IT Employment

Is open source killing developers' ability to cash in?

Many believe open source will be the downfall of software capitalism. Open source is free, and often as good (or better) than a similar proprietary solution. So what is stopping the software market from completely following in this model? Or is it already beginning? Jack Wallen ponders this question.

Today I read an article on Slashdot about a software maker concerned that open source software was causing a "race to zero" (as in the price of software). His problem was that his company produced a piece of software worth $5K one year and, because open source developers were creating the same tools and giving it away, the next year the software was worth $0. This occurrence is becoming more and more common as open source software grows. But what does it mean?

Many pundits predicted long ago that software would some day become free across the board - this included operating systems. Where developers would make their money is -- can you guess? --support. This, of course, may be the case in the enterprise where people need answers fast. But for the individual user, it's not necessarily a viable revenue stream.

So without a lustrous support contract to lean upon, how would companies make budget? If they are giving away their bread and butter, or some one else is giving away a replica of their bread and butter for free; what do they do?

I do not pretend to have all of the answers. I do have one (that answer will come later). But I can say this: Software is going to eventually go the open route. We already have the underpinnings of this laid out for us. We have free browsers, e-mail clients, and office suites for every platform. This forms the foundation of computer usage. And every day a new open source solution for a previously closed-source issue pops up. Take for example OpenChange. OpenChange is an open source replacement for the Exchange Server. And this past week it was announced that Microsoft and Novell are about to release the beta version of Moonlight (the Linux version of Silverlight).

What this all makes me believe is that eventually all software will be free - at least the foundations of software. So you might be able to snag a copy of the Exchange Server software for only the price of bandwidth and a writable disk. But say you need an extra feature or a plugin to handle a particular service? That's where companies stand to make money - it's what the retail industry calls "upselling".

Upselling is one of those areas that the software market never really understood because they were too busy just trying to sell what they had. But the open source community could stand to really remake the software industry by following this model. Red Hat and Novell have already started, in a way, this model. Red Hat helps to develop Fedora to release to the community for free. This helps to gain both interest and favor of those possible enterprise customers. They try Fedora but long for extra, enterprise-level features. Those same customers realize they can get this with Red Hat Enterprise-level operating systems. Extra features! Upselling. Give away your base for free to establish a demand. Once the demand has been established, offer add-on features for a price.

Look at what Codeweavers has done. They played off of the Linux community' need for games and for Microsoft Office. To that end they create a software that will allow Linux users to enjoy the two things they wanted the most: Games and Office. They had them. And now Crossover Games supports over 5,000 titles. But Codeweavers is one-upping everyone. They have a program in place where users can get free copies of their software in return for spreading the word, monitoring forums, and helping to make their code better. Not only does this fill the users' need for software, it fills the business need for bug testing and PR. Smart move.

I think that user-space software, ultimately, is going to be free across the board. Where companies are going to continue making money is in games. Yes, games. Games drive the market now, and they will continue to drive the market. Game design is that which pushes the hardware industry to continue making better and faster hardware. And people will always pay for games (even if they have to pay for another layer of software in order to play those same games on their operating system.)

But I do believe firmly that software will go the open source route. So, in a sense, open source software is killing the developers' ability to make money on their base code. But it doesn't have to kill their ability to make money altogether. Like the market, developers just have to be very flexible and discover newer revenue streams to attach to their product.

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.

69 comments
The Management consultant
The Management consultant

Maybe Itunes could be the best opensource business model which Apple by accident stumbled across. Developers just change your thinking Itunes makes money for Apple!

clarkg
clarkg

Repeating the mantra, "open source is a development model, not a business model". I believe that software NEEDS to be open source, but not necessarily free. If it's free, that's OK too. Developers can make money from sources other than support; for example, they can make money from doing customizations for customers who need them. OWNING the source without having to buy it is a STRONG motivation to have your software customized to be EXACTLY what your enterprise needs it to be.

greg
greg

Software will still be sold, it doesn't matter what Open Source does. It's the business model that counts. As a software developer, development manager I've seen Open Source/Open Standards aid in bringing functionality to market faster - but in the end it obviously cannot be sold, and therefore cannot be the end by design. It's the business model...

