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MS Office on Linux (Continued) 274

GeeWiz writes "According to the German Heise Newsticker, the c't editors got hold of information that confirms that Microsoft has assigned 37 developers with the task of porting Office to Linux. " Try using Babelfish to translate the article to english if your Deutsch ist nicht so gut.
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MS Office on Linux (Continued)

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...with a 10 meter cattle prod.

    Let MS port it to linux. Since linux doesn't support all of the secret MS kernel APIs and all those other neat things MS software relies on (e.g. the registry), it probably won't run even half as well as on a Windows machine. Plus, since I doubt that MS has very much expertise on unix/linux systems in the first place, it will probably be even more of a bloated hog than the Windows version. This will just give the Bill and Ed show another reason to say that linux sux, because it can't run MS Office.

    It's time to support people/companies that want to take advantage of linux's strengths instead of trying to turn linux into a bastardized Windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wait until you see the libs, and GUI toolkit you've gotta install to get this bugger working. Forget standard Xt, Qt, and/or GTK. This is the first "MS-X-Toolkit" product, I'd bet. As for source code, the MS EULA will be in full effect, meaning you get NO rights to ANYTHING.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Perhaps Microsoft is preparing for a breakup into an OS company and an applications company. The Office group accounts for 1/3 of their revenue. If they get spun off into their own company because of the DOJ thingy, they may want to support more platforms than Windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    the last time i used office on a report, it crashed and took out the win/sys directory... not exactly as gracefull an exit as staroffice
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've read other stories translated here that originated at CT, in translation. Can't remember anything notable. Could someone please educate me why CT should be believed in this matter? Have there been other CT scoops that didn't pan out, or other scoops that CT got first, and correctly?

    If CT is so good at getting the news first and getting it right, somebody could make a bundle here in the USA mirroring their site and translating it into decent English. The fact that this hasn't happened yet makes a doubting Thomas.

    in need of clues....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What would Office for Linux look like?

    If it's anything like the Mac Office experience, you will HATE it. Office for Windows is carefully optimized, and tightly tied to the underlying OS to give it the best perfromance it can get. Mac Office STILL has emulated 68K code in it, all kinds of garbage libraries in it, memory leaks beyond belief, and a very Windows-ish user interface. What does this lead to?

    1. Destabilization of the OS.
    2. Crappy performance from the entire system after Windows for the Mac er Mac Office is installed.
    3. PC Magazines running Office benchmarks and then saying see the Mac sux because or Excel Macros run 8x faster on Wintel.
    4. Loss of innovative software applications because they all get crushed by Office.
    5. Pollution of user interface consistency (not that this is exactly a virtue of Linux).
    6. Not-quite feature parity that will bite you in the ass time and again.
    7. Not quite file format parity that will bite you in the ass time and again.

    The good news -

    If the only reason you still have any Windows is to run Office you MAY be able to get rid of it, assuming that the critical features are there, and you have access to a PC for the occasions when you really need the real thing.

    By the way, corporate users ALSO need Microsoft Outlook for thos Exchange server Intranet email networks. I you think Office for Linux is a revolting concept, wait to you see what Exchange looks like.

    Personally I think that the warts likely to exist in any port make the value of Office for Linux nearly nil.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'd like to think that you're correct and that Linus is correct. But put this story together with the rumor that MS will bundle office 2000 with windows 2000 and I think you may be wrong. Maybe they want to make $ on Linux --which I'd applaud I guess in a way though I won't stop using StarOffice-- maybe OTOH they want a way to justify tying Windows and Office together, with lots of pitfalls thrown into the Linux version. That way they can say: what is it that you want? A free OS (that is clumsy for a ordinary user to set-up and use) and an expensive office suite, or would you rather have Windows 2000, which will cost you a little (since it is hiddn in the OEM preload charge), but will be easier to use and include the world-standard office suite for free, with fully integrated app/OS functionality. That's what I'd be doing if I were them, but then ppl do tell me I'm an asshole.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    When I interviewed at MS many years ago, they told me
    that they had done a port of Word to the Atari ST, but they
    were waiting to see how successful that platform was before
    they released it.

    A company like MS can easily afford to write software that
    they never release. It gives them lots of flexibility in their
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hi All,

    It seems to me that if MS decides to *release* a port, then they have two options. 1. Make sure MS Office runs on a standard Linux kernel and distro. 2. Make their own distribution. I'd think that 1 would be quicker, especially if they use WindU - the port of Win32 to Unix.

    Knowing MS's whole business model depends on control of the platform, I'd think that eventually they'd want to move to 2 - recall what they did with Java.

    What's to keep MS from building a Linux clone and having it *not* be under GPL? Or making MS Office run on a variation of FreeBSD? Aren't there ways for a company with $20B+ in cash to legally get around the GPL if they are willing to spend the time and money?

    Personally, I believe that even if MS is working on a port, they won't release it for at least 2 years. They've got enough troubles with Win2k and approaching Y2K issues, IMO.
    Cheers, Scott.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Remaining anonymous and intentionally vague in places for my own protection. Only my $0.02 - believe or disbelieve as you choose.

    The MS business apps division has to have been thinking about this for over a year. Why I believe this: well before the dates on the Halloween Docs, I went to Redmond to interview for a position as a developer. I had mentioned in screening that I was an avid Linux enthusiast and had done some minor kernel-related hacking (heck, I know for a fact some of my interviewers saw the anti-MS links on my web page :-)); judging from the product teams I interviewed with, I think I may have been considered at least in part as a potential Linux developer - one was the team working on the next (post-Office2000) release of an Office app (almost certainly the release of Office they're porting); another was working on an as-yet-unreleased (AFAIK) technology they'd simply *have* to port to Unix and Mac for it to be realistically marketable.

    But anyway, more to the point - here's what's probably happening... The port is probably underway in secret; throwing 37 Microserfs on a Linux port is a small price to pay for the business apps divsion to hedge its bets and increase its viability in the event MS is broken up or Linux gains significant desktop market share. But no, there won't be any kernel, /lib, or /usr/lib modifications in the picture - that's pure paranoia; monstrous, statically-linked binaries seem more their style. No, they won't use WineLib or open source widgets - the early start they would have had to make (think: two year product cycles that end up dragging on longer than that) rules out taking advantage of the recent maturity/development of Qt, GTK+, or WineLib, so they'll use MainWin and/or Motif instead. And no, definitely don't expect any public comment on this soon (ESPECIALLY not at Cebit).

