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IBM Donates Symphony Code To Apache Software Foundation

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the don't-say-bequeath-until-you-die-please dept.

Open Source 131

CWmike writes "Hoping to further sharpen OpenOffice's competitive viability against Microsoft Office, IBM is donating the code of its Symphony open source office suite to the nonprofit Apache Software Foundation. Apache could fold this code into its own open source office suite OpenOffice, on which Symphony was based. In June, Oracle donated the OpenOffice suite to Apache. 'Prior to Apache's entry, there really hasn't been enough innovation in this area over the past 10 years,' said Kevin Cavanaugh, an IBM vice president. 'It's been constrained because we haven't had a true open source community with a mature governance model.'"

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Fags (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36768652)

Fags

10 years without innovation (2)

RackNine (1955398) | more than 3 years ago | (#36768682)

10 years without innovation it's an eternity by computer standards. Who is killing innovation, I wonder

Re:10 years without innovation (0)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36768828)

I'm pretty sure that was just marketing speak for "Now Sun is dead and Oracle doesn't care about OpenOffice we have no further need for Symphony."

They don't want to pay (1)

improfane (855034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769282)

They don't want to pay to maintain software. They would rather give it away as open source and let some unpaid people maintain it indefinitely into the future, something that no company can really afford.

It's a win for the open source community but it's win-win for businesses. Afterall, they benefit from the project when it's open source. They can deallocate resources to it too.

I am not sure how it makes me feel. All software seems to be derived from some open source code somewhere. The web? TCP/IP stacks? KHTML? Linux? Netscape/Firebird?

Sudden digression regarding patents: Patents? Yeah they need to go. Will IBM donate patents to go along with OpenSymphony? I wonder how many existing patents are preceded by openly available code?

Re:They don't want to pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769876)

>It's a win for the open source community but it's win-win for businesses.
[...]
> I am not sure how it makes me feel.

That's because your thought patterns are on the greedy side.

A win for open source is a win for open source is a win for open source.

I don't know where there is not to understand?

Open source might not always win/win but it always wins and it makes intellectual people (not greedy people) very happy.

Re:10 years without innovation (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770346)

And I'd say sadly that thanks to 'free as in beer" and the freeloader effect it is ultimately a loss for FOSS. lets be honest folks...have you LOOKED at the LO/OO code? We are talking this huge monolithic mess that would probably take someone a good year or more to get fully up to speed on. if you don't manage to keep those long term developers that were building it at Sun i'd say you're screwed as it'll take a good 3 years or more to rebuild the thing into a more modular design, which is eternity in software time.

Meanwhile you have Apple and MSFT with iWork and MS Office spending tons of money on R&D and features so to keep even partially up on features or even have functional compatibility so you can use LO as a drop in replacement is gonna take serious coding. developers of the skill required to do this? NOT cheap and this kind of monolithic project isn't something a coder can just 'pop in on the weekends" and get anything done, its just too massive.

So I truly believe that unless FOSS projects like this find a stable source of revenue things are only gonna get worse as the economy sours. The "tin cup" model of either donations or support works fine in a healthy economy but that isn't what we've got ATM and companies are gonna cut costs any way they can. if they can have your product without paying a cent why give you anything?

Sadly this is completely a case of short sighted "damn everything but the quarterly reports!" thinking because without funding LO will fall further behind. Who cares if it is free if in 3 years it can't open the MS Office 2015 Doc files, or open the latest iWork for that matter?

We've seen that the FOSS model really kicks ass on the "tiny programs piped together" style, as it is easy to maintain and upgrade without needing huge teams of developers well versed in the code. i just don't know how well FOSS is gonna work long term with such a huge monolithic code base and as someone who happily hands out LO to all his home users that does worry me.

Re:10 years without innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36771394)

The problem with LO/OO for me is that it cannot be trusted to produce a file that will render identically on Microsoft Office systems.

The only time I used an office suite at home is to generate my cv. I someone a cv in 12 point font which when viewed in Microsoft Office showed up as 38 point font!

Ultimately, after trying google docs, openoffice and so on, I gave up, and I use a Windows XP vm, with Office 2003 on it.

If OpenOffice had a way of being able to only use features and formatting that are *guaranteed* to render correctly on any Microsoft Office system, that would render it infinitely more useful to me.

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

heypete (60671) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771630)

Why not export the CV as a PDF, which will then display the same on all systems?

Re:10 years without innovation (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771954)

I can answer that as I've had to deal with the crap. HR uses a program that fast indexes Word docs looking for keywords and putting them in categories and the stuff will NOT work on PDF, RTF,ODF, hell I wouldn't be surprised if the crap can't parse .TXT!

So I can tell you that while "just use PDF" sounds nice in theory, IRL if you are lucky they will ask you to re submit as a .doc for their software, if you aren't lucky they will just toss your PDF and move on. I've also seen handouts at the local college for various classes and they ALL demand .doc for their anti-cheating software.

