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Software Sun Microsystems

Sun to Offer Support for OpenOffice.org 201

An anonymous reader writes "NewsForge.com [ed. note: Newsforge and Slashdot are both part of OSDN] is reporting that Sun announced today they will offer both free and for-pay support for OpenOffice.org. The story says the cost will be about the same as that it is charging for StarOffice, the proprietary cousin of OO.org."
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Sun to Offer Support for OpenOffice.org

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  • Good News!! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CoboyNeal ( 730397 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:23PM (#7656252) Homepage Journal
    This is good because now Open Office will compete with Microsoft Office on *every* level.

    While I personally can't see the need to pay for programs that are easier to use than my electric toothbrush or mom's VCR, I bet lots of less-than-dextrous-office-chimps have oodles of questions and concerns about the new office programs.

    Where this really hits home is in those dreaded product direction meetings; now we can fight for OO by saying things like, "well it comes with Sun's free techsup and if we extra care, we can order it at a fraction of the cost of Microsoft product support!"

    Buh Bye Billy Gates; I knew you shouldn't have pissed off most of your users.
    • Re:Good News!! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KrispyKringle ( 672903 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:30PM (#7656293)
      They already offered similar support for StarOffice, as I understand it. StarOffice has a decent penetration, but not compared to MS's. I don't see a huge difference here, since the cost of StarOffice was already pretty miniscule by site-licensing standards. And as stated in the article, most of the people using OO at the outset were individuals.

      So I don't see any reason to believe that many companies that weren't interested in StarOffice will be interested in OO; the price difference between StarOffice and MS Office is so great compared to that between StarOffice and OO that if the first didn't sway them, the second probably won't, either (many simply want to use ``the standard'', often so they can implement VB plugins or macros or somesuch).

      • No, no, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Angram ( 517383 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @09:36PM (#7656619)
        StarOffice is Sun's product, designed for businesses; OpenOffice is what individuals use at home (why pay when there's no real difference?). Sun wants people to be comfortable with StarOffice and perhaps suggest/demand/support its use in offices, so what they're doing is supporting the home users of the almost identical home counterpart.

        Basically, they're encouraging people to use a free product at home so that they can charge for it in the office. It's a very smart move.
        • Re:No, no, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by KrispyKringle ( 672903 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @11:08PM (#7657021)
          Possibly, but it sounds like the free support for OO is limited, and the pay support wouldn't be popular among individuals. The pay support implies Sun expects OO to be used in offices--individuals rarely sign up for software support contracts that don't come from the OEM--which makes little sense compared to their StarOffice offering. And if they really want to push StarOffice, they may as well give free non-commercial, individual licenses (sorta like Solaris's ``free'' $20 license).
          • Re:No, no, no. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DarkSarin ( 651985 )
            I would actually suspect something similar to what you say, but with small office types using OO.org with paid support, and larger businesses (>~50 - 75) using Star Office. This model makes sense, because the small office, unlike the home user (who wouldn't likely pay for support), is likely to want the comfort factor that a supported product provides.

            Just a thought.

        • Re:No, no, no. (Score:2, Informative)

          I can think of at least one reason: SO7 is *significantly* faster to load up. And if you're a student, you can get it for free. The latest OOo was just fine for me, but when I found out I could get SO7 for free I went for it and am happy.
        • Re:No, no, no. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by illumin8 ( 148082 )
          StarOffice is Sun's product, designed for businesses; OpenOffice is what individuals use at home (why pay when there's no real difference?).

          Actually, do you remember when Sun first bought StarOffice and was giving it away for free? I think this was right around StarOffice 5.1 era. Anyway, Sun found that a lot of corporate IT managers wouldn't trust a product that was free, so they decided to start charging for it.

          They didn't do it just to be greedy. The funny thing was, Sun wanted to give StarOffice a
    • by line.at.infinity ( 707997 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:32PM (#7656310) Homepage Journal
      This is good because now Open Office will compete with Microsoft Office on *every* level.

