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GNU is Not Unix

Gobe Productive GPL Release In Danger 249

Elliot writes "Gobe, developers of Gobe Productive, a fast and lightweight office suite initally developed for the BeOS and later ported to Windows and Linux (which never made it past beta stage), announced in August that they would be open sourcing Gobe Productive under the GPL. Unfortunately, it appears that financial issues might prevent this from happening. A shame to see yet another wonderful piece of software [possibly] fail."
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Gobe Productive GPL Release In Danger

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  • Gobe is/was awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @06:30PM (#4834541)
    I bought a copy shortly after slashdot posted an article about it. It was a great software package. It was lite and quick, a hell of a lot quicker than OpenOffice and StarOffice, and the interface was just... clean.

    My favorite part was the ability to export to PDF so easily.

    My only complaint was the Spreadsheet program wasn't as robust as some of the other packages out there, but it still worked.

    I hope everything works out for them. Personally, I think this was one of the best office packages around.
    • by Big Mark ( 575945 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @06:38PM (#4834587)
      It was designed for the BeOS, which was itself fast, lightweight and clean, so what did you expect?

      OK, neither were fully-featured but they did everything 75% of people would ever need.

      -Mark
    • by moeman ( 11668 )
      I just went to K->Office->wordprocessors->KWord and started Kword. (Thats where my default install of mandrake put it) I then typed sum stuff, went to print and selected "Print to file (PDF/Acrobat)." Can't get much easier than that I would think.

      Anyhow, KOffice is an office suit I would like to see get more attention, as it can be so easily integrated into other KDE applications. Unfortunately my last experiances with it (one release previous to the current release) left me a bit miffed, as it didn't actually PRINT the way it was formated on screen.
  • flawed logic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2002 @06:33PM (#4834555)
    Blockquoth the page:

    Our Take 2 This could be a great opportunity for the 3 major Linux distros, or any other OS maker, to differentiate itself from the competition by stepping up and helping out with the buyout of this software (even if it means no open sourcing). Surely, we do have OpenOffice and KOffice, but then again, the Linux distro next door has it too. Hey Linux executives that I know you are reading OSNews, think about it. Differentiate yourself from the competition, give an edge on why should I try your distro and not your competitor's. ;-)


    But if they GPL it, their competitors get to have it too. And they'd need to GPL it to not be hypocrites and to make this worthwhile.

    Let's face it. Open source is nice, but its economics are not as profitable as those of closed source software. That makes things tough.

    This reminds me of the collective action problem. Open source software is a public good like the environment or national defense, since it is jointly supplied and cannot be denied to any single person. If it is supplied to one person, it is supplied to everyone. But since people are selfish, they often won't want to contribute to it.

    So what can we do? I say we should fix copyright law so that it only works for seven years. After those seven years we can use the source code of the program.
    • Re:flawed logic (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Digitalia ( 127982 )
      since you believe that you know how to fix the copyright system, I'll ask you a few questions. first, why only seven years? When someone produces a new product and puts in on the market, they should be able to enjoy copyright protection for a period of time long enough to be reasonably profitable, but not for so long that innovation is stagnated. Though seven years is short enough to prevent the latter, it is also so short as to be prohibitive to profit. Second, from what date do you intend to start counting these seven years? If I decided to reuse libraries from a product I wrote back in 1995, would the date be extended? If not, then what motivation would I have to produce a lasting product? A man needs to eat, and good will makes a poor bread. Though I support the rights of the individual, I also respect the rights of businessmen. I feel that corporations enjoy too many rights without the corresponding responsibilities, but I don't believe that the answer is to strip businesses of the right to profit from their innovation.
    • No the gpl would force there competitors to release there modifications to the source. A BSD license on the otherhand is different.

      This is why Microsoft hates the GPL and prefers the BSD license. They can take but have no obligation to give back.

      However if this is a publicly traded company then they owe it to there investors to keep there IP offlimits. They can be sued bigtime if they did this.

      • Re:flawed logic (Score:3, Informative)

        by GigsVT ( 208848 )
        However if this is a publicly traded company then they owe it to there investors to keep there IP offlimits. They can be sued bigtime if they did this.

        What the hell are you talking about? Red Hat GPLs nearly everything they write, and no one has ever even thought about suing them for it.
    • You idiot, if you bothered to read the blockquote you would see the text "(even if it means no open sourcing)"

    • Re:flawed logic (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cokelee ( 585232 )
      Simply put: If a Linux Distro Co [LDC] takes the code and GPLs it, every LDC is NOT going to start using it!

      The LDC may modify the code all it wants and create an excellent product that worked well in THEIR distro. People would choose that distro because of the default capability of the product.

      Redhat defaults OpenOffice.org in their distro-- nontechnical magazines (the kind businessmen read, like Journal of Accountancy [aicpa.org]) LOVE THIS!

      Buying the source and GPLing it could very well be profitable for this reason.
      You just have to realize that some of your target audience wants one solution from one partner.
  • Start a fund? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chunkwhite86 ( 593696 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @06:33PM (#4834563)
    Perhaps they should start a fund, similar to what Blender did?

    When Blender when under, they started a fund to which anyone could contribute (and I did.) Now their 3D modeling product is open source.

    I wouldn't mind paying a few bucks to open the source.

