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Codeweavers Releases Crossover Office 296

Posted by Hemos
from the getting-it-all-together-now dept.
rleyton writes "Codeweavers have just announced Crossover Office, a Wine derivitive which allows MS-Office 97 & 2000 products as well as Lotus Notes to run without a Windows OS License. If it's as cool as the Crossover plugin product, then it could mean a significant step forward in Wine's progress." NewsForge got hold of a final beta copy a couple of days ago and has a Crossover Office review up already, and DesktopLinux.com has one too. This looks pretty cool, yes. Now if a PHB tells you can't run Linux, because you need Office - tell him you'll save money by not needing a Windows license, and call still use Office.
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Codeweavers Releases Crossover Office

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  • by dinotrac (18304) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:11PM (#3234555) Journal
    Bias report: I am a registered (bought and paid for) licensee of the Crossover plugin. Love watching Quicktime and even tolerate Windows Media Player. I am pleased to see these folks doggedly banging away at WINE and, concurrently, identifying specific market niches that can help them bring in a few dollars.

    I'm not likely to buy this one because I don't need MS Office and $55 will buy some things I do want or need...
    however...

    Boy, do I hope this works as well as the plugin.
    Office is a major stumbling block for many people (not that it should be, just is).

    More to the point: If they can run Office well enough to be worth the trouble, how much more software is just around the bend?

    The reasons to resist are melting, my pretty, melting, melting...
    • This is definately goo, and $55 is a lot cheaper than the $200 to $800 for Microsoft Office. I wonder how they are doing this? I am sure Microsoft will sue at some point, but this is definately a leap forward.
      • This is definately goo, and $55 is a lot cheaper than the $200 to $800 for Microsoft Office. I wonder how they are doing this?


        Because they're not giving you Microsoft Office: you still have to buy that from Microsoft, at Microsoft's prices. What Codeweavers are giving you is something which lets you install and run MS Office on Linux using the MS Office CD.

        Still cheaper than a Windows licence though...

      • If you had read the article, you would have learned that $55 is just for Crossover Office, not for MS Office. You have to purchase MS Office seperately (or use an existing copy).
      • You actually still need a licensed copy of Microsoft Office. A brief exceprt from the newsforge review

        "This product only makes sense for people who already have a Microsoft Office CD. If you don't, stick with StarOffice or pay Microsoft USD $370 plus tax for the suite. But if you do have Office 97 or 2000 laying around, Codeweaver's Crossover Office will let you fire up Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access in Linux, and even surf the Internet with Explorer, or check your mail with Outlook."

        • That is what I thought, but I couldn't get to the News forge article, so I went to the web site. It is interesting to note that it didn't appear all that clear that Office is not provided if you casually browse there site, and it isn't mentioned on the requirements page that I saw when I briefly scanned it.
  • Well I'll be damned (Score:2, Informative)

    by kypper (446750)
    This might keep linux in the running for a good long time; Office keeps most of the corporate world from using it.
    • I have to use exchange, its our standard groupware at work. Looks like I can run outlook at full speed now, not vmware. (My laptop is slow)

      But heres the Rub, I would of migrated before XP, but after Cleartype, this great anti-aliasing is just too pleasing on the eyes all day.

      Anyone know if Anti-aliasing is supported with the cross-over plugin?
      • Probably not. I have anti-aliasing on my Linux desktop (which looks incredible thanks to the Xft hack - much better than anything I've seen on Windows so far) but I don't see any anti-aliasing on Crossover Plugin when I start it. From what I can tell, Windows and Linux handle fonts in a completely different manner.

        Perhaps it is possible to write an AA plugin for Crosssover, though...that would be sweet (even though it still won't look as good as my hacked gdkxft fonts...)

        I'm still going to buy this, mind you. StarOffice is great, but sometimes I just need total compatibility (and also it loads faster).
        • Thats easy...

          Compile freetype with fonts hinting enabled (read the README.UNX file which is included in the freetype) then copy it to the "cxoffice/lib" directory in crossover office. Start your windows apps - you'll get EXACTLY the same look with fonts as with standard Windows.
      • You might also try Ximian's Connector and Evolution for a more native type setup.
  • by throx (42621) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:13PM (#3234570) Homepage
    You save around $50 for not having your OEM license on Windows (assuming you don't have the Windows license already if you are supposed to be running Office), pay $55 extra for the Crossover Office thingy and you are somehow saving money?

    Yeah - that's gonna fly just great with my boss.
    • Well, perhaps it will save him in a few years when Microsoft DEMANDS that he/she upgrade to the newest OS based on the EULA.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:19PM (#3234652)
      Codeweavers offers volume licensing. The price drops below $50 when you purchase 25 or more licenses, which would be the case for a large company converting to Linux.

