EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


OpenOffice Novell Edition… for… Windows?!?!

Posted in Novell, Office Suites, OpenOffice, Windows at 6:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We choose not to comment on this news, but you be the judge, based on the following gist:

Features in the Novell Edition

Let’s consider a couple of the features that you get in the Novell Edition but are not likely to have been integrated into upstream OOo yet:

  • Excel VBA Macro execution
  • Performance improvements
  • AGFA fonts
  • Better Bullets (now in upstream OOo)
  • Simple Solver
  • GroupWise integration

Why a Windows Version?

If Novell is so interested in the success of Linux, then why would they produce a Windows edition of OpenOffice.org? Isn’t that a contradiction?


Let us not forget the controversial inclusion of Open XML.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    March 14, 2007 at 8:49 am


    That was expected, and one of the reasons why Microsoft inked a deal with Novell.

    In a nutshell,

    - Microsoft claims VBA and 15 years of other legacy stuff is not part of OOXML. Yet, that does not stop them from making contradicting statements such as “100% backwards compatible documents” in OOXML.

    - Microsoft’s XML covenant not to sue does not apply to anything not documented in OOXML. Such as VBA macros. Therefore any non-Microsoft party implementing this stuff is liable.

    - Novell, magically ships support for VBA macros (that’s a claim, it remains to be seen what it means in practice), and sure enough they are going as far as shipping a Windows-only version of their own OpenOffice branch. One of the reasons they ship a Windows-only version I believe is because VBA macros can include import statements of WIN32/OLE/DLL libraries, therefore in the general case the run-time requires Windows.

    - Novell is not sued for that infringement because it inked the evil pact with Microsoft.

    - By doing so, Novell ships a bastardized version of OpenOffice that loses cross-platform capabilities, and potentially long term commitment to stability/reliability/openness, by far the greatest asset of the whole thing.

    Conclusion : Novell is just a Trojan horse against OpenOffice.

    Action item : forbid OpenOffice branch changes coming from Novell.

  2. shane said,

    March 14, 2007 at 9:23 am


    Yup. Office is their real cash cow. Remember, Sun has a deal with MS too for OOO protection.

    I also agree that the VBA support is much more ominous than even the OOXML, like you said there is no covenant for VBA (not even a hopelessly vague and flawed one), and is clearly only being included under license from MS.

  3. Ted Haeger said,

    March 14, 2007 at 10:09 am


    First, to Roy:
    You choose note to comment, but you did copy and modify text from my blog as though I stated something inherently negative in it. Perhaps you missed the point: all these features were originally developed for release in SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. They are now available on both Linux and Windows. So, what then is the issue?

    Second to Stephanie:
    >”Novell, magically ships support for VBA macros…”
    Magically? Noel Power worked on this for months prior to Novell shipping SUSE Linux Enterprise 10.
    >”…(that’s a claim, it remains to be seen what it means in practice)…”
    No it doesn’t. The software is released in both openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. That means that it has already been seen.
    >”,,,and sure enough they are going as far as shipping a Windows-only version of their own OpenOffice branch.”
    This is such a vapid statement. We released the Linux version in SLE10 in July 2006. The Windows version that I note in my blog is from the same codebase. It’s no more “Windows-only” than the version you would get from the OpenOffice.org website.
    “…a bastardized version of OpenOffice that loses cross-platform capabilities…”
    Stephanie, please consider reading just a bit before penning such acrimonious babble. This fully cross-platform “Novell Edition” that you call a “bastardized version” is now included in non-Novell Linux distributions. Your reactionary statement indicates that you did not read the original blog post. That smacks of the damn-the-facts approach of pundits like Limbaugh, Hannity and O’Reilly.

    Lastly to Shane:
    “…and {VBA Macro support] is clearly only being included under license from MS.”
    Your assertion is false. We released that code long before we inked the deal with Microsoft.

    Overall, if you have a gripe with Novell, misinformation and sensationalism is not the path to making your complaint heard by Novell, by Microsoft, or by the large contingency of rational-thinking people in the free and open source software community. Can we please have a better quality of debate?


  4. shane said,

    March 14, 2007 at 10:15 am


    Thanks for stopping by rev, feel free to make the details of your deal with MS public and perhaps I will be proven wrong, on everything. I’d be fine with that.

  5. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    March 14, 2007 at 11:56 am



    I can go on point by point on what you replied, but it seems to me you missed the overall picture my comment was about : why only Novell is shipping this ; why the timing is so peculiar.