juntunen
juntunen

This will create an interesting chain of events that I believe is already happening. Once people/companies (end users, not developers) get used to the idea of "free" software, there is no going back. I can imagine a time when the corporate higher ups will say, "The OS is free and the app is free, why do we have to pay for add-ons/upgrades? Find a solution to our needs that is also free." There will be a scramble between developers to have as many or more free things as the next developer, thus the industry slitting it's own throat. I have seen ordinary end users (the home computer variety) with no idea how much goes into making software, that have no clue why apps are extra. I have personally heard the comment, "I want a computer with ALL the software. Why are you charging for MS Office?" They already don't get the concept.

dgs010243
dgs010243

Everywhere on this planet there are pyramids. There are elites, there are non-elites. The professional developers will co-exist with the non professional developers. The problem is this one: how many professionals still prefer to develop licensed software. What about this near future event: http://www.pli.edu/product/webcast_detail.asp?id=39633 Best regards, prof dr ing Dan Gheorghe Somnea, retired

bus66vw
bus66vw

I know people who will always believe that "You get what you pay for." When I talk to my clients about free software, "I get free software is unsupported. Who do I call when it's broken?" This is then followed by, "With the source code open, it will be more open to hackers and therefore a security risk." As long as fear runs peoples thoughts about open source software, the market for production software is safe.

chris
chris

after having read through this, we see a couple veins of thought. The customize/configure crowd and the build it crowd (Crossover, open office, gimp, etc). It seems that the major projects of the build it crowd have found a way to do it. Making enough money anyway. I wonder if "apps" are going to get more disposable for the middle ground. What I mean is that we don't need another Office Suite, but we might need a quote tool or a customized ordering system. So, it seems like the market might shift, not to "open source" per se, but to custom apps using open source tools/languages.

mwasiel
mwasiel

Not HARD software! Ok, maybe easy software that anybody who can program can write will become completely free, but research-based, heavy on math and signal processing software will never be free because very few people actually have the skill or knowledge to write it. Where is the open source alternative to MATLAB? Not too many free modems out there either.

art
art

I have a friend who develops toll systems for government entities and some international private concerns. They run on Linux. His customers insist on RHEL ??? mostly because it isn't free. Enterprises like dealing with other like enterprises. They can't bring themselves to trust enterprises they don't understand. So his customers would rather pay for RHEL and support than free CentOS and community support. I once read about some Congressman speaking out in favor of stepped up copyright enforcement saying, "you can't compete against free." He was wrong and so are commercial, proprietary developers. Just look at how much money people are making on bottled water!

Rawbit
Rawbit

I think that as the world is being forced, mainly by the US, to turn socialist, this necessarily entails "the government controls the means of production", and they will find an excuse to say that Open Source is hurting the world economy and then make laws to control the Open Source and give government jobs for participating in that development.

Rawbit
Rawbit

I think that as the world is being forced, mainly by the US, to turn socialist, this necessarily entails "the government controls the means of production", and they will find an excuse to say that Open Source is hurting the world economy and then make laws to control the Open Source and give government jobs for participating in that development.

aymen.khan
aymen.khan

I agree with the outcome the article is proposing that open source software will have on the market overall. Another revenue stream potentially for developers is (as broadly covered in the article) is getting contracts on customisation i.e not just providing add ons but gaiing employment contracts to customise software which then leads also on to support

