets and serve it up through Internet Explorer. Homes and small businesses will access the applets over broadband Internet connections, and larger businesses will be offered a chance to license an Office server either as an application or rack device.

      The only reason they haven't so far is because broadband penetration in their target markets isn't high enough yet. At some point, they're going to decide that a sufficient percentage of their market has broadband, and they'll discontinue client-side-installed Office software.

      It's unfortunate for them that broadband didn't spread more quickly. This administration gives them the perfect atmosphere of leniency. If they could have released an online Office two years ago, they could have established their position as the de facto way of doing business before a potentially more strict administration came along.
    • I find it interesting that a big part of the OSS spirit is to use Big Government to sue the pants off of companies (MS) who make it hard for OSS to get accepted.

      They also want Big Government to pass laws to force federal and state offices to use Open formats.

      Why do individuals, businesses and governments have to be forced into using OSS?
      • by jonbryce (703250)
        There's two things.

        First, why should my tax £££ be wasted on expensive software from Microsoft, when a free download from openoffice.org will do the job just as well.

        Secondly, most of the measures are not about using free or open source software, they are about using open formats. Microsoft could if they wanted to, make their software use these formats as an option. The reason for this is to promote competition, so people can chose which software they want to use and open their documents
  • Woohoo! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:33PM (#19496949)
    Lunix zealot/"journalist" with no business experience worth mentioning delivers condescending speech on what Microsoft needs to "get" and how much money they're giving up by not switching to Ubuntu's business model. Yawn.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hondo77 (324058)

      Hey, that's not fair. He fixes PCs & tinkers & stuff. [lockergnome.com] ;-)

    • Until MS starts to have some trouble in terms of financial performance, I don't think people really have room to talk about them not doing what they should, business wise. With a balance sheet as solid as MS's it is pretty clear that even though you may not agree with what they do, it is making them plenty of money. When (or more like if) the day comes that MS's marketshare has significant;y shrunk and they are struggling to stay in the black, maybe then the OSS people can pipe up and tell them what they ou
  • by MrCopilot (871878) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:34PM (#19496969) Homepage Journal
    How to not pay it's developers.

    • by MrCopilot (871878)
      O.K. Seriously.

      They could learn to really let the users define the software.

      They could learn to let go of the marketing department madatory requirements and buzzwords.

      But perhaps most importantly, they could learn that the product name has absolutely nothing to do with it's function, but is more of a reflection of the original programmers wit.

      OK maybe not so seriously.

      • by geekoid (135745)
        MS does let it's user design the software...That's it problem. It tries to do everything for everybody.

        • by MrCopilot (871878)
          MS does let it's user design the software...That's it problem.

          Actually that is what they think they do. They let the Reps (who hold what are essentially Focus Groups, and Opinion polls) dictate needed features. Actual users are so far away from design as to be insignificant.

          Witness the changes from a beta MS product to shipment. All that user feedback what changes, It crashes less, Maybe If you are lucky.

          They respond to "Trends" not users.

  • by Tribbin (565963)
    An open-format Rich Text Format writer was build by Microsoft but not adopted by users. Now people have to pay, both litteraly and in figure of speach.
    • by edwdig (47888)
      RTF isn't an open format. It's another MS format, slightly more documented than DOC is. It's mostly ASCII, so it's easier for a person to understand, but otherwise, it's not that different from DOC. You can still get random undocumented ActiveX objects in the file, except this time they're MIME (or similar) encoded instead of binary.
  • Nothing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pembo13 (770295) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:37PM (#19497015) Homepage
    Microsoft is a business. OSS is a community. Microsoft is out to make money. Only part of OSS is generating money through payment for services. Microsoft is completely successful as a business, and is making lots of money - there is little, if anything more OSS can teach Microsoft about money making.
  • yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MontyApollo (849862) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:38PM (#19497035)
    >>And if Microsoft thinks Open Office is a pain now, try suing people over it, then see how many people refuse to buy their products.

    Statements like that just shout "I am delusional!". The people using Open Office are kinda already refusing to buy Microsoft's products. I don't think Microsoft is shakin' in their boots about pissing off Open Office users.
    • Re:yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

      by harborpirate (267124) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @05:45PM (#19498011)
      TFA is a classic example of misunderstanding the user base of a product. The article writer assumes that other users are like him/her self - annoyed by Microsofts patent mongering and monopolistic behavior. The writer does not realize that a huge portion of Office users couldn't care less about such behavior. Many aren't even aware its going on at all, in reference to patent mongering at least.

