Open Source

IBM joins OpenOffice.org community


IBM joins OpenOfficeIBM will be joining the OpenOffice.org community in a move that will see Big Blue making code contributions and also leveraging some of the OpenOffice technologies in its products.

A quote from the press release at OpenOffice.org:

"We look forward to working with IBM and the other members of OpenOffice.org to ensure that this momentum continues. We invite others to join us in the community and participate in building the future as OpenOffice.org and ODF continue to gain popularity across the planet,” said Rich Green, Executive Vice President, Software at Sun Microsystems, Inc.

OpenOffice.org was founded by Sun Microsystems and has been a major purveyor of the Open Document Format (ODF). In addition, OpenOffice supports PDF documents.

It is interesting to note that it was only last month that Google shipped StarOffice (developed on the same code base as that of OpenOffice) along with the Google Pack.

IBM's backing to OpenOffice.org can be seen as pitting OpenOffice against Microsoft's Office suite products. Until now, OpenOffice has never challenged Microsoft Office's share in the enterprise. Is this the beginning of the end of Microsoft Office's dominance?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stay on top of the latest tech news

Get this news story and many more by subscribing to our free IT News Digest newsletter, delivered each weekday. Automatically sign up today!

29 comments
albert
albert

Does IBM plan to use the same programmers responsible for Lotus Notes? Man, oh man! I hate Lotus Notes! Notes is a prime example of one of the main reasons in David Platt's book, "Why software sucks" -- The programmer doesn't know the software's user. We'll see how this pans out. But, I'm very skeptical.

DanLM
DanLM

IBM backs open-source Web software http://news.com.com/2100-7344_3-5589559.html IBM Contributes Medical Records Software to Open Source http://www.itjungle.com/fhs/fhs08106-story08.html IBM Contributes Open Source Code to Make FireFox Browser More Accessible http://www.dnzone.com/ShowDetail.asp?NewsId=1596 IBM Contributes Ajax Software Development Technology to Open Source Community http://ajax.phpmagazine.net/2006/06/ibm_contributes_ajax_software.html IBM Contributes 500 U.S. Patents to Open Source http://xml.coverpages.org/IBM-OSPatents.html Ever think IBM thinks it's in EVERYONES best interest that they help open source? The examples I have given have been all across the board in area's of technology. No matter if you lie IBM or not, IBM is still a giant company that makes just as big of foot steps as anyone else when it comes to software advancement. I think it's great that they are contributing. And no matter what you think, there ARE people that do like lotus. Just like I hate PHP, and IBM has contributed to that. What can I say, take it for what it is. A great benefit to the open source community that will do nothing but advance its cause's, not hinder them. Dan

ByteBin-20472379147970077837000261110898
ByteBin-20472379147970077837000261110898

I replaced the Microsoft Office trial on my Lenovo T61 and installed Open Office. :) That's like the FIRST thing I did after backing up the hard drive and creating a restoration disc.

apotheon
apotheon

Next stop . . . PC-BSD? I'm just curious.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

I doubt it will be tomorrow, but maybe a few years from now :)

apotheon
apotheon

Actually, I was commenting on what the previous poster was going to do with his/her computer, not with the general state of the world's computers. I can see how the miscommunication happened, though. In any case -- yeah, obviously the OS market isn't going to be shaken up that quickly. Hope springs eternal, though.

jdclyde
jdclyde

There have always been many things that 123 did better than Excel. I always wished that 123 and wordperfect would have joined in a suite instead of letting their petty egos get in the way, making them both irrelevant. If the two would have joined forces when the office suites first started coming out, MS office would never have stood a chance.

GreyTech
GreyTech

It is like saying that if Visicorp (Visicalc) had joined up with Micropro (Wordstar) and perhaps Ashton Tate (Dbase) might have joined the party then Lotus (123) and Sentinel Software (Word Perfect) would not have got out of the starting blocks. Just as Betamax would naturally have won over VHS. All these situations depend on the strength of marketing in the current sociological climate.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Lotus 123 and Wordperfect were the standards of the day. It took a few YEARS before corporate America made the jump to MS Office.

GreyTech
GreyTech

Visicalc, Wordstar and DBase were standards that took nearly 10 years to displace. Perhaps if they had joined forces then 123 and Word Perfect may not have become the dominant products. I think not. They were overtaken by a more powerful marketing machine not technically superior products.

sarki32
sarki32

i beleive that verybody joins everybody Message was edited by: beth.blakely@...