jparshall
jparshall

On a philosophical level, this is something we over here at CodeWeavers are very interested in. We certainly have a strong fundamental belief that open-source is going to profoundly change the software marketplace. Whether that profound change will be *good*, of course, is another matter entirely. :-/ And at a fundamental level, you have to ask yourself: Is what we are doing "good", or is it merely a giant act of business nihilism that's going to implode a very profitable industry? I know the answer Steve Ballmer would give, but I think he has a very different perspective than a lot of folks (like me). Part of me says that what we're witnessing is sort of a modern-day equivalent to the end of, say, the railroad baron age. Only this time it's the software barons that are gonna go down. I just don't think that you're going to see the same level of wealth derived from the software industry as you saw in the 1980s and 1990s. The commoditization of the product is going to eventually prohibit that. And while Microsoft can fight to save their cash cows as long and bitterly as they'd like, in my heart I believe that eventually there's a sort of market reality that says that it's ridiculous to pay *half* the cost of a $400 laptop in the form of the operating system. I don't pay for the OS in my toaster, or my DVD player, or even my iPod, really. Is the MS model sustainable over the long haul? My gut says no. The other thing is, even if I wanted to, I don't think one can stop the change that's overtaking the industry. It's like any other sort of global-scale change. Buggy whip manufacturers couldn't stop the auto age any more than Microsoft can ultimately stop the spread of free software. The reason? Open source is driven by global societal factors that are larger than Microsoft; indeed, larger than most nation-states. Developing nations need software for their populations in much the same way they need roads and sewers. And if the price point doesn't work for them, they're going to get it anyway, even if they have to make it themselves, because 1) they understand that it's a national security imperative for them to do so, 2) they have lots of smart people, and 3) the barriers to entry for effective software development using this model are essentially nil. This means that a large part of this revolution is being driven not by *wealthy* nations, but by *poorer* nations, which is deeply weird from a technology historical perspective. I personally find it fascinating that most of the largest Linux desktop deals aren't going down in places like North America--they're happening in South Africa, Brazil, India, and China. It's truly a new world we live in. As for me, and I think all of CodeWeavers, an acceptance of the inevitability of change (like it or not) means that one has to work hard to find business models that will pay the bills. Thus far, we've been fairly successful surfing out ahead of the wave. No, we're not rich. But we *are* profitable (even after our crazy giveaway last month). Since 2002 we've made it on the basis of purely generated cashflow--no one is funding us but us. I think we can be justifiably proud of that. As for the industry as a whole, and the changes open-source will catalyze, only time will give the complete picture. Thanks for an interesting post, Jack. Cheers, -jon parshall- COO CodeWeavers

Gate keeper
Gate keeper

from that /. post , there is one issue that came up a few times, I am wondering what you take on it is ? This support model incentivizes poor software, because if you make your software too good or too easy to use .. then *poof* there goes your support contracts.

WTRTHS
WTRTHS

For me, the great thing about open source is it can be customized to meet the needs of any situation. Present people with a basic framework, they can then choose to implement it themselves, but also offer enterprise level solutions/support or add-ons for those without the in-house knowledge to fully implement/integrate it themselves. That works for basically any software package. Like you said, up-selling. After all, the average person already has to spend enough money to even get a computer and an internet connection, no need to have them coughing up for "simple" software like writing a letter. Generic solutions for the enterprise are a thing of the past. Learn about the business side, and automation of processes. Analyse case-by-case, and present a customized solution to customers. Make your products scalable, and keep integration with any and all standards in mind for the future. I might be young and inexperienced, but I think that's where it's going. Being just a developer isn't going to cut it any more. And the golden rule: never reinvent the wheel! See what's on the market, and try to see what's not.

j-mart
j-mart

Quality and value for money are two things closed source proprietary software must keep to the fore front if they wish to keep selling their products. Unfortunately with some software offerings these aren't strong points. In my job my primary tools are windows XP 64 bit and Solid Works 2008, these tools are not cheap and run on a new high spec machine to cope with software demands (64 bit to enable more ram than 32 bit XP). Solid Works is up to 4th service pack for the year and in combination with 64 bit winXP this setup feels more "beta" than the 64 bit Debian "testing" and various open source products on my more modest home machine. So in my opinion If you want to keep selling a product the most important thing is quality and value, some closed source products rely on monopolies and no open source equivalent, to keep up sales. If the products manufactured by the company that employs me were of poor quality, and too expensive, we would not stay in business in the long term. As open source becomes more and more significant a factor in software used the closed source product will need to pay much more attention to the "quality and value" side of their products, something some companies have not paid attention to at the present time

jlwallen
jlwallen

to educate the people. when i hear people mention fear of "if the code is open then..." i simply say "the minute a hole is found, that hole is fixed. and that is not so in proprietary software." everything is relative - even in software.

craftamics
craftamics

... look at the open source "cottage industry" that has grown up around enhancing wireless routers to become firewalls and border routers by reprogramming the firmware with tight, concise, open source firmware code. LinxSys even offers one of their routers with extra programmable memory for those that want to experiment or want to use less expensive hardware to protect their small business network. [In comes the open source developer to help the small business set up his specialized router with custom firmware, for a fee of course.]