This is one of the reasons I truly and sincerely hope LO finds a source of steady funds so they can hire more developers. Right now .doc support is awful unless it is the most simple doc (try it yourself, go to the government websites and find some of their .docs, then open in LO and save back as a .doc and you'll find a mangled word salad) and while I would like nothing more than to not have to warn my customers about using LO for anything but home use after seeing friends get their grades in college dinged for trying to send LO docs I can't in good conscience not warn them.

As it is if you are just writing for yourself? or you are gonna print it? LO is just great. If you are gonna turn it in for a class, collaborate with someone using MS Office, or worse need to send in resumes? Then you would be insane to trust LO's MS Office compatibility. I really wish it weren't so but I've seen docs mangled before my very eyes by simply opening in LO and saving edits back into a .doc format. talk about a mess!

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772128)

hell I wouldn't be surprised if the crap can't parse .TXT!

Sounds like your crappy proprietary indexing system is shit. I wouldn't blame OO/LO for incompatibilities if PDF or .TXT (UTF-8) doesn't work.

IRL if you are lucky they will ask you to re submit as a .doc for their software, if you aren't lucky they will just toss your PDF and move on. I've also seen handouts at the local college for various classes and they ALL demand .doc for their anti-cheating software.
...
try it yourself, go to the government websites and find some of their .docs, then open in LO and save back as a .doc and you'll find a mangled word salad ...
Then you would be insane to trust LO's MS Office compatibility.

Let me introduce a radical new way to save documents. HTMutherfuckingL. That's right, the format that EVERY DAMN DEVICE can render is now available to YOU (see: File -> Save As).

Seems to me you are dealing with crap "standards". It's not the document format that's at fault if a "PROFESSOR" can't open a .RTF or .HTML document... In all honesty, I would ask for my money back if they refused one of the documents I sent them. If they refused a refund I would sue in small claims court, and win -- Accepting that there is no such statement that says: "Microsoft Certified Software is REQUIRED for this course."

How can a professor profess to being proficient at opening documents if they can't open the most wide spread and open of documentation formats? Truly, heads would roll were I in charge.

You are now aware that it costs professors $0.00 to install the free and open source software that is required to open the document formats you are recommending against using. If my professor said: "DERP! I can't open this document!?!?! Ima give U an F." I would have that bastard's entrails on a silver platter for breakfast due to their incompetence.

Here's a hint: Unless I'm taking a Microsoft Certification course -- I shouldn't be REQUIRED to use Microsoft products. There is no excuse; Take it up with the next level -- Your "teachers" need to be taught a lesson.

Re:10 years without innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36772148)

Well, to be fair to them, IBM are the ones that have donated the code in question and IBM really do accept PDF resumes.

And Symphony is supposed to have improved a lot of the word compatibility stuff. Couldn't vouch for the truth of that, but it's supposed to be better than with plain OO.o

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772988)

The problem with Microsoft Office for me is that it cannot be trusted to produce a file that will render identically on Microsoft Office systems.

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36768854)

What 10 year period is Kevin Cavanaugh talking about? If he honestly believes that there hasn't been any innovation in the "office space" then I can see why some are saying that IBM is becoming more irrelevant.

Re:10 years without innovation (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#36768988)

It depends on your bar for "innovation". If you mean "change" then sure. If you mean new value that would cause customers to adopt the upgrade, it's hard to argue conclusively one way or the other. The sense I have is that upgrades are largely driven by security concerns and keeping the number of versions managed by IT down when the old versions are taken off the market.

There's probably never been a change that somebody (often in the trade press) doesn't praise, or find intriguing. But the sense I get from most people is that the upgrade treadmill is something they live with, but don't look forward to. They'd be happy with the office suite they had ten years ago if non-feature related quality (stability, speed, rendering consistency etc.) were improved.

Re:10 years without innovation (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769366)

I was thinking more in the lines of videoconferencing, mobile communications, telecommuting / remote access, collaborating software/groupware, improved GIS packages, improved laptops and portable workstations, tablets, distributed databases, outsourced office applications with IT support (aka "the cloud"), professional networking (like LinkedIn not ethernet), crowd sourcing, wireless high speed internet while traveling, wireless video conferencing, and electronic business banking solutions (aka wire transfers on demand, electronic escrow, credit card processing). These are just things off the top of my head, I'm sure one of the many "road warriors" can come up with more.

I remember when most of the stuff I mentioned where only conceivable for the wealthiest corporations, and yet now even the modest small business can take advantage of this technology. I know the progression to this current level of tech was slow in today's fast paced environment (ie "boiling the frog") but if you compare the office of 2011 with the office of 2001 the advances are startling.

So what is Cavanaugh's definition of innovation? I mean how much improvements can you make to a word processor and a spreadsheet?

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36768864)

Sun was.

Re:10 years without innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36768870)

Governance and legal matters, that is who.