GreyTech
GreyTech

MS can very easily add ODF to Office 2007 if it thinks it is going to start loosing enterprise business. I am sure that MS is not concerned at loosing home users and even small business, despite them being 50% of the installed PC. The reason is they are unsupportable. Enterprise customers are supportable through their own infrastructure.

DanLM
DanLM

And thats what they get is open office. There is no document they can't view, so why not? I don't think consumers really give a yuk what they use, as long as it allows them to see every document mom/dad/sister/brother sends to them. If you get a major push by someone like IBM, the product just became more visible. That's the only thing that is really holding Open Office back. Visibility. Will companies change over to open office? Not in a short term, or even seeable distance. They have too many documents already in Microsoft format. They will not take the chance of their documents not appearing correctly because of the conversion between products. And I can't blame them. But, home users now. That is a completely different story. Whats to stop dell, Compaq, hp, or other manufactures from shipping new pc's with Open office? It doesn't cost them anything, and the consumer gets a full office product. Again, you now have a big name involved that makes other companies take notice. Hell, Dell already builds Linux pc's. Whats to stop them from shipping Windows pc's with open office instead of scaled down Microsoft office products if it makes it more attractive to the home buyer? Think about this. Dell offers a full office package(Open Office) on their web site for free, and then offers MicroSoft Office scaled down package for 200 dollars on any new p.c. purchase. What do you think the tight budgeted home user is going to chose? Especially if dell provides some type of informational stating Microsoft products(Word, excel, Access(?)) can be opened, viewed, and changed with this product. Dan

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

Ok, I just had to comment on this line Dan. What is stopping this, mostly, $$$. Yes, money is still a factor, if MS is lowering the cost of Win to these companies to throw on a 30 day trial of MS Office, they will do it. If MS is paying them a small amount to have these trials, they will do it. OO may be free for them to install, and may not be a bad thing for the users, but they arent getting paid to have it installed on their systems, or tested with their products.

GreyTech
GreyTech

because they would not take any notice of my request not to install any demo software. It was costing my clients an extra hour per PC for me to uninstall demo junk so I could install the corporate standards. It seems that MS may be not doing large PC builders any favours by paying them to put demos on.

foringmar
foringmar

Open Office can read pretty much everything produced with MS Word, Excel or Powerpoint. Up till the next version of Microsoft Office. For a long time I had a word document that OO could open, but not preserv the page layout. From OO ver 2.0 OO could do that too. That's when I ditched MSO. And there are offcourse Wordviewer, Excelviewer and PPviewer that MS still let's You download for free???

mrpjb
mrpjb

Open Office's ability to open, save, and create new MS Office file types (doc, xls, ppt) and export files to Adobe's PDF format makes it very attractive in that respect alone. Plus the price ($0), very similar layout, AND that Open Office most likely will not 'move forward' and mess up a good thing like MS did with Office 2007 (ugh, what a mess!) make this product worth looking at. Download Open Office 2.0.x today and check it out!

keeleyt83
keeleyt83

I've had some trouble opening word docs and powerpoint presentations, but only on occasion. So what I do is have ms word and powerpoint viewers installed as my default viewer and oo as my editing tool. It also helps cut down on the atrocious load time that oo has.

gob3939
gob3939

oo2.0 didn't suit my need for series fills in the spreadsheet but version 2.2 fixed it. For vanilla documentation and spreadsheets I can't justify having my customers put MSO on a Server just for me to use in remote support of their systems. The object of open source is to improve the product, not make it incompatable.

Lei Fan
Lei Fan

Well, Office 2007 suite is much more than a stand-alone product,with the integration with Sharepoint server, Groove, InfoPath, Project Server, it really build a new world of business. OpenOffice I mean, it is Ok for individual use, NOt sure if it fits in large corp.

ina_don
ina_don

I think its not about OOo now... Its about what bringing IBM in play will do. IBM rules in most corporate settings and because of their sheer size, their involvement and possibly shipping of the product will make the topdogs(CEOs, CIOs...) in many corps look up and try to find out why. And IBM might want to add features to support its Communication Suites which are also very big.

compsale
compsale

Microsoft Officew has never really been that good, ever, just that it had an aggressive marketing campaign that always made it sound good. Open Office is another of the better ones with the advantages of that it is free and it has a genuine world wide support. Give me Open Office for all office usages over Microsoft any day. Maybe Microsoft could learn how to actually write software. It is good for all levels and, above all, it has the Open Document Format.

