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Court Clears Novell To Sue Microsoft Over WordPerfect

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the sour-grapes-make-strong-wine dept.

Microsoft 165

An anonymous reader writes "15 years after Novell sold the software to Corel, a court has given Novell the right to sue Microsoft over WordPerfect, which had a 50 percent market share in the early '90s."

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What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36037552)

i feel young again!

Re:What? (2)

W1sdOm_tOOth (1152881) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037584)

Where's the fucking money Lebowski?

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037620)

F7...reveal codes, a godsend lost....

Re:What? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037740)

F7...reveal codes, a godsend lost....

Really, if Microsoft could just pay Novell (or somebody) to put that in Word, it would do more to normalize the blood pressure of countless office drones than getting rid of the Mountain Dew.

Re:What? (4, Interesting)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037868)

True words! I can't tell you how many times I have fixed the screwed up formatting of a Word document by saving the stupid thing as ASCII text and starting the whole formatting process over. Even knowing how to find hidden section breaks etc. doesn't always help. Word formatting is just evil.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36040086)

The problem with the Word format, is that unlike WordPerfect, it isn't very sane. If you look at a Word document low level, it first has a lot of mark-up and formatting information, and then most of the text. Formats like WordPerfect, HTML, etc., have what I consider more sane formatting, in the sense that there will be markers intermingled with the plain text to indicate where styles, bold, italic and such start and end.

I don't understand the low level Word format, but if you look at it, it seems to be mainly geared at making at as hard as possible to understand what's going on.

It's also why in something like WordPerfect, you can delete all the text between a start tag for example bold, and an end tag and the software will remove both, while in Word pieces can remain, and all of a sudden text starts turning bold, or some other style, when you don't expect it.

Disclaimer: I've used WordPerfect up to version X3 (13), basically until I switched to Mac about 4 years ago. I consider it still better than Word in a lot of aspects. I've used a mix of OpenOffice, MS Office and LaTeX on the Mac. WordPerfect, CorelDraw and SmartDraw are the main reasons I still fire up my old Windows computer every now and then.

Re:What? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36041148)

"geared at making at as hard as possible to understand what's going on."

Bingo. You've hit on the problem, as well as the motivation for the problem. Don't you just love Microsoft?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36037872)

How does Mountain Dew increase blood pressure?

Re:What? (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038312)

Ok, I'll bite... Mountain Dew increases blood pressure via caffeine...

Re:What? (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038674)

./cry ....

Not in Canada anymore. Mountain Dew has been caffeine free since a while, and I so wish they had not changed it!

Re:What? (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038808)

I found out the hard way. Was at a con party in Canada. Late night, I was feeling a little drowsy, so I found a MD and downed it. Still felt drowsy, went for a second. As I finished it my Canadian host let me in on the news. By then I was on sugar high but headed to bed for the crash. Thanks for nothing Health Canada or whoever neutered Mountain Dew!

Re:What? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36041572)

Caffeine free Mountain Dew? That's...that's...that's not Mountain Dew at all...

Re:What? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037920)

CTL-* is reveal codes in Word 2010 at least. Alternately, it's a button (paragraph symbol) just left of center on the Home ribbon. Our support staff has been using it for years with previous versions of Word.

Re:What? (1)

Filip22012005 (852281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038066)

It's not nearly the same. In WordPerfect the codes would display as if HTML under your text, in a half of the screen called the "underwater screen". And everything was there, all formatting codes.

Re:What? (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038482)

And you could cut and pase the codes just like text. The word "reveal codes" is not even a poor imitation; it's an "extinguish" feature.

Re:What? (1)

Filip22012005 (852281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36039276)

And paste it into a search & replace command! ...I miss wp51...

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038018)

TeX: Writing with reveal codes always on...

Re:What? (1)

WhiteDragon (4556) | more than 3 years ago | (#36039970)

TeX: Writing with reveal codes always on...

nice!

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36039664)

If WP wasn't so pathetic in its editing and document management capabilities in the first place it would never need reveal-codes.