      There are also the other advantages (security, stability) over Windows that Linux offers.
      • the parent post is an AC, so it's at "0" but s/he's got an excellet point. Moderators: please mod up!
      • by throx (42621) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:54PM (#3234848) Homepage
        If I was a large company converting to Linux, the initial step wouldn't be forking out an extra $50 or so for each machine to get the Codeweavers plugin. Your first step would be to shift office environments to one that is cross platform and moving all your file formats to that product.

        Oh, and FYI, the price of Windows drops as well with large orders. In essence you save no money at all even if you can manage to get PCs without Windows licenses.

        Touting "security" and "stability" and then running MS Office on top of a hacked up Wine implementation really smacks of hypocrasy to me. I'd be willing to bet that MS Office + Windows is a lot more stable than MS Office + Codeweavers + Linux.

        In the end, I can see the need for maybe one copy of the Codeweavers Office product to be put on a box somewhere that people can run X Servers from and convert any incoming Office documents to whatever native format they are using. The "buy it for each desktop" argument just makes no sense.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          While I mostly agree with you, there is one silver bullet you're missing...

          Even though Office on Wine is likely to be less stable than Office on Windows, Office on Wine will have a much harder time crashing more than the application when it goes down. ie., Office on Wine may crash the application more, but it should crash the OS much less.
      • Tough call (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JMZero (449047)
        If Office was indeed the last app a business needed to move to Linux (and I think that's fairly common), support via Crossover may well be just what the doctor ordered. However, I don't think it's likely the decision will come down to the price of Crossover.

        There are also the other advantages (security, stability) over Windows that Linux offers.

        I'd like to see a comparison of stability between, say, "Office 2000 running on Windows 2000" and "Office 2000 running on Crossover on (whatever)". I don't know if it would turn out the way you think (despite Linux being more stable in general).

        I don't know how much play Linux advocates are getting out of security issues right now. I think you'll need to see another big (ie. well covered by regular news channels) security breach or two before security really becomes a factor in migration again.

        The other consideration is future. Many businesses spend much more than $55/desktop to keep current with the latest version of Office. Is Crossover going to work for the next version? Only MS (well, depending on how courts move) really knows the answer to that.

        Who knows, maybe MS will just start selling Office for Linux. Could happen...

        .

        • Re:Tough call (Score:3, Insightful)

          by grahamm (8844)
          One difference is that an errant Windows app can, and does, hang the whole system whereas errant Linux apps rarely crash or hang the system (X maybe but not the whole system.)
        • Re:Tough call (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Archie Steel (539670) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @01:18PM (#3235036)
          I'd like to see a comparison of stability between, say, "Office 2000 running on Windows 2000" and "Office 2000 running on Crossover on (whatever)". I don't know if it would turn out the way you think (despite Linux being more stable in general).

          I'll tell you about it when I try it out...but you shouldn't just assume that it's going to be less stable than running it on Windows (that shows a definite bias). Codeweavers have done a great job with Crossover Plugin - I have yet to have either Quicktime or Windows Media Player crash on me. Not once.

          The other consideration is future. Many businesses spend much more than $55/desktop to keep current with the latest version of Office. Is Crossover going to work for the next version?

          That's an interesting question, though. Why do businesses need to buy new versions of Office? Do their needs change that much? What about "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" The problem is that such an approach isn't ideal for keeping Microsoft's revenue stream at a regular level, so MS has developed an elaborate swindle: they put out new version of Office that are almost compatible with preceding ones, but add new features that aren't essential. They could very well implement these new features as plugins, but they don't, therefore forcing people to get the new version. Now, if other people want to be 100% compatible, they'll have to upgrade too, and so on. To me, Office 2000 is more than enough for a company. The Linux/Crossover/Office solution seems like a good way for a business to get out of the Microsoft trap...Anyway, I'll try it tonight and see.
          • The problem is if one company you deal with upgrades, all of a sudden you need to upgrade to read their files(sometimes). Not to mention people always clamouring for the lastest version of everything.

          • I'll tell you about it when I try it out...but you shouldn't just assume that it's going to be less stable than running it on Windows (that shows a definite bias). Codeweavers have done a great job with Crossover Plugin - I have yet to have either Quicktime or Windows Media Player crash on me. Not once.

            It'll be interesting to see. You're right, you can't assume anything. Especially on a project this complex.

            That's an interesting question, though. Why do businesses need to buy new versions of Office? Do their needs change that much? What about "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?"

            Many in our company still run Word 95 on NT 4.0. Both of these products still work, just as well as when they were new.

            But people like new versions, even if they can't name one new feature they'll use. Might be a good subject for a research paper.

            Have a good day.

            .
    • by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @01:21PM (#3235064)
      You brought up a good point and one I'm sure Microsoft would not want to see in the press.

