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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  1. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Turn my pc into a typewriter?

    Use office software on a computer?

    How 19thC - I'd rather feed hay to my Lear Jet. MS has made a fortune selling coals to nuclear power stations. I just wish I had the lack of moral courage to hold back progress for 30 years for a quick mega-buck.

  2. Anomalous Cowturd
    FAIL

    Yeah right.

    It will be a cold day in Hell before I give any more of my hard earned drinking vouchers to Microsoft. Do they really believe Linux users will pay for the privilege of running their Web based Apps, when the chocolate factory can do more for less.

    Or just use OO for about the same price.

    Now, where's my Clue bat?

  3. Greg J Preece

    Wine?

    Microsoft's attitude doesn't surprise me in the least. Have the Wine lot tried the latest Office version yet? That's normally one of their "target" apps.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Captain Save-a-ho
      Grenade

      Lack of moral courage?

      I applaud your anti-Microsoft sentiment, but you should come down off your cross, mate. I'm sure your strong moral fortitude is really the only thing standing between you and a multi-billion euro fortune.

      /sarcasm

    2. Random_Walk
      Linux

      I wonder if that will be the effect?

      I mean, if companies are realizing that they're having to shovel out money when they don't have to, what will they choose? I'm thinking that they'll ditch the Office cloud thingy instead of telling their DBA and engineering staff to ditch their Linux boxen...

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Martin Owens

        Er no

        OpenOffice is FOSS, Google docs and Microsoft stuff is not.

        Why do people always get that wrong? Alchemy isn't science.

    4. Goat Jam
      Pirate

      Wine

      While MS Office mostly works under wine (outlook doesn't play nice) you need to consider that it is not a feasible option for business users as the Windows Office EULA expressly forbids you from installing Office on non Windows OS.

      In that case you may as well just not bother buying it at all and use a copy you got off Pirate Bay

  5. Beritknight

    Kind of makes sense

    If you're running a terminal server with Office installed and you have 100 Linux desktops using RDP or Citrix to connect to the server daily to use Office apps, you need 100 licenses of Office rather than one.

    Licensing for in-house Office web apps just seems to be following the same basic concept - you're licensing the end device that the user sits at, not the back-end server actually running the app. If it wasn't licensed that way world+dog would be running Office and Adobe Premier on terminal servers just to avoid the cost of licensing it.

  6. Andy Jones
    Thumb Up

    Translation

    Basically what they are saying is: Don't use our product, use Googles instead. Not only is it better but it is also free.

    Microsoft are beyond a joke, yet their apologists will think this is fair.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Shock, Horror....

    ...Linux users have to pay for something.

    Hold the front page.....

    If you won a competion for free petrol for a yar, somehow I don't think they'd let all you mates fill up for free as well. So why, if you buy one copy of an app, you allow man+dog to connect & use for free

    non story...

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      FAIL

      I lost you at-

      "...buy one copy of an app..."

      An app to do what everyone else provides for nothing?

      How quaint.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        ok then...

        Name them...

        FYI Open Office slightly messes the format of word docs making it useless for creating files to be sent out to clients.

        1. markfiend
          FAIL

          Microsoft's fail not OOo's

          > Open Office slightly messes the format of word docs

          Only because MS Word doesn't conform to the standards -- standards, I could remind you, that MS was a big part of drafting.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @markfiend...Err no it's not MS fail it's OOs

            Official or not Microsoft Office is the most commonly used office software and therefor it's way of formatting is effectivly the standard.

            Wether that's written in the "official software rule book 2010" is irrelevant when you are creating a document detailing a £35mil contract to a customer who WILL be using word and WILL laugh your company out of his board room if you, according to the customer, can't even format a document correctly. Winning business is all about percieved value and if you are willing to risk losing a HUGE contract for the sake of some cheap software (sub £100 per license for the office suite) then you are a fool.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              FAIL

              Erm,

              Except you would give them a PDF not a Word document wouldn't you?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              The migration to OOo and ODF.

              Well, my attorney is about as wedded to MS products as he can be, yet he is seriously evaluating OOo as a replacement for MS Office in his legal office. This is HUGE. He has gotten tired of paying the MS tax so often and also there is the fact that public records are more and more frequently required to be submitted in an open standards format such as ODF. OOXML really isn't considered by many parties as a "standard" because only MS can build software that properly or fully implements it. People are starting to wake up to these issues, and the backlash against MS is starting to take place.

            3. Roger Heathcote 1
              Thumb Down

              When was the last time you drafted a £35mil contract eh?...

              I think you'll find all the serious consultants create their important outward facing documents in serious DTP packages like InDesign (which afford them some half decent formatting options) and send them as PDFs these days.

              All this according to my consultant g/f who's just got back from an InDesign course as her company's tenders and reports (produced for considerably less than £35mil and until recently done in Word) had been deemed to have become an embarrassment when compared to all of their competitors documents.

              Many high end PA jobs have Illustrator or InDesign experience as a prerequisite now, Word simply doesn't cut it at the high end of the corporate world these days.

        2. CD001

          tbh

          I'd never assume that a client had MS Office installed anyway - nor which version. You can't send anyone anything in docx/xlsx as it is so I just use OOo and export to PDF - both the Adobe and Foxit PDF readers are free. Yes, I could just use MS Office and export to .doc/.xls but really, there is no compelling reason for me to fork out for the MS Office license.

