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Linux Journal: A Conversation with Bernie Thompson, VistaSource

May 27, 2000, 16:09 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Penn)

"Put simply, VistaSource is Applix's Linux Division spun off. As Bernie Thompson, president of VistaSource makes clear below, the increasing diversity of Applix's business initiatives--namely, Windows-based customer relationship management processing on the one hand and "UNIX-centric, Linux-centric" office suites on the other--made spinning off the Linux division as VistaSource almost a no-brainer. Now with an arsenal that includes Applixware 5.0 and their new Applix Anywhere technology, Bernie's VistaSource is set to take on the StarOffices, the Corel WordPerfect Offices ... even Microsoft Office itself. In and among telling us how he thinks VistaSource will make its mark, Bernie offers some interesting thoughts on licensing, ASPs and mobile technology, and the joys of being "native." Read on."

"...David: The last thing I wanted to ask was about the relationship between VistaSource and some of the other Linux distributions out there, particularly in terms of Applixware showing up with some of the Red Hats or Calderas or whatever. What kind of relationship do you anticipate there?"

"Bernie: This is where we're really needed, because in the end, you need great applications to make your system useful, right? And today, the major application providers are ourselves, Sun and Corel, and then KOffice and some of the work around the GNOME office suites, but really it's the three: Sun, Corel and ourselves that are very far along. In the case of Sun and Corel, they aren't independent software providers. They have, in both cases, an operating system they care about, which in Sun's case is Solaris and in Corel's case their own distribution. It's such a shame. It's a recreation of the same Microsoft problem again, where you've got companies that own both the operating system and the applications. We're never going to get into the Linux distribution business. We're never going to do that, and the reason is because we want to be the pure, independent software vendor that's able to port widely and support a wide range of platforms - on both the operating-system side and the hardware side. In Sun's case, they really care about the SPARC architecture and in selling SPARC and Solaris servers, and we want to be able to have this be an application that's portable to a wide range of platforms. That's a key focus for us: to be an independent software company that's able to focus on just doing great apps, and doesn't have any of these conflicts of interest."

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