      You mention the $50 an OEM might pay but there is much more. Keeping MS Windows running isn't cheap and being forced to upgrade the OS and MS apps every 1.5 years doesn't help either. Let's not forget those wonderful security features Microsoft has built into MS Windows for you. That's right, you should include the cost for that virus software too. And that only catches the virus after you've been infected since MS Windows gets infected so quickly. I think it was estimated that over $10 billion dollars were lost do to MS Windows virus infections over the last couple of years. Keeping that registry fixed up isn't cheap either.

      Keeping a business running on MS Windows is like keeping your car running by giving a crocked neighborhood mechanic your checkbook. You start it up and it's gonna cost ya....

      LoB
    • The code needed to get M$ Office to run will be merged back into base wine (the joys of LGPL :) ), so sooner or later you'll get it for free.
  • by nuggz (69912) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:13PM (#3234573) Homepage
    Well this will last until Office integratees with windows. Or they change their license to require that you ONLY run MS Office on MS Windows, to fufil DRM requirements.
    • From what I vaguely recall all Microsoft EULAs for Windows products already have clauses restricting their use to properly licensed copies of Windows. This also applies to their DLLs. We'll just have to see whether Microsoft can or will be able to strictly enforce this.
      • I said it again and again - the END USER "signs" the EULA when you're running the installer - NOT codeweavers! so if MS really want to sue someone - they can only chase the end user - which got a very slim chances..

        And why should MS sue? do I still need a licensed copy of Office? yes. Does MS still makes money by selling me office? yes. So whats the point to sue?
    • Counter action (Score:5, Insightful)

      by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @01:17PM (#3235030) Homepage Journal
      I totally agree on both counts. Steve Ballmer has already stated that every Windows app will eventually be re-written to run in the .NET framework. And I certainly don't trust that .NET will be forever platform independant. In fact they only submitted a small portion to the standards committee. So support for the Win32 api will eventually be a moot point.

      And your second point takes the words right out of my mouth as I was reading the article. I think as soon as the monopoly trials are over they will have enough wiggle room to put a requirement into the license for Office that it must run on Windows.
  • Using it (Score:3, Informative)

    by riggwelter (84180) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:15PM (#3234601) Homepage Journal
    I'm using it (well, testing it - you never know, the company might go for it)

    I have to say it works really well, even Access seemed to work for me (although CodeWeavers say on their site it doesn't)

    It was a bit wierd having access to the company's shared calendar after using Evolution for the year that I've worked here.

    I don't think I'll use it full-time, but it will be useful occasionally, and I'm sure other people who have to have M$ Office will find it invaluable.
  • by CaptainPhong (83963) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:16PM (#3234610) Homepage
    Of course, it's an obvious point that this will really piss off Microsoft, and they may have some legal ground to kick around on. They may be able to say, for example, that such software facilitates piracy and allows people to weasel out of the Windows license requirement in their Office (or whichever) license agreement.

    OTOH, maybe the Justice Department might find that requiring a MS Windows installation when it is unecessary on a technological level is some sort of reverse bundling (i.e. forcing users to buy a copy of Windows, even though it is technically possible to use Office without it). Explotation of their (near) monopoly on office suites to sell more copies of Windows!
    • by HeUnique (187) <hetz-home@cobol2j[ ].com ['ava' in gap]> on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:40PM (#3234715) Homepage
      Legal case for what? for allowing you to use Office 2000 under Linux without Windows? it's YOU that signs that EULA, not codeweavers.

      Do you see MS start chasing after thousands of customers who will buy this? I hardly think so. Its better for MS since you still need to have Office 97 or 2000...
      • by Sir Tristam (139543) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @01:11PM (#3234995)
        Legal case for what? for allowing you to use Office 2000 under Linux without Windows? it's YOU that signs that EULA, not codeweavers. Do you see MS start chasing after thousands of customers who will buy this?
        Yeah, Microsoft going after Codeweavers for writing this would be kind of like, say, some organization going after an individual who had written code that would allow for DVDs to be played under Linux. We all know they's go after the people doing the playing, instead.

        Chris Beckenbach

      • Poor point (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Most companies don't chase after infringers. They go after the enablers. It's called contributory infringement, and it's what the DMCA is all about.

        Kind of like criminal conspiracy to catch mobsters, who never really did anything wrong.
    • Erm... Why would Microsoft be upset by this? If the user has paid for their copy of Office they still get their money. If it's being pirated, then it's no different than if it was pirated on the Windows box.