  • Jubilation too early (Score:2, Interesting)

    by twener ( 603089 )
    There it goes what some people already saw as future integrated Gnome Office.
  • by dagg ( 153577 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @06:35PM (#4834574) Journal
    It seems strange that there not be enough money to release something for free. Sometimes I get the impression that companies would normally release their product for free, but instead they see how much money they can weasel from the open source community. But on second thought, I'm sure that's not what usually happens. What usually happens (or what used to happen), is that companies will just bury their software forever. They hold out hope that their software will make them a buck in the future (somehow).

    At least there is nowadays an alternative to burying the software forever.

    --YerSex [tilegarden.com]

  • by JessLeah ( 625838 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @06:37PM (#4834586)
    ...because it is under, or not under, any specific license (even our beloved GPL). It's going to fail because Microsoft's "mindshare" is so phenomenal that it would take nothing short of a miracle for ANYONE to impact its 95+% of the Word Processor market.

    I don't like that reality either. But, at the moment, it's true. That's why we need to keep pushing the existing suits remaining against MS. Because they DO have a huge monopoly, because they DID get it through illicit means, and because it IS making it virtually impossible for competitors (like the Gobe Productive people) to break into any of the many fields MS dominates.
    • by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Saturday December 07, 2002 @07:14PM (#4834729)
      Woah, woah. Office is the most popular productivity product because it's good. Complain all you like about Microsoft; they've produced an exceptional set of products in Office. It doesn't have anything to do with mindshare or monopoly power.

      Consider the Mac. There are basically two office products for the Mac: Office and AppleWorks. Although some people use AppleWorks, Office owns the Mac productivity market. Why? Because Office for Mac is a good-- not perfect, but good-- product.

      The answer to the market dominance of Office isn't to prosecute Microsoft for playing unfairly. The answer is to create an office product that's better than Microsoft Office. It shouldn't be too hard; everybody around here always complains about how Microsoft sucks, and how Office sucks, right? So coming up with something better ought to be child's play. ;-)
      • by Ty ( 15982 )
        This is complete assinine bullshit. Although office is a good suite of software, but it remains dominent because of a monopoly. Ask any corporation why they use MS Office. The top two answers will be: 1. Because everyone else does and we need it for easy document exchange. 2. It is too costly to retrain our staff.
        • Um... that's got nothing to do with a monopoly, dude. That's got to do with the fact that Office gives them one thing that nobody else can-- universality-- and the fact that there's no compelling reason for them to spend the time and money retraining their people to use something new. What you described is basically the same reason why any software product attains market dominance. Adobe Photoshop is the market leader in professional image editing for the same reasons that you mentioned; is Adobe a monopoly?

          If something significantly better than Office came along, that also offered compatibility with Office in the ways that people need, you can believe it would be successful. I, personally, have no real idea what features or functions this notional product would have to have to excite the people who currently use Office. I suspect that the people who work on projects like this one and like Open Office don't really, either.
          • You keep contradicting yourself. One the one hand you claim that Office dominates only because it is so much better than its competitors. On the other, you admit that it dominates because of the historical accident that it is compatible with itself and users have a barrier to switching.

            You can't have it both ways.

            • One the one hand you claim that Office dominates only because it is so much better than its competitors. On the other, you admit that it dominates because of the historical accident that it is compatible with itself and users have a barrier to switching.

              Not precisely. I'm not saying that users have a barrier to switching. I'm saying that they have no compelling reason to switch. I guess you could call that a barrier if you want, but I don't think that's a very accurate way of describing it.

              Look, it's really simple. Office is the most widely used productivity product. How did it get that way? By being better than its competitors. Any product that competes with Office will have to be better than Office for people to seriously consider it. In addition, because Office is so entrenched, competing products will have to be compatible with Office in order to be considered.

              The typical "open source" approach-- the "it's more-or-less good enough for what I want" approach-- simply won't fly here. In order to make your product competitive with Office, you have to make it better than Office, and so far none of the alternatives are. Alternatives like Open Office, and, yeah, Gobe Productive, have basically nothing more than "we're not Microsoft" to recommend them. Which is fine if your goal is to be marginal. If your goal is to be competitive, though, you're going to have to raise your standards quite a bit.
      • >The answer to the market dominance of Office isn't to prosecute Microsoft for playing unfairly.

        Actually, it is. When a monopoly abuses their power , the solution is to prosecute. That's what happened. Microsoft was found guilty of abusing monopoly power. The fact that the justice department decided to not even slap MSFT on the wrist is seperate issue.
        • When a monopoly abuses their power, the solution is to prosecute.

          Did you miss the part of my post where I talked about the fact that Office is the leading productivity software product for reasons that have nothing to do with Microsoft's monopoly? It's not like they're bundling Office with every copy of Windows or anything.
          • It's not like they're bundling Office with every copy of Windows or anything.

            Uh what about WordPad and Outlook Express? Might not be the Office Suite, but it kinda ties you to their formats, don't it?

            Throw in the fact that through their OS monopoly they have managed to convince almost all major PC vendors to include some sort of Office bundle, even if it's MS Works (which includes a full version of Word btw) then it starts to feel like they really do bundle it with every machine.

            Only now are vendors starting to offer other office suites.