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

but it's called GNU Octave...... Please don't confuse open source with free as in beer. That isn't what it is about.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I've only heard the word 'modem' in a hardware context. How are you using the word?

pcrx_greg
pcrx_greg

The answer is yes you did pay for the OS in your toaster, DVD player and iPod. They are just not available separately from the hardware. You can't buy an Apple computer without the OS because that is also included in the total price of the machine. Microsoft was actually good for the entire computer business, because it actually brought down the price of computers. Microsoft made Michael Dell and Ted Waitt and a lot of other hardware resellers rich, and made computers a commodity. If IBM hadn't slipped up and let Bill Gates off without a non-compete clause, the average consumer would never have been able to afford a computer because the IBM-compatible PC would have controlled by IBM the way the Mac is controlled by Apple. Unfortunately, the way open source removes incentives to develop closed source software, developers who work hard to develop software are less likely to do so today because of the possibility of being beaten to market by open source or the idea being developed later in open source and killing any chance to make a profit. I know this a capitalist way of thinking, but those who do the work should be rewarded for the work.

jlwallen
jlwallen

it's a double edged sword: you make software too easy and no one needs you. you make software too hard and no one wants it. most companies probably shoot for the middle ground. i guess the best scenario is to create software that, at the root is simple to use but as you get higher up in the feature-set the more difficult it gets. it's like photoshop (or GIMP). anyone can open a file and scale it. but if you start adding layers or doing channel editing, etc you're getting into features that, when needed, users will pay to know how to use.

d.sanders
d.sanders

You may be young and inexperienced but you are dead right. Open source is common in generic tools and in software that techies like to use. Learn the needs of a specific industry and meet them. Forget about the the split between consumer and enterprise level. There are millions of smaller businesses that have specific problems and need to get automated but don't have the skills or desire to build a custom solution.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Generic solutions for the enterprise are a thing of the past. ... present a customized solution to customers." If everybody has a customized application, then users will not have transferable skills. Every new employee will have to be trained from scratch. Generic or 'standard' applications allow employers and employees to share a common skill set.

craftamics
craftamics

... use reprogrammable firmware chips and run specialized microcomputers inside to perform the signal processing to turn the analog telephone line signals into bits for the computer. Yes, one can refer to "modem software". So give the poster 1,000 lashes with a wet noodle for leaving out the word "software". I am, of course, referring to "stand-alone" modems, not Win-modems that (used to, before open-source developers made Linux drivers for them) require Windows to function because the signal processing is done on the PC, not in the modem.

TtfnJohn
TtfnJohn

IBM made the deliberate decision to use an open architecture in the original PC and MS/PC DOS wasn't the only operating system available when it first came out. And CP/M came along pretty quickly after the release as did a couple of UNIX implementations. It certainly wasn't the DOS that made the PC it was the hardware open architecture and, as you say, the clone companies that sprung up very quickly. IBM even made a half hearted attempt to say clones couldn't use a knock off BIOS but lost that one. So it wasn't MS that made Dell, Compaq and the other early clone makers it was IBM's deliberate decision to open up the hardware architecture, unlike Apple's decision with the Mac to close it up. Don't forget that MS, up to the IBM-PC, was a small company that basically sold a BASIC interpreter and didn't even have an OS till IBM came calling. The bought another Seattle software company that had a CP/M knock off and, essentially, rebranded it and licensed it to IBM and it became DOS 1.0. Until the appearance of Win 3.1 MS didn't even have much, if any, influence over the hardware. Certainly not what they have had since Win95. So let's at least get our history right. What made Micheal Dell rich wasn't Microsoft it was IBM's original DELIBERATE decision to open the hardware platform. Kinda like open source hardware, to stretch it a bit. MS wasn't under an exclusive contract to IBM from the start and that was part of that original decision by IBM. We should all be grateful for that. Revisionist, poor history, notwithstanding. ttfn John

chris
chris

Keep in mind that lots of people participate for the express purpose of just doing something good/fun/meaninful/etc. The MS Dev community seems to always have $$$ on the brain whereas the outcasts just like to help other people do something cool. The question is, of course, for those who want to make money, can they? I do in my small web design company. But then I also give stuff away in support forums.