      Sure they'll lose out on some converts for whom the only block for going to Linux was Office. However, Microsoft does gain a new platform on which their software runs and which they don't have to officially support.
    • The Windows Media Player EULA already forbids using it without owning a Windows license. Of course, it also refers to WMP as "OS components". Still, it's not that big a stretch to think they'll change the Office EULA to one that requires the software to only be run on Windows itself.
    • Im really tired of the old saying

      Linux = piracy

      If someone was badmouthing M$, M$ Would step up with lawyers and lawsuits. Where is the people defending Linux?
  • It is not likely that any companies who do not want to run Linux on desktop is going to run it cos now Office can be run on Linux. They use Windows to have the support from MS (interesting, but true), that is also the reason they buy DELL and HP but not just any cheaper beige box. They want to be able to have a number to call when Office on Windows has a problem.

    Really, a PC's life in the corporate world is perhaps 3 years. $2000 compared to the productivity lost by the employee whose salary is at least 40 times more than the PC in that same 3 year span is just not worth it.

    They just don't want to take the chance. It's a pity.
  • Why the timeline? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kope (11702)
    Here's what I can't figure out: Office 2000 will run on Win95. That means that to make Office 2000 (or damn near any other product out there that runs on the windows tree) all that needs to be done is support an API that is now almost 7 years old.

    One of the great claims of the OSS movement is how RAPID OSS programs are developed. Yet WINE, which is one of the larger OSS efforts out there, can not achieve this seemingly meager goal year after year.

    Indeed, the only thing that seems to have kept WINE anywhere close to being on-target is the support of private companies who contribute their code back to the WINE tree. Some of these companies,like Codeweavers are decidedly on the OSS bandwagon. But others, like Corel aren't (though they did play nice with OSS, to their credit).

    In the meantime, closed source efforts to port similarly complex API's succeed in much less time with far higher quality results (VM Ware anyone!).

    Can someone explain how the failure of a project to hit a stationary target (the Win95 API has not changed though implimentation bugs may have) after such a lengthy period of time is anything but a proof by counter example of the grandiose claims of how much better OSS is for just this sort of development?
    • by Junta (36770) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:53PM (#3234834)
      Interesting point, but you neglect to recognize the fact that Office is written by MS. Most every non-MS written app that can run in Win95 I've been able to get to work in wine with not much of a headache. DirectX is a little shaky still, but aside from that...

      The thing about MS applications is that they have full access to the APIs, even features that may not have been documented for some reason or another. It is hard for a project like wine to create a environment when there might be API calls to functions that aren't documented outside of MS. All this said, I have never tried Office 2000 under wine, (don't have it) but Office 97 seems to work under wine...

      I would say wine is an exceptionally successful project considering the scope of the problem they have decided to address.
    • I'm not on the wine project or anything but my understanding is that they are attempting to support a pseudo-documented api bugs and all.

      That is a lot harder than writing a new system. Emulating a PC is probably on the whole, is also simpler than M$ APIs. (VM ware)

      Secondly there probably is a smaller demographic that works on/knows about M$ products and *Nix.

      Third, they are grafting two OSs which are quite different together. One would always have to make accomidations for the way one works. This must be a headache.

      Hats off to the wine people! Running Office is quite a feat.

      Cheers,
      -b
    • Absurd as it may seem, but Vmware is much much simpler than Wine. It just virtualizes some of the hardware, but it runs the unmodified Windows kernel and native DLLs.
      Wine, instead, strives to implement all of the Windows API as faithfully as possibile, and that includes the undocumented stuff.
      So I would not define the effort meager...
    • Re:Why the timeline? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cjpez (148000)
      I think the basic problem is that of time. If you're hired by a company to work on a piece of software, it's not a problem to spent 40+ hours a week doing nothing but working away at the software. Whereas if you have just volunteers, they'd probably very willingly spend 40+ hours a week if they could, but eventually they've gotta go to an actual job and get paid so they can eat.

      Now just because you're working for a company doesn't mean that you can't be doing OSS development, and I think that OSS development is still a much more "productive" way to develop software, because in addition to the employees you've got working on the software, you'll cultivate a base of external coders who are excited about the project and care about it, too.

      For people NOT on a company payroll to develop software, I think OSS is really the only way to go. Would Wine be doing any better if the volunteers decided to close the source and keep it to themselves? I suspect it'd be much further "behind" than it is right now (although I'm sure the Wine developers would object to the word "behind" there; sorry guys).

      It's not the development model that's holding the software back; it's the available time to do it in. (How's that for a bold statement? <g>)

    • Re:Why the timeline? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Junta (36770)
      One thing to note about VMWare is that it could care less about the Windows API, it is just providing an x86 box on top of x86, passing native calls when possible, so it can happen to run windows.

      Wine is in no way analogous to vmware except in how end-users tend to use it. VMWare can't be used, for example, to port a windows app to native code (ala winelib).