          • Actually, can you even buy a new PC these days without Word (or MS Works) being bundled in?
      • Oh, actually I don't think Office sucks at all. It's quite nice (albeit a bit large?). No, but you must consider this: If MS hadn't obtained their 95+% monopoly in desktop OS market share, might WordPerfect or some other alternative (remember Ami Pro?) became just as good as Word is now?

        There are still people who prefer WordPerfect. They're rarer than blue moons, but hey.
        • If MS hadn't obtained their 95+% monopoly in desktop OS market share, might WordPerfect or some other alternative (remember Ami Pro?) became just as good as Word is now?

          I don't think so. As far as I know, Microsoft has never bundled any version of Office, or its predecessors, with any version of Windows or DOS. (If I'm wrong, correct me; also, I'm aware that some vendors bundle Office with their computers, but that's not the same thing at all.) So you've always had to go out and buy Office if you want to use it. I don't see how Microsoft's market position in the OS arena has any bearing at all.
          • The issue is far more complex than you understand. Bundling agreements is where a large percentage of the population gets Office. Because of Microsoft's dominence of the operating system, it becomes easy for them to give companies who bundle Office preferential licensing terms for Windows. Also, there is the ethical question. Should an OS monopoly be making other software at all? It's an undeniable fact that Microsoft has dominated all sorts of market segments with their products. In the segments they've conquered, the Microsoft product is basically the only choice. Are you going to tell me that their control of the underlying OS doesn't have something to do with this? If you look at other markets, even if a product is dominent, there are lots of other viable options. For example, lot's of programs share the 3D modeling applications market segment, even though a few key products dominate. Same thing for audio/video editing. How come the same situation doesn't exist for Word or Visual Studio?
      • by spitzak ( 4019 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @07:41PM (#4834828) Homepage
        If that was true then why is the #1 question asked about any new piece of word processing software is not "is it as good or better than MicroSoft word?" but is instead "how well can it import/export MicroSoft Office?".

        Nobody can complete is because the ability to compete requires the ability to read and write a file format that they keep secret. That is monopoly behavior. If Word was so good they should be able to compete just fine reading and writing an open file format.

        Reverse engineering this horrendous format requires so much effort that little time is left for making the rest of the program. Also the insistance that the program import and export the format without making too many changes severly limits the ability of the program to treat the text any differently than MicroSoft Word does, thus making "innovation" almost impossible.

        • Nobody can complete is because the ability to compete requires the ability to read and write a file format that they keep secret. That is monopoly behavior.

          No, it's not. I have written a word processor with exciting new features. It's called SurfWriter. I refuse to tell you the file format, because I don't want anybody else reading or writing SurfWriter files. This is not monopoly behavior. It's a simple business decision.

          If Word was so good they should be able to compete just fine reading and writing an open file format.

          Well, seeing as how just about every program can read and write Word files as it is, I'd say that this is, in fact, the case. But the important point here is that they don't have to. If Microsoft wants to keep their file format secret, they're free to do so.
          • I already tend to distrust Office because I cannot be assured that I will have a way to open documents made with it in the future. 5,10,20 years or more go by and one day I realize that if I ever need to get at some old data I'm going to have a hell of a time with it. You see, the format my data is stored in is a secret. That makes Office next to useless as an archival format. Unless I'm constantly trasformatting as well as transcopying my data to new media, I may as well XOR it with a one time pad and throw away the pad.

            Since I already mistrust the tools in the world's most used office suite, why should I trust yours? What is so wonderful about Surfwriter that I essentially encrypt my life and business with it?

            Yes, Microsoft can make the business decision to make their formats a secret. Because they are secret, I make the business decision not to entrust anything to them. Incidentally if just about every program on Windows can open Word files it is because Office dlls function as an engine to let them be opened. No third party program can be counted on to open all Office files perfectly. Not even Office can be counted on to open all files made five years ago with earlier versions.
        • Parent was: Office is the most popular productivity product because it's good

          Your reply starts: If that was true then why is the #1 question asked about any new piece of word processing software is not "is it as good or better than MicroSoft word?"

          Your reply doesn't logically rebutt the fact that Office may well be the most productive produce because it is good, it is discussing a different point altogether. IMO, Office *is* the best office suite out there and from a corporation point of view, that is what usually counts.
          • An "ad hominem" attack on your argument would mean that Spitzak said your argument was invalid because _you personally_ made it. He clearly did not do so.

            The rest of your post doesn't make any sense either.

            You claimed that people use Microsoft Office because of the high quality. Without denying that Office was a high quality product, Spitzak showed that most people use Microsoft Office to be compatible with what other people use.

      • Office is the most popular productivity product because it's good.

        What a load! Office is the most popular because MS held back information on Windows internals that would have allowed its competition (WordPerfect and another formerly very popular word processor whose name I can't even remember now) to match the performance of Word. Thus, WP and whazzit were late to the Windows platform, and slow when they got there. And suddenly WP lost its first place position, and whazzit disappeared completely. A clear case of MS leveraging its monopoly in OSes to take over the word processor market. (Analogous things happened with spreadsheets too.)

        If MS has the best office suite now (which Corel/WP users might still argue -- in fact, the ones I know would strongly disagree with this assertion), it's because they cheated. If they'd been competing on level ground, there's no way in hell that WP would have lost its former dominance of the word processor market.
      • I'm going to call you on your comment about mindshare and monopoly power.