  6. Stephen said,

    March 14, 2007 at 12:04 pm


    Hardly suspicious timing given that next week Novell will host Brainshare. It’s perfect timing really! The deal was announced MONTHS ago. The work Novell have been doing in OOo goes much further back.

    Anyway, since 90%+ of real users in real offices use Microsoft Windows (unfortunately). Surely moving them to OpenOffice is a smart way to show them how damned good opensource has become? Gaim runs on Windows, as does Ekiga and a plethora of others. So if other communities have seen this as a sensible delivery vehicle, why can’t you?

  7. Ian said,

    March 14, 2007 at 12:28 pm


    Don’t forget the idea that Novell can support OO.org easier with their own build. Real business wants real support. Does the OO.org community have a 1-800 number I can call up in a worst case scenario? Moreover, it’s a tough sell to dump Microsoft all together. Since there is no MS Office for linux, there needs to be an OO.org(with proper corporate support and licensing tie-ins) to allow for a staged move away from Microsoft. This helps.

  8. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    March 14, 2007 at 1:25 pm



    Don’t fall on the easy trap.

    Do you know the cost of the VBA license (what a third-party has to pay to Microsoft in order to use the run-time legally) ? And the license is binding : to my knowledge there is no sub-licensing.


    The question is simple : did Novell pay that? If they did not, what have they traded in exchange?

  9. Ian said,

    March 14, 2007 at 2:02 pm


    I’m not sure. Maybe the same price samba paid to use Microsoft compatible SMB/CIFS integration?

  10. shane said,

    March 14, 2007 at 2:29 pm


    No, it’s what royalty did Novell agree to pay for their distributing Samba using SMB/CIFS? That Samba was somehow needing of patent licensing from MS was one of the clear implications of this deal, and the Samba team denounced it.

    “Under the patent agreement, customers will receive coverage for Mono, Samba, and OpenOffice, as well as .NET and Windows Server.”

  11. Ian said,

    March 14, 2007 at 3:45 pm


    Since we can only infer what the patent agreement ultimately means, whether it’s an admission of guilt or merely a way to make customers feel warm and fuzzy, I can only say this.; I’m willing to bet a majority of “Novell shops” lean on NCP more than Samba. Samba, while very useful and a great project, doesn’t exactly make or break Novell while NCP still trumps customers mind share.

  12. Chris Cox said,

    March 14, 2007 at 3:50 pm


    I find it all very irritating. Novell pushing GPL’d software for Windows?? What are they thinking? And wanting to support Microsoft’s formats inside of OpenOffice… sheesh…

    I’m thankful for this site and all the rest that are striving to make sure that Windows and Linux don’t work together. And I’m sure Microsoft appreciates any attempts to thwart Novell’s OOo for Windows effort.

  13. shane said,

    March 14, 2007 at 7:20 pm


    I’m all for Free Software available on any platform, just not when you’re a company that worked out a patent deal to your sole benefit and in violation of the GPL, while enabling a monopolist to further their agenda.

    I’m funny like that.

  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 14, 2007 at 9:01 pm


    @ Ted:

    You choose note to comment, but you did copy and modify text from my blog as though I stated something inherently negative in it. Perhaps you missed the point: all these features were originally developed for release in SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. They are now available on both Linux and Windows. So, what then is the issue?

    I chose not to comment because I do not want to offend. I still try to set apart individuals from a more cohesive set of executives (AKA “Novell”, the company). The modifications I made were intended to make the quotes shorter and more ‘compressed’ (I thought about adding a note to indicate this and my negligence was inexcusable, in hindsight, so I appreciate your correction).

    My issue is two-fold:

    1. Why does Novell join Microsoft in press releases which say that Windows is cheaper? Novell knows this is false. What about “intellectual property”? Didn’t Novell say it was irrelevant?

    2. Why doesn’t Novell urge Microsoft to port Microsoft Office to Linux? It goes both ways, you know. Stuart Cohen said it was inevitable, but he was pressured out of OSDL for supporting (or giving his blessings to) the Novell deal.

    I have many other issues, such as Novell’s backing of OOXML. It is a format which governments do not consider acceptable. If the ZDNet article is anything to judge by, Novell is gradually becoming Microsoft’s b*tch. I have seen this happening with H-P, with Dell, with Corel, with Sybase, and with Palm. Why does Novell think that it can escape the cycle of betrayal? I cannot believe the deal was signed without an executive receiving some personal benefits. It’s a death knell. Wall Street sees this, the Linux community sees this and — quite evidently — some Novell employees who depart can see it as well. And I used to love Novell.