      A comparable project to vmware is plex86 (www.plex86.org). Though it lacks the spit and polish of VMWare, they have had less time to develop and have made great progress in their relatively short life.
    • Re:Why the timeline? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Chang (2714) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:59PM (#3234900)
      > all that needs to be done is support an API that is now almost 7 years old

      This is absolutely false. The very act of installing Office 2000 on Win95 extends the Win32 API. When you install, you not only get Windows Installer added to the system, you also get updated version of DLL's installed under your WINDOWS directory.

      What kind of Application installs OS updates without informing the user or giving you a choice?

      Perhaps you never noticed why mouse scroll wheels started working in all sorts of dialogs and whatnot even if you never installed Intellimouse? The answer is that Microsoft applications routinely extend the OS and API.

      Lastly, the WINE team has never said their target is to emulate the Original Win95 API. Even if they had done that, they would be dependant on the new DLL files, the same as Win95 is today.
      • While it is completely and true that some Microsoft applications - mainly the Office and Visual Studio appsuites - update the operating system to extend the API, add new DLLs, and so on, I fail to understand what the problem you see in this is.

        True, Office doesn't ask you for permission, but then again it's targeted at (stupid) end users. End users don't care, they just want Office up and running. Visual Studio, which is targeted at developers, does ask for permission before installing its updates. In either case, the application won't run without the OS updates, so if you want to install it (something you've clearly demonstrated that you want to by starting the setup program) you've got no choice but to install them. And I've never heard of a case where a computer broke down because the Office installer put in some little feature like mousewheel drivers or whatnot.

        If you really need to be able to manipulate every bit of your OS, and want software that's pretty much all written with advanced users in mind, use Linux, BSD or whatever. Windows is targeted at consumers, and therefore will do stuff differently, and limit (somewhat) the user's influence. Live with it, or use something else.
    • by joe_fish (6037)
      VMWare has a very different job to wine. "All" vmware has to do is to emulate the pc bios and associated hardware. There is a OSS project that has demonstrated the ability to do the same thing (although it is not up to wmware yet)

      On the other had wine has to emulate the huge bloted windows API. Several orders of magnitude more complex than the pc bios.

      I think where open source is better than closed source it is in finding developers that *care*. However if what you need is hundreds of developers to hack on an API - money talks. Hence wine struggles.

    • all that needs to be done is support an API that is now almost 7 years old.
      Yeah, that's all. Unfortunately, Windows95 was one of the most klugdy, messed-up, weird, undocumented OSs of all time. (Exceeded only by successive versions of Windows, such as Win98 and WinME.)

      You can bet that Microsoft hasn't been helping the WINE coders any, by supplying decent documentation for instance. Reverse engineering something as complex as Windows is no mean feat. And programs like Office and IE 4+ essentially patch the OS when they're installed, by inserting DLLs and other code deep into the system. Running WinHelloWorld.exe is one thing; running IExplore.exe is something entirely different.

      Think back: how many times did Microsoft have to push back the release date of Windows 95? And they're Microsoft, for goodness sake, the guys with a gazillion programmers chained to desks in the subterranian levels of Big Bill's Zoo of Death(tm). I think WINE is making decent progress as it is.

      Of course, I wouldn't complain if they got the job done sooner rather than later...

      (VM Ware anyone!).
      Nope. VMWare only implements the BIOS and a framework to proxy between Windows and the PCI, IDE, etc. busses. VMWare doesn't emulate Windows, it runs Windows. No mean feat, either, but it's a totally different approach.
    • Re:Why the timeline? (Score:3, Informative)

      by chrysrobyn (106763)

      Here's what I can't figure out: Office 2000 will run on Win95. That means that to make Office 2000 (or damn near any other product out there that runs on the windows tree) all that needs to be done is support an API that is now almost 7 years old.

      -1 (Malinformed)

      Sure, it's easy to say how writing an API should take less than 7 years, and easy to say that the Wine Project [winehq.com] is failing by missing that target, but it's a moving target. The API changes, and when reverse engineering an API, there are multiple right answers for the limited tests they have the resources to do.

      Say a program uses APIs 1-50, but only 25% of them. In order to make that program work, you only need 50 APIs 25% done. Not too bad. And, maybe your solution doesn't collide with other variables too badly. Now, when you take that up to 50%, you might start to get some collisions, realize that, while a certain program functioned using an API before, it was based on two assumptions that were both wrong and happened to cancel each other out.

      It's 7 years old (and being extended with every release). It's undocumented (at last check Microsoft denied there were undocumented API features, but the Wine project happened to be documenting them on the way through their implementation).

      It's not easy to hit an invisible moving target.

  • I really don't think a lot of people will want to run MS-Office on Linux, given the existence of StarOffice and OpenOffice.