Is FOSS innovative? (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36768914)

10 years without innovation it's an eternity by computer standards. Who is killing innovation, I wonder

Who is promoting it? I'm not sure FOSS is promoting innovation as much as many advocates would like to believe. When the most popular apps are largely described as "a FOSS reimplementation/alternative to commercial/proprietary XXXX" one could argue that FOSS, like many corporations, is not terribly innovative. Just to be clear, a worthwhile project does not necessarily need to be innovative. I've used and supported FOSS projects that I find useful. I'm just arguing that FOSS advocates are not necessarily the best people to be criticizing others for a lack of innovation.

Re:Is FOSS innovative? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769506)

If you're looking at the most popular applications for innovation, then you're looking in the wrong direction. The most popular applications are rarely particularly innovative. You do get exceptions like Napster from time to time, but those are few and far between, generally they're just the biggest fish in a new market.

The really innovative stuff is stuff that most folks haven't yet heard of, and it usually comes from OSS or indie developers because there's so much less of a barrier to creating it. Hobbyists and small developers have a lot less to lose if the thing flops than large corporations do. Worst case is that a small developer goes under and has to file for bankruptcy. Not really that big of a deal for a small concern.

Re:Is FOSS innovative? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769626)

Nonsense. The most popular apps are like all the other mainstream apps because people like what they're used to. That doesn't mean there's no innovation in open source. What proprietary software shop offers anything like xmonad? compiz? uzbl? KIO-slaves? Where did we first see ad blockers? Distributed P2P? Is there any proprietary software that can do what Bioconductor can do?

Re:Is FOSS innovative? (0)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770038)

Nonsense. The most popular apps are like all the other mainstream apps because people like what they're used to. That doesn't mean there's no innovation in open source. What proprietary software shop offers anything like xmonad? compiz? uzbl? KIO-slaves? Where did we first see ad blockers? Distributed P2P? Is there any proprietary software that can do what Bioconductor can do?

So your examples of innovation are an X Window manager that was started as a clone of another X Window manager, an X Window manager that uses the 3D hardware like Mac OS X (and possibly Windows) were already doing at the time, yet another web browser implementation, I/O "modules" for KDE, specialized/niche add on modules for a statistical package, etc.

Re:Is FOSS innovative? (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770420)

Yes. It doesn't sound like much but it's better than what we've seen from the commercial realm. There are no proprietary tiling window managers. There are other desktops with a cube. There are no proprietary file managers that encompass the breadth of information that kio-slaves can access. There are no proprietary minimalist browsers. And there sure as hell isn't anything as extensible as Bioconductor.

It's true, there is nothing new under the sun. Any innovation you wish to point to, from open source or proprietary development can be traced to something that preceded it. So sure, you can glibly dismiss any list of innovations if you're predisposed to do so.

Re:Is FOSS innovative? (0)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771396)

You've got your history backwards, compiz beat the rest to market by a mile on using 3d hardware for window managment.

Re:Is FOSS innovative? (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771570)

You've got your history backwards, compiz beat the rest to market by a mile on using 3d hardware for window managment.

Wiki says that Mac OS X 10.2 was using the GPU in 2002 and that compiz was first released in 2006.

Re:Is FOSS innovative? (-1, Redundant)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771750)

Huh, didn't know that.

Meh, either way MS were late to the game.

Re:10 years without innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769102)

In all honesty... there isn't much more to do in that area other than just pile on more apps. Word Processors, Spreadsheets and personal Databases reached maturity 15 years ago and there isn't a big call for to many new features. I am looking at my copy of openoffice right now and I can't think of a single feature I am really missing - and I have to assume that those that use MS Office feel the same way. Heck, I open up Google Docs and can't think of too much I am missing...

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769452)

Office suites became feature complete back in the 90s. 99% of people could get by on the features present in Office 97. There's just no market for really innovative office suites.

Re:10 years without innovation (3, Insightful)

Ensign Nemo (19284) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770630)

+1

Remember when the argument was:
"But a person only uses 20% of MS Office features"
"But everybody uses a different 20%."

Bullocks. Push people on what features they actually use. Most people really do use the roughly the same 20%. The vast majority of people I've talked with and seen what they do, Office 97 is just fine.

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

jon_doh2.0 (2097642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771188)

Bollocks!

Surely there are places where innovations could be implemented, like greater network enabled collaborative features, or introducing more advanced image and page manipulation capabilities, for creating more advanced multimedia documents?

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771442)

Advanced multimedia documents?

I hope that was sarcasm, I hope I missed the joke, because.... yuck.

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

jon_doh2.0 (2097642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771836)

Oh, i feel so ashamed now. You have made me feel so small.

So, your hung up on the terms i used (i try to write explicitly), but perhaps you could engage your faculties and try and see past them, to the concept i was trying to invoke. Currently GIMP handles text quite badly, beyond a very basic level, and i am often trying to make flyers, which are heavily text based, but also very graphics heavy. An office suite with some more capable graphics options would be sweet.

In fairness, on rereading that sentence, it could have done without the last bit.

But, you still bring nothing relevant to the debate.

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772088)

You may be using the wrong tools for the job. I'm not sure. You may wish to investigate the capabilities of desktop publishing/design software like Scribus or Inkscape.

