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LinuxPlanet: Helix Code: Beyond Project to Project

Sep 11, 2000, 10:00 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis E. Powell)

Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman have managed to turn the Linux world upside down, first with the creation of Helix Code and then with the formation of the GNOME Foundation. In this extensive interview with Dennis E. Powell, Miguel and Nat discuss how they plan on making money from GNOME (it involves selling to end users online services associated with Helix Code software), where GNOME ends and Helix Code begins (which seems to be a blurry line at best), and why they find it necessary to totally tear apart StarOffice in order to make it fit within the GNOME framework. Some comments:

"Helix Gnome is going to get passed around. We have over a quarter-million users. And in there is going to be the ability to subscribe to our for-pay subscription service. It'll be about $3 to $5 per month, and it will provide you with a number of services, built into the desktop, that will just improve the entire experience for you. For us, this is about improving the web."

"Well, right now we have a couple of applications to make up the Gnome office suite: Gnumeric, a few others, Gimp, and the StarOffice people are releasing their stuff open source next month, and we're going to be working with them to get that stuff ported. What we're doing is, we're taking a hammer to StarOffice. StarOffice is this big thing right now. We're splitting it up into a bunch of tiny pieces with a hammer. These are all called components. They're all going to be Bonobo components, and then we're going to reassemble them into an office suite which is totally Gnome native."

"We see ourselves as a distribution. We apply those patches that are necessary to make things work. No one ever ships a Linus Torvalds kernel. No single distribution ever ships a Linus Torvalds kernel. There's always some change they make before it goes out the door. But I consider the things to be so small, and necessary and important. You can't ask maintainers to release new versions and to be the distributors. There's a step beyond project to product, and that's where we see ourselves. Every contribution we make, every bug we fix, gets contributed back into the main Gnome CVS. It's all gnome.org for us."

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