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States Filing Alternate Remedy Proposal for MS Anti-Trust Case

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the on-hemmed-in-ground-resort-to-stratagem dept.

Microsoft 420

cbull writes: " reports that 9 states and the District of Columbia will be filing an alternate remedy proposal in the Microsoft case later today. This would close some of the loopholes, better define middleware, require Microsoft to continue Office development for Macintosh and to develop a version of Office for Linux, among other things." There's also a Cringely column about the case. Somehow the phrase "Microsoft Office for Linux" has gotten people all fired up. Do you really want a version of Office for Linux? Really?

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They make a product..why force them? (4, Interesting)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673146)

Why would we force them to make a product for Linux? We know it won't be open source, how will this help the community, a community built on ideals which Microsoft doesn't share.

Re:They make a product..why force them? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673168)

Your content ridden, on-topic post is an embarrassment to the Slashdot community as a first post. Boo to you. I hereby seize first post honor.

Re:They make a product..why force them? (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673288)

as is your AC post. I hereby claim the FP for myself, in the name of those LOGGED ON trolls who participated in the great Troll Tuesday of 2001. Now gently place my balls in your mouth and hummmmmmmm.

Re:They make a product..why force them? (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673172)

They'll no doubt make it really shitty on purpose anyway. unstable, slow as fuck. better than most other linux products then.

Re:They make a product..why force them? (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673290)

really shitty...unstable...slow as fuck.
So, they are just going to copy StarOffice and change the name?

Re:They make a product..why force them? (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673322)

of course!

quoted by The Turd Report. This is truly an honor :)

Re:They make a product..why force them? (3, Insightful)

natslovR (530503) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673176)

And their (lack of) sale figures from the crippled version of Office for Linux would probably be used to show that Linux is a flop and that Open Source is really all about 'piracy' and getting things for free.

Re:They make a product..why force them? (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673225)

Yes, a crippled version wouldn't sell at all. A fully functional version, on the other hand, would be a wild success story, as Loki or Id would attest to. Oh, wait...

Re:They make a product..why force them? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673190)

But if it persuades more of those in the corporate world to move to Linux, this might end up helping to destroy the MS hegemony, while we concentrate on developing an alternative to Office that is acceptable to them.

What the article says (5, Informative)

epepke (462220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673221)

is that Microsoft would have to sell, by auction, a minimum of three licenses to enable third parties to produce versions for other operating systems "such as Linux."

It does not mean that Microsoft has to produce a Linux version. Nor does it mean that the third parties have to produce a Linux version. What it means is that at least three companies will have the right to produce a version of Office for whatever other environment they want to.

Re:They make a product..why force them? (2, Insightful)

alfredo (18243) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673240)

they broke the law, they lose their freedom to do what they wish.

Development of a Linux port will cost them time and money. Having to develop for their enemy would be a bitter pill for him to swallow.

Office on Linux? (-1)

penguin_punk (66721) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673149)

DO I really need to comment? No thanks.

Do I want Office for Linux? (1, Flamebait)

J3zmund (301962) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673157)

If that what it takes to get people to shut up about file compatibility problems, yes.

and six hours later..... (-1, Offtopic)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673158)

2001-12-07 15:00:14 M$ Office for Linux? (articles,news) (rejected)

Re:and six hours later..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673184)

slashdump moderators do it again!

overrate and offtopic something that shows their obvious bias....

Government Remedies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673161)

Yes, this is exactly what we need: a government mandate to MS that they make their office file formats even more prolific than they already are, reducing even further the possibility that alternate formats will stand a chance against MS' government created/enforced monopoly.

If MS is staying out of the Linux market on its own, for pete's sake, let them.

to see the State's remedial settlement (2, Informative)

dcgaber (473400) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673166)

go here []

This could have some real teeth in it and is not riddled with the loopholes that plague the M$/DoJ crafted settlement

Office for Linux (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673167)

Do you really want a version of Office for Linux? Really?

YES!! Gawd, don't be such a dumbass. Corporate buyers (remember them? the ones who buy millions of PCs a year?) have STANDARDIZED on Microsoft Office for all their documents. Availability of Office for Linux would very substantially accelerate deployment of Linux desktops in business locations, which is precisely why Micros~1 hasn't done it! Forcing them to develop it would be a damn good idea.

Knee pads & helmets? ON POGO STICKS? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673169)

If your kid needs to wear a helmet while he's on a pogo stick, maybe you should take it off and let him bash his fucking brains. Natural selection will thank you.

DAMN that commercial pisses me off. Fucking Republicans.

Public comment period (1)

inimicus (194187) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673173)

Note: The Justice Department, nine of 18 states and Microsoft cut a deal last month in the landmark antitrust case against the company. The settlement is going through a 60-day period of public comment as required by the Tunney Act.