      Are you saying that MS Office also provides free tech support? Even to those who haven't paid for MS products? If so, there should be more people taking advantage of this.
    • Re:Good News!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:58PM (#7656435) Homepage Journal
      While I personally can't see the need to pay for programs that are easier to use than my electric toothbrush or mom's VCR

      probably very few people will opt for a support program, but that doesn't matter. in the corporate it world it often doesn't matter if you actually get the support package, just that there is one to get.

      the logic is pretty simple, really - if a company is willing to support a product, it means the product is supportable, ie there is enough q-and-a done that the software is fit enough for the support department not to have to do so much work that it loses money.

      lots of companies will only buy wares that have support, even if they never get the support itself.

      • by cfuse ( 657523 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @10:02PM (#7656749)
        lots of companies will only buy wares that have support, even if they never get the support itself.

        I always laugh when Microsoft issues a end of life/end of support statement - I can never tell the difference between their support and their lack of support.

      • since most software get-ups are very poor about the quality of their "support", unless it's tiered and you select the most expensive plan, which essentially gets you a line to the desk phone of the development team.

        No... the logic is that the company will never pay for support because they'll be wasting their money if the did pay for it. But it's a good safety net to appease any naive decision maker who hasn't actually called up the support staff before in their life, and feels they need some level of assu
    • Re:Good News!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 07, 2003 @10:01PM (#7656743)
      While I personally can't see the need to pay for programs that are easier to use than my electric toothbrush or mom's VCR, I bet lots of less-than-dextrous-office-chimps have oodles of questions and concerns about the new office programs.

      Nice troll, but in case you haven't noticed most of these Office programs are a lot more complicated than your average everyday application. You could probably spend weeks learning how to use the various features of Word alone. Sure, if you're going to use it as a plain text editor it may seem easy, but once you start getting into advanced formatting and embedding objects into the documents it gets much more complex for the average person.

    • by Zork the Almighty ( 599344 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @10:43PM (#7656913) Journal
      This is good because now Open Office will compete with Microsoft Office on *every* level.

      I don't think anyone can reasonably compete with Microsoft when it comes to annoying office "assistants".
  • Just by star then? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Is there a reason then a user would not just buy StarOffice if they wanted this support? is it CALs?
  • by xeno_gearz ( 533872 ) * on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:25PM (#7656257) Journal
    I welcome Sun's support to OpenOffice.org. With options such as this, OpenOffice will likely have more market penetration in the Enterprise Environment. It's interesting to ponder if perhaps this will provide more of an impetus for managers to shift from proprietary solutions to Open Source. As we are aware of, management often does not wish to stray form the "tried and true" (I recall the saying, "Nobody gets fired for buying Intel and running Windows").

    Each time I demonstrate Open Office to a friend, they are surprised that such an interoperable (With MS Office) office suite exists. My favorite is to provide them with a copy of the Open CD [theopencd.org], which has a number of free and Open Source Software distributions.

    • by FreeBSDPete ( 730533 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @09:10PM (#7656485)
      I thought the original line was'Nobody gets fired for buying IBM' ;)

      Clearly OO is a great piece of work, Non-profit and other organizations without any budget to speak of (very small companies) will have a huge impetus to consider OO and Shrike for the defacto desktop standard.

      Especially companies with no interest in being vulnerable to the myriad of afflictions M$-based machines have, virii, trojans, major OS flaws.

      They must also have no entreched application base that require windows, like some of the worse accounting packages. Love to see a port of Quickbooks and Peachtree to Linux at least, to help the masses be willing to think about it.

      Enterprises fortunately aren't tied to these stupid accounting packages, and are already using distributed applications for the important stuff.
    • I agree, Support for OOo is VERY beneficial to the open source movement...and since that /. story on the open CD a few weeks ago, i've shed the Open light on several people, and opened up new options to those who might have never seen them!
  • A good thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by line.at.infinity ( 707997 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:25PM (#7656262) Homepage Journal
    This means they don't have to spend as much money on usability testings... Use the customers for feedback.
  • by jr87 ( 653146 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:27PM (#7656275) Homepage
    my PHB
    • this is the one thing he has been using against me for not adapting open office and sticking with microsoft. finally support is here and he is out of excuses
    • by the_2nd_coming ( 444906 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @09:13PM (#7656501) Homepage
      there is always the "hmm MS Office is higher quality"

      PHBs don't live with Logic.
      • I don't think anybody argues that MS office is higher quality. The question is this. "Is it worth the extra quality?" In other words "is OO good enough for me to save a couple of hundred thousand dollars with?"
    • by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Sunday December 07, 2003 @09:20PM (#7656549) Homepage Journal

      A true PHB will NEVER run out of excuses, they'll just constantly come up with wierder and stupider ones.

