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Softpanorama MS Office Bulletin,2000

[Oct. 14, 2000] Star Office Source Code Released

The source code to Star Office has been released on  A Slashdot discussion covers the announcement.

The Register: StarOffice creator on the GNOME pact

But he's at Sun now of course, and sporting an unfeasibly long job description that includes the words "VP", "WebTop", "General anager", "Applications", "Division" and "Portal"... and he did try and fill in the gaps following the creation of the Gnome Foundation, and the claim that Gnome will base its GnomeOffice applications suite on StarOffice, when it's finally released as free software.

The most obvious question, is why go with GNOME when KDE and KOffice have both a considerable development lead and the lion's share of the current distros?

"Sun has chosen to support Gnome only," he says. "We will work together with the KDE community but we have made our pick. KOffice we don't consider as competition." Boerries pointed out there was ongoing interoperability work to bridge the Bonobo and KParts object models that feature in Gnome 2.0 and KDE 2.0. He also said that his team would publish XML-based file formats for the office applications, giving anyone the chance to preserve their data and still have a choice of applications.

The first of these specifications will be published either at the end of this week, or the beginning of next week he said.

"We will be happy to invite KDE to work through; even if they have their own source code, and invite them to adopt the XML based file formats and APIs. That would still make a lot of sense," he said.

APIs are still needed says Boerries for the bits of StarOffice that won't be open sourced - such as the spell checker and conversion filters for legacy formats such as WordStar. Those APIs will be language neutral, so bindings should be available for [insert your scripting language of choice here].

But he was on shakier ground when he denied that KDE had an advantage amongst the current distributions. He cited RedHat, TurboLinux (which actually ships KDE), VA Linux (which ships whatever you want on demand) and LinuxPPC as being Gnome standard bearers right-now. Yes, he did say LinuxPPC

LinuxPlanet - Opinions - .comment Working Today Trumps High-Powered Vapor - The Sky is NOT Falling

...It's a good thing whenever big companies with lots of money show an interest, especially a financial interest, in Linux. And it would not be a good thing if by so doing they would get into a position where they could dictate such things as the standard Linux desktop. But they can't.

The guts of the Times story: IBM, Sun, Hewlett-Packard, and some others will establish a thing called the Gnome Foundation. Sun will begin shipping Gnome as the desktop for Solaris. IBM will ship Linux and Gnome on some Thinkpads.

Let's look at this a little. IBM is already offering Red Hat Linux. Hewlett-Packard is already doing things with Red Hat Linux -- look among their downloads and you'll find support for their hardware not on Linux but on Red Hat Linux.

The share prices of Linux distributors that have gone public are not in particularly good shape. The big flow of money into distributors has slowed. Red Hat spent a lot of money on Gnome development. The formation of the Gnome Foundation assures continued support of the project.

But let's step back and put the whole thing into historical perspective. Remember when IBM and Apple joined to produce a wonderful new operating system? Anybody remember it? Anybody remember its name? Anybody ever actually use the thing? How about the wonderful new microkernel architecture that would run on absolutely every processor in the world? It was going to sweep the market, IBM told us seven or eight years ago. How's that project coming along?

Sun bought Star Office and will GPL it. Good. Sun (and IBM) are interested in putting applications on the web; you log in and use them. Given IBM's stated policy, that everything should be written for Java, and the fact that Sun owns Java, even if the Gnome Foundation produces anything, it could well end up being a very pretty Java launcher for Linux. If anybody has reason to be afraid, it's probably the current Gnome developers.

The article also notes that the purpose of the foundation is to mount a challenge to Microsoft Office. Hmm. And who in the consortium has a working office suite? So we're going to see Star Gnoffice? That's bound to delight those working on the embryonic Gnome-native office applications, don't you think?

I suspect that what we're seeing here is an announcement to stockholders in IBM, Sun, Hewlett-Packard, and the others that the companies haven't missed the Linux boat. This would, of course, have been far more effective a year ago, but big corporations tend to be circumspect. They're powerful, but they're plodding, too. And the money involved, which will probably be huge by Linux standards, is pocket change to the companies. Consider the amount of money that IBM alone has squandered on failed projects. Anybody remember Signature, the easy-to-use version of XyWrite that was developed by IBM and XyQuest, and abandoned about 15 minutes after it was released? (I say "squandered," and that's really not fair, anymore than money spent on car insurance during a period when you have no wrecks is money squandered. It's hedging their bets.)

**+ - Article - Cut StarOffice in Half -- weak. The author does not understand the problem of imitating OLE2 in X environment.

*** - Article - X and Word Processing average discussion of Abiword, Koffice and WordPerfect8.  Nothing special.

PC - Linux Office Suites Do Battle

When it comes to Windows, most users reach for what's most comfortable: Microsoft Office. Linux users, however, have not had such a choice--until now. We tried on two recently released Linux suites: Corel's WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux and Applix Applixware 5.0. After walking a mile in both suites, we found that Applixware, which is native to the Linux platform, was more stable and generally easier to use, and provided most of the same features as WordPerfect Office 2000.

...For one, Corel's suite ran painfully slow on all three of our test machines. This result is probably due to the fact that Corel Linux is not native to Linux: It uses an extra layer of code, called Wine, to execute slightly modified versions of WordPerfect Office for Windows apps on the Linux platform. The extra layer likely slows down the suite.

...WordPerfect offers a "reveal codes" function, which lets you format documents precisely--a handy feature lacking in Applix's word processor.

...Should you wish to create a file that's Microsoft-Word friendly, both suites' word processing programs let you create files Microsoft can read. In WordPerfect you can save files in native Word .doc format, while Applix can create only a Word-compatible Rich Text Format file. Both programs can open Word .doc files, but with Applixware, you'll lose all formatting.