It was your phrasing that made me ask if you were being sarcastic. The number of people wanting "greater network enabled collaborative features" is utterly tiny as far as I can tell, and "advanced multimedia documents" sounds like business speak for word documents with embedded animations, movies, music and other such horrific crap.

tl;dr - you set off my business-speak bullshit alarm. If you genuinely have a software need for these things then I apologise.

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

jon_doh2.0 (2097642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772314)

Cheers, Inkscape looks great. Though, (bangs the drum) some extended graphics capabilities in an office application would be cool, perhaps an office app with 'advanced' plugin support could offer many innovative features and allow devs and users all sorts of opportunities (including the desired).

However, i believe, network enabled, collaborative document editing would have much user interest (a la Google Docs), as evidenced by the popularity of wikis.

And, partly, i was just repulsed by the idea that the office suite paradigm was somehow finished and there could never be any room for innovation or improvement. And, so i just tried to think up a couple of possible arbitrary examples to the contrary.

If i write like a verbose corporate droid, it might be that i have been up all night (its 7:10 in the morning here), or simply that i am a pompous English man.

Peace.

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | more than 3 years ago | (#36773086)

Cheers, Inkscape looks great.

It is great but it's a drawing program. The other suggestion, Scribus, seems more fitting to me.

Though, (bangs the drum) some extended graphics capabilities in an office application would be cool, perhaps an office app with 'advanced' plugin support could offer many innovative features and allow devs and users all sorts of opportunities (including the desired).

Makes me think of Calligra, formerly known as KOffice, but I'm not sure in what direction I'd want to look for extended graphical capabilities. Creating nice graphs based on spreadsheet or database data is enough I think. Does Krita qualify as an office-app?

However, i believe, network enabled, collaborative document editing would have much user interest (a la Google Docs), as evidenced by the popularity of wikis.

Drupal has such a collaborative modules afaik (it used to, at least). I mean, rather than looking at an office-suite I'd look at how I'd want to collaborate, so a CMS or version control system might be interesting alternatives.

And, partly, i was just repulsed by the idea that the office suite paradigm was somehow finished and there could never be any room for innovation or improvement. And, so i just tried to think up a couple of possible arbitrary examples to the contrary.

Why not mention 'the ribbon' as an example of both innovation and room for improvement? ;-)

Re:10 years without innovation (4, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771574)

Bullocks. Push people on what features they actually use. Most people really do use the roughly the same 20%. The vast majority of people I've talked with and seen what they do, Office 97 is just fine.

Says the guy with a vested interest in agreeing with his own opinion.

I don't want to use Office 97. If I wanted that, I might as well use OpenOffice (because that's the version it resembles). I want to use Office 2010. I like the ribbon UI and I like many of the other improvements they've made since then.

I also have various workflows that I have built into Office that I find indispensable. I have an Excel template that I use for invoicing that has not been compatible with any other office suite I've tried, including OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Google Docs, Zoho, and Microsoft's own Office Web Apps. I have a couple VBA macros assigned to hotkeys that make the things I have to do in Word much easier, and I haven't had much luck porting those either. There are other ways that I used Office features that you may consider idiosyncratic, but now that I'm accustomed to working that way, I am reluctant to give them up. I definitely have my own 20%.

Sorry to disagree with you, though. You clearly had yourself convinced; it must just be me.

Re:10 years without innovation (0)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772166)

And you are sure that your one anecdote, from you - a poster on a highly tech literate forum full of geeks - represents an error in the theory that the vast majority of people could get by happily with Office 97?

Counter examples are good. However I wouldn't be such a dick about it when you're using a personal anecdote to highlight a fault in an idea that concerns most users,

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36772524)

I want to use Office 2010. I like the ribbon UI and I like many of the other improvements they've made since then.

You what! 2010 is cr*p, the ribbon takes up too much screen space and requires too many clicks to get simple (for me) things done. 2010 is all eye candy and targeted at dumb low end users.

I find as a power user it just gets in the way.

Re:10 years without innovation (1)

olau (314197) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772968)

Your case is not surprising to me, MS Office is a complex beast with a lot of advanced features. But I think the GP is right in the sense that most (but not all) people have no clue those feature are there, and for them, a simpler suite would be fine.

Hot potato! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36768718)

Nobody wants it. Face it, if you want well maintained software with today's feature set, you need to purchase it. The myth of open source superiority has been proven false time and again. It's fine if you just need something quick to slap together a project you don't plan on sharing with anyone else in the business world; but MS Office gets it done, baby.

Re:Hot potato! (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36768800)

I don't know that I'd call MS Office well maintained. Shoehorned or jury-rigged is more appropriate when describing their maintenance.

Re:Hot potato! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36768810)

Where is the "informative troll" mod option?

Re:Hot potato! (2)

RackNine (1955398) | more than 3 years ago | (#36768822)

The myth of open source superiority has been proven false time and again.

How about WordPress? OpenSource and vastly superior to other equivalent commercial CMSs

Re:Hot potato! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36770944)

WordPress? You mean that crappy blog software that can barely handle even a modest load without erroring out?

