OpenOffice.org — not to be confused with ODF, which is product- and vendor-independent
Since we mentioned IBM’s new involvement in OpenOffice.org we have said very little about it. In short, IBM will donate code, developers, and a variety of other things (let’s not forget a Big Name) to the project. This will make OpenOffice.org (along with ODF) more suitable for the enterprise. Here are a few new articles that can hopefully shed some light on the main points to take from this major development.
One who has already joined the gang is Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu with which OpenOffice.org is distributed. He could hardly contain his enthusiasm telling us “We are excited about IBM joining Sun and other contributors to the OpenOffice.org community in pushing development of OpenOffice.org and the OpenDocument Format. We are firmly committed to help set, drive and promote open standards like the ODF world-wide to free all users from any dependency on single vendors and proprietary software. The OpenOffice.org community is showing that it is possible for large, competing companies to collaborate and deliver extraordinary value to all of their users.”
Scott Crenshaw, Red Hat’s Vice President of Enterprise Linux, agreed: “IBM continues to show their commitment to the proliferation of open-source software and we applaud them on joining the OpenOffice.org community. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with IBM as we work toward a common goal of bringing value to our customers and fostering the adoption of open standards and ODF.”
The stakes are high as an increasing number of government and enterprise software buyers are insisting that the applications they purchase conform to internationally recognized standards.
Has the Outlook killer for OpenOffice finally arrived?
OpenOffice is the most promising open source alternative to Microsoft Office that runs on most Linux distributions, Windows, Macintosh and BSD but to date it has lacked an integrated e-mail service such as the Outlook client that is integrated in Microsoft Office.
Contributing to an open source Outlook effort would help IBM, OpenOffice, and all of us in search of a great PIM-Email-Address Book solution.
The syndication tool allows users to access a wide range of open source technologies across a variety of topics including Web 2.0 technologies, game development and Web innovation through a web site called IBM developerWorks.
As in the previous two comparisons, Writer emerged as the winner in the majority of categories. However, in many categories, the decision is not as obvious as in previous comparisons. For the first time in several releases, Word’s designers seem to be making significant changes. These changes are not always successful — in fact, the reordering of menus into ribbons might be seen by the cynical as an attempt to hide some long-term embarrassments, such as the ongoing problems with master documents. But at least the effort is being made. Writer, by contrast, seems to be standing still, and some of its problems — notably, cross-references — are almost as long-neglected as some of Word’s.
As free software, Writer has advantages that Word is unlikely to match — its philosophy, its price, its easy availability, and its frequent updates. However, speaking only in terms of functionality, Writer seems to be coasting a little on its reputation. If that continues, its superiority may be eroded, or dissolved altogether.
Bruce Byfield seems to have forgotten to mention the fact that OpenOffice.org also supports the international standard, whereas Microsoft Office does not. Stephen Walli argues that Microsoft will inevitably need to implement this important feature, which is ODF support.
Update: good news just in… Vietnam’s government has decided to adopt OpenOffice.org.
More than 20,000 computers from Party offices nationwide will switch to using OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office from early 2008.
Thailand did this recently as well, but only in part, i.e. a case of gradual uptake. We mentioned Vietnam’s take on OOXML not so long ago.
Later today, Microsoft and Sun will announce some form of yet-unspecified partnership. Take a guess.