donaldcoe
donaldcoe

It is my belief that maybe a few will jump ship into shark infested waters, but majority of Main Line Office users do not like unwarranted change for the sake of change and will not at this stage give up having the ability to control their personal creations. Most should remember that this new Office requires an Internet connection to the Microsoft server to at least open your base application, even if you?ve save the efforts of your labor to your hard disk drive. My memories not so long ago a colleague of mine whom loved his Word Perfect on his home PC, he had been given a special task to produce a important presentation after hours of dedication it was finished, but he had neglected to save the work into a format that our Microsoft Office version standards of work required. In those days no one had or were allowed to install an alternative office application on a work PC, but the having of access to both Word Perfect and MS Office application products and a vacant recently repaired workstation his good friends and colleagues saved the day . Having that element of control when network connectivity is hampered makes good sense, also many of the user public always worry that BIG Brother and the All Seeing EYE need not be given the FREE PASS of ultimate control. I for one will keep my separate Office application for now.

noelrobichaud
noelrobichaud

90% of MS Office users, even in the corporate environment, do not need or are even capable of using all of its bloating features. With the advent of Web App companies like zoho.com, who needs to have a full 65GB install of an office suite that requires proper shares accross a network for it work properly, when all you need is a person's email address to share with them. Xerox have had a great solution in place for years in their Docushare product; it's a forum/subscription based file sharing portal backend/frontend like sharepoint, before sharepoint was sharepoint. Open Office has a chance to do things right, whenever they choose. They are not feature complete, and they accept code contributions. What more could ask for?

SpeedKreature
SpeedKreature

more for what it's about than what it can do. That being said, MS Office 2007 has considerably more functionality. The step IBM has taken is a good one for IBM, Sun, and the OpenOffice.org community, however it is going to take more than a partnership to make OOo a valid competitor of MS's offerings. Especially when one considers that most of IBM's software, common features even, has obfuscated functionality. As for Office 2007...I love it. It took a little bit to get used to the new layout, but now that I have adjusted I can move around the suite MUCH faster...not to mention that I am now addicted to OneNote. People, especially businesses, want integration. If OpenOffice.org were to get with the Evolution team (and the Evolution team were to fix things like recurring tasks, and IMAP performance), it would have a good shot. Hell, I'd use it instead of having worked so hard to get Office 2007 working on my Ubuntu box (which I completely adore, btw). The current file format for OOo is really wonderful, though I haven't yet put Microsoft's new format through it's paces yet, so I don't really have a solid comparison. Open source software has become strong in the last few years. The open source community needs to bond together instead of creating a four or five variants to apps similar to OneNote (for example), consolidate them to two or three. I understand the need for diversity, but some of these projects have great ideas that are poorly executed and so they remain obscure. Office is the last solid frontier for Microsoft. If Microsoft made a version of Office for Linux, you'd see a lot more PC's with Linux pre-installed, because users would be more inclined to buy them. Once businesses can adopt an alternative office suite which will offer all the same ability, there will be an incentive for them to switch--especially if it doesn't cost them as much as Microsoft's offers to do so. I know our business would be willing to pay a few hundred for an alternative to the edition of Microsoft Office 2007 we are running. My conclusion is that this partnership is not going to make OpenOffice.org a 1-1 competitor with Microsoft Office, but it is a step in the right direction. There is still much to do.

jtbowerse
jtbowerse

"If Microsoft made a version of Office for Linux, you'd see a lot more PC's with Linux pre-installed" ROFLMAO I know you meant this hypothetically, but it just really made me laugh! ;-)

greg
greg

Just by automatically being set up to save files in MS format. Many users just don't understand how to do that simple task and they end up with docs etc. that MS users can't open.

StephenInScotland
StephenInScotland

At home I use OpenOffice almost exclusively. The exception is when I want to use a spreadsheet with all my addressees in it to print out address labels. Then I go to Excel & Word. OpenOffice mail merge is crap in comparison. If you have missing address lines then trying to stop OpenOffice printing a blank line in the middle of the address is a nasty problem. In Word its one click of the mouse. And if you want to code macros for your users or interface your C# programs into the object model I know which Office Suite I want to be doing this against. OpenOffice has a long way to go before it will displace MS Office in big organisations.

DanLM
DanLM

Not for corporations, but home user? Especially if it was offered as pre-install by pc manufacturers for free? Open office could make some major in rodes right there. Dan

Editor's Picks