Re:Hot potato! (3)

cpicon92 (1157705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36768842)

How do you explain the popularity of Apache and Linux on enterprise servers, then?

Re:Hot potato! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769092)

How do you explain the popularity of Apache and Linux on enterprise servers, then?

Rare exceptions? Especially Apache seems to be the one niche where the model worked (combo of unique target group (web site admins), oss dev interest, lack of serious competition for a long while, low complexity, no network effects, etc). But Linux on enterprise servers, or lack of MS, is not as common as Slashdot like to think.

Re:Hot potato! (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769164)

Please tell me you are joking. Linux is huge on enterprise servers. Normally there are windows boxes in the server room as well, but linux is very common in the server room. Do you think oracle is uncommon? What do you think those oracle servers are running on?

Re:Hot potato! (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769476)

What do you think those oracle servers are running on?

Solaris.

Re:Hot potato! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769520)

Larry's ego?

Re:Hot potato! (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769108)

How do you explain the popularity of Apache and Linux on enterprise servers, then?

The server room is managed by an IT pro.

The office suite is the domain of the 9 to 5 clerical worker, who has a very different set of skills, needs and expectations.

Re:Hot potato! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769458)

Inertia. ngnix is a much better web server.

Re:Hot potato! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36770532)

You have to be fucking joking. This irrational love for nginx that seems to have broken out over the last year or so is nothing but ill-informed hype, peddled by bedroom sysadmins obsessively trying to optimse their fucking wordpress blog on a shitty 512MB VM instance.

Nginx has one advantage over apache and that's its event based model. Apache wins hands down at everything else and once mpm_event becomes stable, nginx will cease to offer anything of value over apache. Even nginx's current advantage is minimal - an event based approach only starts to offer a significant advantage if you need to support long polling. And, if that's the case, why not hand those requests off to a dedicated node.js (or friends) instance?

Regardless of how much traffic your site gets, the following setup will handle it:

HAProxy -> Apache Traffic Server -> Apache httpd with mod_fcgid -> (MySQL | Postfix) and/or (Redis | Tokyo Cabinet | Memcached | MongoDB | CouchDB)

Just add additional httpd and traffic servers as appropriate for the load and throw in a few node.js instances if you need to handle long polling and you're all set.

Innovation and Polishing (3, Informative)

improfane (855034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769414)

Freely available code, be it open source or academic are the original innovators. They seed ideas. They are not constrained by funding or time.

Businesses adopt these ideas, invest into them and produce viable and profitable software. They create products, not innovations. They are restricted by time and profits.

It would have been hard for the internet to be what it is today without freely available code.

What Uses Does Microsoft Office Have? (4, Insightful)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769576)

All right, I'll bite. I'm curious. What exactly is it that Microsoft Office gets done? Besides lock your data into a proprietary format. I don't use it myself, so I'm sure there's *some* use for it that I'm not aware of, but here's some of the technologies I use instead.

I only use a word processor to generate blog posts, fiction, and documents where I don't care about layout too strongly, since it's sort of inherent in a word processor that they will adjust the layout somewhat before e.g. printing it. There's very little reason to save in either .docx or .doc as far as I am aware, since the former does not currently conform to the OOXML format and the latter is more akin to a memory dump of Word.

For text that I really don't care about, I use a text editor. I also use this for small notes to myself, or simple lists. I don't need my notes indexed, thank you, grep will do just fine.

For layout documents, I generally use Scribus, InDesign, Inkscape, or Illustrator, and save in svg or pdf, dependent on whether or not I want a working format or a presentation format. If I can count on being the only one to edit it, or that any collaborators will be using the same software, it makes sense to use each program's native format. For bitmaps I use GIMP and Photoshop, and generally prefer GIMP, except for the name and the text-related tools. It runs on more systems that I use, and takes far less time to download and install, and similarly uses a fraction of the disk space. I usually have the most recent version of Adobe's software on a disk.

For my own personal artwork I have found a nice balance of features in the painting program MyPaint, which runs on Linux and Windows.

I do not generate 3D images or models, or animation, or music. Neither, as far as I'm aware, does Office.

I create web pages with Netbeans or Bluefish, or a text editor. If I did not know how to write markup I suppose I might have more use for Word. Similarly, for storing and retrieving and processing data I use a database and a scripting language, or XML if I don't need a full-on database. For keeping track of financial data, an accounting program or package is useful for even small projects, and vital for any business-related endeavor.

I've used web-based email since hotmail became available. I have no idea what, given all of the above, Outlook would be useful to me for. It seems like an adequate if bloated email application, though I've never enjoyed trying to move data out of it.

That's my current toolset. I'm not particularly attached to any of them, and obviously quite used to using both the tools at hand and, when I have the luxury, the best tool for the job. Office has not to date been in the latter category in my experience. Why is Office a good tool? At what task does it uniquely excel at? What combination of features am I missing out on?

Re:Hot potato! (1)

WorBlux (1751716) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770908)

And if you want to access it ten years from now? Twenty? Fifty? If you don't know how the document was made, how are you supposed to access the data inside?