...Even worse, though, was WordPerfect Office 2000's instability in our informal tests: The suite crashed on all three of our machines at some point during testing.

...And while not always aesthetically pleasing, some of the apps in Applixware have features that outshine those in Microsoft's Office apps. The thesaurus in Applix Words, for instance, goes a step further than Microsoft Word's thesaurus, by providing a word's definition, a comprehensive list of its possible meanings, and its parts of speech. On the same screen you can also access buttons that let you display related words, antonyms, or contrasted words (almost opposites).


Applixware ($99) comes with six aptly named applications: Data (database), Graphics (vector and bitmap drawing), Mail (e-mail), Presents (presentation/slide show), Spreadsheets (spreadsheet), and Words (word processor). Applix also offers stand-alone versions of Spreadsheets and Words at $49.95 each, suggested retail.

Corel's suite ships in two styles--the Standard version, which runs for $109, and the Deluxe version, priced at $159. (Corel is also offering a $20 rebate on the former and a $40 rebate on the latter until December 31, 2000.) Inside the Standard suite you'll find Corel's WordPerfect 9 (word processor), Quattro Pro 9 (spreadsheet), Corel Presentations 9 (presentation/slide show), and CorelCentral 9 (personal information manager). In the Deluxe version you'll also receive Paradox 9 (database) and an entertainment pack. Both versions are bundled with Corel Linux OS 1.1, the latest update to Corel's distribution of the Linux operating system.

[Mar 31, 2000]ZDNet PC Week StarOffice upgrade due in Q2

StarOffice 5.2 will be larger (with more code), faster, more scalable and robust, and more interoperable with other office suites than the current StarOffice 5.1 version, Hampel said.

The upgrade offers improved file format compatibility with Microsoft Corp.'s Office suite, adding support for more object types and formatting when importing to or exporting from Office file formats, including Office 2000, officials said.

[Mar 21, 2000] Linuxcare Product Comparison Table -- LYX looks the best with WP8 as second.

[Mar 19, 2000] Preview: WordPerfect Office 2000  --  WP2000 is modified Win32 (PE) binaries running under the wine emulator. It is not built directly against winelib.

Corel has added some interesting features to this iteration of WordPerfect, the most visual one being the addition of what they call RealTime Preview. This tool shows up when you are using the font and font size drop-down lists in the Font property bar. To the right of the lists is a small preview screen that reveals exactly what some of the selected text you're about to change will look like.

Corel has also jacked up other preview features, such as adding a new Print Preview tool that, in conjunction with RealTime preview, lets you play around with the overall look of your document before setting it to paper.

Printing from WordPerfect (and the rest of the applications) is pretty simple once it's set up. The very first time you print, you have to define your printer, even if you have already done so in the OS. It's rather painless if you know what you're doing but Corel kind of goes overboard with the choices, which could hamper a newer user.

Like all the other productivity suites out there, WP2000 is not about to let another version go by without stepping up its Web publishing capabilities. WordPerfect 9 comes with an Internet Publisher tool that lets you create a Web page from scratch or convert an existing document to HTML or XML. There is also a feature that will convert an existing document to Adobe's PDF format. With these tools and WordPerfect's ability to save and open files in a variety of formats, including MS Word 2000, compatibility is really no longer a concern.

[Mar 14, 2000] Linuxcare- Product Comparisons- Word Processors

[Mar 11, 2000] Linux Today MacWEEK Canvas goes to Linux

Deneba Software announced Friday that it plans to offer a free Linux version of Canvas 7, its integrated graphics software. The software will work only with Linux releases designed for Intel hardware, but Deneba left the door open to a PowerPC version if there is sufficient user demand...

...Canvas 7, which incorporates image-editing, vector-illustration and page-layout functions, is currently available in Mac OS and Windows versions...

...The company plans to post a free beta version of the Linux software on its Web site early next month. Deneba did not announce a ship date for the final version, but marketing director Calvin Hsu said it will most likely be in two or three months. The company began porting its software to the open-source operating system late last year, he said....

...At present, Hsu said, Deneba has no intention of charging for the software...

Complete story.

(Mar 10, 2000 LinuxPR: Free Download of Corel PHOTO-PAINT 9 for Linux!

"The download version of Corel PHOTO-PAINT 9 for Linux, Corel's photo-editing, image composition and painting application, will be available in early summer."

[March 20, 2000] Linux Today Join KDE and Open-Source Software In the Fight For the Desktop

[Feb 20, 2000]  Do you know that AbiWord has a LaTeX export feature ?

[Jan 5, 2000] Linux Today LinuxPR Ted 2.7, an easy rich text processor for Unix-X-Windows released

"Ted is a text processor running under X Windows on Unix/Linux systems. Ted was developed as a standard easy word processor, having the role of Wordpad on MS-Windows, but more powerful. In my opinion, the possibility to type a letter or a note on a Unix/Linux machine is clearly missing. Only too often, you have to turn to a Windows machine to write a letter or an e-mail message. Teds function is to be able to edit rich text documents on Unix/Linux in a wysiwyg way...."

"Compatibility with popular MS-Windows applications played an important role in the design of Ted. Every document produced by Ted should be accepted as a legal .rtf file by Word without any loss of formatting or information. Compatibility in the other direction is more difficult to achieve. Ted supports most text formatting, as supported by the Microsoft applications. Advanced formatting instructions and meta information are ignored.*) By ignoring unsupported formatting Ted tries to get the complete text of a document on screen. Ted can be used to read formatted e-mail sent from a Windows machine to Unix, or as an RTF viewer in Netscape."

Press Release



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