    As for me, even if Office for Linux gets released I'd still pay good money for WordPerfect Suite for Linux. :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 1999 @07:05AM (#1971833)
    It only makes sense for them to port their binary-only stuff over - to discourage the development of a GPL alternative - or even legitimate competition from the smaller, innovative companies. Once the alternative is created, it IS possible to port the other way.

    I can't wait to see how they 'improve' linux. GPFs? BSODs? A little flashlight searching for things? The REGISTRY? 'Smart Quotes?' Oh, you'll have to run it on at least a 300MHz processor with at least 64MB of RAM too.

    You'll also have to install 'upgrades' for the standard libraries (binary-only natch - or else under some mutilated 'Open' license) - or these fine applications won't work.

    Not worth it to exchange info in a proprietary format.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 1999 @09:53AM (#1971834)

    6. Office and IE on Linux will help MS to decommoditize HTML and other protocols.

    Disagree here, too. Unlike Windoze, Office and IE won't and can't be the sole option under Linux, so MS can't leverage anything.

    they aren't the sole options under windows, either. they're just the commercially dominant options, and they will probably become so on linux as well. a hell of a lot of IT people will sell linux standardization to their PHB's by agreeing to compromise: "If you, O PHB, agree to use an OS that isn't a complete piece of shit, I, your IT minion, will agree to provide you with the same piece of shit word processor that you've always used. I promise that you will not be afflicted with acceptable quality in all areas." The PHB will think it over and say, "Okay. I can tolerate competence in my OS as long as my applications are still rotten, unstable, and proprietary."

    If, however, they try to replace files in /lib or /usr/lib, that's when I'll haul out the high-calibre ordnance.

    but that's just what they probably will do. why not?

    Given the "progress" Office has made since Word 5.1, I doubt Office 2000 will be compelling enough that customers will be willing to throw away Linux to get it.

    enough of their customers, partners etc. will "upgrade" [sic :)] to office 2000 that they'll have to do the same in order to read anybody's files. then, of course, anybody they deal with will have one more reason to "upgrade", too, because there'll be one more office using office.

    i don't know anybody who "upgraded" to office 97 for any other reason than that. they didn't want to spend the money, they expected it to be less stable with no worthwhile new features -- and they were right. but they bought it anyway because they had to deal with office 97 files from customers and whatnot. pretty horrible, IMHO, but that's what happened once, and will probably happen again. when MS maintained file format compatibility between word 6 and word 95, a lot of people didn't bother "upgrading". they were happy with what they had, so if they weren't forced to "upgrade", they didn't. MS learned a valuable lesson from that, and they will never let it happen again.

    they may even introduce a few arbitrary file format incompatibilities between linux office and windows office. that would be a real coup.

  • Think about this scenerio:

    Even if MS modifies the kernel and Linus doesn't like the modification? what can they do?

    Issue a patch for every 2.0.x or 2.2.x or 2.3.x or any of Alan Cox's patches??

    They can't do nasty things either cause:

    1. Linux community (most of them) = technical experts, so they can find all the secret nasty stuff in a day or 2.

    2. There are many reporters who read slashdot.org and would be happy to publish any nasty stuff MS did. It's the Internet age... :)

  • Well, I'm sure there are plenty of people that will jump at the chance to have Office on their Linux boxes. I'm not personally a fan of the program, but a lot of people like it. Offices (oops, sorry 'bout the pun) certainly need this if they want to move over to Linux and still be able to read all documents made by those programs..

    Of course, my greatest fear with all of this is the possibility that Microsoft will hamper the performance of the software (I hear they did that with Office for Mac), and try to blame the OS for the problems..

    Hopefully, that won't happen -- but you never know with Billy G. 'n' the Gang.
  • ... so any "GPL MSFC" project would get a hell of a lot more skilled developers working day and night to bring it down.
  • by Codifex Maximus ( 639 ) on Friday March 19, 1999 @06:56AM (#1971838) Homepage
    Ms Office for Linux expects(expected)

    The rumors circulate already longer, but now there are concrete indications for the first time: Microsoft portiert(porting) its popular Office package on Linux. c't experienced from well informed source that in talking moon a separate department for the project had been formed. According to the information Microsoft set 37 developers on the Portierung(porting).

    It is expected that Microsoft announces the Portierung(porting) still during the CeBIT and calls a date for the completion. The software giant is far in the hintertreffen(?) guessed/advised in the Linux Applikationsmarkt(applications market); Office products of other manufacturers are long available. Those Hamburg star division makes its star available Office for the non-commercial application even free of charge. Whether Microsoft can struggle through itself to a similar selling concept, remains being waiting still.
  • After seeing that their preconceptions about how stable computers can be are wrong (after observing stability of non-MS apps on linux), they won't go back.

    At least, not all of them.
  • Posted by Open Matrix:

    I got the drift from the babelfish but this makes it much more understandable.
  • Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    Have you ever heard of the GPL? Or Linus Torvalds?

    Look into it and your fears will be allayed.
  • Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    So what if they recreate WINE? How does that "destroy Linux"?
  • Posted by timmymagic:

    Early 2000 - Microsoft releases MSLinux (TM) 1.0, retailing at 100USD. MSLinux includes a window system that runs as a kernel module and emulates the Win98 UI. The window system completely replaces X and is started at boot time (no console-only mode). MSLinux also includes a set of copyrighted libraries that implement the Win32 API and DirectX. These libraries require the use of the MS window system and store configuration options in a system registry. MS software for Linux (including Office) only runs on MSLinux. Microsoft launches a developer program to encourage companies to port Windows apps to MSLinux using these libraries. Large numbers of developers, including many game companies, sign up. A similar developer program is launched to encourage hardware companies to write MSLinux drivers for their products. Visual C++ for Linux application wizards and tutorials produce programs that require MSLinux. Microsoft press releases emphasise how MSLinux is far more suited for businesses and home users than other Linux distros. They also inist that the proprietary window system and libraries are essential to make Linux 'fun' and easy to use. Sections of the non-computing media hail MSLinux as 'Linux for the people'.

    Early 2001 - 70% of mass-market consumer software and 90% of games for Linux require MSLinux. Most hardware products include MSLinux drivers.

    Late 2001 - 95% of Linux distros installed on home machines are MSLinux. Non-computing media frequently refers to Linux when they mean MSLinux.

    Where do you want Linux to go today?


    Sorry if I've got any technical stuff wrong, I don't know that much about it (Could you implement a GUI as a kernel module?).
  • Posted by timmymagic:

    Eccles wrote:
    > Look, almost no one who uses Linux now would
    > use it. We've chosen Linux for its power,
    > reliability, etc. -- not for a Windows
    > interface. Current users aren't going to
    > switch.