  15. Ian said,

    March 15, 2007 at 7:24 am



    “just not when you’re a company that worked out a patent deal to your sole benefit and in violation of the GPL”

    There has been no legal violation. The only violation could be the spirit of the GPL and even that is subjective at best.


    “And I used to love Novell.”

    That’s a problem. You put your love in a business. Businesses make business decisions, even if they’re not popular. I don’t care what company you follow, love, work for, whatever; eventually they are going to do something you don’t like or agree with.

  16. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 15, 2007 at 7:37 am


    @ Ian

    Relying on a business emotionally is usually a bad idea; alas, it’s worse when a business chooses to make a suicidal move. It’s painful to watch. I suspect that someone was getting paid for this. And it wasn’t just Novell.

  17. Lars Marowsky-Bree said,

    March 15, 2007 at 5:08 pm


    Novell did not join MS in saying that Windows is cheaper. Said customer merely stated that supporting several distributions is more expensive than Windows, which is likely true and why they are consolidating on one. Makes perfect sense to me.

    We don’t care whether MS ports their Office to Linux or not. We believe in Open Source, and OpenOffice. Just like FireFox on Windows, I believe this will help increase confidence in Open Source and enable a gradual migration to more open platforms.

  18. shane said,

    March 15, 2007 at 11:28 pm


    Um, Hovsepian said that Office and the Visual Studios were indeed things that he wanted to get onto (SUSE) Linux, but couldn’t get them included:

    What about things that were discussed that didn’t make the cut?

    One that we were very interested in would be running some of their toolsets on our Linux platform — Visual Studio and other toolsets. That one didn’t make the cut.

    Was the perennial question of a version of Microsoft Office for Linux discussed?

    Yes, that was one of the ‘toolsets’ I referred to. That one didn’t make the cut, either. As an executive, I understand that they’re protecting their franchise, and I’m respectful of that.

  19. Danny said,

    August 24, 2007 at 7:19 pm


    I just installed OpenOffice.org Novell Edition 2.1 on my personal machine. So far it’s working just fine. I was able to open documents I created with MS Office 2003 fine (with the occasional errors in layout and formatting). Sadly the ooxml filter opens just docx files. Hopefully they’d make it work with xlsx and pptx. Then I can recommend it for use in our IT department.

  20. Shauryadutt Sisodia said,

    March 12, 2008 at 5:54 am


    Can any one me the License Costs and costs involved in maintanance of Novell OpenOffice?? Although it might be overshadowing Microsoft in deployment costs but i am sure it must involving many hidden costs in maintenance and upgrdation.

What Else is New

  1. Open Letter Exposing the Farce Which Was Battistelli's 'Social Conference' Coinciding With Further (New) Attacks on EPO Staff Representatives

    A detailed letter reveals legitimate concerns expressed by staff representatives at the EPO ahead of the so-called Social Conference, in which we have highlighted severe factual flaws

  2. Translation of Latest Rant From French MP Philip Cordery About Benoît Battistelli's Abuses at the EPO

    Philip Cordery crosses horns with Benoît Battistelli, who has become a source of embarrassment for France with his autocratic tendencies and misguided policies that rapidly ruin the European Patent Office (EPO)

  3. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Leaked Document Shows PwC's Dishonesty and Misrepresentation of EPO Staff

    An in-depth analysis (but not comprehensive, just preliminary) of the so-called 'study' from PwC, which basically did what it was paid for (pay to say)

  4. Links 22/10/2016: Deus Ex for GNU/Linux, Global DDoS (DNS)

    Links for the day

  5. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Survey Comparison Shows Serious Deterioration and Efforts by PwC to Disguise the Truth

    The latest output from PwC turns out to be even worse than initially thought, indicating that not only did it find a degradation in the EPO but also attempted to hide/obscure it

  6. EPO Teaser - The "Iberian Connection" - Some Photos of García-Escudero and His Royal/Government Connections

    A look at the undeniably close connections between Mr. García-Escudero and the most powerful people in Spain

  7. Disruption to Site's Service

    A technical note about why Techrights has not been publishing many articles recently