      My latest stonewall to implementing something quality vs. something venduh:

      "We are pushing to remove all freeware because of liability concerns."

      Which translates to:

      "Even though we have hundreds of trial-expired, unlicensed copies of Winzip, countless installations of Acrobat Reader, numerous installations of unlicensed trial versions of system tools, IIS, etc., we're not going to let you install PostgreSQL for development testing because we're idiots and our heads are filled with warm, tasty tapioca pudding."

      • by marko123 ( 131635 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @10:45PM (#7656921) Homepage
        I know you are angry, but please leave tapioca pudding out of this.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 07, 2003 @10:53PM (#7656955)
        In many cases, I think the real reason companies, or managers, to be more specific, don't want to use free alternatives is simple CYA. Suppose a company buys a software package that doesn't work as advertised, say, from Microsoft. In a case like that, who catches hell from upper management? Not the manager who approved the purchase. Microsoft, or at least the sales rep, catches hell. This doesn't mean there'll be a satisfactory resolution to the situation, but it decreases the likelihood that the person who appreoved the purchase will get in hot water.

        Suppose, OTOH, that a manager decides to go with OpenOffice on the advice of one of us here. Will OO.o work as well as MS Office? Most likely, yes, but that manager, who probably doesn't have much experience with it, will develop ulcers worrying about what might happen to him if something goes wrong. If he has money that he can spend on MS Office, he'd rather do that than get called on the carpet for trying to take the cheap way out and making a huge mess of things.

        If you want to advocate open source alternatives in a business environment, you have to do so in a way that will present little risk that anyone's job security will be on the line. Making the software available for people to take home might be a good plan, as would be installing it on machines with no equivalent commercial software installed. For instance, at a company I worked for, the computers in our call center had no word processing software installed, and management was adamant that pirated software would not be tolerated. So, when some of us techs needed to write up a support manual, someone suggested StarOffice, which was then downloaded and installed. Many people had never heard of it, but it definitely made a good impression. Turns out that we were closed down before the software had a chance to spread to other desktops, but many people were exposed to it, and good exposure never hurts.

        What I'd really like to see is some of the low-end PC makers bundling OpenOffice with their machines. This would add value to the machines in the minds of consumers, and it'd get the program some extra exposure. eMachines, Systemax, are you listening?
        • This argument ("gotta have a throat to choke") is wearing thin anymore. Microsoft doesn't give a rat's ass if you have "problems" running your desktop productivity suite. They really don't. Read the EULA for Office2000 if you don't believe me. They are not responsible for jack crap if anything goes wrong.

          The manager in charge of a deployment of an office suite would be better served by:

          • planning a phased rollout with IT/help desk staff holding peoples' hands, as well as
          • holding training sessions for use
          • I get this argument alot in my pushes for open source at my job as well. After much arguing, I've discovered the source of it - it's not that anyone expects Microsoft to step up and provide support (certainly not unpaid support), it's all about someones decision making being on the line. If you can blame MS in a meeting, then you're safe. Basically, as long as you spend an assload of money, it's okay if it doesn't work, because then you can spend MORE money hiring consultants to fix it. If you have to justi
      • Ask him for the name of a software vendor that provides "liability". Find an EULA from said software vendor. Have your boss read it (and weep hopefully).
    • If support was really the only issue, why didn't you go with Star Office, which has support?
      • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Monday December 08, 2003 @12:20AM (#7657344)
        Because Star Office costs money while OO is a free download.

        SO: Retail MSRP $75.95 [sun.com]

        OO: Download here. [openoffice.org]

        Obviously Sun is going to price OO "support only" much less than what SO costs with support.

        Essentially, Sun knows these products are almost identical, OO is everywhere, and they could make some easy money and push SO by supporting OO in the office. Smart move if it works.
        • OpenOffice IS StarOffice and vise versa.