        A recent conversation with my production supervisor strongly reveals the power of mindshare through market dominance:

        (me) "Hey, could you recommend some tips to learn about databases in general?"

        (him) "You mean Access?"

        (me) "Nah, just general database concepts"

        (him) "Access is easy"

        *rest of conversation snipped because it makes my brain hurt*

        Now, why do you think Office owns the Mac productivity market? Think again.

        BTW, I use OpenOffice on Linux (personal preference). In most work environments this probably isn't going to fly, simply because anything that is not 100% MS is "nonstandard"
        and therefore risky (aka not desirable).

        On a slightly related note, it's interesting how many companies seem to want all the guarantees without having to offer any ("I hereby disclaim thee, O liability!") and of course, if you actually read and understand ie, EULA's you'll notice how they disclaim as much as possible.

        All of which makes me wonder why the fsck am I paying them?

        Just speaking from personal experience.

        • I'm going to call you on your comment about mindshare and monopoly power.

          Hmm.

          Okay, look, I stand by my comment about monopoly power. Compare the way Microsoft has handled IE versus the way they've handled Office. IE is integrated into the OS, and given away for free. That's abuse of monopoly, clearly; you can't get Windows without IE, so trying to compete with IE is suicide. But Office is just the opposite. Microsoft doesn't even bundle it with the OS, much less integrate it, and they charge a fortune for it. Clearly that's not monopoly abuse.

          I may, on the other hand, have been wrong about the mindshare issue. If you mutter "spreadsheet" and 50,000 people all scream "Excel!" back at you, that's not something that's easy to overcome.

          All right, let's call it a draw. ;-)
          • OK, I'll go with a draw on that. The bundling of IE spooks me though; if I mutter "browser', 50,000 people scream "IE".

            Practical upshot of it all: it's a draw
            • if I mutter "browser', 50,000 people scream "IE".

              "Aieeeeeee!"

              Yes, but it's all about how you get there. Microsoft destroyed Netscape by tying their browser to the OS. (Later, they put the last nails in the coffin by producing a much better browser than Netscape's.) They've won the office productivity war, however, almost exclusively on the strength of their products. Credit where it's due.
              • Most definitely, "how you get there" has a lot to do with the issue at hand. In that regard, the method used to "get there" make perfect sense from a business perspective; unfortunately it seems to be filthy (here in the US) from an ethical perspective. It's really a question of "What is your ethics anchored to, as a programmer, integrator, ISV, company, etc. I never thought I would say this, but perhaps RMS is right about a few things. I'm not against big business per se (as a registered voter, etc;) I am for ethical business practices in the US, which sadly seem to be going extinct within my lifetime.

                No, I will debate whether IE is better than Netscape after using Mozilla. Mozilla is all the more impressive when I consider that I cannot find any monetary motive for it, ethical or otherwise... thus freeing moz developers from Yet Another Thing To Deal With (TM). Whether IE or Netscape is the superior browser is very much open to question in my experience. It does everything I want, including half a dozen different multimedia formats.

                No doubt, MS has won the office productivity war; I'm not debating that. I *am* debating the methods used to obtain that status, thereby questioning your "Credit where it's due." statement. (wrt "mindshare" in a previous conversation)

                BTW, the last I checked, "Aieeeeee" was French for "garlic".

                • unfortunately it seems to be filthy (here in the US) from an ethical perspective

                  See, I really kind of check out at this point. I'd say that some of Microsoft's business practices have been illegal, and some of them have been heavy-handed, but I'm not personally aware of any that I'd call unethical. But maybe I use the word differently from you. My girlfriend is a doc, so we talk about ethics in that context pretty often. Questions like, "Can a clinically depressed patient give informed consent?" And, "At what point is it worse to continue treatment of a terminal disease than to discontinue it?" Stuff like that, real head-scratchers.

                  Microsoft, among other acts, used their monopoly position to coerce partners and vendors into signing deals that were good for Microsoft but bad for everybody else. That's not fair, but it's not genocide, either. It's illegal, and they should be punished for it somehow, but it's not something I get really worked up about. I like to think that I have a sense of perspective on this sort of thing. But maybe I'm just detached and indifferent. Hard to tell.

                  I never thought I would say this, but perhaps RMS is right about a few things.

                  Oh, come on. Let's not say things that we can't take back. ;-)

                  I am for ethical business practices

                  I absolutely agree, but like I said, I might have a slightly different idea of ethics. In a competitive situation, if you have an advantage, I believe the right thing to do is to press that advantage. The closest example of this I can think of from my line of work is something that happened to me a few weeks ago at the restaurant. One of my purveyors got his hands on some Tasmanian steelhead trout, and he wanted to sell it to me at $21 a pound. Now, I buy thousands and thousands of dollars a month worth of fish from this guy; I'm an important customer. I told him he was gonna give me the trout-- his whole shipment of it-- for $10 a pound, or I was gonna take my business elsewhere. Now, I had a pretty good idea that he was buying the fish for right around that price, so I knew he wasn't going to take a huge loss or anything, but I pressed my advantage anyway. He offered it to me for $12, I told him I'd give him $11, and he said okay. Did I screw him? Maybe, in one sense. But he and I have a relationship, and relationships are about give and take. I screwed him on the Tasmanian trout, but I know for a fact that he makes a fortune off of me on the abalone and the conch, so it's a wash. If somebody from a regulatory agency looked at my business practices really closely sometime, they'd probably take serious issue, and maybe even find a way to fine me. But this is how things are done, and it's a system that works well for everybody.

