Open Source

Fork you OpenOffice!


So now we find out that SuSE is forking the OpenOffice suite in order to better interact with MS Office. Hmmm...let me think about this one. Microsoft sees OpenOffice on the rise over the years. OpenOffice becomes more and more accepted. Microsoft buys into Novell. Novell forks OpenOffice into their own version that will support Microsoft's OpenXML standards. This fork, I am sure, will be covered under the "patent agreement" between MS and Novell. What does this do? Well, it could easily slip proprietary code into the currently open code of OpenOffice. With this forking it is possible that that OpenXML standard coding could somehow leak its way into the true OpenOffice and Microsoft would have reason to sue the OpenPants off the open source community.

I don't care how you slice this piece of OpenPie, it's wrong. The idea that Novell would strike up such a deal with Microsoft and not see through the smoke and mirrors is an embarrassment to the open source community. 

Look Novell, Microsoft is playing you like an out of tune violin. And now they are doing everything they can to pull the strings of the open source community...and doing so through a trap door no one thought would ever be opened.

Sure a lot of people thought maybe someday Microsoft would port a version of MS Office over to the Linux OS. It always made sense - open up a market currently closed for business. Many businesses might open up their wallets for a Linux version of Office. But instead MS goes for one of the flagship applications of the OpenSource community...one that stands to take more money from the coffers of MS than any other open source application.

But to what end? What are you planning MS? Why take on OpenOffice like this? And why fork it? Why water down the development of an application outstanding in features and stability?

Why? Because it's Microsoft and Microsoft only does things the Microsoft way. 

This is only a cloud cover for something bigger. Don't trust MS Novell! Don't trust MS open source community. Don't fork up OpenOffice. 

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

8 comments
Jaqui
Jaqui

Novell's Suse is nothing but bloatware anyway. and I don't use OO, it really wants java to run right. and java is broken beyond usability with the multitude of jvms available for it.

stress junkie
stress junkie

EEE is a strategy that I heard Bill Gates say on tv once. The interesting thing to me is that this would not in any way make MS Office more acceptable to the organizations that want to standardize on open document standards. Since they don't appear to be able to benefit by grafting OOo into MS Office then the only other motive that I can think of is embrace, extend, extinguish. That shouldn't create any real problems for Open Office dot org software. The open software movement has forking built into it so there won't be any harm done by making an MS compatible OOo.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

It opens all my old Word and excel files, even very old ones from Word 2 that Office 2003 refuses to open. The problem is that MS refuses to allow Office include the code to open all the other products. The first sign an office type product is dying, is MS's preparedness to allow Office to open it, as they no longer see it as a viable opposition.

stress junkie
stress junkie

Jaqui let me know in another discussion that OOo on Windows can use Microsoft fonts. I don't know if the Linux version can use the TTF fonts that I installed on my computer. One problem which may only affect a few people is that OOo cannot run Microsoft Office macros. I don't know how popular macros are so I cannot assess whether this is a widespread problem or not.

Jaqui
Jaqui

OOo actually has a conversion routine to convert MS' VBS into javascript for macros. I have no idea how effective it is but I know OOo does try to convert the macros. Since I disable javascript in any javascript enabled application before doing anything else, I've never run any macros in OOo.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the fonts in my carried over word documents. As to Macros, that could be a VB issue. I have a lot of older documents, Word 2, Word 6, Excel 4, and Excel 5 that have macros in them, and they work the same in OO as they do in Office 2003. In fact some are better in OO than Office 2003 as Office won't open the Word 2 files at all. However, all these files were made before MS went very heavy on integrating VB itself into the Office range. They use the original Macros command specific to Word and Excel, not the more generic VB commands you use in Office 2003. Also OO does have the capability to make Macros as well, I haven't tried it though. Don't do much with Macros, never did.

Jaqui
Jaqui

actually, I have used OOo to open files in office format for presentations, letters and spreadsheets, so it will open most MS office files. problem is as you stated, OLDER format versions. OOo can't open the newer versions of office files, since they haven't had anyone take the time to figure out the formatting for them I guess.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

(spelling deliberate) as I don't have Office XP. I have plenty of documents created in Word For Windows, Word 2, Word 2a, Word 6, and Word in Office 2003. Same for all versions of Excel up to Office 2003. Open Office opens them all and they work perfectly. MS Office 2003 will not open anything prior to Word 6 or Excel 5 without corrupting the file. So for most people it's more than enough. The problem is that Ms deliberately make changes to force incompatibilities with earlier products to make you buy new ones. I know of one large organisation that has Open Office installed on most machines simply so staff can open the documented archive files, and read them. If they need to be re accessed a bit, they then use OO to re save them in the current Word format for general usage - they are required, by law, to keep the original copies of document file for 7 years beyond the end of the contracts they refer to, many are 10 year long contracts.