jparshall
jparshall

I actually recognize that there's a cost to the OS for all the above-mentioned items. The material point is that that OS on my toaster doesn't account for 50+% of the cost of the toaster. Likewise, if you look at the cost of a modern 3G phone, the COGs on that unit make it clear that the OS (which is arguably more important to its operation than that of a toaster, indeed is arguably the most important component of the entire unit in terms of its salability) is a relatively minor fraction of the total cost for the unit (disk drive, screen, other components, etc). And this is, frankly, right and proper. Look at it this way: fifteen years ago, when a killer PC cost upwards of $3,000-$4,000 / unit, it wasn't necessarily as offensive to pay %5-7% of that cost in the form of an OS license (setting aside that that price for a copy of Windows also supported a monopoly). But in the context of a commodity product *now* (the "PC"), whose hardware component cost has decreased by factor of 10, shouldn't the OS cost decrease commensurately? Logical answer: yes. Real life answer thus far: no, because Microsoft has worked from a monopoly position to protect that price point, and market economy be damned. Common sense dictates that as overall prices for this commodity product comes down, the OS cost should as well. That's the bigger point. And you can argue all you want about being "rewarded for the work", but the truth of the matter is that in the case of Microsoft, that reward is much less about work than it is about being the very fortunate owner of a monopoly.

garnerl
garnerl

To take the view from the other side: Who's going to legislate the price at which I'm allowed to sell my software? Who gets to decide, if not the developer? I may or may not choose to give away my product or its source, but if I do it's nobody's business but my own.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

When it suits you then, Mr Capitalist. Open source developers compete in the market and they succeed, so therefore it shouldn't be allowed? The PC explosion caused a similar increase in the number of people who were capable of developing software, and the number of tools to do it. It should be extremely obvious, that given this abundance that a high productivity, low quality ethos can only succeed by overt and covert regulation to restrict supply. Given the thrust in your post, you aren't a capitalist, you are a Stalinist. If IBM hadn't slipped up and let Bill Gates off without a non-compete clause = if the closed source boys hadn't tried to tie up the market with copyright mechanisms that allowed the GPL.

roaming
roaming

There were cheaper and better computers before the IBM PC and for while after. The IBM PC was actually quite expensive and it was only the IBM name that sold it. I wonder how much more advanced computers would be by now if it wasn't for the IBM PC.

jparshall
jparshall

Regarding: "most companies probably shoot for the middle ground." In the case of our CrossOver product, that's dead wrong. We aim to make CrossOver, and Wine, absolutely as good as it can possibly be. The problem is that Wine is inherently a very, very difficult technology to develop in, and as a result it has been a very long, arduous process just to make it *this* good (which isn't nearly as good as it needs to be, we know.) So, trust me, we over here at CodeWeavers are certainly not playing some cynical game of deliberately "dialing in" a certain level of crappiness just to get your business. ;-) We know that if the product was better, we'd sell more; full stop. Best Wishes, -jon parshall- COO CodeWeavers

chris
chris

to push to keep the project small. get it done, complete and implemented fully. Then start round too as needed. (just some advice from pain and suffering)

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

Talking about transferrable skills, anyone who is skilled in using Office XP or 2003 will have to relearn how to drive Office 2007; is Microsoft in cahoots with training organizations? Whatever, training is another way of generating income from software. Another new industry might arise - training programmers how to explain their software either in written form or in spoken (teaching) form. It just astonishes me that anyone who can think logically enough to program successfully, can't put together comprehensible sentences. I'm a programmer with a strong interest in writing and language and took over my present job from a guy who delighted in baffling his listeners with technobabble. I've been compared favourably in contrast with him by non-technical employees when they've needed help with the in-house software.

chris
chris

is to take something and change, install and configure it. on a small scale, my web company takes a free eCommerce app (we get it free, we give it free), but we charge to install and configur it (and customize if needed). not massive money mind you, but a cart can be 1500-3000 dollars easy.