                  I *am* debating the methods used to obtain that status, thereby questioning your "Credit where it's due." statement.

                  My position is real simple. Microsoft has built some kick-ass software. Their software hasn't been perfect, but it's been solid and functional, and wildly successful. They deserve recognition and respect for this fact. They deserve a sound spanking for breaking various laws, and maybe they deserve to be called bullies, but that doesn't change the fact that they've built some kick-ass software. Thus, credit where it's due.

                  BTW, the last I checked, "Aieeeeee" was French for "garlic".

                  Not where I come from. But be that as it may, I'm pretty sure it's also Italian for, "My boyfriend has sold his overcoat!" At least, so I gather from those operas my girlfriend makes me go to.
      • But AppleWorks is a very good product. In fact, it's good enough for most Apple users. That's Apple and MS are having a "MS Office for $200" special. It's a ploy to increase the number of iMac MS Office users.

        At our house, we didn't buy MS Office because we couldn't justify the price when AppleWorks does virtually everything we need (and it came with our Macs).

        The only reason we broke down and bought MS Word is because my wife needs it for her work. If Word wasn't the de facto Word Processor, or if AppleWorks2Word file conversions were more robust, she could tell her Windows-using clients to deal with RTF files.

        Frankly, we both prefer AppleWorks word processing module to Word. However, I think AppleWorks presentation module is quite sucky, especially compared to PowerPoint on Windows. Thankfully, I don't need to do presentations on my Mac. In my opinion, AppleWorks is more 'mac-like' than Office, which still feels like a well-done port of Word for Windows.

        That being said, I wish that Gobe, Abiword, and OpenOffice all succeed. The more choices, especially free choices, the less likely that any one will dominate the landscape.
        • Frankly, we both prefer AppleWorks word processing module to Word. However, I think AppleWorks presentation module is quite sucky, especially compared to PowerPoint on Windows.

          I think that's kind of supporting my point. You guys prefer AppleWorks to Word for word processing (which, of course, is to words as food processing is to food), but you prefer PowerPoint to AppleWorks for presentations. If you needed PowerPoint more than you do, you would probably tip the scale over to Office rather than AppleWorks.

          In business, PowerPoint is everywhere. Based on my limited but not insignificant experience as a cubicle-dweller, I would have to say that PowerPoint is used in the average corporation about as much-- or even more than!-- Word is. Because AppleWorks is strong on word processing but short on presentations, it's not going to compare favorably to Office in that sort of environment.

          Overall, Office is a better productivity suite, to the average business user, than AppleWorks is.

          The more choices, especially free choices, the less likely that any one will dominate the landscape.

          In my opinion, the only way that could be a good thing is if file formats for word processors, spreadsheets, and presentations are all standardized; I don't long for the bad old days when everybody used a different word processor, and files always had to be converted.

          I'm not sure how that can happen. Standardized formats, I mean. A Microsoft Word file can be incredibly complex, with embedded graphics and revision histories and annotations and all sorts of stuff. Heck, I believe that you can even embed voice annotations straight into a Word document. If your word processor doesn't implement voice annotations, it'll still have to know about them so it can know to ignore that part of the file without coughing up an error or worse. That puts a pretty serious burden on the shoulders of the people who develop all those word processors you mentioned, and I'm not sure how that could be worked out.
      • Woah, woah. Office is the most popular productivity product because it's good. Complain all you like about Microsoft; they've produced an exceptional set of products in Office. It doesn't have anything to do with mindshare or monopoly power.

        It might be good now, but at the time that there was competition, it was definitely inferior to offerings from other companies. Now, Lotus and All-the-various-owners-of-Wordperfect did some pretty stupid things, so it's not all Microsoft's fault, but I don't believe for a minute that MS Office won out on *merit*. They won through bundling, and they won through marketing.
      • yeah outlook is so widely used because nothing else is anywhere as good...

        that is a fricking bold-faced lie.

        EVERY It person on this planet will gladly throw outlook out of their offices or corperate in a second if they could... the CEO,CTO,CFo and EIEIO will piss and mona because something tiny changed and also because they cant send bloat-mail with background inages and HTML text.

        outlook is the #1 largest security hole on the planet larger than setting your root password to nothing and having all ports open and running unpatches services without a firewall.

        Outlook sucks, everyone admits this as fact except for microsoft. and unfortunately the only other "corperate alternative" is lotus notes and it's horribly overpriced.

        If they made evolution in a windows version and made an easy to use sendmail+group calendar system that was dumbed down enough so that MCSE's could understand it we could undermine outlook+exchange within a year..
    • Because they DO have a huge monopoly, because they DID get it through illicit means

      No, they didn't. No court has ever found this to be the case, and most reasonable people consider MS's success due to a combination of good marketing and innovation. This pisses /. off, but the bottom line is OSS is still _playing catchup_.