    Too right.

    But imagine this: Microsoft decides to switch its entire OS development to MSLinux. Why? Because they get a stable Window98/NT with only a fraction of the development costs. Think of the money they can make off that... Once the apps are on MSLinux there's no need for 98/NT, and they get to effectively merge them, just like they've tried to but failed, for free.

    Now imagine that Microsoft 'encourages' computer sellers to bundle MSLinux instead of Win98. Assuming they can manage it, which is by no means sure cos the sellers won't like it, then they've got the home market by the balls. There's no need for people to actually switch from Windows to MSLinux - it's forced on them.

    Home market share 2004:

    MSLinux 85%
    Win98/95/3.1 10%
    Linux 3%
    Other 2%

    As far as I can see, the only difficult bits are getting the apps and, more importantly IMO, the games, ported, and persuading people to bundle MSLinux instead of Win98. If they conquer these problems, they've won.

    Where do you want MSLinux to go today?

  • Posted by bumr:

    The really sad thing, though, is that we accept the fact that the applications we use to view a simple html page would actual take more than a meg of memory. They're web BROWSERS... its not that complicated.

    Our browser choice is either bloatware or something that crashes every 5 minutes. As a consumer I'm nonplussed, as a developer I'm ashamed.

    Sorry... the complaint that one browser sucks an extra 6 megs when both are WAY to heavy for healthy was too annoying to pass by. I don't necessarily mind 20+ megs.. I just want some value for the consumption. The current feature set in both browsers is pretty lame for that kind of consumption.
  • Posted by NBrazil:

    Inaccurate. Early on Microsoft had a demo for what was called MS Write. What a lot of people don't know is that the ST was originally going to be a Windows (long before any version had shipped on the PC) system. It was a bid to make a Mac that was truly 'for the rest of us' in pricing. Redmond was already getting frustrated with Apple's inability to appreciate the mass market where application developers would have a field day. After it became apparent that Windows wasn't going to materialize in time for Atari's needs they went over to Digital Research for GEM running over CP/M 68K. The early demo of MS Write was a standalone bit of code written entirely to the metal since there was no OS yet. People remembered that demo though, and never stopped asking MS for the real thing, ignoring the fact the most of the WYSIWYG elements of GEM on the ST were still unimplemented. The users were desparate for recognition from a 'serious' brand name. (Sound familiar?) MS eventually delivered MS Write but by that time the platform was in serious decline in most markets with piracy driving away developer interest and stopping those who had already tested the water from offering new versions i.e. Word Perfect.

  • by Eccles ( 932 )
    Ain't gonna happen.

    Look, almost no one who uses Linux now would use it. We've chosen Linux for its power, reliability, etc. -- not for a Windows interface. Current users aren't going to switch.

    Developers aren't going to be too keen to rewrite their apps to be locked in to a Windows solution. Right now, we develop for Windows because that's where the users are. I don't see 250 million people switching over en masse, do you?

    So we're left with current Windows users, who are offered a switch that gains them a more stable kernel, but not much else. And they presumably have to shell out for all-new applications, deal with the fact that no one will bother writing drivers for older peripherals, and deal with what will be a buggy interface for quite a while. Microsoft is having trouble extending their own stuff -- yet you expect them to rewrite Visual for Linux and rewrite their GUI to work on Linux? I don't think so...

    Relax, Linux -- pure Linux -- is winning.
  • This page, IE for Unix [microsoft.com],has some information on the TWO developers for both the Solaris and HP-UX versions of Internet Explorer. You'd better be quick though... the page is re-directed to the standard Internet Explorer for Unix page!

    No mention of special tools for doing the porting though.

  • If MS does the port, so what? Some people might look at it and say, yeah cool, Office for Linux! and try it out. Most people with a clue will run in the opposite direction, fast. The more I read about MS "products" the more I shake my head and wonder wtf I'm doing in this business.

    In any case, MS most assuredly has ulterior motives behind this move, if it is indeed true.
  • So, It would be MS GPL Linux 2.2.7. Big hairy deal. A simple UNIX utility called "diff" will tell you exactly what changes MS made, and a good developer will probably be able to guess why. Then the changes can be merged right back in, or flatly ignored.

  • Nope. Until Windows was bundled with PC's it was pretty much a flop market-wise. Go and read the really old Byte back issues.
  • When Babblefish first came out it was nearly impossible to read the translation anyway.
  • Yes, of course they'll have to release the code.

    Here's the problem. What if they decide to change the way a system call works? Yes, you can do a diff, but that's not the whole story. They may make incompatible changes.

    Suppose it's November of 2000, and Microsoft produces their incompatible version of the kernel (and yes, of course they have to make the source available -- that's not the concern). Now, Corel, say, or Caldera, or whoever, has a problem. Most of their users have deployed Linux in production systems, and are happily using MS Office. Corel must make a decision. Do they package the "Torvalds" kernel in their next distro, or do they use the "MS" kernel, so that their users can use the new version of Office?

    [Yes, you could take the "Torvalds" kernel, and apply a diff to get the "MS" kernel, but then you have the "MS" kernel ].

    Let's say Corel, etc. go with the "MS" kernel. This is the thin edge of the wedge. These two kernels will begin to diverge. This is the "fork" that frightens me.

  • by cradle ( 1442 ) on Friday March 19, 1999 @07:17AM (#1971854) Homepage Journal
    Here's a frightenning scenerio. What if they release Office for Linux, and it becomes the standard office suite for Linux. A significant number of corporate users put this into production.

    With the next release of Office, though, MS explains that in order to implement certain features, they had to make some modifications to the Linux kernel. So, if you want to use Office 2000, you need to install Microsoft Linux 2.2.7.

    They're obligated to release their modified version under the GNU GPL, of course, but what this does is effectively fork the code tree. This would be a Bad Thing.

    Granted, it's just a paranoid scenerio, but after reading the Halloween memos, it seems like the kind of thing they might try.

  • I'm sure Steve Jobs thinks he's won because MS made Office98 for Mac.

    Come the year 2010 when the latest version of office for mac is still Office98, he'll have to re-assess that thought.
  • Wealth nothing. Freedom. I cringe at using Bill Gates' OS or productivity applications, but I have no qualms about driving a car with a license plate he made bolted to my back bumper. . .
  • Word is by far THE most expensive word processor for the Macintosh, (by like 4 times). Office98 is bloated and buggy compared to Apple Works (Claris Works renamed), and Office98 does not come with a database (Access). Office98 installs a whole buttload of system extensions and libraries which you'll spend days on troubleshooting system conflicts.
    Apple Works seems to work just fine on it's own. Apple Works comes free (bundled) on an iMac.
    Apple Works does have a Windows version (tho I've never seen it - i don't know if that's any good).