WTRTHS
WTRTHS

There's always some training necessary when starting in a new job, nobody can be the top notch from day one. It also depends heavily on the sector the business is in. Some require heavily customized solutions, others can get away with standard office suite. If users can work with an office suite, it should present sufficient basics to train them in the USE of any application. If they come from the same sector, they will probably have used a similar system, and training should go even faster. That's for the end user. For the programmer, part of being a developer is flexibility in learning new frameworks/languages/environments, is it not? Even if you're hired specifically to maintain a high end application in the programming language you're a guru in, that doesn't mean you don't have to learn what the application exactly does, or how it was previously written. That's what you will be doing the first few days in any new job I feel, just inspecting what is in place and how it works without actually touching anything.

fionncreagh
fionncreagh

Employers are not interested in a generic skill set. They want someone with five years experience in a program that was only released last week. I've been in the job market for enough years to know that employers want the Moon while only paying for dirt. This is part of the reason that all our customer support jobs are now in the poorer sections of the Far East. It's time that employers get a clue and realize that training is necessary, and the voc-tech schools and colleges cannot hope to deliver employees that are already trained in the needed skill sets.

alaniane
alaniane

You can see this by the fact that MS Dos 6.22 removed it whereas PC Dos 7 still had the Dosshell. I actually miss the Dosshell; it had a nice feature of allowing you to see a file both in hex/text view.

TtfnJohn
TtfnJohn

The point is that it was the architecture of the original PC that made them popular not MS/PC DOS. It certainly wasn't a tiny, at the time, Microsoft. Yes, MS has become very powerful and influential though I'd argue less from their own "wonderful" software than the missteps and errors of others. Notably such as IBM, Ashton-Tate, Borland, Lotus and others. Still, if you're gonna try to justify MS's place in the computing world through a highly revisionist (read WRONG) history expect to get corrected, right? ;-) ttfn John

TtfnJohn
TtfnJohn

Microchannel pretty much opened the floodgates for companies like Dell to flow into the corporate space because, at a stroke, it tried to make worthless all the cards sitting in the slots. So it died a well deserved death and pretty much did in IBM as a desktop manufacturer at the same time. Thank one ranks with IBMs mishandling of OS/2. Moral: Once you create something that's open it's impossible to close it again. And I remember all that stuff too. Not only that I remember DesqView! I'm pretty sure either the cats or the mice have chewed up all the old disks. Now I gotta go get rid of the gray, get out the powered wheel chair and have a drag race with my neighbour! ttfn John

i.hilliard
i.hilliard

The management at IBM didn't believe that the PC would ever catch on, so decided to fast-track the development using off-the-shelf components. In the end, the first PC was effectively an Intel reference design. As such, any one could use it. Microsoft were happy to sell their OS to anyone who would buy it. Had they not, then some other OS, probably CP/M, would have become the OS of choice for the cloners.

ExcitingMike
ExcitingMike

"IBM made the deliberate decision to use an open architecture in the original PC..." But then they took a big step backwards with the decision develop PS/2 Microchannel. Although ISA was "open architecture" it's legs didn't last long. The MCA path IBM took gave life to the less expensive EISA, VESA, VL platform implementations from the clone makers like Compaq, HP, Acer, Micron, Dell, etc. It was a protectionist-like move similar to the Apple but PS/2's were slow, clunky, and although you could drop one from a 10 story building then fire it right back up, no one made "race parts" for them. Also, don't forget, before Win 3.1 there was, if you remember this, Windows/286, Windows/386, and who can forget the good old DosShell (ver. 5.0?). I still have the diskettes for all of these in a box somewhere! MAN do I feel old.

TtfnJohn
TtfnJohn

Poser would run so much better on a reliable OS like Linux than it does on Windows! ttfn John

Jaqui
Jaqui

the adoption by business, at least in North America, won't happen until after open source operating systems are popular by the home user. that means the games and hobbyist 3d apps. literally, the online communities for Poser and Rhino are frquently complaining that if these apps would run under linux they would dump windows in a second. Renderosity's membership is around 250,000. with an average of 1,000 online at any given moment. It's the largest "Poser Community" site of them all.

craftamics
craftamics

There are formatting translation issues when the document gets complicated such as a "master document/subdocument" software documentation project. This occurs frequently in large projects where the documentation writers work with the developer specialists on the various sections of the "manual" and combine them in one large document using the "master document/subdocument" process. This introduces enough file format complexity that Open Office does not always produce documents that render in Microsoft Office the way the writers intended. It's better now than it used to be, but unless the European Union is successful in getting Microsoft to cause its own software to honor the file formats and APIs that Microsoft told the EU they were using, OpenOffice has no hope.