Re:Hot potato! (1)

jon_doh2.0 (2097642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771202)

Haha, very good, the king of irony.

Oh wait, that's me.

Maybe... (5, Insightful)

kakyoin01 (2040114) | more than 3 years ago | (#36768720)

...if just about every major company out there wasn't trying to sue the pants off of some other major company over some generic patents, there might be more properly-driven innovation.

Re:Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36768824)

Who cares about this donation? Didn't the OOo developers all leave and do libre office instead? Will Apache bring them back into the fold or are they waiting for devs to join the project/

Re:Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769000)

Wondering too. Aren't some countries (e.g. brazil) funding LibreOffice because they are using it in their governments? Wouldn't it be better if they all would invest their effort in one major, free, open source office version? I'd strongly recommend it, it would be nice to use a strong office version on Ubuntu.

Re:Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769030)

A major part of team behind LibreOffice is the team that used to be behind go-oo, backed by Novell. I'm not sure if after the Novell acquisition, Attachmate will keep supporting it (they do dropped Mono, after all).

Re:Maybe... (2)

KugelKurt (908765) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769912)

LibreOffice is under the SUSE umbrella, not Novell. Mono was dropped because it was part of Novell and not SUSE. SUSE was (if I understood it correctly) free to hire the old Ximian team to continue Mono. SUSE chose not to, although SUSE is still legally obligated to support it for paying SUSE Enterprise customers. So they'll likely have a guy or so to maintain Mono.

Time will tell I guess.. xorg springs to mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36768726)

Nuff said already

th1s is goatsex (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36768792)

FBUNCH OF GAY NEGROS use the sling.

Software cemetary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36768798)

Is the Apache Software Foundation a new dumping ground for dead and abandoned software projects?

The "Apache Software Foundation" Retirement Home (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36768806)

It's where all obsolete software goes after the original owner can't make any money on it and doesn't want to do maintenance any more.

Re:The "Apache Software Foundation" Retirement Hom (1)

mdm42 (244204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772574)

I don't understand why Apache are being so undiscriminating about accepting projects. It looks to me like Apache has just become a dumping ground for dead software, and ASF seem quite happy to go with that. There are now so many top-level projects that it's become pretty-much like Sourceforge - any rubbish is acceptable, and the poor sucker looking for a solution to a specific problem has to spend ages "evaluating" a bunch of ego-riddled crapware. Used to be that Apache was a mark of quality and some level of engineering and design. Not lately.

WOW !! DOS AIN'T DONE 'TIL LOTUS WON'T RUN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36768830)

And here it is again, in its WORST incarnation: Symphony, a thing only the late John Dvorak could love. Or, if you prefer: IT'S A TRAP !!

Congratulations Apache and IBM! (2, Interesting)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 3 years ago | (#36768878)

As much as "big blue" has probably the biggest software patent portfolio and they are possibly only doing out of spite for Microsoft, I applaud IBM for their continued support for the FOSS community, and the Apache Foundation being as good as any representative for it. I hope the resources of IBM are available to support Linux especially, as it continues to face off against patent trolls like Microsoft and SCO (allthough I think SCO is as good as dead). I have nothing against patents being used for what they were intended (protecting the inventor), but when patent trolls use them as an anticompetitive weapon it brings shame to the system as a whole. What would the world be like now if it weren't for the FOSS community (including Apache)? Microsoft would probably rule at least the western world with an iron fist. It would be even more of a mafia organisation than it is today. I use OpenOffice and I'm quite happy with its performance and capabilities (especially since Microsoft brought out those stupid ribbons). I'm sure sales of Microsoft Office are struggling already and would be in dire straits if not for pre-installations and the use of Windows as marketing leverage for OEMs (package deals). Last of all, thanks to Apache for their kick arse web server! I hope you are able to continue your good work till the demise of corporate greed (so till the end of time basically).

World without FOSS? (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769056)

... What would the world be like now if it weren't for the FOSS community (including Apache)? ...

It would probably be pretty much the same as it is now, we'd have to pay a little more for workstations and servers as they would still be coming from Sun, SGI and other traditional Unix vendors. It wasn't Microsoft that killed these platforms, it was Linux. Maybe Mac OS X would have caught on a little faster?

Re:World without FOSS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769350)

Yes, the BSD-based Mac OSX would have caught on faster without OSS.

Re:World without FOSS? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770408)

Yes, the BSD-based Mac OSX would have caught on faster without OSS.

Note that the GP hypothesized a world without FOSS, had FOSS never occurred Apple would have simply gone down a different path. They nearly went down such a path and used a proprietary kernel even with BSD being available. The current FOSS based kernel, Darwin, does not really contribute to the end user experience that makes Mac OS X the user friendly GUI that it is. All the important code is proprietary, as many FOSS advocates complain.

I'm thrilled there's a BSD console and tools available but my opinion represents such a small minority it wouldn't really affect sales.