      This mistake is VERY common among technical people. Programmers assume users will want to use an application the same way they would want to use it. In many parts of the Open Source community, programmers write open source applications with themselves in mind as the target audience. There are definitely exceptions, of course, but this is true of the majority. Having to jump through a few highly technical hoops to install or configure the software is often considered fine, even in a "release" version. For a regular user this is a disaster, as they are unable to navigate the installation/configuration hurdles and quickly give up.

      Microsoft, meanwhile, fundamentally understands users. Look at what they concentrate on: Installation and Look and Feel. Technical users bemoan XP and Vista as lipstick on a pig. They're right. But Microsoft knows that the road to wealth is not paved with hidden efficiencies like optimized TCP/IP stacks and user/process security models. The road to wealth is paved with nearly foolproof installations and preinstalled pretty looking software. Software that caters to the user. (Technical software with a smaller audience, such as the nightmare installation of Team Foundation Server, are not a part of this discussion since the user base of such software is by nature highly technical)

      You may say, "But wait, MS products aren't all that pretty, and they don't always install well!" True today. But Office, when it came out, was prettier and easier to install than anything else on the market. Windows 95 even more so. Now that they've gained the upper hand, they've become complacent, living off their inertia. Still, when new products debut (like Vista), the same two focuses emerge: Ease of Installation and Look and Feel. (Note that Pre-Installation of Microsoft OSes and Office is a HUGE factor in Ease of Installation, don't overlook it if you respond - there's no easier install than no install).
      • by LibertineR (591918) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @06:16PM (#19498337)
        100% correct. (I am a former Microsoft employee)

        As long as people maintain the attitudes like the one you shredded, Microsoft has nothing to fear. Microsoft has some of the worlds brightest technical people, who get beaten down on a regular basis when they try to get all 'geeky' with the software. Eventually, really good technology makes its way into the products, especially in the case of Office 2007, but only when the "user experience" is taken care of. It has to look good, feel good, install and uninstall with ease, and become second nature to the user in a short amount of time.

        Linux people need to understand what they are up against. I work with a group of small medical research companies. When Merck decides to move to Office 2007, guess what all these companies have to do in order to continue working with Merck? Ya think they are going to take a moments look at Open Office? Nope.

        You see, Microsoft understands that they can focus all their sales attention at a group of select companies, and the rest of the market has no choice but to follow, just to stay in business. Suppose you are a small manufacturer, trying to get your product sold at Walmart? Try sending them a financial forecast on anything but Excel, and see how far you get?

        You dont beat this kind of lock-in with technical superiority. Steve Jobs understands this, and has restructured Apple accordingly. Linux vendors should follow his lead, but they dont. In no way is the IPod, or IPhone the most technically superior solution in its space, but both will be market leaders on the cool-factor alone.

        Geeks dont like it, but tough shit, that is how the world turns.

        In every industry, and in every marketplace, marketing determines who wins. I say it over and over again on Slashdot, but until Geeks relinquish the direction of their creative inventions to people who understand how to SELL something, the folks at Microsoft will lose no sleep.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Zak3056 (69287)

          When Merck decides to move to Office 2007, guess what all these companies have to do in order to continue working with Merck?


          Install the compatibility pack?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:41PM (#19497071)
    And if Microsoft thinks Open Office is a pain now ...

    They don't. Nobody, and in terms of market share that's almost not an exaggeration, uses Open Office. If OOo would gain even a 10% market share, MS would probably like it, because it would help them argue that Microsoft Office isn't a monopoly.

    Google Apps is a much bigger threat than OOo.
    • by eck011219 (851729)
      Mod parent up. Good points all around. I am neither an MS apologist nor an MS hater, but OOo is causing them no end of aggravation. If there was a significant presence there, they could really push their OOXML/ODF translation talk, but there's not. I think they're more stuck because of WordPerfect problems, which are much harder to solve.
  • After all, Open Office hasn't yet mastered a Clippy emulator.

    (btw - I think GoogleDocs should be considered a broader threat to MS these days... I don't open files emailed to me any other way any longer)
  • Correction (Score:5, Funny)

    by BlakeReid (1033116) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:42PM (#19497097)

    I honestly wonder if they will eventually "get" that releasing MS Office code to the open source community is their only option


    I honestly wonder if they will eventually "get" that releasing MS Office code to the open source community is their only option if they really want to stop making almost 3 billion dollars [cbronline.com] a year in sales.

    There, fixed that for ya.
  • I think the author is a little extremist. I don't see MSFT opening MS Office any time in the next 10 years, and I don't think that the bulk of consumers will care - they just want to use what everyone else is using, i.e. a feedback loop. Also, the idea that huge, industry dominator A suing small company B somehow makes it more attractive for your company to work with B, makes no sense at all. If you go to management with this, they'll laugh at you.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:46PM (#19497155)

    As Microsoft continues to understand that open source does not mean they cannot generate a decent profit, I honestly wonder if they will eventually "get" that releasing MS Office code to the open source community is their only option.


