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IBM Software Linux

IBM Joins OpenOffice.org Community 213

Petrushka writes "In a press release today, with accompanying press FAQ, IBM announces a change in its relationship to the OpenOffice.org development community. The upshot is that they're making a long-term commitment to OOo; no organization has paid off any other organization for this; they're devoting about 35 of their developers in China to OOo; and they'll be contributing accessibility code from Lotus Notes to improve current support for assistive technologies. You may recall that an alleged shortage of assistive technologies that work with OOo has been one of the big criticisms leveled against the idea of governments standardizing on the OpenDocument format, which is a file format that OOo and several other office suites support."
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IBM Joins OpenOffice.org Community

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  • by downix ( 84795 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:53AM (#20537183) Homepage
    This reminds me of an issue we have at work. At work, we run OpenOffice now, it gave us flexibility and yet fully functional... except for one guy, the Editor. He installed it, and the next day went to me "Frankly, it sucks. I won't use it." So, we have this one Office 07 guy out there, and he keeps getting angry when he can't read any documents we send him, or we can't read his documents, yet it's our fault because we won't pay for Office '07 when everyone else is happy with Open Office.

    I know this guy, he just went home, installed it, looked, went "this doesn't look like Office 07" and left it at that. Until we can woo this kind of person, however, I fear that OO, and any open standard wp for that matter, will never truely break into mainstream, because he is the Editor, in charge of a whole department.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:07AM (#20537309) Homepage
    We "wooed" employees by saying, "this is our new company policy. all computers will be changed over to this new standard effective XXXX" 95% had no problem, the 5% that did whined big time. but we had finance on our side so in the big shirts meetings when the whiners whines got to them they got shot down by the director of finance saying, "It will cost us $180,000 to switch back to MS office, replacing that employee with someone that is professional enough to understand business means change is not only cheaper but probably a good idea anyways."

    It shut all the whiners up fast when they found that replacing them is far cheaper than catering to their whining.

    You unfortunately have a high level whiner. so you need to have even higher than him do the smackdown.
  • by speaker of the truth ( 1112181 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:15AM (#20537379)
    35 American developers is a big investment in terms of money. 35 Chinese developers, is a signficantly smaller investment in terms of money. In skill, ideally, the investment would be the same though. Obviously the OP was talking about the financial investment, not the skills IBM is investing into OOo.
  • by kripkenstein ( 913150 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:16AM (#20537385) Homepage

    OpenOffice.org itself doesn't lack assistive technologies. OOo on Windows lacks assistive technologies. OOo with GNOME or KDE integration gets the accessibility technologies of GNOME or KDE, respectively.
    That is a fair and accurate point to make. I do see a lot of value to this move, however, beyond just improving accessibility for Windows users. On the one hand, this may make accessibility more cross-platform, so it will be easier to migrate from one OS to another; with OO.org already cross-platform, making its accessibility features the same is a good idea. In addition, although this last bit is arguable, OO.org-specific accessibility may be better-integrated than general desktop accessibility features in GNOME/KDE/etc. So this may give us better features in that area for OO.org.

    (However, there is also something to be said against this, in that we might want to not have separate accessibility frameworks for each app. That's true, however, for an office suite - sometimes the only app besides a web browser used on some PCs - it might make sense to customize it that way.)
  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:29AM (#20537505)
    Aye -- IBM has apparently abandoned SmartSuit -- they don't plan on even making a Vista-compatible version, from what I hear. Trust me, I know -- it's what we use in my shop, and we're in a awful mess right now because there's so many spreadsheets flying around in SmartSuite's (unfortunately) proprietary format.
  • Re:Oh dear God! (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:41AM (#20537633)
    Have you Lotus Notes bashers even taken time to look at the latest (Release 8) rendition of the product? You just may be surprised. It's now built on Eclipse and has a customized version of OpenOffice built right into the product. There's also integrated IM, RSS feeds, and other features using a nifty sidebar on the right-hand side of the screen. You can even develop your own plugins using Java or whatever and turn the Notes client into an enterprise portal, if that's what you need.

    The user interface has been greatly improved. It now uses CSS so you can modify colors, fonts, or just about anything else you'd want. The IBM chief designers even used blogs and forums to correspond with and query customers both during the development phase and the subsequent beta tests (how often does M$ do that?). Take a look -- it ain't quite your daddy's Lotus Notes anymore.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Amiga Trombone ( 592952 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:45AM (#20538619)
    Aye -- IBM has apparently abandoned SmartSuit -- they don't plan on even making a Vista-compatible version, from what I hear.