          Here is the history:
          StarOffice was created by a group in Europe.
          Sun Microsystems bought it and released it.
          StarOffice 5.2 was free for a scaled down version.
          StarOffice 6.0 they split it into two groups, OpenOffice the free version and the paid version. Open Office is like the free version of 5.2 (just version 6.0). It helps people with some confusion.

          The only difference is StarOffice has better support and more features. Nobody can say "OO is better than
    • by zulux ( 112259 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @11:21PM (#7657100) Homepage Journal
      this is the one thing he has been using against me for not adapting open office and sticking with microsoft. finally support is here and he is out of excuses

      An easy way to wipe MS Office is to inform the BSA about all the piracy that goes on...

      A few nasty letters from the BSA and OpenOffice looks wonderfull .
  • Support (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) * <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:27PM (#7656276) Homepage
    This is one thing that will help companies except open source is support. Companies are scared of open source to some degree as if something like OO goes wrong there is no-one who can offer support there and then.

    Its nice to have someone to speak to on the phone who know what they are talking about as well as sometimes having someone to blame

    Rus
  • Newsgroup support. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ksheka ( 189669 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:32PM (#7656305)
    I tried OO.o for a while. I was quite surprised to not find newsgroups particularly for OO.o. Would it be difficult to have these newsgroups created and propogated to the various servers? That way users can help each other in an easily reachable manner.
    • by Heartz ( 562803 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:39PM (#7656354) Homepage
      Try the Open Office forums at http://www.oooforum.org [oooforum.org].

      I get all my tech issues resolved by the friendly folk over there.

    • by STrinity ( 723872 )
      I tried OO.o for a while. I was quite surprised to not find newsgroups particularly for OO.o. Would it be difficult to have these newsgroups created and propogated to the various servers?

      Depends. It's extremely easy to create an alt.* group, but as the majority of these are things like alt.john.smith.is.an.a--.h---, many servers (particularly the popular cis.dfn.de) don't accept them unless a significant number of people request it. Alternatively, if you go the official route, every major server will pick
  • by neiffer ( 698776 ) * on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:32PM (#7656309) Homepage
    To be honest, I can't imagine what kind of support you need for an office suite once it is install (maybe that's it!), however, if this means the leary will consider OpenOffice, woo hoo! I work in education and OpenOffice has allowed once-useless donated computers to become a real tool without massive costs for licenses.
    • by overbyj ( 696078 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:43PM (#7656372)
      You need support for an office suite because people undoubtedly will call and ask "Where is that paper-clip thingy? I need some help from it."

      Sad but true.
    • It should help me out. I don't use office suites since almost everything I type has to be in plaintext anyway. But, I've got users who need some of the 'advanced' features who are trying out OO as an alternative to Office. I helped one guy hook up to our MySQL server as a source for form letter information. That took way longer than it would have if we had had some help. Another guy has problems with the basics. Not because OO is really different than Office (as far as I know), but just because he doesn't k
    • by eegad ( 588763 )
      Try building a master document with MS Word. You'll need support to keep it from jacking up your subdocuments or becoming corrupt. Oh yeah, I also love the background save feature which says it has saved (even though the network might have gone down in the middle of the save) and when you reload your document there's nothing but garbage.
    • I followed the OOo users support newsgroup for several months. To be sure, a large number of questions concerned installation details. But there was also a great deal of help asked for, and given, concerning ways to convert procedures from MS Office to OOo, and how to handle interchanges of some specialized data files between the two. And also ongoing discussions of several things that could be lumped together as "best practice" development.

      I think the support news group is one of the more critical parts

  • by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:35PM (#7656328) Homepage Journal
    Sun said that it will offer OpenOffice.org users free first-incidence support ... (emphasis added)

    This is a good thing, though. Not because the Sun support will really help all that many folks, but because of the appearance of legitimacy it lends to OOO.

    And a big plus: it flips a solar middle finger at Microsoft. Jyahh!

    • Is this what it's all about: "creating the appearance of legitimacy" and flipping "a solar middle finger at Microsoft"? How about just plain old competition with some added leverage to push Microsoft toward open file formats. Get a grip and loosen up the tinfoil hat, dude!
    • by tealover ( 187148 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @09:09PM (#7656484)
      This is a good thing, though. Not because the Sun support will really help all that many folks, but because of the appearance of legitimacy it lends to OOO

      Very true. This is really more about PR than anything else. Remember, it's much easier to promise support than to deliver it.