chris
chris

that might work :-) I wish. I can't even get my family to take the leap to all linux. and being that I have to live with my wife, she gets quickbooks :-)

jparshall
jparshall

Regarding: "who needs the office suite from MS with 6 other office suites that run natively? no one." Sorry, but that's just dead wrong. If you are a Mac or Linux user, and you want to be a drone in corporate America, in many, many cases you will be *required* to be able to make nice with an Exchange server somewhere, so you can get your calendar notices and email and all that good stuff--just like all the other good little drones. If you don't have Outlook, you essentially don't exist. And the IT departments there will pat you nicely on the head and tell you to get PineMail or Entourage or whatever the hell screwy app you have the hell out of their supported application space, thank you very much. And they will tell you to come back with a PC with Outlook on it just like the other drones, so that they can support you. And you won't have a damned bit of choice in the matter, because you are (by definition) a drone. As a result, we sell a *lot* of copies of CrossOver strictly so that folks can run Outlook in a corporate space. We also sell a *lot* of copies of CrossOver to people that *have* to run Internet Explorer, because they have some horrible corporate intranet that can only be accessed via IE. Ditto many of the real-estate MLS sites that are out there. Also, please note that our supported application set in many cases does include applications that Mac users may not "need," or Linux users may not "need," but that members of the other user community may. For instance, do Mac users need our support of Adobe apps? Nope. But many Linux users like those apps, and they won't run Gimp. Disney and Dreamworks are both examples of that--they have a corporate graphics toolset that *everybody* uses, and they want folks to run *those* tools, not the open-source equivalents. Finally, regarding AutoCAD, I totally agree with you. We know that's a big whole in our supported space. And yes, while .Net support is getting better under Wine, it isn't all the way there yet. Likewise, AutoCAD is a *big*, *complex* application that would take a lot of work to support. As a former CAD operator, though, I'd love to have it run. Suffice to say that AutoCAD is on our radar screen, but we have so many other things to work on, and it's such a daunting task, that we've never really mustered the courage to deal with that. Cheers, -jon-

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The problems occur when I open Office-created files, not when I save them. We have several customer-developed Word forms, and the use of their templates is often mandatory. Some of them won't open properly outside of Word. The formatting changes, the box lines shift, the fonts change, etc. I can save them and the customer will get what I saved, but since they aren't opening correctly to begin with the saved file is useless.

Gate keeper
Gate keeper

openoffice can save in ms office format such as .Doc and .DOCX .. .ODF is only the default file format but can be changed. so a customer would be none the wiser how you created your file if he/she is able to open it in ms office app

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"who needs the office suite from MS with 6 other office suites that run natively?" If my customer mandates I turn over documentation he can open in a specific application, I need to know that the file I give him will open in that app exactly as I created it. Right now, the only way to guarantee my Office-using customer gets what I intended and what he mandates is to use Office to create the file.

Jaqui
Jaqui

It's not the quality of the product that stops me from using Wine or buying Crossover Office, it's the silly thing of supporting apps there are multiple options for and not supporting apps there are NO real viable options for. who needs the office suite from MS with 6 other office suites that run natively? no one. who needs a 3D modeling and animation tool to run under Wine/Crossover office? anyone who uses them in windows and wants to dump windows. get, Rhinoceros, 3D Studio Max, Poser, Lightwave, ... running on Linux using your products, I'll point you at 400,000 customers. edit to add: and we won't see large scale adoption on the desktop in the "developed" countries until the less common and more expensive software has viable options for linux, or works with wine / crossover office. [ Autocad needs either competition or to run under wine / crossover office [ though the .net support needed throws another spanner in the works for Autocad ]]

jlwallen
jlwallen

i was actually referring to the companies that make desktop software such as Office and Photoshop. i think Crossover is a fine product that has to shoot for the higher end because, if their product doesn't work spot on the software it is trying to bridge certainly won't work.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It's always good when we can attract the attention of someone with a key role in a product we're discussing. Thanks for the insight.