    You jumped from point A to conclusion B awfully fast there. Why would they want to release the source code to Office? Also from TFA...

    At first pass, this sounds like a devastating approach to the Microsoft business model. But in truth, it means that they are competing on the same level as Open Office...
    ...and why would they want to do that either?

    Since the whole threatening to sue thing will be met with the same fan base response, just like the RIAA, it is certainly not a wise decision. And if Microsoft thinks Open Office is a pain now, try suing people over it, then see how many people refuse to buy their products.


    Ah...so you're worried that Microsoft would SUE someone using OpenOffice?

    Honestly, I think OpenOffice is its own worst enemy. I've tried to switch to OpenOffice several times, but it just can't match my old Microsoft Office 97 in terms of launch and execution speed.
    • by Trogre (513942)
      Sadly this is very true. I am an (almost) exclusive OOo user, and the slow-as-an-arthritic-dog look and feel just doesn't go away. Even under WINE, MS Office loads a hell of a lot quicker than native OOo. That immediately dismisses any claims that Windows pre-loads half of MS Office to make it seem faster.

      Any claims that MS Office is unnecessarily bloated and slow compared to its OSS counterparts can now be laid to rest.

  • Uh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mikkelm (1000451) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:54PM (#19497305)
    "Microsoft thinks Open Office is a pain now, try suing people over it, then see how many people refuse to buy their products."

    How old is whoever wrote this? 12? Who honestly believe that anyone gives a flying expletive about whether Microsoft sues the Open Office project or not? As if the millions of technologically apathetic Microsoft Office users will rebel against Microsoft for a cause that they've likely never heard about.

    How did this get on the front page? It's like a half-way thought through anti-Microsoft rant taken from any random open source related IRC channel.
    • Microsoft does not give a flying f*** about fans. They care about 10,000+ employee businesses that are MS shops. And even then, they want them to pay for premium level of support.

      Even if the total number of MS haters exceed the total number of MS licenses on any given year, MS still goes to the bank with those licenses.

      Do they want the haters to become joiners? No, not really. They do however want businesses to buy laptops for their workforce so that work done outside the office is still done with MS prod

  • by bigmaddog (184845) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @05:04PM (#19497447)

    The important thing is, Bill Gates had an onion tied to his belt, as was the style at the time.

    Has the poster RTFA? That's not even a rant - rants usually have a point or a specific grievance that they're aimed at. There's no point to that, no argument, he's not trying to meaningfully convince anyone of anything, offers no evidence, no logical or illogical basis for what's being concluded, nothing. It's just a loose collection of vague, meaningless assertions about how doomed MS is if they don't change. Does he even name one thing that MS is going to miss out on by not being OSS?

  • by phalse phace (454635) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @05:04PM (#19497461)
    "I honestly wonder if they will eventually 'get' that releasing MS Office code to the open source community is their only option."

    Billg: "That's the dumbest fucking idea I've heard since I've been at Microsoft."
  • Why must MS start suing before people refuse to buy their products? I've refused for years and will continue to do us. This wasn't because Microsoft sued anyone. It is because I know better. I know what options I have. I know how to read, hence I can RTFM. I want to understand how various parts interact to make things work. And if I didn't, I can simply install an easy to use GNU/Linux distribution like Mandriva or Linspire or Xandros or give BSD a shot. Open Source/Standards frees one from the shac
  • The fact that there is no such thing as "the year of [OS] desktop"...
  • Another wacko (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drxenos (573895) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @05:32PM (#19497839)
    I'm not MS fanboy, but WTF? What should MS be "getting"? Why does this joker think MS should just give their code to the Open Source community? Does he want the keys to my house next? People today have such an inflated sense of entitlement.
    • I am certainly not pro-microsoft, but I can't figure out what this guy is trying to say either. MS Office makes them millions. Why should they change anything? (I mean, from the point of view of a MSFT stockholder, not the point of view of someone/somegovernment who uses their products.) Sure, they may be force to open up some APIs to avoid fines in Europe, but that is the burden of being effectively a monopoly.

      As mentioned earlier, for them to be forced to open up their source code is something that (to
  • by jellie (949898) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @05:33PM (#19497845)
    Look, I loathe Microsoft and all of its business practices. But until something seriously threatens Windows, they really have little to worry about. People ask me, "Is that Vista?" "No, I'm running Linux with XGL/Compiz. Look at what I can do!" And they say wow and move on, because it wasn't Windows and they have no intent to use it. Nothing will stop them from making their programs incompatible with yours, or changing libraries or whatever to make OpenOffice.org so unbearably slow on Windows. If you want to play games, you'll probably need to support DirectX. The RIAA was voted the most-hated company in America by The Consumerist IIRC, yet their sales really have not been hit that badly (or not as much as they want you to think). It hasn't stopped people from buying music, listening to the radio, or supporting them indirectly.