    This is very cool as a technology demenstration though. If big apps like Office run under Wine, it's a good sign for the little applications. It's no longer basic productivity tools that keep people from switching to Linux, it's the fact that you can't go into a store and pick up a tax program, or a spelling game for your toddler, and be confident it will work.

  • Interesting times (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pac (9516) <paulo...candido@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:42PM (#3234735)
    I think Microsoft is sure to notice this one. We can only guess what their answer will be. A change in Office EULA forbidding use in Operating Systems other than the one the software is for, Windows or MacOS (but they probably can't change this for products already bought)? A cease and desist letter from their lawyers to CodeWeavers, quoting DMCA, EULAs, the Bible, the British Common Law and The Road Ahead? A cry for help to Congress to add a clause outlawing Linux, *BSD and any free OS in existence or to be developed to some law, any law, being currently discussed? Or just a "business as usual" attitude, a new marketing campaign pitching Office to Linux users?

    On the other hand, judging by the test (they used RC1, not 1.0), this software still have some way to go before it can be said to be ready. But it is already a huge step forward. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Explorer running correctly under Linux are a huge incentive for corporations willing to move their desktops to Linux. Once there, moving people to Star/OpenOffice or even the recent gobe will be just a matter of corporate policy and time for the bean counters to add up the license savings of the switch out of Windows and the license savings to be gained by switching out of Office.
    • Why whould they change their EULA? Office is an additional sale. Since most PC's already have a version of Windows, M$ already made a double profit.

      Also, tying their product to the OS would look like bundling. The dont need any more DOJ lawsuits.
  • by davmoo (63521) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:45PM (#3234761)
    While this product is probably useful to the geek Linux lover who also needs to use Office, I fail to see how this is going to make corporate users switch over to Linux. I also fail to see how this is reducing the need for Microsoft software.

    Yeah, sure, you're getting rid of the Windows license...a savings of $50 or so in the OEM world. But you're still giving money to Uncle Bill for Office itself...and even in an OEM atmosphere I bet Office is a damned sight more than $50.

    Making cute nick-nacks that will run Microsoft's office suite on another OS doesn't reduce Microsoft's grip on the desktop what so ever. Only a native office suite that is not purchased from Microsoft will make that difference on Microsoft's bottom line.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Easy one.

      You're completely missing the boat
      by imagining that the whole point of Linux is
      to save $50 on a Windows license.

      Microsoft's whole empire is built on
      forcing people to buy MS by making
      their software work poorly with everything else.

      This way people can't buy best-of-breed
      products or - since MS owns the playing field -
      write their own apps to surpass those of MS.

      Decoupling MS products from each other and
      migrating to an open playing field would
      rejuvinate the whole industry.
    • I fail to see how this is going to make corporate users switch over to Linux. I also fail to see how this is reducing the need for Microsoft software.

      Office is _THE_KILLER_APP_ for Windows. Email, surfing, and most everything else has options on multiple platforms. I would dare say Office for the Mac is a huge reason Apple is growing outside the multimedia developers.

      People can try to guess the word formats, but they never seem to be quite right (same goes for any other word processor importing and exporting formats for that matter). If the app runs well under Linux or Mac, that knocks over a huge wall.

      Really opening the office formats would really hit Bill hard - Office tends to carry much of the company's revinue. This just makes the OS not matter (as much). You think companies get to pay the OEM price? Bah ha ha ha.... They usually pay that, then again when they image it, and then again (yearly) with a "enterprise agreement". The imaging "tax" changed some time last year, but it does add up - more than $50..

    • by robinjo (15698) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @01:30PM (#3235136)

      People don't change to Linux because it brings too many changes. You have to adapt everything starting from e-mail, documents and ending at any special apps you may run on Windows.

      If this product lets you still use Office and even run all those special apps, a change to Linux becomes a set of small changes. Change the OS first. Then gradually change more during months or years.

    • by wfrp01 (82831) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @02:41PM (#3235816) Journal
      Amen. The more times we hear mistaken mantras about Microsoft unfairly leveraging their OS monopoly, the less likely we'll see meaningful reform. The real monopoly is MS Office, not the operating system. Repeat after me: you buy computers for the applications, you buy computers for the applications. Not the operating system. It is Microsoft's monopoly of the desktop applications arena, not operating systems, that gives them their power.

      I'm not anti-Microsoft, I'm anti proprietary. I'm especially anti-proprietary file formats and network protocols. If the MS anti-trust proceedings don't diminish MS's control over file formats and protocols that we all need to use in order to do our work, then the states are prosecuting this case in vain. Microsoft will continue to monopolize the computing industry until such time as competing products are able to read and write Word, Excel, SMB, etc. A little proprietary hook here or there is all MS needs to forever erase the threat of competition.