It was a crutch that every user had to learn because as long as that existed, there was precious little incentive for WP to ever fix the bugs that necessitated the crutch. You had typists (yeah, that's what they were called in those days) trying to micromanage the formating of every document, which just as often lead to way worse problems.

Not that Word was ever a whole lot better. But with Word you could always select the offending text and remove all formatting and then clean it up.

About here is where all the WP fanboys jump on me with both feet. Talking down about WP is almost as dangerous as badmouthing OS/2.

Re:What? (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | more than 3 years ago | (#36041468)

Time frame matters, in WP's days NOTHING could format large amounts of text properly. Reveal-codes at least gave you a way to "fix" things properly. Word you sat for 20 minutes fighting with it until you got lucky or gave up.

Re:What? (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36041568)

Someone who really worked a lot with WP5.1 (really the last great version before MS started to encroach in) F7 would exit the program.

Reveal codes was F11 :).

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36037708)

Where's the fucking money Lebowski

Are you referring to money that is supposed to be used to pay prostitutes, perchance?

Because, to be frank, I can't think of any other reason that one would put a designator of "fucking" on currency.

Re:What? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037822)

I'm assigning you homework [netflix.com]

Re:What? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037830)

Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

I know! (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038098)

Remember when people used to have this thing called a "printer" and spent hours filing away papers?

Seems so antiquated. And it wasn't even that long ago.

What? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36037574)

What?

You mean Attachmate? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36037594)

Profit through litigation, now we know why they bought that company.

Re:You mean Attachmate? (0)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36040424)

SCO, was originally Caldera linux, which was funded by Ray Noorda's finance group. Of course Ray Noorda founded Novell. Now, Novell follows in the footsteps of Ray Noorda, has sold off all it's technology to AttachMate and is pursuing profit via litigation. It's SCO all over again, except this time it's Microsoft they're suing so this will be heralded as a good thing.

I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037616)

There's closing the barn door after the animals have left and then there's just.... uhm... I'm at a complete loss as to what a metaphor for this would be.

Wordperfect was relevant once... I even remember using it.

But it isn't now. Live with it. Move on, for chrissake!

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (3, Funny)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037726)

Hi, I'm 1990, I'd like to sue 2011 please.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (2)

ACE209 (1067276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037914)

problem seems to be that sue wasn't legal in the 90's
but now she is.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36037974)

Hi, I'm 1990...

Oh my god! I need to ward you about 9/11!

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037778)

This is closing the barn door after the barn has burnt down. And been rebuilt.

But Justice (and lawyer's fees) will have their day!

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (5, Insightful)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038352)

Yeah, but do you remember WordPerfect? It was way way way better than Microsoft Word and always was. Some of it's features even modern word processors don't have. For example, it had a MakeItFit feature where it would make what you already wrote fit any amount of pages by making very small adjustments to font size, margins and line spacing to hit the desired page count. You can't imagine how much work that saved me in high school (both from going under and going over the requested length). What modern word processor has that feature?

WordPerfect deserved to win and Microsoft Word did not get it's dominant position through innovation or a superior product. It's more like closing the barn door after a competing farmer stole all your cows and torched your barn ten years ago, so you had to sell the farm.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

Squeezer (132342) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038550)

Word 2010 has this feature. It is called Shrink To Fit. http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-word/archive/2010/09/10/shrink-to-fit-in-word.aspx [office.com]

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36039136)

Yeah, but Wordperfect's MakeItFit feature would expand it to fit as well as shrink it to fit. If you typed a paper that needed to be 7 pages, but what you wrote was only 5 pages MakeItFit would increase font size and adjust margins to make it work out. I loved that feature.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36038602)

Word 6 had an example macro that did just that and it worked marvels (I was in highschool too at the time). Before that I used WordPerfect 5.1 for Windows (and before that, 5.1 for DOS) but I switched because it crashed all the time. WordPerfect 5.1 was a miserable cobbled-together excuse for an application. If you can't even make sure you don't access freed memory and not follow null pointers all the bloody time, you have no business suing anyone. Anyway, the choice between going back to DOS and Word 6 was easy.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038662)

"What modern word processor has that feature?"

