An Open Office
Oracle Corp. CEO and Chairman Larry Ellison, in Redwood Shores, Calif., agreed, saying the biggest impediment to Linux on the desktop is the entrenchment of Office. Ellison said the biggest need is for an open-source response to Office that has enough capabilities and includes support for sharing files between environments. Nat Friedman, co-founder and vice president of Linux desktop developer Ximian Inc., of Boston, agreed that interoperability with Office is the biggest issue in corporate adoption of the Linux desktop.Despite the publicity surrounding Microsofts recently launched program to license 113 communications protocols to promote vendor interoperability, Friedman said these were hollow gestures that will not improve interoperability. Scott Johnson, vice president of business development for HRsmart.com, a business-to-business application service provider in Plano, Texas, also expressed concern about the issue of Microsoft interoperability. "While I welcome a dedicated corporate version of the Linux desktop, the issue for us on the business side would be interoperability with Office and other Microsoft products," Johnson said. "As such, any Linux desktop implementation would have to be phased in, starting with those staff who dont need the interoperability and functionality of Office." The Chinese government, an avid proponent of Linux and open-source software, said it believes that the desktop has a way to go. Jiang Guang-Zhi, director of the Beijing Software Industry Productivity Center, said the Linux desktop operating system "is not mature enough to meet all of our customer requirements." Large OEMs such as IBM and Dell Computer Corp. also admit that corporate demand for a Linux desktop is slow. Randy Groves, a vice president at Dell, in Round Rock, Texas, said he has seen limited interest in the United States concerning Linux desktops, although demand in China and the Far East is increasing. Related stories:
Red Hat Expanding to Corporate Desktop
McNealy Takes Jabs at Microsoft
Ellison: Linux/9i a Dream Team
Dell, Red Hat Look to Accelerate Linux Migration (PC Magazine)
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"For a long time, usability was the big issue, but that is no longer the case. Microsoft protocols and file formats are. It takes us two years to write compatibility with any Microsoft product into ours," Friedman said.