      And a big plus: it flips a solar middle finger at Microsoft. Jyahh!

      No, this is all about Sun trying to stay alive. They've been flipping the finger at Microsoft for years and where has that gotten them (same with Oracle). If they hadn't been so focused on Microsoft and tried to create strategies to combat the commodization of their hardware, perhaps they wouldn't be in the position they're in now.

      I mean let's be realistic...if promising application support is big news from Sun, then they're about on their last legs.


      • I mean let's be realistic...if promising application support is big news from Sun, then they're about on their last legs.


        The 'SUN is dying' astro-tufers are out in force again.

        SUN has five billion in the bank.

        More FUD from the Microsofties.

        • Much like the Stock Market, a company's future success has nothing to do with its past successes.

          Sun is one of the historic companies in the Valley and has given the world some amazing technology. I want companies like Sun to thrive but unfortunately the vagaries of the business world suggest that companies that fail to adapt often become roadside litter.

          You can chalk it up to FUD or whatever conspiracy you choose. Facts are facts. Sun is a company that is on the cusp of becoming irrelevant very quick
          • by zCyl ( 14362 ) on Monday December 08, 2003 @01:30AM (#7657570)
            Sun is one of the historic companies in the Valley and has given the world some amazing technology. I want companies like Sun to thrive but unfortunately the vagaries of the business world suggest that companies that fail to adapt often become roadside litter.

            Large companies with enough bright people on the payroll will survive changes in business model. It seems that Sun has historically been a company which has attracted and kept a decent number of intelligent employees, and their management seems to be smart enough to keep a positive image among their principle clients (geeks) during a time when it's popular for geeks to hate big businesses.

  • by amichalo ( 132545 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:37PM (#7656343)
    Seems to me this is may be the sort of large enterprise lip-service support that comes with most software. Basically help with and install issue or maybe a bug, but if you want help with how to do something - you are still out of luck.

    Better than offering support as described above (which should be free IMHO), would be to get O'Reilly et al to write looks about OO.o and the migration from office. Even specific edditions for Office 97/2000/XP would be applicable.

    That would be better that someone helping me install the software.
  • This might be enough to make me go back to OO. I'm using Office at the moment because my university centres its first year Computing-for-Idiots course around Office products, so using OO means extra work figuring out how to do things by yourself.
    • No offense, but the two products are so similar that it wouldn't be too difficult to learn how do do things yourself. The ONLY major setback would be if your class utilized the scripting language of Office (in my experience, most Office-centric intro classes don't do this.)
  • by |>>? ( 157144 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:43PM (#7656373) Homepage
    Yay, another phone number to call and wait in line for - I'm sure that MSO users will relish the benefits of installing OOo and waiting in the phone queue to Sun for support - can we look forward to extra fees too?

    Seriously, this is excellent news IMHO, given that Sun already has the infrastructure to support SO, they can leverage the same for OOo.

    As others have (or will) point(ed) out, this is no guarantee for more market penetration, but I'm sure that small business users will be able to at least feel more comfortable with the concept of a central support point.

    Of course, it will take some time until end-users will leverage the Internet for support. To this day it still amazes me that users will phone me to solve their IT problem - generally in the form of: "I'm getting 'error 43b: The widget cannot be broken.' errors, how do I fix it?" - my response is to uhm and ah for as long as it takes to type the error into Google and hit return.

    The user is continually flabbergasted that I know the answer. I then tell them that I just used Google, how I used it and that they could too - for some reason they still call me... go figure.

    Go Sun!
  • Not a surprise.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by echucker ( 570962 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:49PM (#7656394) Homepage
    ... for anyone who read the AOL PC story last week. AOL's ad [aolcheckout.com] clearly lists the Office suite supported by Sun.
  • OO, then Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BortQ ( 468164 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @08:50PM (#7656401) Homepage Journal
    The switch from MS Office to OpenOffice is much easier then a switch from MS Windows to Linux. All the other programs will still work, yada yada yada...

    But The more people that switch to OO, the more attractive switching to Linux becomes. If your company is already using OO then they could switch to Linux and let their users keep the same office suite.

