The OpenOffice/MSOffice link: this all makes sense!

Story: Rant Mode Equals One: What if Sun is the next SCO?Total Replies: 7
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Mar 22, 2005
10:52 AM EDT
Is it just me thinking this?

A time ago, I read (didn't know the source): OpenOffice uses some MSOffice-formats which probably may infringe MS copyright / patents. However, MS and Sun agreed StarOffice users, that's the people who give money for OpenOffice to Sun, shall not be sued by Microsoft.

This implicitely states, people using OpenOffice COULD be sued. Steve Ballmer is going to tell all the countries using OpenOffice, varying from France to Singapore, that somebody somehow will come looking for his money sometime, and that may be Microsoft itself. You see what's going to happen here: when people are locked in and used to OpenOffice, Sun's going to tell they need to pay for it, and buy StarOffice, because otherwise they could get sued by MS. And of course licensing StarOffice will be cheaper as migrating to another more neutral Office-suite. Yeah, I exactly know their FUD-campaigns in future.

So, once I first read this, I got paranoid and installed KOffice. With all respect to the KOffice devels, but KOffice is much worse than OOffice, also because the KDE don't have much money. But that's why Linux needs at last 2 office suits, and I won't get sued! So, everybody: # emerge -C openoffice (Trash the OpenOffice on you're PC)! Get the buggy KOffice and help the KDE-people to make it better than the stinking OOo suite! (The suite is VERY good, the fact it's Sun isn't). And if you won the lottery, give them some money. (Because KSpread at the moment isn't even able to calculate cells in real time, and the cell-formatting feature is very buggy, just to point to two very annoying examples)

Mar 22, 2005
10:57 AM EDT
hkwint: I think a different tactic is in order. We teach new and existing PC users how to use vi to write straight html (it's what I do for formatted documentation -- so it should work fine for everyone). If they need spreadsheet capability we introduce them to programming with awk.


Mar 22, 2005
12:13 PM EDT
Right! But I prefer ed above vi. Vi is SO advanced' it must infringe some MS patents, isn't it?

Thinking of it (ditchin anything Sun), I should also replace my Java Runtime environment with Inferno, and all java apps should be rewritten in Limbo.

You wanna help?

Mar 22, 2005
12:25 PM EDT
You got your source wrong:

OpenOffice is not infringing any MS patents (that we know of).

The real story is that part of the deal between MS and Sun is cross-licensing of patents. So if MS has or will have a patent that covers the OpenOffice/StarOffice code base, StarOffice users will be covered by this deal (as Sun customers). However OpenOffice users users will have no license to use any such hypothetical patent.

Should such a patent really exist, OpenOffice could no longer be distributed under the terms of the LGPL.

Mar 22, 2005
12:35 PM EDT
hk: Java apps shouldn't be written in inferno, they should be written in the newer "towering inferno" app -- the one with all the short-changed electrical wiring.

Mar 22, 2005
12:55 PM EDT
tzafrir: OpenOffice may indeed infringe some patents. For example US 5,877,746 (Ok, this one's from Apple, but it's more the idea). And I think there are more. Since MS is pushing for many XML-patents, it's even gonna be more in the future I'm afraid.

>OpenOffice is not infringing any MS patents (that we know of). I hope not!

>So if MS has or will have a patent that covers the OpenOffice/StarOffice code base, The code base isn't patented. The ideas are mostly, like doubleclicking, tabbed browsing, superpositioning two sound-signals for example. That's the real problem, no one knows how broad these patents are.

Furthermore, it isn't OpenOffice infringes, but MAY INFRINGE, as MS will state, I think. They create FUD, don't sue anyone. People can escape the FUD by buying StarOffice.

Mar 23, 2005
12:38 AM EDT
hkwint: sooner or later Bill is going to step on some toes like this in Mexico or somewhere else that plays their business hardball, and then the gloves will come off - and I'm not talking about anything as harmless as lawyers.

Mar 23, 2005
3:51 AM EDT
With all of this patent nonsense, I wonder if we're on the verge of seeing "Friends of the Court" briefs in patent suits.

Seriously. So many bad patents have been handed out that I'll bet half the new software patents can be argued to infringe on others.

More to the point: It's hard for me to believe that many of these patents can be enforced without endangering software that is out there, is being used, is backed by money, and was created before some dimwit at the PTO reached for his rubber stamp.

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