      Don't forget about Word Perfect. I don't remember ever using anything but WP. And for those that didn't, they used Wordstar. Hardly anyone used Word at one point in time - it's not MS's fault that they got ahead of the game and won.

      Oh, and if MS is so evil, why is the "UnRedmond" store linked from your sig running on ASP.NET? Seems kind of hypocritcal does it not?
      • "Innovation" -- we keep hearing that word, but I've yet to see it from Microsoft. They do an *excellent* job of taking other people's innovative ideas and packaging them in a way that is Good Enough To Work, and they do an excellent job of buying up little innovative companies and products, but I've yet to see one bit of actual innovation.
        • If their products were just Good Enough To Work, they would have never won in the office productivity or consumer desktop space. The bottom line is that their products and business model was far superior. The old kings of the hill are now dead. Microsoft was the underdog at one point. True, part of their strategy is buying up small companies, but that doesn't negate from the quality of their software. Plus, it's the talent that they aquire most of the time, not the actual product. For example, both IIS and IE were born from strategic aquisitions. However, they've both been completely rewritten since then.

          I'll agree that MS has it's flaws (like any company), and I could spend a LOT of time critisizing them, but I'm sick of people jealous of their legitimate success.
      • For the umpteenth time, the store is run by Cafe Press. They run Windows. I did not choose their OS, thanks. Believe me, I would not have chosen what they did.
  • by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @06:42PM (#4834602)
    It seems to me that OpenOffice fills the software category of "Microsoft Office clone" expertly. It is very full featured, XML-based, and is actively being developed by many people. Sure, it's a bit big and sluggish, but that should only make MS Office users feel more at home, and there is no guarantee that Gobe won't be as big and sluggish once it has been made cross-platform and equivalent functionality has been added.

    It seems to me that, going beyond OpenOffice, the notion of an "integrated office suite" itself is broken. Gobe may be a little better than OpenOffice in design (I doubt it's as functional), but somehow that strikes me as just a meaner sabre tooth tiger--a better implementation of an evolutionary dead end. Even Microsoft has seen the light and claims that they will be trying to redefine what an office suite is in the future.

    Unless there is some groundbreaking new functionality in Gobe that just can't be added to OpenOffice, the efforts that would go into porting Gobe to Linux and enhancing it would seem to be better spent on tuning, modularizing, and enhancing OpenOffice.

    • it would be nice if it was GPL'ed because, even if no one used it, the openoffice, koffice and abiword people can pick up bits and pieces and make theirs better.
      • Sometimes, that's a good reason. But here, I just don't see it. Moving code between such huge projects is usually a lot of effort--more than it's worth. And Gobe has the additional problem that it was written originally for a specific platform.
        • my point was, if there was any chance of it being helpful to anyone, that was better than just destroying the whole thing.
          it's sorta like donating your body to science for the betterment of humanity(ethical/moral issues aside).
    • by bstadil ( 7110 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @07:07PM (#4834702) Homepage
      Yes, for one the OpenBeOS [openbeos.org] folks would most likely love to have it. It was the defacto (if there ever was such a thing) Office Suite standard on BeOS.
    • Sure, it's a bit big and sluggish, but that should only make MS Office users feel more at home

      You haven't used Office lately, huh? Office 2000 or XP for Windows is slick and fast. Office for Mac is also slick and fast. If Open Office is sluggish, that's a very bad thing.

      It seems to me that, going beyond OpenOffice, the notion of an "integrated office suite" itself is broken.

      It is, though, what the market seems to want. You can buy the various Office products individually, but people still buy Office instead.
      • You haven't used Office lately, huh?

        I have recently run MS Office XP and MS Office X. I try to use it for actual work as little as possible, however.

        Office 2000 or XP for Windows is slick and fast.

        Microsoft Office is more bloated and more CPU intensive than ever, and about as buggy as has always been (meaning, usable, but expect crashes). The only reason why it seems to be getting a little better is because machines have gotten so much faster and have so much memory. Also, Microsoft plays some dirty tricks with pre-loading code so that it seems like it's starting up fast even though it isn't.

        If Open Office is sluggish, that's a very bad thing.

        OpenOffice runs better than MS Office on equivalent hardware. The thing that's "sluggish" about it is mostly the startup, which takes distressingly long for a Linux program, but is about par for a Windows program. It's just that traditional UNIX and Linux users are used to programs starting up almost instantaneously and not consuming dozens of megabytes of memory to do something as simple as word processing or calculations.

        It is, though, what the market seems to want. You can buy the various Office products individually, but people still buy Office instead.

        That has nothing to do with what people want. It's because Microsoft makes site licensing deals for the whole thing, because lots of people get it with their PC, and if you want any two components, you might as well get the whole thing. It's also because the way office is set up, if you buy just one or two components, it feels vaguely incomplete.

        In fact, many people don't want to run MS Office at all--they only do it because people send them proprietary documents that they need to read somehow. That's certainly the only reason why I run it.