Re:World without FOSS? (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770234)

If it weren't for FOSS, the development tools would have still been expensive. And with expensive dev tools, you get little innovation and/or small number of applications.

Re:World without FOSS? (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770482)

If it weren't for FOSS, the development tools would have still been expensive. And with expensive dev tools, you get little innovation and/or small number of applications.

That's not true. Linux and other FOSS software did not only displace the traditional unix vendors, they also displaced a lot of consumer and small/home office oriented software. For example we had inexpensive development suites like TurboPascal and TurboC under MS-DOS.

Re:World without FOSS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36771314)

For example we had inexpensive development suites like TurboPascal and TurboC under MS-DOS.

Which were on their way out because Borland couldn't compete with Microsoft (and Visual Studio).

Re:World without FOSS? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772102)

For example we had inexpensive development suites like TurboPascal and TurboC under MS-DOS. Which were on their way out because Borland couldn't compete with Microsoft (and Visual Studio).

No. You are confusing the Windows 9x era with the MS-DOS era. From the mid 1980s to very early 90s Borland was inexpensive and dominated. Also the early versions of Visual Studio were not expensive, MS was encouraging a migration from DOS to Windows 3.x.

Re:World without FOSS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36770882)

FOSS is not all OSS.

Re:Congratulations Apache and IBM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769088)

Yeah because when IBM hits people with patents suits it's clearly for purely altruistic reasons and to protect FOSS. Oh wait, you're fucking full of shit considering that IBM has been at the monopoly game for decades longer than Microsoft could ever hope to be.

Re:Congratulations Apache and IBM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36770946)

Uh, what IBM patent suits would those be?

A pity Framework isn't revived this way (2)

victor50 (2139882) | more than 3 years ago | (#36768968)

Most of you will probably wonder: Framework? Framework was and in some ways still is the most superior integrated suite ever developed. Unfortunately they where slain by Wordperfect (4.2) and probably some bad marketing from Ashton Tate. It is in the obscure hands of a firm called "Selections & Functions" who really hasn't done much for it. It looks like they have abandoned it all together.

Re:A pity Framework isn't revived this way (2)

haruchai (17472) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769312)

Really? They seem to have spent quite some time and effort on making it buzzwordy and still offer it for sale.

I'd be grateful is someone could translate this gobbledegook into English:
From www.framework.com

What is FRAMEWORK ?

Framework is a unified computing architecture encompassing an operating system, API, GUI, applications, interactive programmability, RTOS sensor handling and information management. It is developed and maintained as a semiconductor design with a parallel software version which runs with the help of simulation and virtualization on other operating systems. Framework's design aim is to provide full hardware based computing functionality with no additional software but it does support running x86 programs on an x86 simulator.

While maintaining backward compatibility and following the original design principles of the Ashton-Tate product Framework was rebuilt as an architectural computing concept based on linguistic principles and path based automata. The new architecture overcomes the inherent limitations of parallel processing that the inherently serial CPU-based arithmetic computing imposed. Framework's architectural building blocks are channels that handle its perceptible, inherently selectable and ordered contextual objects. The result is not only an efficiency that cannot be matched in CPU based computing but also a generic highly ergonomic interface which can be internalized with no visual support. Framework employes RAM-based state machines on operating systems such as Windows while taking advantage of massive parallelism on its FPGA based system to provide an instantaneous data handling with Big-O of one. The Big-O of one technology supports SATA based storage available to users as well as Framework's own internal content-based memory and dependency management system. This enables the Framework's inherent parallelism and its extendable interpretation available with the FRED language. Simply put, there is no practical limit on the number of uniquely named FRED functions, nor a delay penalty associated with increase in that number or with an increase in the size of data stored on hard drives.

Re:A pity Framework isn't revived this way (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771864)

The "Big-O of one" must be the goatse guy, I dunno about the rest...

Seriously (the big O and little o notation, I recall them) it is interesting, but they are not trying to compete with office/openoffice where a mail merge of a few dozen of records takes seconds (an eternity, for multighz multicore machines), and nobody really cares.

Re:A pity Framework isn't revived this way (2)

lennier (44736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772076)

I'd be grateful is someone could translate this gobbledegook into English:

Neat! Framework, like the original Lotus Symphony (not the current IBM OO.org-derived suite which is entirely unrelated) and then Lotus Notes, was a very cool idea in integrated applications which sadly, the world didn't follow. Basically, as far as I can grok that text, it's a one-tool-to-rule-the-world kind of application (of the kind that EMACS only dreams of being). I still hold out hopes that this is the direction the Web will eventually evolve into - something more like Ted Nelson's Xanadu than the multi-tier monstrosity we have today.

You have "frames" or windows representing datasets and views/transformations over that data; you link them together again and again until you get one big distributed dataspace showing all your stuff, and all your views of your stuff. Like a spreadsheet, but not limited to rows and columns. Like SQL views, but not limited to one database at a time.