      This is why we should beware so-called "compromise" settlements in which MS promises to open their API's. All that accomplishes is a further dependance on MS product. As this product indicates, apparently their API's are already open enough to produce an emulation layer for Linux. This is not good, this is terrible. It's terrible because the operating system is not the threat! The applications are the threat! They are a threat, because they further entrench our dependance on proprietary data and protocols. And because MS controls the protocols, and because we must all use them in order to communicate with our collegues, peers, friends and family, MS will forever dominate the computer industry.

      Again, I am not anti-Microsoft. I am pro-competition. I want choices. I want desktop applications to compete on the merits. This will never happen, until MS file formats and network protocols are made completely public.

      Come on Microsoft - show us you can win an application showdown fairly. What are you afraid of? You have a pretty good shot, you know. Stop playing dirty tricks, and get back to basics. Make applications that people want to buy because they work better, not because they are the only choice.

    • I understand your sentiment, but I don't agree. What irks me the most about application proprietariness is not that I have to buy a specific app to use the feature. What irks me is that that specific app is only available on specific platforms, and as a result my need to get that one dinky feature dictates everything else about my OS choice. I can't stand using Windows. I resent the tie-in that makes it a necessary choice to run a lot of these proprietary apps. If the proprietary apps were cross-platform, I wouldn't care as much.

      I would not mind living in a world where Office is proprietary if MS was an APPLICATION company producing Office for many platforms.

  • Outlook Express didn't work for me or for Hetz, and Norb didn't even want to mess with it. "Maybe on a system I didn't need, but NOT on a mission critical environment," he says.
    <grin>

    Now if only they can just get Office to integrate with Evolution and Mozilla (or, better yet, Galeon)...

  • Now I've converted a bunch of people to linux over the years, and ran linux as my main desktop for several years. But about a year ago I had to switch to Win2k. Why? Because of Office, or more specifically Outlook. I need full compatability and OWA(web access) does not always cut it. I also need to be able to send and receive word and excel docs EXACTLY as they come to me. There are no native linux products which do this perfectly. There are always formatting issues etc etc. Now with this plugin I have the potential to switch back for what I consider to be a minor cost. Considering my distro is free $50 is not much to pay. So in conclusion I'm very excited and looking forward goes back to linux full time.
    BTW one thing to keep in mind is that if they can get Office running other apps like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Autocad etc can't be far behind. Yes native is better, but native is not coming anytime soon from companies like Adobe. So I say full steam ahead for wine.
  • ...the paperclip, I'm not buying it. ;^)

    Of course, I'm not buying it anyway. [Insert standard "no reason to further the .doc monopoly" statements here.]
  • Folks,

    it would be really useful if people would post reviews. Some short ones have been posted, but "rocks as hell"... well.

    Any power users out there? Are there problems with fonts as told in the review of the beta? Can you create Access databases? Do macros/VBA programs work? Does the menu editor work? Do images in tables print well from word? Spell check? Help? Does the mouse feel right? Clipboard? Can you embed excel tables? Do ODBC connections from Access databases work? ...

    Thanks!

    • by HeUnique (187) <hetz-home@cobol2j[ ].com ['ava' in gap]> on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @03:51PM (#3236347) Homepage
      Hi, I was a tester...

      Fonts problems - due to Apple patents, the fonts hintings are off - a simple workaround would be to recompile freetype with fonts hinting on (read the README.UNX inside the freetype package), and copying it to the cxoffice/lib. This should give you same look as in windows.

      Access - is pretty problematic right now - its slow. Wait for 1.0.1 (or you can buy crossover office today and get the free upgrade) for the fixes.

      Macros/VBA stuff - works perfectly.

      Clipboard - you'll need to install an old DLL (mfc42.dll) to the cxoffice/support/dotwine/fake_windows/Windows/ directory and then it will run (will be fixed in 1.0.1).

      Excel tables, embedding - works.

      ODBC connection - cannot test due to Access running problems (read my first part).
  • You're already better off writing for MFC using Codeweavers than using GTK or something right now. Support for win32 drivers in Linux is less than a year away and then you'll be better off writing win32 drivers than kernel modules. In the end the UNIX model will be used in embedded systems while the windows model will be used in desktop systems, with the only differentiating factor being the kernel.
  • by Beautyon (214567) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @01:23PM (#3235083) Homepage
    Codeweavers to release a package that allows us to run the key Adobe and Macromedia apps quickly and perfectly under Linux, and then the circle is complete; there will be absolutely no reason for us (in particular) to ever boot into Windoze again.

    It would be more than useful also, for them to quickly address the problem of font control under Linux; this means creating an Adobe Type Manager® clone. Then, we will be able to gleefully work uninterupted for days on end.
  • by cjpez (148000) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @01:25PM (#3235093) Homepage Journal
    I've tried out Wine for a few MS programs a few times, and I often seem to run into problems with the install process. Most of the time, the install program tells me that it's got to do this and that, and then reboot the machine before continuing on.