    I would MUCH rather see a Linux version of Apple Works than MS Office.
  • Personally I live by a cross of Moore's Law and PT Barnum's Axiom:

    "The number of suckers born every minute will double approximately every 18 months."
  • Ah. If only Babelfish could translate Office95 documents in to Office97 format.
  • Why do you think W2K is so late?
    All the W2K developers have been pulled off the project, because Bill knows he's going to lose Antitrust, so OS hegemony is a waste of time - but file-format (.doc, MSJava, AVI) and API (MFC, CaptiveX, etc) are still viable strategies to keep the stranglehold on the computer industry.
  • RTF is not a proprietary file format, altough the current maintainer of the format definition is Microsoft.

    You can get the file format of Word 8.0, Excel 8.0 and friends from developper.microsoft.com after registration, unfortunately these format make heavy use of OLE 2.0 so implementing them is not a piece of cake...

  • by krynos ( 1706 ) on Friday March 19, 1999 @08:53AM (#1971862) Homepage
    Microsoft PR January 3, 2000:

    Microsoft officially apologize for the way it destroy the computing platform with ugly platforms like Windows 95(tm), Windows 98(tm) and Windows NT(tm). Microsoft have decided to concentrate it's efforts on a new platform called Linux. This was due to the fact that the 2 Windows code base (Windows 9x and NT) where in an almost useless and unmaintanable state.

    Microsfot is sorry for the problems caused all these years.

    Smile! 8-)

  • There's something wrong with your statement: Office is not (and never was) available for OS/2. So if MS is going to use Office to draw users away from Linux in the same way as from OS/2, they would not need to port it to Linux in the first place - that according to your statement.
  • by Omnibus ( 1831 )
    Did anyone really believe microsoft when they denied any interest in Linux?

    asinus sum et eo superbio

  • This translation seems to be accurate. It fixes many of the grammatical errors in the earlier the earlier version.
  • Well, I'm not a fan of the program either, but this is pretty much the one single most app I want to see on Linux. I switched to Linux exclusively on my work pc about a year ago, and the biggest headache I've had is interchange of documents with other people in the office. I'm using Applixware right now, and it's all right, but it's not exactly stellar in my opinion. For the longest time, I couldn't find ANY linux program that could handle the '97 formats, and I had to ask people to convert documents for me all the time. Now at least I can read them, but I still can only write to the '95 format. Office is ok, but the biggest issue is not how good of a program it is, but whether or not you can use it to communicate with everybody else in the office. A free software word processor and spreadsheet are great things, but will never be used by me until they can read/write the formats that everybody I have to work with use, because 95% of what I do with these programs is read documents people send me, not write my own documents. In this one area, free (speech not beer) matters a great deal less to me than compatibility.

  • I think it is about options. How many times have we heard someone say something like, "yeah I do almost everything in Linux now, except for the occasional reboot into Windows to use M$ Word, because my boss/company makes me use it." This sort of comment is always followed up with something like, "well did you know that you can write Word 97 format with StarOffice?" Or, "Why don't you tell them to save their documents in RTF." etc... If M$ does this, people who find themselves in this situation, will have another choice. I don't doubt that M$ is doing this for their own self-serving reasons, but choice is still good. Even if using M$ office for Linux is a bad option, at least we have the option to use it, or not.
  • The file formats for the latest ms word and other office formats are available

    Ole decoding tools for linux are available, information of getting the formats, and the ole tools, and a work in progress converter for converting msword 8 format documents into html can all be found at my mswordview [csn.ul.ie] page, or its mirror on gnu.org [gnu.org]

    Lend a hand, less talk more code


  • I'd rather see IE for Linux than Office. It'd inject some competition into the browser market on Linux (which is virtually a one-horse race).
  • Unlike on Windows, on Linux Microsoft cannot count on getting ownership of the market as a fait accompli. MS Office for Linux will probably sell to corporate markets standardised on Office. Other than that, Corel, Applix and others have a fighting chance among those not committed to the One Microsoft Way, especially if their product is more reliable.

    If Office comes out on Linux, and is marketed inexpensively at non-enterprise markets, it will provide the others with a bit of healthy competition in a fair arena.
  • Seems that to support Office in all it's glorious proprietary-ness, a special MS Linux will be required.

    Then when Office "breaks" in "non-standard" Linuxes, MS can show that it's Linux is the one true Linux. No doubt the objective trade rags will proclaim the one true Linux, the superior of Linuxes, with it's "standard" Linux GUI (as seen in win9x). and OLE-X compliance. and because of the lack of stability and standards in the non-true-linuxes, of course IE6 only works on MSLinux.....

    ....after they fail on their first in-house distro attempt, who they gonna buy/assimilate as to get it right? maybe a slashdot poll can be done to find out gets to be "it"?? :-)

  • ...monstrous, statically-linked binaries seem more their style.
    cranford$ cd ~/microsoft
    cranford$ file bin/iexplorer
    bin/iexplorer: Bourne shell script text
    cranford$ tail -8l bin/iexplorer

    if [ -x $executable ]
    exec $executable $target $@

    echo "Support for $OSname $OSrev has not been installed on this system." >&2
    cranford$ file progs/sunos5/startup
    progs/sunos5/startup: ELF 32-bit MSB executable, SPARC, version 1, dynamically linked (uses shared libs), stripped
    cranford$ size progs/sunos5/startup
    23004 + 1546 + 18432 = 42982
    cranford$ ldd progs/sunos5/startup
    libX11.so.4 => /usr/lib/libX11.so.4
    libc.so.1 => /usr/lib/libc.so.1
    libXext.so.0 => /usr/openwin/lib/libXext.so.0
    libsocket.so.1 => /usr/lib/libsocket.so.1
    libnsl.so.1 => /usr/lib/libnsl.so.1
    libdl.so.1 => /usr/lib/libdl.so.1
    libmp.so.2 => /usr/lib/libmp.so.2

    Not statically linked, and not very big. There is also a big pile of .so files with names that look suspiciously like those of Win32 DLLs but with .dll replaced by .so; those might be loaded at run time with dlopen().

  • ...but, yes, if Microsoft ports Office to any UNIX-flavored OS, I suspect they'll use MainWin (that being what they used to port IE).
  • ...I recall reading a number of months ago that MS did a port of IE to (I believe) Solaris,

    Yes, and, if I remember correctly, HP-UX as well.