    In Conclusion: Go OpenOffice Go

    • But The more people that switch to OO, the more attractive switching to Linux becomes.

      Don't stop there! The more people switch to OO, the more attractive switching to FreeBSD becomes!

      I'm being serious here. While FreeBSD (along with most Linux distros) isn't ready for your grandma's home desktop, it's more than ready for the corporate desktop where systems are centrally administered.
  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Sunday December 07, 2003 @09:05PM (#7656465)
    According to Sun's official OpenOffice support page [sun.com], OpenOffice 1.1 is only supported on Windows, Solaris, and Linux...in other words, only platforms where StarOffice also exists...
    • by acidtripp101 ( 627475 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @09:33PM (#7656610)
      Well, that would make sense.
      My theory behind this support is that the two programs are VERY similar (they literally are based on the same code), so Sun is just trying to open another cash flow by offering support for a program that is essentially the same as the one they currently support.
      For example, if you offered support for your own proprietary version of notepad, wouldn't it make sence to offer support to notepad as well. You get paid either way, so why open as many channels for money to flow through as possible.

      So, the reason that they don't offer support for OSX is because they don't have any experience with it themselves, otherwise they probably would.
    • ...with version 2.0 - at least I think so. There are significant Mac OSX updates planned for that version. Right now, OOo runs as a straight Unix app on OSX - not something Sun would want to support.

  • by turniponion ( 718323 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @09:17PM (#7656526) Journal
    If OO competes too well with M$word, then Micro$oft is likely to make their next version incompatible with OO or incompitable enough that people will be reluctant to switch. Then there's "shovel wear", the mass of M$ stuff that they charge you for (it's in the price for that new computer) but they pretend is free, which fools the masses into believing the only reason to use OO or other non-M$ wear is to save a buck.
    • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @10:40PM (#7656905) Homepage Journal
      If OO competes too well with M$word, then Micro$oft is likely to make their next version incompatible with OO or incompitable enough that people will be reluctant to switch.

      It begins to get double edged though. Do you upgrade to the new MS office which saves in file formats that your older MS Office intalls (and other people using older MS Office suites) can't read - or do you cross grade to OpenOffice where you can get free upgrades and (due to the open nature of file formats)no more file format issues on upgrading? Hmmm.

      As long as the next Office with the major file format changes arrives before OpenOffice gets too much of a toehold, it will work. On the other hand, if it arrives too late it could blow up in MS's face.

      Jedidiah
    • by westyvw ( 653833 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @10:54PM (#7656962)
      That already is in the works, and has been for some time. MS needs to change the format to drive sales of new office suites. The additional benifit for them is that OO will again be uncompatible.
      Will this bite them in the ass? Maybe, since word pretty much works as is. Putting in DRM and changing the save format may piss some people off.
    • If OO competes too well with M$word, then Micro$oft is likely to make their next version incompatible with OO or incompitable enough that people will be reluctant to switch.

      Trying to steer away from standards and compatability doesn't always work.

      It's intersting to note that back in the days when WordPerfect was the main word processor that everyone used, it too tried exactly the same file format tactics that Microsoft tries today. Before MS Word was popular, Microsoft went to special effort to

  • by dankdirk77 ( 690855 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @09:20PM (#7656546)
    Do you think the actual phone support reps will be in India? Just curious, not that its a bad thing... There have been a lot of slashdot stories about open source projects over there lately and it would seem to make sense.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 07, 2003 @09:40PM (#7656635)
    Sooner or later, MS is going to integrate MS Office into their operating system (in the name of enhancement)... deja vu... all over again..
    • by SonicBurst ( 546373 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @11:30PM (#7657152) Homepage
      It has probably already happened (well, maybe in planning or alpha-stage somewhere anyway). We all know they switched to XML based file formats, under guise of "standards-compliance". Bullshit, I say. I think they are planning exactly what you say. Just think, the next version of windows could come with an fully integrated, nonremovable, XML parser/writer and bingo, instant integration. (in the take-it-in-the-ass kind of MS integration that everyone will have to pay for)

    • Risky move (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dmaxwell ( 43234 ) on Monday December 08, 2003 @12:27AM (#7657366)
      It would be something of a desparation move if they did. Right now, OSes and Office suites provide two distinct and large profit streams. It is common opinion that Windows and Office are the only things making MS money. In any case, that is where they make most of their money.