Serif Page Plus :-)

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (4, Interesting)

fermat1313 (927331) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038682)

WordPerfect lost its dominant position for one reason - their own miscalculation. In the early 90s, WordPerfect didn't think that the Windows 3.x craze would catch on, and they didn't put their development efforts fully into the Windows product. It wasn't until 1991 that they announced WordPerfect for Windows, and it was a disaster, just a GUI front end on top of their DOS engine. In late 1992, they finally came out with a decent Windows version. By then much of the world had moved on to Word. They were slow to support OLE, slow to integrate with PlanPerfect, and later with Quattro Pro, slow to see the power of an integrated office suite, slow slow slow! In addition, MS PowerPoint was orders of magnitude better than anything out there, and it worked with Word and Excel.

Sometimes in business, management makes a severe miscalculation. Bruce Bastian and Alan Ashton blew it in 1989/1990. Maybe WordPerfect was better, but it was just too damn late.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (2)

johndesmarais (707777) | more than 3 years ago | (#36039656)

You're leaving out one important point. At the time Windows 3.x came out Microsoft was telling developers of products that competed with theirs that OS/2 (which was a joint MS / IBM product at the time) was the os of the future. Consequently, WordPerfect put most of their development effort behind an OS/2 port. WordPerfect may have miscalculated, but they made their decision based, in part, on information from MS.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36039800)

WordPerfect also blew a big chunk of the revenues from their office suite on tech support. You'd call in, and one of 1000 or so well-trained staff would answer almost instantly and talk you through how to solve your problem.

Ever try calling tech support for Lotus, or Microsoft, or just about anyone else? Endless voicemail maze, eventually you wait on hold for half an hour to reach someone who doesn't speak your language and has never used the product. Much, much cheaper for the company.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (5, Insightful)

WhiteDragon (4556) | more than 3 years ago | (#36040014)

WordPerfect also blew a big chunk of the revenues from their office suite on tech support. You'd call in, and one of 1000 or so well-trained staff would answer almost instantly and talk you through how to solve your problem.

Ever try calling tech support for Lotus, or Microsoft, or just about anyone else? Endless voicemail maze, eventually you wait on hold for half an hour to reach someone who doesn't speak your language and has never used the product. Much, much cheaper for the company.

Yes, indeed, WordPerfect tech support was best in the industry, hands down.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36039934)

In addition, MS PowerPoint was orders of magnitude better than anything out there

Better than what? PowerPoint is the kind of thing that would become better by simply ceasing to exist.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 3 years ago | (#36040556)

In addition, MS PowerPoint was orders of magnitude better than anything out there, and it worked with Word and Excel.

Where are the +1 Funny upvotes for this?

PowerPoint is like Heroin... Both were marketed as "The Cure for What Ails You" but they just result in lost productivity.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038708)

I read that a major problem was that Wordperfect didn't have a GUI until 1993 and by then Microsoft was ahead of them by 3 years.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36039114)

Not really. Until WIndows 95 the majority of people still used DOS apps. WordPrefect 5.1 was used for years in the Legal profession after Windows was everywhere. IMHO what killed WordPerfect was what killed Lotus 123 and that was it was too popular of a DOS program. It was next to impossible for those and many other programs to make the move to a WIMP interface without ticking off their customer base. The Problem was they had two choices. 1. Make the program have all new WIndows user Interface and tick off their old customers. or
2. Keep the Old user interface and have a bad Windows program.
That is also the reason that Word Perfect and Lotus never really took off on the Mac Platform. If you have a big customer base and a big ecosystem as well of things like Macros and Templates you are just going to have a nightmare.
My company had the same problem we used method one but even then we kept a lot of old keystrokes the same like using F5 instead of CtrlF for search. "You can remap it". How long did it take for all of our DOS users to move? I will let you know when it happens. Even though we ended all support for the DOS version 5 years ago we still get at least one call a year from some one that has not moved even though they have paid support for the last 15 years and have been shipped the WIndows version many times.
Microsoft had no real market share with Word on DOS. They killed MultiPlan and then used the Mac as their development platform. Excel was originally an Mac program.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

Drishmung (458368) | more than 3 years ago | (#36041004)

Microsoft had no real market share with Word on DOS. They killed MultiPlan and then used the Mac as their development platform. Excel was originally an Mac program.

