back to article Biz Linux needs Office license to run MS web apps

If businesses want to run Microsoft Office's new web-based apps on Linux machines, they'll need a buy a full Office license for each user - even though the suite's desktop apps don't run on Linux. Reg regular Tim Anderson nailed this niggling detail here, after a conversation with the vice president of Microsoft's Office …

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Alert

For rather large values of useless...

"Not sure where all the settings are yet!"

Well then, I guess the ribbon's hiding and obfuscating the locations of things that you used to be able to find blindfolded does rather render it useless,. dunnit...

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What's a "consumer" then?

I suppose that free for personal use, licence fee for business use, public/charity use somewhere in the middle, isn't very unusual for "sharewhare" downloadable software. For that matter, cheap Microsoft bundles for home or educational use t!are not unprecedented.

And if web-based or cloud applications are serious and mature then they'll probably cost about as much as desktop/laptop software - but with reduced additional cost of ownership from matintaining the software on desktop PCs.

Still... I suppose this means you can now be penalised by FAST, or the BSA, or something, for visiting Microsoft's web site? As if it wasn't punishment enough itself...

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Happy

Openoffice works just fine with M$ office documents.....

in my experience, as long as they are saved in office '97 format it all works a treat (in both directions), although I have had problems with documents saved in joke xml (.docx) files. Seems the xml doesn't conform to any known standard......

The only time I run windoze nowadays is to run my big Nikon Scanner and old Canon printer.

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WTF?

Not a Goole Apps replacement

Lots of comments seem to be missing the fact that this isn't a cloud based, ad supported service aimed at individuals. The corporate version of Office Web Apps (the one that's only free if you have an Office license on that machine) is something companies install on top of a SharePoint DMS. It's designed to allow web browser editing of files that live the company file server, where the company can control them, back them up, lock them down, etc. It's a value add for corporates who already license Windows, SharePoint and Office and want editing in browsers as well. I challenge you to find me one company running Linux desktops that also runs Windows servers and Microsoft SharePoint =)

Decent sized orgs don't keep all their company files in the chocolate factory cloud - they usually have confidentiality agreements, client contract obligations and other legal reasons that files are kept in house. No-one with more than a handful of PCs is going to use Google as their mail file repository, so how is Google Docs a competitor to this product?

Yes, down at the individual consumer end they compete, and if you ran Linux on your deskto and didn't own office then of course you'd use OpenOffice and Google Docs. For home users on Windows PCs that shipped with OEM copies of Office, or who get cheap Office licenses thru work or school, Office Web Apps with hosting in the cloud is free, so they might use that. For corporate types who want all their files living where they can see them, using Google Anything is not a sensible option. OpenOffice is a good option for a desktop client on a Linux PC, but if a corporate with Linux PCs actually wants edit-in-a-browser functionality, what else is there at this point in time?

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Fair comment

I was struggling for a moment to see the point of the web apps if the company is already completely Windows/Office based. But you make a good point about centralization and control.

> I challenge you to find me one company running Linux desktops that also runs Windows servers and Microsoft SharePoint

I am working at an engineering company where SharePoint is widely used but all the developers are mainly Linux based. So, nah!

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Not for me

While I do think that Word (I have a copy of '97 but some bugs were not fixed even with the 2003 edition at work) is a bit better than OpenOffice in some ways, I don't see much use for this.

If you worry about document formatting for printing and emailing, then just use OO's Export as PDF feature, sorted!

Google docs would be ideal if you could have your own local server, but personally I am against most cloud-based services because:

(1) Your data is in someone else's hands, so you have to trust them

(2) That is under US (or other) laws

(3) That you can't usually migrate to another cloud supplier if they have problems.

(4) They are often useless if your link is down, or just way too slow.

Given OO is free, I would just put it on all machines, you can use something like dropbox or Ubuntu One should you want syncing between far off machines, and you still get the data locally accessible (though not synced) if your internet link is down.

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Unintentional compatibility

I certainly doubt that MS cares about the Linux desktop crowd at all.