So, how are we supposed to comment? Anyone know of an address (e- or snail-mail) or website where comments can/should be sent?

Re:Public comment period (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673212)

It's in the Cringely article.

In the Subject line of the e-mail, type "Microsoft Settlement."
Fax: 1-202-307-1454 or 1-202-616-9937
Mail : Renata B. Hesse
Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
601 D Street NW
Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Re:Public comment period (3, Informative)

inimicus (194187) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673224)

Nevermind... the addresses can be found here [] :

E-mail: [mailto]
In the Subject line of the e-mail, type Microsoft Settlement.

Fax: 1-202-307-1454 or 1-202-616-9937

Renata B. Hesse
Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
601 D Street NW
Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Fax or e-mail are suggested...

Re:Public comment period (5, Insightful)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673265) []

Submitting Comments

Before you submit comments about the settlement, the Department of Justice recommends that you review the documents related to the settlement [] .

You may submit comments about the settlement by e-mail, fax, or mail.

Note: Given recent mail delivery interruptions in Washington, DC, and current uncertainties involving the resumption of timely mail service, the Department of Justice strongly encourages that comments be submitted via e-mail or fax.

E-mail [mailto]
In the Subject line of the e-mail, type Microsoft Settlement.

1-202-307-1454 or 1-202-616-9937

Renata B. Hesse
Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
601 D Street NW
Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20530-0001

As much as I hate to say it.... (2, Interesting)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673174)

StarOffice and OpenOffice are simply not there at the moment. But I have at least one client who would switch *today* if there was a verstion of MS Office that just worked right. And several others who would follow them. So while I don't yes it would help the desktop market a lot. Of course the other thing I wish we had was a *good* terminal server client for Linux...

Re:As much as I hate to say it.... (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673200)

You mean VNC? I hope so.

Re:As much as I hate to say it.... (1, Offtopic)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673217)

No although after I wrote that I went out and found one p.html I like VNC and have used it in many places for many years. I like many people are stuck in a half and half world and I find myself with admin passwords on many Winders 2000 boxen and using terminal server in Winders 2000 often. VNC can't do it. I'll have to see how well this package does. :)

'Just worked right' is the problem (1)

natslovR (530503) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673226)

Ensuring 'Office for Linux' just worked right is the problem. Enforcing performance/functionality on a recalcitrant company is very difficult. When the first version behaves nothing like the latest version of Office for Windows the OS would be blamed... 'well if Linux supported this new MS Buzzword Technology then we could make them run the same, but without it the best we can do is Word for Windows v1 equivalency.'

Re:As much as I hate to say it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673227)

Good terminal server client?

What's wrong with rdesktop [] ?

I know there's some bugs, but it's quite difficult to hack a closed, encrypted protocol.

Re:As much as I hate to say it.... (1)

SirEdward (145032) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673233)

I admit that I'm not an average desktop user and have little use for an office suit. However, abiword and gnumeric more than satisfy my needs when it comes to office applications. KOffice has also gotten some pretty good reviews.
All I want is to be able to view files friends/coworkers send me without having to run a completely different OS... or be required to have a specific office suite installed on my computer.
Personally, I think that requiring MS to port Office to Linux is simply accepting the fact that they're a monopoly and that there isn't a damned thing we can do about it...

Just my $0.02

Re:As much as I hate to say it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673321)


Name one positive review of KOffice that does an in-depth comparison between KOffice and MS/Office.

You won't, because you can't.

I fricking hate Slashdot bullshitters.

Open Source IE too (2, Flamebait)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673178)

Apparently they are also suggesting that Microsoft should
open source Internet Explorer.

It would be nice to have IE on Linux. I wonder what kind of
issues this would raise w.r.t. Windows Media and ActiveX...

Re: MS (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673180)

No I don't really want a version for linux. And wtf.. they are still getting off by giving software to schools. How does this end their monopoly?

Re: MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673277)

that's another lawsuit. this is about the doj/state case against ms. you're talking about the class action thing.

Re: MS (1)

Keith Mickunas (460655) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673294)

You're mixing two cases here. The private anti-trust case is the one where the proposed settlement involves MS giving software to schools. This is the government (fed and state) case that is being dealt with here.

force Linux versions? (2, Insightful)

archen (447353) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673181)

I'll agree that as a monopoly MS should have to play fair in the OS field (allowing competing products and such), but it strikes me as downright wrong to make MS develop Linux versions of a product.

Not that I think it would matter since Open/Star Office would own them in that area anyway, as most Linux users are not the sort of people that like to pay hundreds of dollars for a closed source which probably wouldn't work very well anyway. (remember MS doesn't have the advantage in controlling the system from the ground up).

Upgrade cycle (3)

fleener (140714) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673183)

Start using "Office for Linux" and you buy into the sinister upgrade cycle. Your computer will never be fast enough for the latest version of Office.

Re:Upgrade cycle (2)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673239)

Considering my wife runs Office 2000 on an old K6 233Mhz PC with Win/98 -- and the speed is fine -- you are just spreading more Microsoft FUD.

Maybe you should actually know what you're talking about before posting.

No thanks on Office for Linux (5, Insightful)

Azog (20907) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673187)

I'd rather have Microsoft be forced to completely specify the Microsoft file formats for Office applications.

That way, Star Office, KOffice, Gnumeric, and the rest can get the import filters 100% correct.

That's really where Microsoft's monopoly is - many businesses would happily switch to Linux if they could be 100% sure that they could still reliably read and edit the thousands of documents they have already created.

the specs are already publicly available, fool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673268)

try doing a search on MSDN. They're all there. It's time to put this old dog to sleep, becuase I'm past tired of reading people endlessly regurgitating it on fucking every open source forum. The Open Source office suite's barriers to import/export perfection (and believe me, export is as important as import) lie solely with the programmers on the projects either not having the motivation or time to get it right/ do more than cursory research.

Re:No thanks on Office for Linux (1)

Coq (204365) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673289)

The file formats would be good for us, as in those that are already familiar with and or using Linux, however, for Microsoft to better make reparations for them, as in those who are not familiar with Linux at all, it would be necessary to provide Office (and maybe IE too) for Linux. That way, people can make the jump incrementally to free (as in beer, since that's what most people care about) software and slowly take back their pocketbooks from Microsoft's grasp.

Re:No thanks on Office for Linux (4, Insightful)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673305)

I don't want "Office for Linux" either. I want "Office for UNIX," able to run on Linux or BSD* or Solaris or HP/UX or Irix or...

If that means they have to distribute source that we then compile for our target OS/processor, so be it ;-)

Do we? (4, Funny)

technos (73414) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673188)


Staroffice may be okay, Wordperfect acceptable, and VIM popular, but until a 100% office replacement exists, most places are going to continue to snub Linux as an alternative on the desktop.

Besides, I like Office. MS may have had mega-crappy OS's, but Office always worked right.

Re:Do we? (2)

Quizme2000 (323961) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673275)

Unless you're forgetting about Outlook being the bringer of death to millions of people, and word macros rooting you're clients machine, sure I'll think you're not a complete doofus for thinking like a PHB. The reason Linux is still an alternative for the desktop? Administration and Training. If MS had not been a monopoly, the ratio of a professional linux support staff to MCSE's would be on the level.

Re:Do we? (1)

Dog and Pony (521538) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673300)

Heh. I disagree. I think the OS is ok, but the apps suck.

I use W2k as W32 version though, maybe that affects my judgement. Haven't used 98 for two years, and won't touch me or XP.


NO..... (5, Interesting)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673191)

but what would be nice was FILE TYPE standards for say 5 years. Give someone else a chance to break into the market. With 5 years lead time a big enough customer base would develop to make M$ think twice about arbitrarily changing it and forcing upgrade, there-by losing LOTS of customers.

It sounds good to me. (1)

taliver (174409) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673192)

I happen to think Microsoft has put a lot of effort into determining what customers want in an application, and if they get a version for Linux, it will certainly make it a much more office friendly environment.

However, it will put a damper on the free software creators... (Why should I make a PP duplicate, why not just use PP?), and you wonder what will happen to the distributor of Linux that they side with... will there be "closed" RPMs, or even worse, a completely proprietary way of distributing executables? Will everyone who wants to run the code be expected to have a "/ms" directory?

Interesting (4, Interesting)

Bert Peers (120166) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673193)

So they have a monopoly on Windows, and for punishment, they should really be able to extend that monopoly to other OSes ?


I suppose the judges' next call will be that DeCSS should really be available on Windows, and be able to decrypt the latest WMF too.

Open Office file formats (5, Insightful)

JimRay (6620) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673194)

Rather than force Microsoft to develop bloated software for linux, which will probably only work with a single distribution anyway, why not force them to open their file formats? Projects like OpenOffice [] and AppleWorks [] could then really compete. MS wouldn't have quite the same stranglehold that they currently enjoy with opened file formats. This would include, of course, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and interchange capabilities with Outlook. I suppose you could add Access into that, but it's such worthless crap anyway, why bother?

And make them open every aspect of the file formats, not just make them compatible. My understanding is that the way things currently are, most non-MS Office Suites can still read MOST MS office files, but not ALL MS Office files, which keeps a lot of shops from converting. Especially those that rely on specialized macros and whatnot.

open file formats (2, Redundant)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673196)

What we really want is M$ to open their Office file formats so other programs can read and write MS files with ease. Fully publishing their OS API's would help a lot also. These two things available as a free download to anyone that wants them would go a long way to helping out.

Office for Linux? (1)

alfredo (18243) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673197)

No, I would rather have something less bloated like AppleWorks.

Having Office on Linux would make it easier to convince the suits to use Linux in their business.
From what I have read, this seems like a better deal for everyone.

Except MS.

Open File Format (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673198)

Enforcing a truly Open File Format for Office would be a better idea than Office for Linux... Or maybe enforcing Everyone to stop buying bloatware like Office in the first place....

No way! (1)

shankark (324928) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673203)

'Coz I'm sure the jerks at M$ will have some subversive script that keeps popping up windows prompting you to sign up for M$'s free Passport services. The fall of Man...

Nah... (1)

Nickovsky (245391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673205)

Im quite happy with Star Office, thanks! ;)


michael is a wanker (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673207)

Do we really want to know if michael is a wanker? Yup, we do? Oh look here, I guess he is.

To repeat: michael, discontinue your inane commentary. I like your postings, I hate what you have to say about them.

MS Office for Linux (2)

Quizme2000 (323961) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673209)

Office for Linux, Yeah I think its called open office. Look at what microsoft did to java, now imagine the incompatiblites and compromises the MS install would be to the kernal. I like the shipping java with XP deal though, however WTF is a special master? Sounds like the DOJ likes playing S&M with MS XP.

Office and IE for Linux, hell yeah... (1)

wdavies (163941) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673214)

I'm a Mac and Linux zealot, hate Windows, but respect their Office and IE work (outlook sucks, but what can I say).

But I work in an all PC environment. My Mac saves me with Intra-Office crap, but it means that I have to have a Mac and Linux box...

Go for it. I hope that is part of the solution. Heck it did wonders for the Mac I think.
Have any of you actually used IE5 on OSX ?
It is glorious.

As for making them ship Java on XP, I think that is nice - actually I would go further and make them can any inroads into C# and the whole .NET business.


Office for Linux ISO images (1)

very (241808) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673215)

if and when the ISO images of Office is available for download, can someone let me know.
Isn't that the distribution way for Linux OS and apps?
I hope Micro$oft would adopt the distribution method.

Like it or not, Word is a standard format (2)

Delirium Tremens (214596) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673218)

Off course, you need MS Office for Linux. You need it as much as you need an HTML browser.
Not so long ago, our HR department asked for a copy of my resume. Boycotting Micro$oft as usual, I sent it in PDF and PS format... They couldn't read it of course and had no idea what to do with my files.
My resume had been created through StarOffice, but I was not going to tell them to download StarOffice when they were not even able to visit Adobe's web site and download Acrobat Reader. I eventually sent them a RTF version and all worked well. But I can't start to imagine them sending me a RTF version of any document they create. Without a doubt, they (and others) will always send me native Word document, inconsciously assuming that MS Office is oblivious. That's why I/we need MS Office for Linux.

Re:Like it or not, Word is a standard format (1)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673247)

So just save it as a .doc with StarOffice it works ok unless you are doing something odd. The problem with StarOffice is not so much the file formats as it is just that it is slow and buggy.

we need the format not the software (3)

pergamon (4359) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673281)

As someone elsewhere said, what we need is the details of the format so that other software can use it. I'd much rather have Star/OpenOffice be able to use MS format documents than have to use Office to work on them. Especially if Explorer for Solaris is any indication of their ability to write software for other platforms...

Office for Linux? (1)

nmnhuq (532590) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673220)

Good Joke!! Really amusing. Next what will they suggest, Linus, Gates and Job start a new company? Seriously, we don't need bad blood polluting the Linux community

You're asking the wrong people... (2)

mttlg (174815) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673223)

Do you really want a version of Office for Linux? Really?

Office for Linux wouldn't be for the hardcore anti-Microsoft /. reading "GUIs are for losers" old-school Linux geek, it would be for the people who want an alternative to Windows that runs on the same hardware and can still run Office. These are the people who aren't running Linux but would be inclined to switch if Office were available for it. Not all Linux enhancements (I use the term loosely) are designed to appeal to current users...

MS Office For Linux (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673228)

Somehow the phrase "Microsoft Office for Linux" has gotten people all fired up. Do you really want a version of Office for Linux? Really?

Sure, Open Source tho :o)

Seriously, I'd see that as a "Great Corruptor" as if many commercial interests got into proprietary formats, interfaces, etc., Linux would lose a lot of lustre. It's convenient to have Windows as a whipping boy. Having Linus tempted by billions of dollars, and corporate goons dictating the next kernal would just be awful.

Yes (1)

eulevik (258261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673230)

Yes, I want Office for Linux. and FreeBSD.

StarOffice compatibility just isn't good enough to be relied upon in a commercial enterprise. At my previous company, we resorted to Acrobat whenever Office files had to be read under FreeBSD.

Changing Office files under FreeBSD meant running Citrix. Office for FreeBSD would remove the need for Windows to appear on a large number of desktops.

Re:Yes (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673292)

plus star office could use msffice document perfectly, suits would still not trust there legacy documents to it.

Wouldn't mind it. (1)

Bunkryrass (214937) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673234)

Actually, I don't think a MS Office for Linux would be that bad of an idea. I realize posting any thing anti-anti-Microsoft here on /. is usually considered a sin, but think about it. When a friend attempts to send you a word processed document, or a table, it's usually a MS Office document. Now I realize you can import and export using StarOffice, but it isn't the same... just try a PowerPoint presentation, the last time I did, there were many discrepancies. I've used Linux for years now, and it IS lacking on this area. StarOffice just doesn't cut it all the time (and it's not the best for slower machines), and Red Hat's Applixware is missing things... just my opinion... Oh yeah, do you think they could wage total war against an OS they sell $400 software for?

Well, yeah... (1)

Hal-9001 (43188) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673237)

I imagine that for a lot of people, the only reason they run Windows is because they need to be able to run Microsoft Office or at least be able to read Microsoft Office files. It's never a bad thing to have more choices, and it's highly unlikely that Microsoft could remove choices on the Linux platform since there are very few competing companies (Sun's the only one I can think of) for them to drive out of business.

Honestly... (1, Redundant)

PlaysWithMatches (531546) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673238)

... Office for Linux isn't the solution. Opening the specifications for the file formats would be a much more effective remedy, if you ask me.

Porting Office to Linux would just be helping to enforce the MS Office monopoly on even more systems (assuming anybody on Linux would buy/use it, anyway). The remedy should encourage competition, and not necessarily more widespread use of a monopolistic piece of software. Open up the .doc, .xls, etc. formats and that will allow more fair competition. That's what this is supposed to be about, isn't it?

Office for Linux is good (1)

Kleedrac2 (257408) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673241)

Actually ... I would really appreciate a copy of Office for Linux as I would prefer to use Linux at work and the only reason I can't is because of the Access Database I can't open in Unix! A version of MS Office would allow me to run FreeBSD or Linux on my work system and that is something I would love!!

Antitrusts Greatest Hits (5, Interesting)

JMZero (449047) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673242)

Here's an interesting article on Reason [] on antitrust workings through the ages. It gives me sort of a different perspective on MS's antitrust woes.

I think the solution to the MS problem is to regulate their real problem behavior. Don't let them do illegal things. Don't let them sign crazy exclusive deals. Don't let them control (down to a single icon) exactly what's installed on a machine.

Making MS release Office for Linux is a step down the wrong road. And what do you do when it's crappy? Force them to make it better?

Office for Linux (1)

joe_fish (6037) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673244)

Do I want there to be an Office for Linux?

Do I have any intention of using it?

The thing that really really made Java take of big style way back in 96 was when Microsoft announced they'd support it in their browser. When MS announced support EVERYONE else did within the next few weeks.

If there is an official MS Office for Linux then Linux will officially have "made it" on the desktop. It is the rubber stamp that will boost support for the desktop beyond anything else. When MS support Linux with a version of Office then we will suddenly see hundreds of other apps and drivers pop-up in the me-too rush.

paranoid (1)

pj7 (469369) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673248)

I hate being the first person to make a paranoid post. But could the community *really* trust Microsoft to make a safe port of Office to Linux? With all the hidden hatred (as well as public FUD) that they have for Linux, I'd honestly be scared to run a closed source microsoft product on any of my machines.
No this is not flamebait, nor a troll, it's a legit concern I've had ever since I heard someone mention IE5 for linux a while back.

YES definitely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673249)

we do want an office version for linux,
but it must go by the linux rules:
it must be open source

File Type Definition (2, Redundant)

lysurgon (126252) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673251)

What would be really nice would be if they could force M$ to release their file type definitions (or *cough* adopt some open standard). This would allow existing office/productivity software (e.g. Abiword, GNUmbers) to easily interoperate with Word, Excel, et al.

This would let me work with clients who are M$ based much easier than I do now.

Yes. I do want Office for Linux. Here's Why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673253)

Outlook. Even though I hate it, everywhere I have worked has had an exchange server, which I do not have control of. I want to get windows off my pc like nobodys business, and the only thing holding me back is Outlook.