    ...using a third party tool that emulated the Win API.

    MainWin, from Mainsoft; Mainsoft's home page [mainsoft.com] mentions that it was used for the IE 5.0 port, and an older press release [mainsoft.com] mentions that it was used for IE 4.0 as well (that used to be what Mainsoft's home page mentioned, before 5.0 came out).

  • Another possible interepretation is that they're repeating their usual tactic of preemptive vaporware -- via the rumormill -- announcing a Linux office suite to keep other makers of office software out of the Linux market out of fear of competing against M$. Different OS, same tactic they've employed many times. Whether they actually deliver Office is immaterial in that aspect.

    That's not my actual opinion, but a possible one. My actual opinion is that, like any good company with money and resources to burn, they're simply hedging their bets -- Linux without Office that gained a significant desktop market share (as Corel &c are looking into) would be a bigger desktop threat than Linux with Office -- recall how Office allowed M$ to strongarm Apple a few times. They'll have a tough time strongarming the Linux community, but they'd still be in a better position generally, as a precaution should Linux gain a monetarily significant fraction of the desktop market.

    Precaution, IOW, being the operative word. They can afford 37 programmers "in case," and they gain preemptive-vapor and potential-foothold benefits merely from the rumor. :)

    (still not having decided whether I'd buy it or not, if it made it to the shelves)

  • the writing is on the wall....

    1. ms linux distro
    2. mswm
    3. ms office for linux

    all of a sudden linux becomes more notorious than windows nt for instability, bloatware, poor performance, incompatibilty --- thanks to microsoft...

    I guess it doesn't really matter as long as there are real linux distributions out there like debian and redhat.

  • Uhm. You'll note that the GPL requires them to release any changes they make to the kernel. So, MS Linux won't be. . .

    ** Martin
  • by heller ( 4484 ) on Friday March 19, 1999 @07:01AM (#1971878) Homepage
    I recall reading an interview with Linus where he said "If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won." I just wish that I could find it. If anyone does, tell me. I wanna keep a link to that around.

    ** Martin
  • Microsoft using XML announcement is FUD, just like the declarations of ActiveX becoming an "open standard" (remember THAT one, last year?).

    If Microsoft documents their file formats using XML, but XML is merely wapper glue between OLE objects, that's not "XML format" to me.

    Although, the average reporter at c|net or ZDNet will not catch the distinction (not all of them are like this, but they do seem to have a difficult time attracting and retaining real "techies" who know how to write).
  • Don't discount Microsoft's "efforts". They can affort to make a LOT of costly mistakes because they have a lock on the OS market and Office applications.
    Microsoft could EASILY sell Office below cost, at $0.00, with the intention of raising prices later (or maybe make it "part of the OS" for their OWN Linux distro) [shudder].

    And my definition of FUD includes strategic vaporware, since this is a well-used tactic by Microsoft. "Want to frighten a cutting-edge software company into giving you their patents?" Announce Hydra! Look up the MS vs. Citrix story -- these guys came up with thin clients which could get their own desktops on an NT server (really their own desktops... like the stuff found on most UNIXen).

    Unfortunately, Citrix did not have a lot of capital and so paid their employees in stock options. When Microsoft announced they would build this technology into a version of NT, the Citrix employees revolted against management, since their "pay" became increasingly worthless as Citrix's valuation plummeted against the MS' threats. Eventually Citrix reached a deal where they divided the market with MS.

    What's this have to do with MS Office for Linux? It could be FUD designed to scare away investors from those currently writing "office suites" for Linux. This is why we need open sourced office suites -- this is too important a communications mode to let some company whore us out at whim.
  • by Sleepy ( 4551 ) on Friday March 19, 1999 @08:01AM (#1971881) Homepage
    Hey, if they DO put out a version for Linux, enough people will get their product that they won't QUESTION why Microsoft does not publish their file formats.

    Can you imagine if we had this format mess with other mediums of communication, like the telephone, or email?

    I will retract MANY bad things I say about microsoft (but not all.. :) if they just level the playing field. They STILL have the biggest wallet, but play on a level field. Until they do, I will cheer anyone who finds ways to hurt Microsoft.

    The problem is if Microsoft collapses HARD, like say how Apple collapsed between 1995 and early 98, Microsoft will take down all the other stocks with them.

    And Microsoft crashing that hard IS possible. Just keep supporting open/free software, and make animal sacrifices for the excellent work being done for WINE. It'll fall into place, and then the only thing remaining is CLEANING UP Linux and making it "user friendly" (no, not killing or hiding the shell as the press sometimes opines, I mean updating obsolete man and info pages, application interoperability, and KDE merging with Gnome).
  • I just love machine translations!
  • Apple has always been dependent on Microsoft for applications. Bill Gates supported the Mac strongly when it was launched. Linux has got where it is now without any support from Microsoft, and it has proved that it is useful with or without MS applications.
  • by Thalinor ( 4731 ) on Friday March 19, 1999 @07:12AM (#1971884) Homepage
    MS Office for Linux expected

    Rumors have been flying around lately, but now
    there seems concrete evidence for the first time:
    Microsoft will port its popular Office to Linux.
    C't learned from well-informed sources that a
    division has been built in Redmond especially for
    this project. According to this information,
    Microsoft has committed 37 developers to the port.

    It's expected that Microsoft will announce the
    port during CeBIT and will target a release date.
    The software giant has been left behind in the
    Linux application market; office products from
    other vendors have been available for quite some

    Star Division from Hamburg, Germany offers its
    Star Office free for non-commercial use.
    Wheter Microsoft will choose a similar
    distribution policy remains to be seen.

    However, its common business practise for the
    Windows company to offer applications for
    competitors' operating systems: Office for MacOS
    made a lot of money for the company.
  • Customer lock-in is only half of the story. The other half is developer lock-in. Anyone who has written Win32 applications will attest to the fact that any non-trivial Win32 application is not portable to a UNIX. Win32 actually discourages the use on ANSI C standard library calls. Win32 greatly encourages a Win32-specific program architectures centered around callback functions with particular prototypes. Take daemons (called "services" in NT), for example. WinNT services must have a callback entry point ( know as ServiceMain(), but may be alled anything) and a callback status handler. How many UNIX deamons have these functions?