    That's all fine and good, except that there's no Windows to be rebooted. Somehwere in the registry or whatever, that program's put an identifier so the next time Windows boots up, it'll run the rest of the installation program, but I don't know where that is. When I try and run the installation program again, it just gives me the same song-and-dance about needing to reboot, so I can never actually get the things installed! This is mostly the case with the "newer" MS products, like the Office 2k line.

    What's nice about the Crossover Office thing (aha! this post is on topic) is that they've evidentally got an install procedure that actually WORKS, so that might be the answer I've wanted. Of course, now I'm in a position where I don't need to worry about running those MS programs, so I probably won't get it, but still. :)

    • Use the crossover plugin to install your software, then move/copy your ~/crossover/support/dotwine directory to ~/.wine

      Now you're all set to use the current verison of wine, assuming that works 'better' than codeweavers (IIRC it's from 12/05/02)

      Just remember any new apps need to be installed in crossover, before you copy your directory into ~/.wine

  • I installed Office 2000 a couple of years ago. I seem to remember it had something built in where, if you didn't register the product, it would disable itself after 50 uses. I have no idea how they implemented it. I'm assuming that it will still be able to properly register itself even when running under Wine/Crossover? (Or I wonder if running under Crossover somehow disables the time bomb?)
  • Priceless (Score:2, Funny)

    by ClaraBow (212734)
    favorite Linux flavor $60
    Crossover plugin $55
    sticking Windows up Billy Boy's ass PRICELESS!
  • Most of the messages I've seen so far seem to imply that the cost saving of not needing Windows are not enough to justify the switch for business users. My question is, would it be possible (both technically and license-wise) to install this plugin (plus office) on just one big linux server and having multiple users log-in and use it through X-windows? In this case I suppose that the savings would be greater, and you could also ensure centralized back-ups without any problem. So, would it work?
    • Technically yes, license wise - not a chance. Ran into exactly that situation here at work. Had a big terminal server with about 300 users and one copy of Office 2K on it. Long story short - got audited and was forced to buy 299 more copies of office. Thankfully, since we are a college, we can get a copy of Office 2k pro for about $40, so we weren't out anywhere near as much as we could have been.
      That said, we should've known better. MS has gone almost completely to a per-user (or per-seat) licensing scheme.
  • You know what would be more useful given the gobe office studio review today?
    For someone to write a little engine that takes in MS office docs and spits them out in a open file format for any other application to use. (And converts the other way too). That would mean the people could switch from MS Office, the average office drone wouldnt notice the difference between Gobeproductive and msoffice - the real lock in is the file formats because there isnt yet an Open Source application that will 100% read/write them.

    • It would be useful for all the word processor devlopers to somehow get together and make a "read & write Office" library. Possibly make it LGPL. It seems to me that this is would allow them to cooperate and share information on the biggest problem for a word processor nowadays, yet allow them to go and do the fun an innovative parts (ie the actual application) on their own.
  • License Change (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ruvreve (216004)
    So how quickly will Microsoft update its licenses requiring that Office only be run on Windows OS or release versions with undocumented 'features' that require files only found on the latest and greatest Windows OS.
  • This isn't for my boss. This is for me. Perhaps if I really like it, it will be for some other people that I talk to.

    The question is, is it even for me? I need to run Office 95, not Office 97. My copy of Office 97 is installed on another machine, so I don't have the right to install it on my Linux box. The copy of 95, however, is currently unused. But they don't say that they can run Office 95, and I'm not likely to scout around to find a copy of Office 97 to buy.

    OTOH, this is one step closer to the time when the older windows games can be played. Perhaps Civilization III (I prefer Civilization to any other game, but CTP does become old). I'd say Civilization II, but there were multiple versions of that, and most of them even had trouble running on a native win95 system.

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @03:43PM (#3236304) Homepage Journal
    This could be a great solution for multiuser systems. Think about this: the cost of a Windows server license, combined with the cost of CAL's, combined with Terminal Server licensing, combined with Citrix licensing (if applicable) is tremendous. If you could run Linux on, say, a quad Xeon, add the Crossover Office extension, and install Microsoft Office ... you now have a multiuser installation of Office that can be shared to multiple users. You can even keep it legal by paying for as many instances of Office as you're running, and you're still saving many thousands of dollars.

    Take it from me, I run boxes at a hosting center where some of our customers are ASP's. Terminal Server licensing is an absolute nightmare. Being able to share out Win32 apps without paying OS license fees would be a very big deal.
  • Sorry if I missed it, but which version of IE were they running? Does it support IE6 or is it an older one?

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