As were Word and PowerPoint.

MS had a fine DOS WP called Word. When they made a WP for the Mac, they called it "Word", but it had nothing else in common with Word for DOS---just the name. It didn't have the same feature set, and it didn't even work (much) alike, mainly because the Mac version was WIMP and the DOS version was text.

When MS decided they needed a WP for Windows, they ported the Mac version of Word (using an emulation layer) rather than adding WIMP features to the DOS version. Subsequently, they converted Word to a Windows native version---and then back-ported that to Mac---with a Windows emulation layer---as the much (and justly) reviled Word 6.0 for Mac.

PowerPoint was a Mac program that MS liked so much, they bought the company [wikipedia.org]

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36041646)

Microsoft Word for DOS was okay but it was SLOW. It used graphics for everything and worked with a mouse. Frankly nobody wanted it. I know because the computer store I worked at had several copies of it and the owner gave me one because nobody was ever going to use it.
We actually sold a lot more systems with Wordstar on them but that was when WordPerfect was just starting to get traction. Back then there was a lot of compitions. PerfectWriter, XYWrite, Word, Wordstar, WordPerfect, QnA "Loved that program" and many others I don't remember. Good times.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#36041382)

Wordperfect (in both GUI and text version) was also available for Unix and Linux too (until it stopped at 8). Something that MS-Word never was.

We STILL use WordPerect 8 under Linux today although it is mostly for legacy- we have moved most everything to OpenOffice.

In many ways, WordPerfect still is better than MS-Word and OpenOffice Writer.

MS-Word had GUI last (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36039522)

I recall that WordPerfect had a GUI long before MS-Word.

Also, Lotus AmIPro (which I much preferred over both of them) had a GUI first along with many more features and better usability. I wish I had kept some PC magazines from back then, AmiPro for years was winning the Editors Choice Award with MS-Word coming in third.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

DRJlaw (946416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36039388)

WordPerfect deserved to win and Microsoft Word did not get it's dominant position through innovation or a superior product. It's more like closing the barn door after a competing farmer stole all your cows and torched your barn ten years ago, so you had to sell the farm.

Having lived through the WordPerfect 5.x - Microsoft Word for Windows ("WfW") era and made the transition myself, all I can say is "bollocks." WordPerfect was far more difficult to use than WfW for the entry level user, lacked much in the way of WYSIWYG compsing, and utterly bungled the transition into a GUI with WordPerfect for Windows (5.1-7).

Ami Pro pulled it off in not one but TWO operating systems (Windows and OS/2) despite Microsoft's involvement in both operating systems. They didn't survive, but then again they were building from a minimal base whereas WordPerfect admits it was the leader at the time.

Very few who have read reviews of word processor software from the early 90s would objectively agree with your opinion. "MakeItFit" does not make up for the awkward mess than was WordPerfect for Windows 5.1 and 5.2, much less the disaster of WordPerfect 7.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

cowdung (702933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36039696)

I'd be interested to see what Novell thinks that MS did that deserves a lawsuit. As I recall MS changed the game with Windows. WP wasn't able to follow.

WP was the symbol of everything DOS, but it was very well respected. However, Word was much easier to use and the symbol of a new era.

I guess WP couldn't hire Windows programmers fast enough and didn't make it a high enough priority.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36040170)

Nevertheless, WP7 continues to make headlines even today.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36040156)

You want to know why MS Office won? Piracy! The older versions of Office were beyond easy to pirate, hell I even remember one of them would take all 1s or all 0s as the serial number!

It is the same reason why cheaper alternatives to PhotoShop never have a chance. The kids snatch PS, they learn PS, and this helps Adobe in the long run to sell to businesses. I can't find the link ATM but back in the day old Bill himself said something along the lines of "If they are gonna pirate I want them to pirate us instead of our competitor, as we can always find a way later to turn them into a paying customer".