  8. Links 21/10/2016: MPV 0.21, Mad Max for GNU/Linux

    Links for the day

  9. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's High Five

    Another cartoon about the sad state of the EPO

  10. Battistelli Ruins Not Only the EPO But Also the Whole of Europe By Ushering in Software Patents That Patent Trolls Love So Much

    Battistelli's bad leadership at the EPO threatens to bring to Europe all the ills and menaces of the patent system in the United States

  11. EPO Spokesman Lies to IP Watch in Order to Save Face and Save the King (Battistelli)

    Rewriting history (revisionism) regarding Battistelli and what was demanded amidst abusive behaviour from him

  12. Unitary Patent (UPC) is Dead, But 'Managing IP' and Selfish Patent Law Firms Still Try to Resurrect It

    The latest attempts to shore up the Unitary (or Unified) Patent Court and who's behind it other than the usual suspects

  13. Links 20/10/2016: Linux 4.10 Preview, ONF and ON.Labs to Merge

    Links for the day

  14. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC 'Study': The Raw Outcome Shows Distortion of the Facts at the EPO's Notorious 'Social Conference'

    Results of the Staff Survey carried out by PwC, in order to provide some propaganda for Battistelli's expensive Social Conference

  15. Addendum: EPO's Alberto Casado Cerviño, WIPO's Francis Gurry, and EUIPO's Archambeau

    Photos taken as part of an IP event which took place in Riga (Latvia) in March 2015

  16. Worrisome Connections Between EPO VP2 Alberto Casado Cerviño and Patricia García-Escudero Márquez

    Exploring the potential conflicts of interests implicating the EPO's Boards of Appeal Committee

  17. Site's Infrastructure Under Attack and Upgrades Ahead of Major New Publications

    Protections for the Web site have been improved and capacity increased in order to avoid or at least prepare for another week of abusive/spam traffic

  18. Team Battistelli's Conspiracy Theory: SUEPO is Behind Everything, EPO Management is Trying to Tell the Media

    Attempts to blame SUEPO, the staff union of the EPO, even though SUEPO has nothing to do with articles that are critical of the EPO while many thousands of EPO employees are disgruntled

  19. Links 19/10/2016: Canonical Livepatch Service, Plasma Plans

    Links for the day

  20. The 'Sarah Sharps' of Microsoft: Not the Kind of Scandal the Media Cares Enough to Write About

    Another example of the large (industrial) scale of sexual discrimination at Microsoft -- a company that tries to advertise itself as diverse or tolerant and stigmatise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) as intolerant and/or not diverse

  21. EPO Caricature: EQE Questions

    The latest EPO cartoon, this time about European qualifying examination (EQE)

  22. The Long History or Seeds of Control by Fear and Punishment at the EPO

    The latest hogwash from Team Battistelli (Pinocchio), the latest instance of software patents promotion by EPO Principal Director, and an old (decade-old) nugget of information from the Forum for Principal Directors

  23. Subject of the European Patent Office's Abuses Raised in European Parliament by Ulrike Müller (ALDE)

    A local copy of a bunch of questions asked less than a month ago by Ulrike Müller at the European Parliament, regarding the unacceptable state of affairs at the European Patent Office (EPO)

  24. French Article About the EPO "Crisis"

    Le Monde, which covered EPO suicides and nervous breakdowns a year and a half ago, revisits the subject

  25. Battistelli Wants Us to Believe a Patent Office in a Freefall (EPO) is “Stronger and More Sustainable”

    Still in denial (or self-deluding for self indulgence), Battistelli writes about the EPO as though everything is rosy and people are happy

  26. Leaked Documents Shed More Light on What Happened to Alison Brimelow and How Battistelli Rose to Power

    How Battistelli's (almost) all-male (and all-white, mostly French) management came into being, not too long after Ms Alison Brimelow got elbowed out the Office

  27. Leaked: Outcomes of 149th Administrative Council's Meeting at the European Patent Organisation

    The raw details or a summary thereof, based on the above which serves to confirm what we wrote about several days ago, right after the quarterly meeting had ended

  28. Danish Press Coverage of the European Patent Office and the Problems Explored by Techrights

    Jesper Kongstad does virtually nothing to deny the arguments (or "accusations") and instead alludes to the style of the writings about him

  29. Links 18/10/2016: Release Candidate of Leap 42.2, Looking Ahead at GTK4

    Links for the day

  30. Links 17/10/2016: JS Foundation, Ubuntu 17.04 Named ‘Zesty Zapus’

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts