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Penguinista.org: Open source Star Office: Ruminations of its signifigance

Aug 01, 2000, 15:37 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Xavier Basora)

[ Thanks to Brent Toderash for this link. ]

"One of the obvious advantages of opening the source code is that it reestablishes a situation that hasn't been seen since the very early days of the computer revolution in the mid-70's to the mid 80's. Most notably the incessant tinkering to improve a program or to customize it to one's particular needs. That tweaking in turn, restimulates a competitive dynamism; not only is there the traditional external competition- i.e. Star Office against K office, WP, Applix office etc; but also, internal comptetion- i.e. Star Office's programmers will face competition from the Open source programmers over a feature; so the former will take it as a challenge to improve that feature better and more efficiently than the latter. Even if the closed source programmers borrow from the GPL pool in order to meet the open source challenge, the users benefit as the external and internal competition from the various office suites and/or their open source components means less buggy software. Moreover, the incessant tinkering as well as the external and internal competition results in a more effective threat to Microsoft's dominance of the office suite market than any judicial or governmental decree."

"Nicholas Peterley in a recent article concurs with a similar assessment. He goes further and argues that the GPL'ed Star Office 6,0 effectively spells the end of the MS Office domination and we'll see a conversion from Office to Star Office within 5 years or so. While cogent, I found what he didn't say just as interesting: the fallout of Sun's decision to open Star Office's source code on WordPerfect's and Applix's abilities to compete against Star Office. The reason is quite straightforward, it's hard to predict what the executives at Corel and Applix will decide to counteract Sun."

"I'm not concluding that strategic, or even total, open sourcing of WordPerfect's source code or Applix office's is a panacea that will resolve each company's particular problems or weaknesses or that the results will always be positive. On the contrary, a lot can go wrong and probably will; nevertheless, the possibility of failure or of things going awry shouldn't deter Corel or Applix from seriously evaluating the open source option."

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