Hell I would argue that is why they've never tried making a "hack proof" Windows activation and they never seem to go out and shut down those WGA kill programs. It is because they know there is no way in hell Linux will ever gain a foothold on the desktop as long as it is easy to pirate Windows. Only problem they have at MSFT is someone forgot to fill Ballmer in as those $50 Win 7 HP licenses was turning pirates legit left and right, so instead of killing it they should have kept it and turned the pirates into paying customers.

So I'd love to see how they are gonna argue this one in court, as repeated studies show PS is easy to snatch and that is why PS ends up being used in business, because everybody already knows how to run it. Are they gonna argue that it isn't fair for MSFT not to try to make their programs uncopyable? Or that legit Office users should have to jump through flaming activation hoops so WP would be the easier product to snatch? Because I don't see how the black market helping a product can be simply sued away.

Almost Perfect (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36040234)

Yeah, but do you remember WordPerfect? It was way way way better than Microsoft Word and always was.
WordPerfect deserved to win and Microsoft Word did not get it's dominant position through innovation or a superior product.

That is not how the story is told by someone who was there from the beginning:

In May Microsoft shipped Windows 3.0, and our worst fears became a reality. Just at the time we were decisively winning in the DOS word processing market, the personal computing world wanted Windows, bugs and all. To make matters worse, Microsoft Word for Windows was already on dealer shelves and had received good reviews. That little cloud on the horizon, which had looked so harmless in 1986, was all around us, looking ominous and threatening. IBM's strength and size were no protection. Not even an elephant could ignore the impending storm.

Afterword

What, in your opinion, were the critical marketing mistakes made by WordPerfect from your departure up until the acquisition by Novell?

WPCorp spent themselves to death. The last full year I was there (1991) sales were approximately $600 million and pre-tax profit was $200 million. In 1992, sales fell to about $570 million, but expenses grew to equal sales. 1993 sales were about $700 million (if that number can be believed), but expenses grew to more than $700 million. The employee count from early 1992 to the end of 1993 grew from about 3,300 to 5,500, and the company was bleeding cash.

WPCorp needed better products to compete, and they needed a suite of products. The products didn't get better, and selling a Borland Office (rather than a WordPerfect Office) was silly. By spending away all their cash, the company had no chance of recovering. By not developing better products in a productive and efficient way, the company had no chance of recovering. Given Microsoft's strength, perhaps WordPerfect Corp never would have been able to reclaim their number one position in the word processing market, but they could have survived if they would have kept their expenses in check.

Almost Perfect [wordplace.com]

In the DOS era, WordPerfect was supporting every platform known to man - and distracted by internal partisan rivalries. The transition to a GUI came particularly hard.

Truly awesome software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36040554)

DOS WordPerfect 6 in particular was a truly awesome piece of software. It fit on about 7 floppies but it did everything you would ever need a word processor to do. Its graphics handling was marvelous. Placement of figures and insertion of special characters in particular was much easier than it is in either OpenOffice or Word even today. Ditto for macros and keyboard customization. The Reveal Codes feature saved countless hours of frustration in solving formatting problems. Editing on a green screen in text mode made writing such a pleasure. When they discontinued text mode, I think in Windows WP 7 or 8, no one could believe it. What were they thinking?? I still used WP6 for years even when it became completely incompatible with everything and everybody else. I would just print to postscript, then postscript to PDF. Then for some reason even that stopped working, so I finally gave up.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36040584)

Yeah, I really loved that blank blue screen, the lack of menus, the fact that you had to "just know" how to use the fucking thing, vi was free and just as unfriendly, hows about ed? Huh? I used Wordstar, it had menus, you didn't need to study a manual to use it, I don't know why it didn't catch on.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36041250)

To see the menus, just press ALT. However, given the tiddly screens in those days (EGA - today's phones are better than that), the menu was best hiden after a couple of hours practice. (Yes, the default was menus visible).