    You want to sue Microsoft for sabotaging you or stealing your patents? Go right ahead. You'll be embroiled in a long, expensive lawsuit, and the eventual penalties, if you get any, will be very little. As a result of FUD or "embrace, extend, extinguish," your company is more likely to be marginalized by the end, like RealNetworks or Netscape. I really think the only way to have dealt with it was the major antitrust lawsuit by the government, but we know how that resulted.
    • by Grishnakh (216268)
      It's true, people are generally lazy and just do the same thing everyone else is doing, like lemmings.

      I just wish companies like Microsoft would take advantage of their monopoly positions more, and jack up their prices, and treat their customers even worse than they already do. After all, what are people going to do about it? They'll bitch and complain just like they do with gas prices, but they'll still buy MS software. Same goes for the RIAA; they need to jack up their prices to $30 or $40 per CD. The
  • Open source Office? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @05:33PM (#19497847) Homepage
    Sure, that would bring them revenue. Why would someone not just clone it and resell it? It isn't as if it requires a great deal of support or anything else for that matter. The only reason anyone pays for Office is they don't want to be possibly raided by BSA - home users pretty much just pirate or buy it with a new computer.

    What possibly would Microsoft gain from exposing the code base? It would certainly allow OpenOffice to incorporate all of the "features" of Microsoft Office into their product with (a) little work and (b) no risk. What else would it do? It would not make throngs of Open Source devotees rush out and buy something the could have for free. I can't see unpaid volunteers contributing to the rather rigorous build process Microsoft has to add fixes for obscure, unfixed bugs.

    And why does Microsoft have to sue anyone?
    • by geekoid (135745)
      Why would someone not just clone it and resell it?

      Why would someone pay for it if it was free?
      If people would, then MS would sell it as well as give it for free.

      It would also have droves of developers improving it.

      It would be a bad business decision. Meaning it would be bad for the business, but it would be good for the consumer.
  • "And if Microsoft thinks Open Office is a pain now, try suing people over it, then see how many people refuse to buy their products.'"

    Please, the average American has a memory of about 2 seconds, about as long as a gold fish. A new headline pops up and we'll pretty much forget about MS sueing anyone. That same day, we'll drive to Best Buy and not only buy Office, but donate a few bucks to a "clubbing baby seals foundation", and "help the poor gas companies cause" in exachange for a free subscribtion to S

  • I've read the article 3 times now. The author claims that, eventually, Microsoft has to open source office. The argument goes like this: Because it's not completely impossible to make money with OSS, Microsoft HAS to open source Office. Then he claims that Microsoft attacked Linux "proxy with SCO" (and I guess, this too, implies, that opening Office is their only option).

    Is it just me, or are there other /. readers who are unable to understand this implication?

  • I honestly wonder if they will eventually "get" that releasing MS Office code to the open source community is their only option


    Open sourcing office is their ONLY option? What about the second option, the one that involves keeping it closed source and continuing to generate billions of dollars in profit [marketwatch.com] off of it each quarter?
  • "I honestly wonder if they will eventually "get" that releasing MS Office code to the open source community is their only option."

    I don't think that is their only option. They could release Windows as Open Source and still be in the strongest position to offer software that runs on it.

    People are becoming angry that the playing field isn't level and that's one reason there is a migration away from Windows onto a platform where the developer doesn't have to guess about API calls. If Microsoft Offered a vers
    • "If Microsoft Offered a version of Windows that was Open Source a community would quickly form, bugs would get fixed, people would start to feel better about Microsoft and they could still keep Office and other application cash cows closed source."

      It always amazes me that although people hired full-time to write software spend months getting up to speed on the applications they need to maintain, some "community" person will be able spend a little time examining the source and find "bugs" which they will "fi
  • I can't believe people get paid for writing such delusional crap.
  • These are neither rare nor new. What would be more rare and more interesting to me would be an article, without using sarcasm, discussing what Linux and OSS could learn from Microsoft and Windows.
  • Micorosft wants power and nothing else.

    THey control standards, operating systems, what people buy, how they use software, what price people pay, and even the speed of innovation, to what best suites Microsoft.

    If MS were dumb enough to give away their crown jewels then people could be free and decide for themselves. This would mean a loss of profit as people who want to write letters to Granda would not spend hundreds of dollars for Word and another hundred for Vista. It would mean phbs may actually consider

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