    Nope, we're not going to see MS Office. Microsoft would have to develop some kind of Win32-for-Linux libaray, IHMO, which would allow every other Win32 app to run on Linux. It would be the mother of all WABIs and WINEs. It would free other ISVs from being locked-in to Windows, and diminish the business case for Windows.
  • I guarrantee it will be hideously ugly, slow and crash happy. Much worse than the windows version. Look at the software that big commercial companies port over to unix - acrobat, word perfect, etc. They all use crappy motif instead of gtk. Everything is ugly, washed out and deformed. They always do such a half assed job.

    I'd like to have some of those programs but it's as if all these commercial companies are still stuck in 1990 or something WRT unix development. These folks are so out of touch. Don't they know about gnome and kde?

  • These software houses are always whining about piracy and how much money they "lose" because of it. Ridiculous. They depend on it for market share.

    What we really need to do (all of us who are admins) is relentlessly hunt down illegally copied software in our workplaces and keep everyone in rigid compliance. I know for one if I were to do that at my workplace, I would meet overwhelming opposition. My "IT" co-workers (read:warez-losers) are the biggest problem! My guess is that 99% of all companies are depending on a hell of a lot of warez every day. Tracking all this shit down and stopping it would hurt proprietary software houses more than any "piracy" would. This would be incredibly painful for everyone. I know it would practically cripple the company I work for.

  • ... They will have to compete on the merits of their application, and not through bundling or anything else, hooks in the operating system, etc.

    As long as Linux remains a level playing field, I don't care if MS writes Office for Linux.

    If however, they try to subvert Linux somehow by doing this, things could get very nasty indeed.

  • It's not the fact that we have to pay for it that bothers us. If you've even bothered to read any of the posts, we're just kind of skeptical.

    Microsoft isn't well known for fair play.
  • There have been rumours for quite some time, but now for the first time there is concrete evidence: Microsoft is porting its popular Office Software to Linux. c't (German computer magazine) found out from a reliable source that a separate department in Redmond has been built for this project. According to the information, Microsoft has assigned 37 developers to the porting (project).
    Microsoft is expected to announce the porting during the CeBit (computer fair in Hannover, Germany) and announce a date for when it will be ready. The software giant has fallen far behind in the Linux application market; The Office Products of other developers have long been available. Hamburg's Star Division has even made its Star Office freely available for non-commercial use. Whether Microsoft is willing to use a similar marketing concept, waits to be seen. In any case, it is normal business practice for the Windows Company to offer Application Software for competing operating systems. For many years, Microsoft has earned a lot of money for (MS) Office for the MacOS.
    John Kacur
  • 1. MS wants to make money on the ported Office, plain and simple.

    Nothin' wrong with that. It fits into my own pet theory, which is: If Bill thinks he can make money porting Office to Linux, he will do it. He has never demonstrated loyalty to anything other than making a buck.

    3. A flaky port of Office would hurt the credibility of Linux.

    4. A promised port of Office that never emerges would hurt the credibility of Linux.

    Disagree. This would merely reinforce Microsoft's already legendary reputation for shoddy software and "promises" that never materialize. Linux can survive without Bill.

    5. MS Office will require proprietary MS libs, allowing MS to gradually take over or corrupt Linux.

    As long as they don't try and stick them in /lib or /usr/lib, they can go nuts with shared libraries. If, however, they try to replace files in /lib or /usr/lib, that's when I'll haul out the high-calibre ordnance.

    6. Office and IE on Linux will help MS to decommoditize HTML and other protocols.

    Disagree here, too. Unlike Windoze, Office and IE won't and can't be the sole option under Linux, so MS can't leverage anything.

    7. Office on Linux is just a lost leader, with the upgrade to Office 2000 requiring a corresponding "upgrade" to Windows 2000 (your theory).

    Given the "progress" Office has made since Word 5.1, I doubt Office 2000 will be compelling enough that customers will be willing to throw away Linux to get it.

    8. Office on Linux is a desparation ploy, to keep users from migrating away from MS Office (due to Y2K), while MS finishes Windows 2000.

    Mmmm... Possible, but when MS discovers that O2K isn't pulling people over to W2K, they may discover they'll make more money porting O2K to Linux.


  • What's in it for the Good Guys is that PHBs will start to wonder why they are forking over for licences (workstations, network) if Office runs on Linux.

    Not that I myself would touch Office if I could help it, but some people like it.

    But what's in it for Micros~1? Sure, they may sell copies of Office on another OS, but risk losing their lock on the desktop OS itself and many apps.

  • Bad News Indeed! What are their true motives? We have WordPerfect, the excellent StarOffice, and Applixware. Are they reaffirming everybody's dependence on Microsoft. This will pave the way for more commercial apps and may legitimize them but excuse me I am very paranoid of this. It may be the end of Linux as we know it. Thank God(and Patrick Volkering) for Slackware.
  • I know alot of people give StarOffice flak because it is a little slow and bloated....but how do you think Office would be?

    I've only had star office die on me twice (I've been using it since 5.0 came out... I do 3 4-7page lab write ups each week) and both times it said "An unrecoverable error has occured. Your work has been saved, and will be reloaded when the program restarts."

    Uh...and wouldn't you know it, both times I loaded the files without problems!

    Now, I'd like to see Microsoft's Office do it.

    In the line of what another poster said, if they port Office to Linux, I wonder what excuse people will have to not use linux.

  • Interesting for business people. I myself won't buy it. Porting this package won't make it less buggy.

  • This is something that bugs me. One really neat aspect of using Linux is the plethora of choices available in terms of interface. I mean, with Windows all you get is command.com and Explorer. Big deal. With Linux I can run bash, csh, ksh, GNUstep, KDE, et al. Heck, I can even roll my own if I feel like it. Personally, the fact that I didn't necessarily have to stare at a Win95 interface anymore was the first thing that attracted me to Linux. I never saw the real point in having a Win9x interface to Linux. But, to each his own I guess.
  • They'll just release cruddy code. Anyone stupid enough to run MS Linux (read: everyone in corporate America, the US Govt., all educational institutions, home users, and so on) doesn't know the difference between a struct and an int. All they'll be able to say is, "Gee, this Linux stuff runs a lot slower than Windows! What was all the hype about? I'm going back to good old trusty Windows! God bless Bill Gates!"

    Furthermore, MS might not even make changes to the kernel. They'll just release a bunch of proprietary (and coincidentally, brain-damaged) libraries. They'll also probably make sure their Office binary is stuffed with a bunch of nops. I believe they did something like this with the Mac version of Office also.

  • Office *doesn't* have bloat? Just curious.

  • The concept that MFC is based on is a much older idea. And, in typical MS fashion, it's a really lousy implementation. This is exactly why *everyone* here who is able needs to help the GNUstep project. Let's get that thing finished!