Disclaimer: I have been to Provo, Utah, and they do not sell beer there)

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36041344)

WordPerfect X5 [corel.com] is actually an awesome product. I was testing it at work recently and really surprised by how great it is. Pity that they price it similarly to Microsoft Office.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

INT_QRK (1043164) | more than 3 years ago | (#36041380)

Funny. I remember when PeachText was the cats pajamas, but then WordStar prevailed and went on to rule the roost for a fair bit. Then there was that "Enable" crap - never mind that. I always thought that WordPerfect kind of ripped off WordStar because it also used the "K" formatting codes, but then so did Word, at least under the hood, for the first part of its existence. Funny thing was that each in its own time, there was typically one dominant player. The only time there seemed to be any real competition was the short period in the late 90's when Lotus Smart Suit almost surpassed Office - it was in my opinion, a better product. (I have boxes of install disks of all of the above mentioned somewhere, by the way, big floppies, little floppies and CD's). I recall that a key factor was that the USG (especially DoD) settled on MS Office at about the time Lotus might otherwise have prevailed, and provided impetus through some key policy mandates to standardize on MS file formats. Perhaps if OASIS Open Document Format had come along a little earlier (and the vendors had incentives to adopt them, there's the rub) DoD would not have universally mandated MS Office. That's always bothered me by the way...it almost seemed at the time that the USG colluded with MS to throw the massive weight of the Federal Government to in effect (if not intent) suppress competition. I would love to see a future smart Ph.D. candidate student do a rigorous dissertation on the subject someday when the heat dies down, following the policy and the money trails.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038646)

Apt comparison. I concede to you, good sir.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36037880)

That's like reading that I want to sue for the murder of my GF where Mr. Soft was caught doing it in broad daylight, 15 years ago, and saying: "Your GF lived once... I remember talking to her. But she isn't now. Live with it. Move on, for $expletiveBasedOnMentalIllnessCalledReligion."

You can ask me why I didn't sue earlier. I can have a valid reason.
But crime doesn't really expire. Especially one that changed the whole "city" (= industrial sector).

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037958)

If you're going to compare what Microsoft did to manslaughter, you evidently have a very skewed view of reality and might not necessarily be qualified to make an objective evaluation of this situation.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

silanea (1241518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038468)

Indeed. Powerpoint alone easily qualifies as a crime against humanity.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36038370)

How would an analogy using some other crime go? Would you say the same thing to someone whos kid was murdered?

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36038546)

Anyone who can sue microsoft over predatory tactics and make a fortune is a good thing(tm). They honed predatory monopolistic tactics into an art form. The only reason they didn't get broken up in 2001 was that the judge was so incensed by their behavior that he forgot himself and publicly stated his disgust prior to sentencing. There was no re-trial, and they got off (which then disgusted everyone else). The criminal courts gave them a free pass, which leaves it up to the civil courts to deliver them justice. Re-read the first sentence.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038600)

Closing the barn door after the barn has been torn down?

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038748)

It's still relevant for me. I've got a copy open right now, writing a letter. You'll pry my copy of Wordperfect from my cold dead hands.

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (2)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36041296)

If you are still using WordPerfect, you are probably already <cue scary music> undead .

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 3 years ago | (#36040128)

closing the barn door where velociraptors were kept ?

Re:I can't be the only one who's going... "WTF?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36041470)

There's closing the barn door after the animals have left and then there's just.... uhm... I'm at a complete loss as to what a metaphor for this would be.

>

And you have just as much right to sue whoever pushed your livestock out the barn door even if they're gone for good, even if you never plan to raise livestock again. I don't think anyone believes this is a precursor to a WordPerfect revival, this is about collecting monetary damages for wrongs committed by Microsoft back when. And the chickens have finally come home to roost... (oops!)

Slashdot title is a bit misleading (4, Informative)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037632)

From TFA:

The issue before the appeals court was whether the Caldera settlement [from the 1996-2000 case] also included the associated office productivity software, WordPerfect and Quattro Pro

The way I read that, it doesn't have to do with how many years ago Novell sold WordPerfect, it has to do with an old court case in which the parties are disputing what the settlement covered.

Re:Slashdot title is a bit misleading (3, Informative)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037850)

It's an appeal to their 2004 case, in which a lower court ruled in Microsoft's favor. MS argued that Novell's allegations were subject to the deal with Caldera from '96. Calder acquired the rights to DR-DOS from that deal, then sued Microsoft, settled in 2000.

