Feeds

High-class, low-bloat office suite goes open source

Cruft-free zone

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

"They just don't like to do the boring stuff for the stupid people!" said Bruce Sterling recently, satirising the reluctance of open source hackers to add the nice usability finishings non-hackers expect.

"That's just not in the job description! It's not even a job."
Well, here's some good news - we think. The powers behind the Gobe Productive office suite, which was much loved by old BeOS users, will open source the software under the GPL.

That's the plan anyway, we learn from OS News which got the scoop. FreeRadicalSoftware, a new company comprising some former Gobe employees, including Bruce Hammond, expect to acquire the code base, and release it under a dual license, one of which will be the GNU's GPL. It doesn't sound like a done deal yet, according to comments by Hammond and Gobe's Tom Hoke, but the plan is to allow a reconstituted Gobe to market Windows binaries, while FRS keeps the source.

But this is very good news, because Gobe Productive is a lean, nimble, and highly functional package that already has enough good taste built-in to survive even the most ideologically insane faction fighting. It's everything that OpenOffice isn't - and has matured without adding cruft. A while ago, it served as my main office suite for a time when Be was my primary platform. The only thing Be couldn't then do that I needed was read PowerPoint presentations - and it was with no small pleasure that I could tell PRs that I had to refuse them on "technical grounds". And the only thing I missed in Gobe was funky macros - which again, other parts of the OS compensated for. On the other hand, I had a unique UI in which the document remained central, while the 'parts' swapped in and out where appropriate, some unique features like multiple select and a nice redo/undo widget, and a blinding set of image filters.

Productive's weakness - although not one enough to cause much UnProductivity - was Word support. It was OK, but as an open source project, it should only improve.

Or should it? We wait with some trepidation for the first Gobe Productive schism round about 2004. There'll be a serious code fork over the issue of whether fold-down menus should unfurl to the left or the right. Tempers will rage, there'll be a long and acrimonious Slashdot discussion, and a fringe third force of hooligans will set about rewriting the whole thing in XUL.

We jest. Back here we called Gobe's software a "dark horse" in the Linux office sweeps, and it surely is poised for a very bright future. ®

Related Story

A Silicon Valley Funeral for Be

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.