      Sure they could integrate at least a significant portion of Office into Windows to kill nascent competition. But this would reduce them to one primary profit center that would be smaller than the two separate ones. I suppose they could sell an "Advanced Office Funtionality" package but it wouldn't be as profitable. It couldn't be. They would have to integrate at least as much functionality as OpenOffice provides and not significantly raise the price of Windows.

      It might even make things easier on their competition. Since OpenOffice functionality becomes the basic benchmark, their competitors would know to explicity target the what the "Advanced Functionality" product provides.

      If nothing else, such an integration move would tell me that Open and StarOffice have caused MS significant pain.
  • Finally, Maybe (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DynaSoar ( 714234 )
    With support now for OO, and with their Java Desktop + Suse Linux (Due out Dec. 12) coming with tech support (including "migration support")they might JUST have a combination that can best M$, and actually compete for the average user's desktop. That is, if the initial install is at least as easy as Windows. I'll let you know next week.
  • by paul248 ( 536459 ) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @10:37PM (#7656891) Homepage
    Sun already offers support for all life on earth.
  • What... looks like you can charge for support for a open source product yet still offer it for free? OMG, somebody tell Redhat (I'm extremely disappointed that the only linux they offer for free is considered bleeding edge, semi-stable, and subject to be unsupported by them software wise after three months).
  • by redsilo ( 684634 ) on Monday December 08, 2003 @01:26AM (#7657556)
    To my way of thinking this is where the honest money in the IT business should be made: Support, Support, Support. Instead of paying lawyers bundles of cash protecting intellectual property, train and pay support personnel that can actually help people. I have the crazy idea that a lot of people might be willing to pay for such service especially if the service were effective and, hence, not outrageously expensive. There is, of course, the obvious caveat that the so called nerds that don't need that sort of thing won't be anxious to pay but there are still a lot of semi-computer-literate users out there that could benefit and know it. redsilo
  • Tried this (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gclose ( 250498 ) on Monday December 08, 2003 @02:00AM (#7657640)
    Um, I hate to rain on this parade, but I downloaded Open Office 1.0.2, used it for a couple of months, and was thrilled...at first. It was really great to be able to use free software. Worked great.

    Using OO, I saved my existing files in the Microsoft file formats as .doc and .xls, just in case, and I am sure glad I did. After several months of use, I started to notice weird errors in my Excel files. The screen on Excel was all wigged out, and some of the formatting was trashed. I had to go back to older versions of my files, and re-enter data. Not fun.

    After 3-4 months of this, I recently switched back to MS Office, whereupon I found that my Excel files had weird errors, which I now manually had to go fix. In addition, sometimes I couldn't type in the data entry box, or see what I was typing. Similarly, my resume in Word lost its proper formatting and bullet points. I am not at all a happy camper about this, and have fully switched back to MS Office.

    Don't bother to write me about how much better OO 1.1 is, I've got work to do. I'm a small business owner, and I don't have time for this nonsense. It's easier just to pay the hardware vendor a couple of hundred extra dollars every 3-4 years, when I replace my PC. Time is money.

    For the record, I don't use Macros or anything fancy, just normal Excel with some formatting, and I also use 'window freeze' and group/ungroup. This is all on Windows 98.
    • Re:Tried this (Score:2, Insightful)

      I'm a computer consultant and I see a lot of bugs with MS Office too. Of course when Word screw up a document it's the computer's fault, not MS Office...

      Also when you use OpenOffice DON'T save in the Microsoft file format. The filters are not perfect and sooner or later, you'll lose your formatting. Oh, and before you start complaining, MS Office filters are far worse than the ones in OpenOffice : last week I had to save several .doc to .rtf... Word was screwing up big time so I used OpenOffice in order to
    • Re:Tried this (Score:2, Insightful)

      by faaaz ( 582035 )
      It's really simple. When using any program the only way to keep formatting intact is to use that program's own format. Saving only to MS formats from OO is like saving your multi-layered photoshop projects only to jpeg.
  • If there is one thing Sun could do to boost OOo that would be to buy the openoffice trademark so that the product can actually be promoted as "OpenOffice" and not "OpenOffice.org".

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