  • 1. It's only a rumor.

    This is true. But given Microsoft's extremely shrewd comprehension of the business, I'd say it's likely that they are at least looking at it.

    2. If they want on Linux, where's IE for Linux?

    Well, IE is free (as in beer). They certainly wouldn't make any money from it. They could stand to make a lot of money from Office for Linux. Also, they have the chance to wreck a lot more machines with Office than they do with IE. More demand.

    3. Why would they release a major cash cow on UNIX after all the anti-UNIX rhetoric they've engaged in?

    Microsoft has the same marketing savvy as President Clinton and his handlers. They can swear up one side and down the other that something is a Bad Thing and then suddenly do a flip-flop and say it's the greatest thing since sliced bread; and very few people will notice or care.

    4. What about all the other versions of UNIX? I'd think they'd all line up like a bunch of cats looking for milk.

    They probably will. But I don't think MS cares. Linux is a lot more "popular" than other Unices. I mean, quite a few non-technical people have heard of Linux; how many of those same people have heard of HP-UX or IRIX?

    To be honest, I'll believe this when I see the announcement from Microsoft.

    Of course. I mean, this isn't a done deal or anything.

  • Since you don't know what "Free" software *really* means, why don't you just visit the FSF site and *actually read* about it? Just a suggestion.

  • This was recently posted to aus.tv:

    I run both Netscape4 and Explorer4 on a Sunbox here, and we have contests to see which uses the most memory. At the moment, Explorer wins. When asked to show an *EMPTY* *FUCKING* *PAGE*, Netscape used a paltry 24 megabytes of memory, compared to Explorers 30 megs.

    The funny thing is, half-an-hour later (after coming back from lunch), Explorer was using 36 megabytes. That's right, folks. It took an extra 6 megabytes to sit around and do *NOTHING* for thirty minutes.

  • You wanted a *programmable* editor?


  • by Mike Cornall ( 7921 ) on Friday March 19, 1999 @08:25AM (#1971904)
    Theories so far:

    1. MS wants to make money on the ported Office, plain and simple.

    2. MS can't sabotage Linux unless they first get a foot in the door with a Linux app.

    3. A flaky port of Office would hurt the credibility of Linux.

    4. A promised port of Office that never emerges would hurt the credibility of Linux.

    5. MS Office will require proprietary MS libs, allowing MS to gradually take over or corrupt Linux.

    6. Office and IE on Linux will help MS to decommoditize HTML and other protocols.

    To these we now add the following:

    7. Office on Linux is just a lost leader, with the upgrade to Office 2000 requiring a corresponding "upgrade" to Windows 2000 (your theory).

    Finally, I would add the following variation:

    8. Office on Linux is a desparation ploy, to keep users from migrating away from MS Office (due to Y2K), while MS finishes Windows 2000.

    This last theory is interesting. Office 97, Win95, and NT are not Y2K-ready. Windows 2000 will not be ready in time for Y2K. Office beta-2000 may be Y2K-ready, but there is no MS platform to support it. If customers migrate to Linux to solve their Y2K problems, they will also migrate to other office apps, making it nearly impossible for MS to get them back. The only way out of this is to port MS Office (beta-2000) to Linux in order to keep Office users in a holding pattern until W2K plus O2K are ready. It's their only chance.

    Of course, there's always all-of-the-above.
  • by Mike Cornall ( 7921 ) on Friday March 19, 1999 @11:16AM (#1971905)
    You're forgetting something. Wiping Microsoft off the face of the earth, as enjoyable, and as beneficial for mankind as that might be, is not the primary goal of Linux. It is, at best, a side benefit, and it's likelihood is questionable.

    Remember--the primary goal is to have a great O/S (plus apps). All that is required for this is a critical mass of users who are dedicated to Linux and open standards.

    If MS created their own proprietary version of Linux, then it's true that many, if not most businesses would support it. If MS violated the GPL, the lawsuits would fly (class-action suit--all Linux users please donate $1 :^). MS might win or lose in marketshare, and in court.

    In the end, though, none of it would matter. The market would be split between MS Linux (Win 2001) supported by a single vendor, and Standard Linux, supported by many vendors, IBM, Oracle, etc. If you don't think that a critical mass of support would survive for Standard Linux, just look at the Debian crowd :^).
  • If you'd say that Bill Gates needs to be expropriated (in a legal process) of a good portion of his wealth that was acqired with gross violations of the business law spirit and letter - I would agree.

    But I can not deny anybody, or any corporation the right to release an application for Linux platform. As long as he does not control the platform, and with GNU GPL license on Linux that is not possible without further violations of the law, which is not a problem for Bill Gates, but we can assume a lot of fun legal action in that case.

  • Comment removed based on user account deletion
  • Comment removed based on user account deletion
  • Wow, talk about not understanding Microsoft.

    If Microsoft decides to modify the Linux kernel, they will modify the Linux kernel and that will be the end of it.

    They won't move their Office suite to any new kernel revisions except their own. Period.
  • The average American WOULD make more spelling mistakes.

    There was a joke in a movie a while back about Americans failing English classes, and it's our mother tongue.

    BTW, "practise" is a British spelling, so that might not have been an error by the translator.

  • On those occasions when their servers haven't crashed, Microsoft's Web site says that all of the listed products are fully compliant if you install all necessary patches. Maybe "fully compliant" means "they won't crash measurably more often just because it's y2k," but you can't predict a mass Y2K exodus away from MS Office on the strength of that.
  • IE is a hairball, but if you were running CDE, then it's probably not entirely fair to blame IE. The mwm Solaris runs, even though mwm SET the standards for so many window manager, is horrible about desynchronizing events, meaning that it will lock up when code behind many GUI events locks up. Not even windows displays that kind of behavior.
  • It's a KDE-programming communist nazi first-poster beowulf cluster of a proprietary microsoft FUD troller.

    Wonder what the moderation on THAT will look like
  • yeah well they boil their meat and drive on the wrong side of the road too so PTHPTHPTHPTH.... :)
  • Further software support will draw users to a more robust stable environment.... however MS can start with good support then slowly draw it back to their home ground causing some users who were using Linux to migrate to Windows.... however I think that few would do that.

    What I think would happen if that was tried is the sheeple would migrate to Linux and as MS support for linux floundered would migrate back to MS... while the users who see the power and stability of Linux but were never introduced to it before due to lack of software support would stay with Linux and find another office solution.