IMHO, the only reason Office Web Apps run on Linux is because MS had to update Sharepoint to accommodate the growing population of Firefox/Chrome/... Windows users, fed up with being limited to IE. From what I recall, this took place with the release of MOSS 2007 SP2. Hence, by making Sharepoint Firefox-compatible, they unintentionally made it Linux-compatible.

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g e

Linux TCO

You can bet they add their own licensing costs into their next Linux TCO FUD wail.

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Other than a chance to start a flame war

Whats the point in this artical? MS want people to pay for software? So?

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Anonymous Coward

I'm still holding out

...for a version of WordPerfect that is stable. In the meantime, I'll stick to OOO.o until the Big O kills it.

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MS fanboyz out in force

Have some sense of business knowledge before open your mouth.

1. Big business/gov dept/etc use its own standard. In case of office software, it will be decided by their own data backup/TRIM policy. It is very unlikely you will find any "latest" format at all.

2. Big business doesn't care what OS or office software it uses. The important thing is if such OS or software would support "core business critical" applications and other needs (eg. backup/restore/TRIM). If MS office doesn't support the template/plug-in business uses, then it won't be used. The same for OO, it doesn't matter OO may cost less, it has to work at the first place.

3. how much it will cost for working system (be it MS product or else, it must work for the business).

And, no one would sent MS word document when they deal with $35million contract. The pager work would be nicely printed out and handed over. What software used to produce the document DOES NOT matter. Even for less "serious" matter, you don't sent out user editable document, you sent industry standard PDF files.

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...but...

Business does not care, but the managers do.

Managers seldom want to put their balls on the line by doing something perceived to be risky. It's the "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" syndrome.

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FAIL

But PDF's ARE editable

What? You're users don't know how? Maybe you need more intelligent users.

Mine's the one with the scanned signature in the pocket...

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Not just a license...

But Volume license (which is an upgrade license on top of an existing lic)

Ouch.

Some people might like the idea, but unless you already have Volume lics, this is one seriously cost.

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Misinformed

"But Volume license (which is an upgrade license on top of an existing lic)"

No, it's not. You're thinking of Windows licenses. Microsoft make a lot of products, and strangely enough, the licenses aren't all exactly the same.

You don't need to buy anything else before you buy an Office volume license. It's a full, complete license in its own right, just like a retail/FPP license. Optionally, you can buy SA (a support agreement with new version rights) on to of your VLP, but you don't have to if you don't want to.

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Get Open Office instead

If you just need a good all around Office suite, just get Open Office. It's a great and full featured solution, and doesn't require purchase, registration, activation, and all of the other garbage of Microsoft Office.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Get open office

If you're unwilling to move from office 2003/97 or just want to do basic stuff at home, then yeah I would agree with you, you might as well use Open Office, but it's 2010 man!

The 2007 version of office is actually pretty good and is well worth the extra couple of hundred quid for business use , I'm expecting 2010 to be the same but just more refined, I doubt i'll be upgrading from 2007.

That's why people use office, because it's GOOD and guess what? People are willing to pay for stuff that is good.

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WTF?

Of couse, OpenOffice

Fully featured and runs brilliantly in a web browser, doesn't it? Which is what we're talking about here, right? Office products in web browsers? You know, like the one in the article you commented on?

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Linux

Better idea innit

Get the meanest, baddest-assed, fastest, multiest-processor 64-bit server you can, and stuff it with as much RAM as you can. Then double it. Install OpenOffice.org, xbase-clients, nfs-kernel-server, nis-server and openssh-server.

Get some manky old desktops (even 2GHz Athlons will do) and install some kind of desktop plus openssh-client on them. Configure X to accept connections from anywhere (this is perfectly OK on an intranet) and ssh to do X forwarding by default. Use NIS for logins and NFS for home directories.

Run OpenOffice.org on the big server (which really only has to move stuff around in RAM), with the desktop machines acting as little more than glorified dumb terminals.

Total cost of software £0 -- helping you afford that server. Cost of additional user licences is also £0. This could be a very important consideration: you will never, ever be in a position of having to turn away business because you would need to take on more staff but cannot afford the increased licencing costs this would bring.