Office for Linux - same rules apply (2)

imrdkl (302224) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673254)

1. Dont run as root.
2. Dont run suid
3. Run Tripwire before installing, since theres no way you are gonna get to compile it yourself, and no way you're gonna get to untar the binary distributions.
4. chroot(1) if you feel really paranoid.

I think this would be a good thing, since I could leave MS (the operating system) forever, and at the same time, it would be a fairly humbling punishment for MS, forcing Linux into their own shop, and forcing them to devote resources to it.

No, I don't want Office for Linux (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673256)

For that matter, as someone who is (primarily) a Mac user, I don't even want it for Mac, though I can see how it has some business value (convincing PHB's that the Mac is a "real" computer, etc.) Cringely is right -- the settlement is a sham, and even with the states' proposed changes, it's still pretty toothless. The real problem, unfortunately, is that there is no conduct remedy that will do a damned bit of good. Breakup is the only solution ...

... and since that's not going to happen, my next preferred remedy would be one something like the one Steve Jobs is asking for: a big cash fine (not a "donation" to schools designed to ensure that future generations of developers will use all Microsoft all the time). But the proposed $1 billion is nothing, pocket change for Bill Gates. Make it $10 billion per year for ten years, and you're maybe talking about real money.

Where should the money go? Although my first impulse is to say "to Microsoft's competitors and/or to free software," I don't think that's quite right in the long run, because it puts the government in the position of deciding who's worthy. Better, I think, would be to parcel the money out for public math and comp. sci. education according to some simple, objective formula (primary/secondary schools get money based on the number of students in the district, colleges get it based on the current size of their math and CS departments, say.)

Is this ideal? No, because Microsoft will still be there, as one company. But it will seriously limit their ability to crush innovation in the industry for a decade (by which time things will no doubt have changed in all kinds of ways) and produce a generation of well-educated computer scientists, and hopefully be politically acceptable to all sides.

Two things (1)

christurkel (520220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673257)

Two things I'll never use my money on: Microsoft products and sex but now I am rethinking the sex part! There are a host of other options in Linux; AbiWord, Koffice...

One battle... (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673259) a time.
If MS makes a Linux version of Office, getting linux on the desktop become easier. As we gain momentum in the battle, the ability to create a competitive Office product become easier.
I would be even happier if the had to make all the Office component open source for 10 years, but this will help just as well.
They clearly understand how MS is using Office to become entrenched in the work place, then leverage that into forced upgrades.
now if they would do the same thing for Direct X, MS would Have to start putting out quality products which would allow market forces to decide where the money goes.

Next? MICROSOFT LINUX! (2, Interesting)

SirDrinksAlot (226001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673262)

Damn straight, they'll distribute their own version of linux to work with Linux MS Office.
$700 for the package!

the WINE test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673264)

I think a better remedy would be to make MS contribute to WINE and open up their contributions - the acid test being able run ALL MS productivity apps under WINE as flawlessly as under Windows. This way, they don't just get to talk about opening their API's, they actually have to demonstrate that the API information they've provided is accurate and complete.


Do you really want a version of Office for Linux? (2)

GodHead (101109) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673266)

Think savings of $300 or more PER PC with hundreds or thousands PC's. Not chump change is it? Because the thing is that Office, NOT WINDOWS, is the environment of the typical office drone. As long as the apps stay the same who cares what the OS is.

Thanks a lot though. I'll be fantisizing about never seeing WinNT/9x/ME at work all weekend long now... /sigh

Of COURSE we want Office for Linux! (1, Insightful)

BobTheWonderMonkey (144907) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673267)

Gods, you /. editors, stop sounding like the ignorant bigots you are!

Office is one of the precious few things MS has done well! The suite is amazingly powerful, amazingly flexible, and as long as you avoid the VBA scripting, works very well!

The Linux community hasn't produced anything comparable to date, and in fact, they never will, because the Linux community is missing the Machiavellian organization that it needs to effectively compete with MS (RMS's deluded efforts notwithstanding).

If you're going to be anti-MS, which is a laudable opinion to be sure, at least sound intelligent and educated about it. Stop acting like ignorant bigots.

Do we want Office for Linux? HELL YAH! (1)

The Paradox (470614) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673270)

Think about it, people. We all know that MS keeps their coders in a Dark Place and gives them anti-other-philosophy-and-OS training. Otherwise, they'd all realize there's gotta be something better out there than hacking on shitty API's and bug-ridden code...

Then they have to have these brainwashed programmers develop for Linux. A clean OS, where they can get at *ALL* the code, where the system doesn't crash every five seconds and the OS doesn't use 99.9999% of available memory, making your program run in about five kilobytes.