An architecture like this, like Lotus Notes, might look like an "office application" but really it's something much more powerful; more of a kind of a generalised model of a computing network. As such, it would be the logical candidate for making run on parallel hardware, which I think is what they're talking about here. Since each "frame" is really a parallel function, and your application is your database is also a dataflow network, you could split chunks of your database onto separate machines, and keep doing that indefinitely. At least that's my guess.

I really, really wanted Framework to succeed in the 1980s. It was about the only "office" type program which I believed in and saw as the future of computing. But it wasn't to be, at least not then.

I would be interested to know what customers would actually buy something like this today, because it woud probably be incompatible with most ordinary databases. It would maybe have to be something very large that you would want to run on this. Governmental/military apps, maybe? Just a thought, possibly wrong.

Re:A pity Framework isn't revived this way (1)

Rural (136225) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772546)

Sounds great, but many users have difficulty separating form (presentation) from content (data). Unless this separation can be done seamlessly or can be easily done incrementally, there's no chance if something powerful like this catching on. I mean, do you realize how many quite intelligent people still use word processors like a typewriter? And truthfully, sometimes that is the fastest and best approach for a one-off job.

Donating open source? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769090)

Apache could fold this code into its own open source office suite OpenOffice

Can't they do that anyway? I thought that was the whole point of "open source".

Re:Donating open source? (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770022)

Can't they do that anyway? I thought that was the whole point of "open source".

Lotus Symphony is not open source, it's a proprietary fork from an early version of OpenOffice with a license that permitted this. IBM has been offering it as freeware, so by offering this code to the Apache foundation they're looking to mend the old fork between OpenOffice and Symphony. It still would not mend the fork between OpenOffice and LibreOffice, but as far as IBM is concerned their Symphony code can now be used in both versions under the Apache license. This is a direct consequence of Oracle giving OpenOffice to Apache, IBM wasn't willing to give Symphony to Sun or Oracle, but they are willing to share it as an Apache project. So good move by IBM, another open source contribution from them.

Re:Donating open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36771170)

So this "Lotus Symphony" is completely different from the Symphony product that was sold by Lotus back in the 80's and 90's before OpenOffice was invented ?

Re:Donating open source? (3, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771452)

Oh hell yes!

It's not got any of that old code in it, it's simply the name. It's (as previously mentioned) an OO.o fork ported to the eclipse framework.

Compared to mainline OO.o or Libre Office I'm really not a fan. It seems slow and heavyweight. But apparently it does bring some good stuff to the table, specifically there are supposed to have been a lot of improvements on the way it imports and exports various file formats.

Re:Donating open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36772874)

Thanks. I was confused by the TFS saying:

IBM is donating the code of its Symphony open source office suite to the nonprofit Apache Software Foundation

Re:Donating open source? (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36773060)

Of course, this does mean that someone has to do the hard work of actually merging the two... and it probably is going to be very hard work. Even IBM's attempts at actual upstream contributions to OO.org seem to have been more or less unmergable for some reason

Re:Donating open source? (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770256)

Depends on the licence.

sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769544)

there's an ibm ad next to the ibm ad

Re:sweet (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770268)

The meme you're looking for is "yo dawg", as in "yo dawg, I heard you like IBM Ads..."

It's just as vomit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769734)

If you can't do anything in cloud space, just poo into the "open source"

Innovation? Really. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769846)

I've been using OpenOffice for years and it very capably fulfills all of my needs. That alone is a mark of success. What more innovation could anyone want?

OpenOffice should fulfill the needs of the majority of users. If it does not, then the blame is on the ineptitude and naivete of the common business user and not on any lack of innovation of the software.

Re:Innovation? Really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36771190)

OpenOffice is a crock, seriously. If what you need is a word processor or spreadsheet (and MS compatibility be damned), AbiWord and Gnumeric blow it out of the water, performance wise. Nowadays I just use OOo for opening up MS documents from the great unwashed. For my own stuff, I'd prefer to get the job done rather than wait twenty minutes for a program to start :-)

Too bad its horrible (1)

crosstalk (78439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770324)

to bad symphony is a horrible product that is worse than its base, I speak from having been forced to use it for the past 5 years, at least 3.0 is a step up. I would use open office if it and symphony would display files the same. symphony likes to do crazy things with open format files

Kill LibreOffice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36770342)

Am I the only one who sees this as an evil scheme by the Big Boys of the enterprise world, IBM and Oracle, to snuff out the nascent LibreOffice being developed by the smaller players, like RedHat and Canonical, and until recently Novell?

http://www.betterwholesaler.us (0)

orangeas (2373152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770928)

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nobody would want that crap code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36771754)

who would actually want the symphony code??

Don't think it's valuable (1)

Methuselar (1680764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772412)

Don't think it's valuable, there is not too much new feature and improvements in Symphony. OOo is forked hard and I think LibreOffice devs are not interested in Symphony

What apache should do with it (1)

j1976 (618621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36773050)

If there is any value left in either the oracle code base or the IBM code base, the only sane thing for apache to do would be to commit it to the LibreOffice code tree. That's where the development is happening at the moment, and I don't see why Apache would be interested in maintaining a lesser competing product when there already is a blooming open source one around.

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