  • by nlinecomputers ( 602059 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @06:45PM (#4834613)
    ..what is stopping them from releasing the code as GPL anyway? Is the code tied up as an asset that might be seized by a bank?
    • I think you may have misread the article. Actually, that's not how it works. See, FreeRadical has to purchase the rights to the code in order to open-sorce it. FreeRadical Software and Gobe are two seperate entities. FreeRadical wants to be the new owner of the Gobe product Gobe Productive (and they are the ones who want to open-source it) They do not currently have rights to the program/code needed to release the sourcecode under GPL/Open Source. Now yes, one would wonder why Gobe won't simply open-source the code (with the exception of the fact that perhaps they see the possibility of further revenue, like selling it to someone, perhaps someone who wants to open-source it like Free Radical Software) Now yes, if Gobe goes bankrupt or completely belly-up, or they decided to just completely abandon the project and thought that nobody would be interested, then yes, they might as well open-source the code if it became abandonware, In my opinion, that's probably what software companies should do. However, as long as they see some sort of viable market for the software, then they will not open-source it.
      Or perhaps I misread it?
  • Thank goodness. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Erpo ( 237853 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @06:50PM (#4834635)
    I realize most people probably won't agree, but I'm incredibly thankful this thing didn't make it past the beta stage for linux and windows and might not be released under the gpl. I guess that might be considered a loss, as I'm sure it contains some great code that other OSS developers could use or draw from, but it will prevent anyone from finishing the port. In a software category like this (one that's so critical to broadened acceptance of linux on the desktop) I'm a firm believer that competition between products is actually a bad thing.

    When all of the competitors in a market are OSS*, more product choice does not equal more freedom. That's kinda what the GPL is all about -- one person (or company) can't run off with the source and deprive the OSS community of the best piece of ______ software it ever had. On the contrary -- with the need normally satisfied by inter-product competition is taken resolved in another way, more product choice equals more confusion. Users like to get comfortable with a method for accomplishing a task and stick to it. "How do I create a new spreadsheet, again?" is not a question users want to have to ask more than once every five years; if they're forced to, they'll go back to what they were already comfortable with.

    *The market I'm talking about is inclusion in linux distros. I'm well aware that MS Office is not OSS. ;)
    • Competition in this area is a great thing. There is no competition in the Office Suite space in Windows, and thus the products there are sub-par. MS Office might be standard, but's it's not a great product. It's large, slow, the menus are confusing, and it's about as innovative as dirt. Word Perfect is an example of a great piece of software (that had a nifty text and graphics layout capabilities Word still can't match) that isn't here anymore because there is no competition in the Office Suite space. The current Linux office suits all offer something different. Open Office is big, bloated, and full of features. AbiWord is lightweight and very cross-platform. KWord is lightweight, well integrated with KDE, and has a nifty frames-based design that neither of the above have. The problem with choosing only one product is that a lot of these features are contridictory. You can be well integrated with KDE or GNOME, but then you can't be cross-platform. You can have tons of features, but then you can't be lightweight. You can use a frames-based layout system, but then you can't use a more conventional one.
      • Not to mention that with free software, you are free to download any and all of these office suites and then decide for yourself which one you like the best, without any money out of your wallet.
    • Re:Thank goodness. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Telex4 ( 265980 )
      I'd agree with your point that a lot of very different office products might cause confusion, but I don't think it's necessarily the only result of having many choices.

      For one thing, I think a lot of the confusion is caused by the fact that lots of the packages try to do the same thing, and try to follow the (good) market leader, MS Office, and so confuse people who expect them to behave in the way that MS Office does. If packages could just focus on what makes them distinctive, on their way of doing things, then initially the choices might be confusing, but given the chance the average consumer will settle down with the choice that best fits them.

      I also think that different file formats contribute to a lot of frustration and confusion. Were Gobe and OpenOffice and StarOffice and KOffice and AbiWord and all of the Free Software (or potential FS) suites to create a standard, open format and then use it as their default format, they'd be a lot less confusing, and one could switch between them more easily (as I clumsily do at the moment with OO and KO by exporting as (yuck) MS Word documents).

      What Gobe could contribute is a nice, clean office suite that focuses on its own design choices. That could be a really good thing, and could force OO and SO to start looking at how dreadfully slow their interfaces are.
    • Re:Thank goodness. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by m1a1 ( 622864 )
      When all of the competitors in a market are OSS*, more product choice does not equal more freedom. That's kinda what the GPL is all about -- one person (or company) can't run off with the source and deprive the OSS community of the best piece of ______ software it ever had. On the contrary -- with the need normally satisfied by inter-product competition is taken resolved in another way, more product choice equals more confusion. Users like to get comfortable with a method for accomplishing a task and stick to it. "How do I create a new spreadsheet, again?" is not a question users want to have to ask more than once every five years; if they're forced to, they'll go back to what they were already comfortable with. This is not a good argument. You act as if just because the software were released everyone would use it. That isn't true. People who like and prefer open office would continue to use it. In fact, the secretary who only uses the computer to take dictation from her boss would never even know it had been released unless she was forced to switch. The simple truth is, either it would be better, and a lot of people would sitch. Or it would blow, and nobody would start using. It certainly can't hurt anything.
    • Re:Thank goodness. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by istartedi ( 132515 )

      more product choice equals more confusion

      This is one of the major fallacies of Free Software/Open Source advocacy. Whenever presented with the argument that the GPL might tend to discourage entry and result in a public monopoly, the advocates always counter that "the user has the source so they can customize it".

      Now, ask yourself how many times you've heard somebody say "I don't like the way this program does ______" and you could counter with "have you tried brand X? It does _____ differently".