Without programmers, they are nothing! They will all defect, and MS will be no more! YEAH, BABY, YEAH! DO IT, JUSTICE!

This is insane. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673273)

The very lawsuit meant to bring Microsoft into their place will make Microsoft even bigger. Microsoft for Linux! How is that going to make the market more competitive? Next thing you know Microsoft will have their own Linux distro too (probably required by the Government). They will take over the world, one way or another.

You might as well get on the MS train now, because you will be run over and killed if you don't.

What is important to me. (1)

Dog and Pony (521538) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673278)

I don't care if MS have to write Office for Linux. Frankly, I fail to see what that would accomplish, for MS, for me, for the average Joe, or whatever. I don't use it anyways, it is kind of a sucky product. But it is the de-facto standard, and a closed one. So what would I want then, that would not combat this, but rather make it something good?

What I want is simple. I want good, solid software, and the possibility to toss something "good-enough" together when I find myself without. This is how I goa long my everyday business (that is, when I'm not geeking around, doing stuff for fun, of course).

If the same, or similar software, *or* possibilities to create it, exists on the platforms/OS's/whatever that I encounter, my life is also so much easier.

Take perl for instance. Thank heavens for ActiveState [] that has brought a solid version to W32, so I can create my fast but simple tools. This goes for a lot of things.

Diversity is a strength of a kind, but conformity can also be one. The best of both worlds is what I want. We need diversity to have evolution, but we also need conformity to be able to do anything at all.

So where am I going with this?

Well, my wishes and requests in the context of MS and Linux and Apple and whatever is that all should do what they do best, but be open about the way you let endusers use your product.
  • Conform to standards wherever possible.
  • Release your API's and your reference, and don't hinder anyone from using your product in the way they see fit.

Those two things would go such a long way it is unbeleivable.

piece by piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673283)

Yes, I want ms office on Linux. That's the only thing they do that is decent. It would definitely increase the number of Linux desktops. Who knows, maybe Microsoft would have to cut thier product line down to just mostly user apps in a few years, hence, the decline of an empire(monopoly). That is the whole idea, right? If you like open source software, then write it, contribute to it, and use it.

What Office with do for Linux... (2)

dstone (191334) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673286)

Do you really want a version of Office for Linux? Really?

More than anything, I'd like to see an alternative/stable desktop OS. Running a popular, fat, bloated application on Linux that people love (for better or worse) and are familiar with would help Linux desktop adoption immensely.

Unfortunately, Yes (2)

MostlyHarmless (75501) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673299)

Personally, I am happy using Gnumeric and Abiword, but I do not do particularly heavy-duty work (some might argue that Office is also unsuitable for such work) . And regardless of how capable open-source programs are, corporations are generally conservative in adopting new software; by using Office, they avoid the problems with file type conversions and the occasional missing capability.

Last summer, I was supervising the installation of GNU/Linux in a previously all-Windows shop (a certain simulation software they used required Linux). To the people who ran the simulations they ended up giving two computers, one for Windows and one for Linux. This was not the original nor the ideal plan, but Outlook is necessary to interface with MS Exchange mail servers (particularly calendars and address books), and MS Office is necessary to share files effectively with other Office users. While office alternatives on Linux are certainly viable and I personally would not need MS Office for Linux, management policies and practical realities make it a necessity for Linux to gain further inroads at corporations.

Exchange client for linux. (2)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673302)

Id rather see exchange transport opened up, and a linux client for exchange. This is the only piece missing in open office suite.

BTW, I wouldnt mind seeing directx opened up also, so more games could be ported to linux.

Somehow I wonder... (2)

pschmied (5648) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673306)

if the Linux version of Office would be as good as the Windows / Macintosh version.

I have a sneaking suspicion that it would not be. Then again, I've always been more fond of Office for MacOS than Office for Windows. I know plenty of users who claim that Office for Mac is pretty darned good. I'm inclined to say that MS Software for the Mac is pretty good overall. Even Outlook Express for Mac is liveable.

That being said, MS is bad. M-kay? Long live vi / emacs and LaTeX (don't want /. thinking I'm going soft).


Office for Linux. (1, Flamebait)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673308)

Do you really want a version of Office for Linux? Really?

Do you want any x86-based OS besides Windows to get a foothold in the office desktop space, you trolling bastard?

No Office, no PHBs following your Linux Pied Piper. It would be nice if everyone could get money from the "fucking around with Perl" aspect of computers, but that doesn't seem too feasible these days.


Office on Linux? Too Easy, No Solution (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673311)

I would hate to see MSFT Office show up on Linux for the simple reason of what Linux stands for philosophically.