It was handed a $280m settlement from Microsoft, of which Novell got £35.5m.

Re:Slashdot title is a bit misleading (4, Funny)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36039088)

It was handed a $280m settlement from Microsoft, of which Novell got £35.5m.

So you're saying that Caldera got to keep ¥16.8 billion?

Re:Slashdot title is a bit misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36039706)

funny

Re:Slashdot title is a bit misleading (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038692)

The wheels of justice turn soooo fast. No doubt this is a well known fact in the lawyer circles at Microsoft. amazing.

LoB

given to a company that doesn't exist anymore .. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36037638)

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/04/27/1845212/Novell-Completes-Sale

Justice is finally being done (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037684)

First UBL gets killed, then this. I've been so worried all these years that justice would never be served, but my hope has been renewed.

Word who now?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36037802)

Your ideas are intriguing to me. Tell me more about this so-called 'Word Perfect'....

The tech equivalent of David Caruso (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36037806)

Novell are technology has-beens that have been in their death throes for over a decade. They're suing because law firms can speculate on percentages. I doubt Novell will even survive to see the end of this.

Re:The tech equivalent of David Caruso (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038000)

Novell has already not survived—it got bought out by Attachmate, which was heavily reported on Slashdot. Where have you been?

Reveal Codes... (4, Insightful)

zanian (1621285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037812)

is the only thing I really miss about WP. I only switched over to OO and then LO with my switch to Linux, but back in the day, I couldn't write without reveal codes.

Re:Reveal Codes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36037856)

... and I still miss it. Autoformat makes a nightmare out of what should be a simple text document. It would help me unbraindamage it if I could see what it was trying to do and manuformat it.

Re:Reveal Codes... (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037960)

OMG!!!!!!! Reveal Codes!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:Reveal Codes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36039776)

my father (old lawyer) still used WP mostly for reveal codes.

Re:Reveal Codes... (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038448)

is the only thing I really miss about WP. I only switched over to OO and then LO with my switch to Linux, but back in the day, I couldn't write without reveal codes.

Literally every person I've ever talked to about it says the same thing, including my 65 year old mother. It was a killer feature and anybody who used it misses it.

Re:Reveal Codes... (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 3 years ago | (#36039712)

Creating content and formatting it for print are two very different things, which word processors try to combine into one. When writing a document, codes should be mostly irrelevant. When formatting, they should make all the difference. While WP did not separate both concepts well, the fact that the text entry wasn't WYSIWYG, all while it allowed users to enter reveal codes mode when working on formatting made merging the tasks make a lot more sense than it does today in Word.

For any situation where the text will be edited multiple times between publications we are still far better off using something that completely separates the two concepts, like LaTeX, but still, the fact that reveal codes helps shows how the Word model is so weak for anything significant. If it didn't lack in flexibility, even tools for authoring epubs seem superior to word.

Re:Reveal Codes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36039820)

'Reveal Codes' is only necessary because WP does such a bad job of managing the codes in the first place, it forces users to micromanage them. While Word admittedly screws up on occasion, it doesn't do so nearly as often as WP does. (And I have both WordPerfect X5 and Word 2010 installed on my machine, FWIW.)

I, for one, don't miss Reveal Codes at all. When I want to deal with that crap I'll use HTML/XML/SGML or LaTeX. When I want a WYSIWYG environment for editing a letter or short paper, I'll use Word.

Re:Reveal Codes... (2)

dwillden (521345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36040294)

I'm not sure about how word does it now, but even back in the early 2000's WP did a far better job with managing the editing and format codes, it really was WYSIWYG as what was displayed was what you had set and was how it would print, not so with Word. In WP you changed a setting for an area and it changed for that area. In word, it just layered the new changes on top of the old. Change it back (other than via undo) and it layered the new/old change on top of the old. Resulting in layers and layers of format codes and a much larger file. Then word would end up getting confused about what layer it was supposed to be working off of and your formatting would go all crazy, and good luck fixing it. I tend to think it still operates that way with all the problems auto-format and auto-correct cause today in Word.