      Now, if there is no brand X, or if the only way to obtain brand X is to have it custom built to your specifications, how many SOHO users are going to learn C or hire a consultant to give their office suite a "different feel"? Slightly less than 1% of half of none of them. They will all be trapped because, while there will be some variations, fundamentally all suites will be the same.

      What kind of freedom and choice is that?

      • They will all be trapped because, while there will be some variations, fundamentally all suites will be the same.

        Why will they be all the same? Thinking of text wordprocessors, Lyx, Texmacs, Kword, Abiword, Ted, and OpenOffice come to mind. It is not the fact that they are all the same; they are an increadibly diverse group of programs that has very little in common. Both free software programmers and proprietrary programmers try and write copies of popular programs; but free software programmers frequently write programs that fits how they think things should work, making a very diverse set of programs that don't work all the same.

        Think free as in "working for IBM without getting paid".

        If IBM gets some of the benefit of the work I've done on Debian, why do I care? I've got incredibly more benefit. It certainly working on some shareware program alone.
        • With the first part of your response, it's a little off base because the previous poster had posited that a lack of diversity in Free Software would be a good thing. Those who make that argument usually base it on the need to conserve community resources, namely the limited developer talent pool. Ooooh.. SNL is on, the faux Tom Ridge is speaking. This might be good. gotta go.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2002 @07:11PM (#4834719)
    just google it...
    gobe productive 3.0 for linux is right here: http://www.gobe.com/downloads/gobe_linux_x86_insta ll.tgz
  • by X-Nc ( 34250 ) <nilrin@nosPam.gmail.com> on Saturday December 07, 2002 @07:12PM (#4834721) Homepage Journal
    I bought and used gobeProductive on BeOS and also got the WinXX version. I was egerly waiting for the Linux port. Many have already asked the question "Why another Office Suite?". Well, as good as the existing open and commercial office products are they still aren't as smooth and easy as gobeProductive. It doesn't do everything MS Office does but (and follow me on this) it does 100% of the 80% od Office that 95% of the people actually use. And it does that piece better than MS Office and even OpenOffice.

    Right now I have on my Linux laptop; Applix Anywhere 2.2, HancomOffice 2, SOT Office (OpenOffice repackeged by SOT), Koffice, and what I call a "best of breed" combination suite of Gnumeric/Scribus DTB/AbiWord/HTMLDOC/Ted. Of these, Applix was the best. Unfortunatly the company has killed it. HancomOffice looks like it might have potential but it's not yet there. OO, and it's like, is very good and makes a great MS Office clone. Unfortunatly it brings with it all the baggage that that intails. gobeProductive was a hope of mine. Sadly, it seems that once again, superior technology loses out.

  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @07:14PM (#4834727)
    and later ported to Windows and Linux (which never made it past beta stage)

    Sure it's not always the most user friendly and has a lot of development ongoing but I think we can still consider Linux to be past Beta!
  • It is a pitty (Score:3, Interesting)

    by herveb ( 628645 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @07:16PM (#4834739)
    Gobe Productive is a very elegant and potent product. And the Gobe team seemed to be a very nice group of people (I exchanged emails with some of them). I used Productive on both BeOS and MS-Windows and it is a great job while being fast and very compact. The next version could have added functionalities like support for XML file format that could have really brought it the point that it meets the needs of 80% of the users. It is unfortunate that this product is going to disappear. Well, it shows once again that the impact of Microsoft behavior does not lead to more innovation (like Productive) and more choices for the consumers but to their alienation (and I am not arguing about MS-Office value but who really needs all its functionalities?).
  • Found this on their product page below the Corum III listing:

    The only real choice for entertainment on BeOS.
  • Gobe Productive is meant to be a lightweight office suite, correct? Then why the %&^*$ does the Linux beta require Gnome libraries?!
  • There's some talk at BeUnited about raising money to get the "Be only" version of the source code. To me this makes sense, since GoBe did more for Be than any of the other platforms it ran on. If OpenBeOS really comes through it would be a great thing to see. Check out

    http://www.beunited.org/standards/phorum/read.ph p? f=21&i=4&t=4
  • I was surprised to see the original announcement, and was wondering what business reasons they could have. I can't say I'm surprised to see this.

    Now I hope a way is found, so that when openBeOS achieves it's goal it has GoBe productive to distribute with it. That would be worth dual booting my machine for. But it will most likely have to be a Blender type effort.

    I'm afraid Blender has given some companies a false idea of people's willingness to pay to release programs. Blender was a unique program that solved a problem no other free program did - interactive 3D modeling. It had a huge, multiplatform following willing to pay to see it survive. I know of one or two efforts by other programs which didn't succeed. It takes the right software package to do it.

    That said, GoBe may be such a package. It largely depends on how many BeOS users are active and willing to contribute. That's a tough equation to compute and I honestly have no idea what would happen. BeUnited may be about to find out, though.

    I hope it does get released, and OpenBeOS succeeds. I have tried BeOS briefly and found it to be clean, smooth and a nice experience. It might be just the thing for an open source business desktop. Sure it may not have the infinite flexibility that WindowMaker, fluxbox, gnome, kde, etc. offer for interfaces, but to business that may actually be a plus. Trick would be software to run on it. GoBe would be a nice carrot to offer.

Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson

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