Putting Office on Linux wouldn't be that hard to do. After all, everything they have runs off of a layer of libraries that could be simply modified to emulate the W32 environment on Linux. In essence, all they would be doing is putting all the proprietaries into what would replace WINE. Wine looses and you still have to pay MSFT for everything.

It would be far better if MSFT was required to make the File formats either Open Source (public domain XML?) or publish every nuance of the current, all all future, formats (as if it were an RFC document). That would help everyone more than Office on Linux ever could.

It'd be crippled (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673314)

If MS was forced to make Office for Linux, I doubt they'd make a full featured version up to the quality of their Mac and Windows offerings. They'd probably do a quick and dirty WINE port with no attention to quality, just so they could say they did it.

So no, I don't want Office for Linux. It'd be useless. Instead, they should be forced to open the document format, as some other posters have suggested, so that GNOME/K/Star/OpenOffice will be able to get good import filters.

Broken Office (2)

Eloquence (144160) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673317)

As others have already pointed out, having a Linux port of Microsoft Office would not be a particularly good idea. Not only would there be no guarantee that Microsoft produces a bug-free port of Office (remember Caldera's accusations [] that MS deliberately made Windows crash on DR-DOS?), it would also only help Microsoft perpetuate its monopoly on closed standards and proprietary software.

Unfortunately, the Open Source Movement has shot itself in the foot by providing lots of alternative office solutions with non-interchangable file formats. One of the most well documented formats seems to be Open Office's new XML-based one. If Open Source Advocates agreed on a single format, then Microsoft could either be forced to use this format, or to provide filters. Without such an agreement, the only thing that can be asked for are 100% specifications of all Office formats, now and in the future -- this will be harder to verify since there would be no open source reference implementation.

One of the biggest threats to open source is open source itself. The fragmentation of different solutions makes migration hard or impossible.

One Remedy (1, Interesting)

Euphonious Coward (189818) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673320)

There's only one remedy I'd like to see: take them at their word when they say they don't want any government interference in their business. More precisely: declare a five-year vacation on any enforcement of Microsoft's contracts and copyrights. That is, for five years any civil case brought by MS in a U.S. court bearing on copyright or contract performance is automatically dismissed. (Of course others would still be able to sue MS.)

No administration, no loopholes.

The real question is, when do we start trying MS executives for perjury?

Backdoor Marketing (1)

ZahrGnosis (66741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673323)

Office for Linux; there's a good idea. Microsoft can start writing LOTS of code that people will use on Linux. Especially code with ridiculous scripting languages. THEN, (amazingly) there will be a lot of viruses that are no longer limited to Windows, so Microsoft can say "Hey, look, LINUX has Viruses TOO! It's not just us!" and, because they are marketing behemoths, people will not notice the obvious logical fallacies, and they will ooh and ahh and, well, it's all downhill from there.

A Port of MS Office is Unhappily the Only Way (1)

Christopher B. Brown (1267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2673325)

Hate it, or despise it, the only way Linux would be likely to do anything "desktopy" is if the One True Version of Microsoft Office can be run on it.

  • 100% bug-for-bug compatible, so that bad fonts and bad tables look bad in the right way in bloated emailed documents

  • 100% vulnerable to all of the viruses that target Microsoft Office

  • 100% vulnerable to the problem that "Office 2003" may be unable to read documents from "Office 97"

  • All of the above is 100% necessary in order to ensure 100% compatibility with the little applications that companies have constructed to allow you to download a document from the Intranet, and then have it walk you through filling it out and then mailing itself to (HR|Building Security|...).

Unfortunately, the enormous problems with this are inherently connected to the necessities. They're not merely married; they're joined at the hip like "Siamese twins." Further aspects of that as metaphor work:
  • The joys and sorrows are inseparable without destroying them;
  • It all comes as a result of a massively severe "birth defect."
  • I'd prefer not to see such a birth defect conceived in the first place, but if it happens, that demonstrates one company's wilful choices.

    If they play in a sandbox filled with PCBs with toys made from plutonium, you can hardly expect the results to be joy and happiness...

MS Office for Linux: great! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2673327)


I think we have to balance.

1. MS Office is not Open Source so it is against
our ideals

2. MS Office will allow to increase hugely
Linux user base - I know many people
for whom Word/Excel/PowerPoint are the
reason for keeping Windows.

3. There will be no need for buying Windows
anymore - huge savings both in trouble and
in money

4. Imagine PCs with Linux with preinstalled
MS Office from Dell :)

So my final answer is: I want it!

I would phrase it this way:

I want Microsoft to be forced to develop
Office for the two-three most common non-MS
dektop PC OSes. This would mean:
Macs, Linux and BEOS or BSD.

For me it is the same problem as unbundling
local loop access with telecoms: one should
be able to use different long distance
provider (OS provider).


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