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OO vs. MS Office

"Run OpenOffice.org on the big server..... Total cost of software £0....."

However, in a corporate environment, you then get called before the VP Finance and receive a message like this: "WTF have you done? My entire department cannot process xzy important business processes because this shit (OO calc) won't run their macros. All this worked fine last week (using MS Excel). This is costing us ££££ per day. Put it all back by tomorrow night or find another job."

Don't get me wrong - I like OpenOffice and use it at home. However, until OO is a direct replacement for ALL functions in MS Office or MS Office is no longer in top slot, it isn't likely to make any inroads in the corporate environment.

For those with long memories, this was originally the reason that Excel could not replace Lotus123 or Word could replace WordPerfect - but apps were simpler then.

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Stop

What company do you work for?

Where do you work, that people are using macros in Excel?

Most people I know looked genuinely surprised when I shew them how to enter a formula into a spreadsheet cell, so they didn't have to use a calculator to add up the figures and the total updated itself automatically if they changed anything.

Yes, if people are using advanced features then OO.o is not just a drop-in replacement for MS Office, and there will need to be a detailed migration plan (possibly including not just rewriting macros for the new software, but rethinking procedures altogether. For instance, with data stored in an SQL database, you can use cron jobs to generate regular reports).

But the reality is, most people *aren't* using advanced features. Most people are still using spaces for centring and layout in their word processor documents. Those are the users it's well worth migrating.

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Grenade

Is it just me, or...

... is the entire MS ecosystem (?!) becoming so byzantine that you need a roadmap and a degree to just to follow what increasingly-esoteric application is covered by which insanely complex licensing terms? Either that, or you need to hire a separate "systems integrator" just to tell you how much you're going to have to pay for which excruciatingly-narrowly-defined subset of features?

It seems that the idea is to cloak how much you're actually paying for the entire load of crap: "We already have pieces X and Y, which we needed to enable pieces B and G, so then by adding a few thousand more, we also get functionality of A and M..."

And all you really needed was frickin' Wordpad, a static IP address, and a NAS box.

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FAIL

@A J Stiles ...

Er, no, because you own your car and your kettle, but Microsoft still owns your copy of Office, and you only own a license to which you have agreed to all of the terms.

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Big Brother

Do I need a license

Do I need a license if, using my Linux box, I connect to a website hosted on a Windows server?

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No you don't but...

No you don't need a licence, however the owner of the website will have had to purchase the appropriate licence to permit the use of proprietary applications in a web context.

Hence the licencing of MS Office Web Apps is consistent with established practice. The individual organisation will have to determine whether a licence based on concurrent users or total user population best meets their needs.

Compared to current typical enterprise licencing of MS Office - One licence per client system, MS Office Web Apps permits an enterprise to change to concurrent user licences, which has the potential to be cheaper.

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FAIL

No Story - You Need a MS Licence to Run MS Office from the Web

Just because it's Linux doesn't mean you don't pay for proprietary software. Me - just use OpenOffice or Google Docs if you want a reasonable office suite for free.

Of couse, I wonder how long MS will be able to charge with Google Docs biting at their heels?

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Linux

Who on their right mind...

would want to run MS crap on anything?

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FAIL

Well, duh!

What do you mean microsoft don't want people using their software for free?

But it's a website isn't it, everything I can access through my web browser is free isn't it?

Oh noes!!!!

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Jobs Horns

Microsoft -

A stupid time wasting comment - displaying my ignorance to the fullest.

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Linux

OpenOffice thoughts

This is another reason to use OpenOffice. While M$ Office may have some advantages, the field doesn't tilt entirely to their side. There are some who worry about Oracle killing OOo. I think there is reason to believe this won't happen. Remember that Sun bought and maintained OOo because it was cheaper than buying, maintaining, and upgrading M$ Office. This business model should still be applicable (M$ continues to turn a pretty big profit). Second, we now have official endorsement of open standards by some entities, such as European governments. OOo is at the forefront. Third, and perhaps most important, it is my impression that Larry Ellison is less than fond of M$.

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