    Maybe that's part of the rationale behind this. Maybe IBM wants to be able to promote OpenOffice as the migration path for SmartSuite users.
  • by xgr3gx ( 1068984 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @11:20AM (#20539205) Homepage Journal
    This is pretty cool.
    I was working with an engineer from IBM who had a Linux laptop setup by IBM for his work computer. It used OOo, as well as a Linux version of Lotus notes. (I know many of you hate Notes, but like the Mainframe, it'll be around forever b/c my company runs many critical apps off of Lotus notes databases)
    He also had working VPN (I think it was IBM's connectivity software), so he could connect back to his office LAN from my office.
    I was very impressed. He said that many of the engineers were piloting the new Linux desktops/laptops.
  • Re:MS Word is worse. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Macthorpe ( 960048 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @11:22AM (#20539239) Journal

    MS Office actually load its whole suit in memory, *at boot time*.
    How did this get modded informative? That doesn't happen at all, and you can take that from someone who just installed Office 2003. There's no trace of a service or process related to Office, and physical memory usage is the same as it was before.
  • by ChrisA90278 ( 905188 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @11:28AM (#20539343)
    In short, It works. You don't have to change anything just say it's "A new version of Office" and few people notice. The reason is that 90% of users, the only feature they use is _maybe_ change the font or font size. And File->new and File->save. That's about it for most users.
  • Re:Lotus Word Pro (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WidescreenFreak ( 830043 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @11:35AM (#20539449) Homepage Journal
    You're reading my mind. That's the first thing I thought when I read that IBM was on-board.

    I used to use Word Pro ever since it was AmiPro for Windows 3.1. OpenOffice replaced Word Pro a few years ago, but I still have a lot of legacy documents that I need to access every now and then. So, when I rebuild a PC I install Word Pro just in case. (It's only about 70 MB for Word Pro 9.8, so it's not like it's a burden on my 160 GB boot drive.) Having an LWP filter for OpenOffice would be fantastic!
  • Re:OO.org 1-2-3 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @11:41AM (#20539577) Homepage Journal
    I don't even know if I want to read the rest of your post. When did I say bundled with Windows? I said machines. I know it's not always there by default, but it is the only option you get for buying an office application suite with a Dell PC for example. IMO it is dominant for the same reason that Windows is dominant, but I've always been happy to edit text documents using whatever I have to hand (Wordpad is fine for me, and I wrote a 13000 word essay on whatever version of Word that came with Windows 3.1 at one point). Word processing to me doesn't seem very different from when I first did it in the early 90s, there is no reason to me that people should have to pay so much for office other than pure greed and monopolism on Microsoft's part.

    "And likewise, as I said, the open-ness or close-ness of the format has zero to do with why MS is dominant. They are winning because they are the superior app, and people prefer their product. But rather than compete on the basis of application superiority,"

    That is a load of ass. People like it because they think that something is free *must* be worse, and also because the standard isn't open, they do end up with weird inconsistencies. Like one guy had a shadow being shown around the edge of his document (that had been created in word and he had tried to read in open office) and couldn't figure out how to remove it. The only thing that has stopped me converting the whole company to open office is that Outlook is a great email client that everyone is used to (and that I wrote the timesheet system to interact with Excel and cba to rewrite it for OpenOffice at the moment).

    Actually I think the secretaries here would be happy to try a different word processor if I asked them nicely. I gave one of the girls an ancient machine with Linux on it, which she then overwrote with XP and realised how much faster Ubuntu was (rather than taking my word for it, which is fair enough really), then switched back. Most people only use MS because they don't know the fucking alternatives even exist, or there are Windows only apps that they want/need. I'm spending more and more time in Mac OS these days, though it's easier to use Windows at work just for ease of integration with the domain. Anyway, go take your flamebait elsewhere...
  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2007 @01:12PM (#20541077)
    IBM editors read (but not write) SmartSuite formats. This may also be something that IBM contributes to OOo. So I'd say yes, this is the path IBM wants to see for SmartSuite users.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2007 @01:51PM (#20541807)
    Sounds like their MO. They did the same thing with OS/2 (recommending its users upgrade to Linux, something else IBM supports).

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