The first thing I recommend to anyone new or even somewhat inexperienced with word is that they turn off all auto-correct and auto-format functions other than those dealing with spelling. Otherwise they'll be typing a paragraph and Word will decide they want bullet points, or will change their outline format style, indentation level and outline levels at random. I never had that problem with WP, and I used WP extensively from vs 4.1 through Corel WP 10.

Re:Reveal Codes... (2)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36040126)

Gods yes. If OO/LO/whatever wants me to go through the bother of uninstalling my old OpenOffice and installing a new version, all they need to do is add something feature-identical to Reveal Codes. Hell, I'd consider switching to another suite altogether if it had that.

MS isn't the only culprit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36037862)

I used WordPerfect 4.1 through 5.1 from about 1985 to about 1993. I loved it while it was still produced and supported by WordPerfect, Inc. The tech support was excellent.

Then it came out in a Windows version, which wasn't so hot. WP, Inc. sold it, and tech support went into the toilet. I can't recall whether Novell was the one who bought it from WP Inc., but Novell probably screwed up the software and its customer base more than anyone. That's when I dragged myself kicking and screaming to Word.

Novell deserves a lot of the blame for the loss of market share.

In other news... (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#36037948)

The court also certified a class-action suit against Studebaker over frequent automatic transmission failures in the 1953 Studebaker "Commander" model.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36038044)

While not related to the case at hand, frankly WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, and GroupWise for Windows clients were nearly the worst piles of garbage ever written for the Microsoft OS. Their demise in the marketplace had to do with bad programming and quality control testing. We tried to use these products and had to reject them completely or face a user revolt. MS Office, for all its flaws, was still a better product and everyone knew it.

A Sound of Ancient Drums (1)

oakwine (1709682) | more than 3 years ago | (#36038046)

WP was a wonderful word processor on DOS and I guess DR Dos up to some point, then it got overly complex. It did not transition to Windows gracefully especially when it was forced to dance to the tune of shots nicely aimed when each new Windows patch came out. Ethics was not anyone's strong suit in those days. Hate to be the legal counsel on either side of this one.

Another swindle with MS lurking behind the curtain (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36038680)

I was a Corel shareholder (then having major Linux and Office ambitions) when they were acquired in a shady takeover by company with MS affiliations.

WIKI: "In August 2003, Corel was wholly acquired by Vector Capital, a private equity firm, for $1.05 a share (slightly more than the cash in the company)."!!

I then invested whatever was left in Novell (then having major Linux ambitions, and the Office market manipulation suit against MS) when in March (this year) they were acquired in a shady takeover by company with MS affiliations/cash - Attachmate. (again for slightly more than the cash in the company!!).

WTF!!!

Being based outside USA in *both* cases I only received voting material *after* the crooked managements had already approved the swindles! My other brokers (holding same stock) never sent me any information whatsoever...

This market capitalism seems to work wonders! For the fucking insider swindlers!

When these scheming attachmate characters release what's left of my former Novell investment... any open-source companies looking for long-term investors? I can't wait to be screwed one last time by greedy insiders in cahoots with MS! Or any lawyers interested in...

Loved WP in the day. (1)

sunfly (1248694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36039398)

I loved WP back in the day, when its menus and actions made a lot more sense IMO than Word's. They went to crap when they sold out, and the development team tried copying Word instead of innovating. Usually a desperation move that does not work unless other market forces are at play. Honestly Word 2007 was the first version I could stomach to use. As a side note, a company I was working for bought a site license for about $400 that covered a couple hundred installs, where Word was going to cost that much each seat.

Eerily familiar (1)

bfandreas (603438) | more than 3 years ago | (#36039818)

Hasn't Novell gone the way of the dodo? Are we witnessing the birth of a new SCO?

Productivity my ass (1)

frisket (149522) | more than 3 years ago | (#36040044)

...suite of e-mail, task management and calendar applications. The appeals court decided that such a suite could not be considered productivity software...

Good call. Too much time is wasted using it...

As an engineering student at the time... (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36040148)

Word Perfect's equation editor language kicked much ass as well.

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