    Personally I have MS on my machine for one reason and one reason only - GAMES. And as more and more games get ported, I dedicate less and less HD to MS Crap and more and more to Linux!

    MS won't support Linux unless they are really getting desperate.... so maybe they are gonna....

  • c't experienced from well informed source that in talking moon . . .

    Man, that's nice. Lovely.

    Those Hamburg star division makes its star available Office for the non-commercial application even free of charge. Whether Microsoft can struggle through itself to a similar selling concept, remains being waiting still.

    I betcha it'll be free [beer] on the same terms. MS can afford to do it, and they'll want to own this market quickly.

    It's depressing, though. Only a few weeks ago I was confidently predicting that MS would be too arrogant to sell Linux software, thereby giving others a shot at that market. No such luck. Stupid Borland hasn't even announced plans to port Delphi yet. They'll be beaten to market by VB on a new platform -- a platform they could have owned if they'd had some sense. That class library is abstract enough to make it very, very damn nearly possible to write source-portable RAD GUI programs in a real language. Of course, if there's one company on earth more arrogant, unresponsive, and fucked up than MS, it's Borland. They just have this annoying habit of releasing enough good products to keep our hopes up. Thank god, thank god for gcc.

  • This might be another FUD campaign to kill all off development of all other Linux office suites. As soon as rumors of MS Office for Linux fly out, Star and Corel decide maybe they don't wanna dump too much money into developing their Office suites if MS is gonna take over anyways. Then, when Corel and Star are dead, MS stops development of their own Office suite, points at Linux and says "See! They don't have any good software!"

    That's my conspiracy theory. More realistically, I think they'll make Office for Linux, release it, and rake in a ton of dough from newbie corporate Linux users who are forced to standardize on MS software...
  • Office hasn't ruined the Mac OS, but it has killed off all competition on the platform. The only spreadsheets available for the Mac are Excel, the one bundled with ClarisWorks, and the shareware Mariner spreadsheet. Only Excel is a viable choice for a business.

    The only word processors are Word, ClarisWorks, Mariner Write, and Nissus. I can't figure out Mariner Write's target market, since virtually all low-end Macs ship with ClarisWorks. Using the word "niche" to describe Nissus' market share would be generous. WordPerfect was an option once upon a time, but it hasn't been updated in years. Once again, only Word is a viable choice for businesses.

    In short, if you want to use a Mac in an office, you need Microsoft. An MS port of Office to Linux would probably result in something similar. Getting the Office apps to run on Linux is going to require something vaguely Wine-like. This could be done with non-GPL code, as a commercial binary. Say the only way to get this would be by buying Microsoft Linux (tm). If you want Office for Linux, you'll need Microsoft Linux. Instant "embrace and extend." Sound familiar?


  • Actually Microsoft makes slightly more money from its OS products than from Office, according to a chart I saw recently (somewhere online, forget where, sorry). Both account for >45% of total revenues, the other few percent being miscellaneous other stuff.

    This being the case, it isn't hard to see why Microsoft's sheer (if concealed) terror at the prospect of losing OS revenues to Linux. It would be utter fiscal irresponsibility -- of the sort that makes for stockholder lawsuits -- to not have a backup plan to launch Office for Linux if/when that shift to Linux really starts to eat into OS revenues.

    However, Microsoft can certainly afford to port it but never release it if that suits them. Right now the FUDmeisters probably figure that rumors of Office for Linux will hurt Windows sales more than it will hurt sales of Corel, StarOffice, Applix, etc, so they're in "official disavowal" mode. As Linux share increases, that will change, and MS will shift into "announcing vaporware" mode. If Linux plateaus out and Win2000 takes off (hah!), then officially Office for Linux will never have existed.
  • This is good news, but it could be bad news as well: good news because it means that somehow linux is winning widespread support also in the desktop market and even M$ is forced to recognize this;
    bat news in the fact that I fear we could go and see lots of people going to buy and install this product, just in order to face that "it works better under windows, after all" and then step back to that environment (after all Office on the Macs used to be quite bad and is not as up-to-date as on PCs; moreover you cannot install M$-win on a Mac, but you can on an Intel box with linux and, of course, Microsoft knows this!).
    The key point is not wheather we shall get a port of M$-Office, but why and, in my not-so-humble-opinion, the reason we should avoid it like black plague: the thing I hate most about this suite is not its awful overbloated user interface, the fact that it runs snail-pace on all
    machines but the latest P-III just in order to provide the service of a much glorified typewriter (btw: have you ever tryed typesetting maths in WinWord or having multilingual documents where one of the languages was sanskrit or middle egyptian in Word? I did not and I don't want to do that, but if someone can prove me that the final result is better than the one I can get with TeX, I would be very surprised), or the
    fact that it is commercial proprietary software (but this is clearly BAD!), but the fact that it uses some propertary file format (even RTF is propertary): I belive that using a binary format as the standard one for saving all the documents, a binary format that changes
    in incompatible ways from release to release so that people that created a document under WinWord 1.0 (there are still some) on their 286 at
    home and edited it on WinWord 6.0 at the university are not able anymore to read it on their old machine... and installing Word95 in this case is not an option! Some institutions, moreover, like
    French and Italian governments and the EC publish all official documents in the dreadful ".doc" format and require you to send them back your answers using the same encoding, where a SGML one would just be fine.
    Office on Linux would mean Office formats natively supported under linux to their full extent. This would mean also that the pressure from the Linux community in order to scrap those propertary formats would weaken and this actually worries me quite a lot... I would accept Office on linux if and only if M$ were going to release a module for IMPORTING SGML documents (under a given, well defined and open DTD) under all the version of Office they ever released AND make this the default format (hardly possible, but I love asking things like this!)...
  • A theory that I didn't notice as I scanned the comments was that Microsoft will NOT try to develop MS Linux, per se, but will rather try to develop a Microsoft GUI for Linux.

    Microsoft will compete with KDE, GNOME and GNUStep by offering Office only for THEIR Linux GUI. They can make their GUI available for $0, (though NOT open source), maybe set it up to run DirectX applications (it is embrace and extend after all!), and make everybody who wants to run Office on Linux use the proprietary MS Linux GUI.

    By supporting a standard, then providing proprietary modifications to the standard, you can become the de facto standards body.


  • Surely the Talking Moon programmers will have to solve lots of technical problems doing that job but with one of them they will fail:

    I don't believe, that it is possible to port the famous "Blue Screen of Death" to Linux.

    Some have tried (KDE's screensaver programmers for example) but they all failed. No computer running Linux did ever behave like a real Windows box after the Blue Screen appeared.

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.