          Of course, that's naff all use if you need the client to actually edit the documents but it's fine for reports and invoices which are pretty much the only things I send.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Messes Office Docs...

          Documents I send out to clients are in PDF format. Documents I send out to be edited are in ODF, can't use ODF? Go buy the plugin... it costs you less to do that than for me to buy MS Office.

    2. shade82000
      WTF?

      ...other office products are available

      It's not about someone's potential ability to buy one licence and allow world+dog to use it for free.

      It's more about the fact that Linux users cannot natively run Windows code and now Microsoft have finally learnt how to make their Office product available in a web browser, which will work in Linux, they are still making the Linux users pay for a licence to use the full version of the software which will not run on their OS anyway.

      Does it need to be spelt out to them? Surely they have the decency to sell Linux users (reduced price?) licences so that they can use office in their web browser? A licence that only allows the Office web version and the users would only be able to use the web-browsery-version, even on a Windows OS, unless they upgraded?

      The ideal world solution:

      Allow MS to go ahead and do whatever they want to do.

      Use Linux.

      Use Google Docs.

      Use Open Office.

      It won't be long before they inject cloud-goodness into Open Office. Maybe Google should speak with the OO guys and they could work on integrating the two. That would be a killer move and surely would bring MS alittle more of the doom that they deserve.

    3. A J Stiles
      FAIL

      Not quite right

      So if I buy one kettle, does that mean I can't make a brew for anybody else?

      If I buy one car, does that mean I can't give anybody else a lift?

      1. Captain Save-a-ho
        Flame

        RTFM (or in this case, RTFL)

        "It's more about the fact that Linux users cannot natively run Windows code and now Microsoft have finally learnt how to make their Office product available in a web browser, which will work in Linux, they are still making the Linux users pay for a licence to use the full version of the software which will not run on their OS anyway."

        Office Web Apps aren't licensed separately, which is why a regular Office license is required. It's obvious that you and the other freetards on here don't want to run M$ products, so why the fuck do you even care? If OO is good enough for you, then be happy about it and stop pissing on Microsoft for trying to make money at the one bloody thing they're actually good at.

        For those still unaware, Microsoft doesn't give two shits about Linux or its users. They aren't trying to cater to you at all. If you haven't figured this out by now, there's no hope for you.

        Why aren't more Linux users happy about this note? The bain of your existence (Window$) isn't required to run Microsoft Office now and all you can do is bitch about the cost? Fuck you, you conceited, self-centered, petulant children.

        1. Doug Glass
          Go

          Don't Worry; Be Happy

          Exactly. The freetards have just been given the rules concerning buying something they say they have no intention of buying. You'd think they'd be happy at MS showing itself to be the business oriented, for-profit corp we all know them to be. After all, the "I-demand-everything-free" gaggle now have an even more convincing argument to push the "free" stuff onto oh-so-ignorant users of "over priced" MS stuff.

          I'm never going to buy a Bugatti Veyron so what do I care if they charge more for a certain option? I wasn't paying before and I'll not be paying now. Big Frakkin' Deal.

          Methinks the freetards have exposed their private face here. The one that secretly likes MS products.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Linux

          Nuts

          Proof positive, if it were needed, that using Microsoft products on a regular basis makes you so very very angry...

          The penguin says take a chill pill.

          1. Stephen Bungay

            Freetards like FREEDOM

            Ya know, I pay for software, I use Linux.. gee what a concept huh? See it's not about 'free' as in price... it's about 'free' as in 'freedom'. Someone who controls your data controls YOU, and when your data is in M$ proprietary binary objects inside the 'open' ooxml file then you are NOT in control. Use M$ Office? You're locked into M$.. nice pretty cage, silver bars, gilded handcuffs; but still a cage, still handcuffs.

            If M$ was smart they would sell access to their cloud service for less than the retail price of the Business edition (which is $600.00 here at Staples Business Office) for the stand-alone product.

            Business-wise the price simply can not be justified, so I will not to buy and use their stuff. Most small businesses I know buy and use the Student/Home edition... that too is wrong but I bet you won't see M$ complaining (much) because it gives them market-share.

        3. shade82000

          We should be happy...

          ...after all it's just yet another reason not to use yet another MS product for the simple reason that cheaper, better functioning alternatives are available.

          I am not personally unhappy with this article, why would I be? Linux + Open Office = no problems for me. Simples.

          The point I am making is that in MS has, is and will be in a whole ecosystem of it's own. They are in a globally dominant position where they have the power to select who can and cant use their software by restricting licences and adjusting their prices. We live in 2010, the whole of this planet should have access to computers and internet but thanks to the likes of Microsoft (and other companies, of course) if you look at the planet's population, computers are still very much 'for the rich.'

          That's what I don't like about MS. They are in a postsion of extreme responsibility and they greatly abuse it.

          Time will tell. I guess if you are willing to pay full MS licence for access to what is basically a website, with the condition that you must also get a piece of software that you have no use for, then I hope you will be in a very small minority, I hope that MS realise that they either have to introduce a system for licencing web-only users or lose out big time to the other organisations offering a better, cheaper product.

          It should be simple economics but unfortunately MS are in the position where they can set prices on the basis that people have no alternatives and frankly that should not be the case.

        4. hamcheeseandonion
          Flame

          You are verrrrrrry close to the truth....just one tiny little ste.....?

          ...p. If we stop replying to these over-educated, and obviously under-utilised wee nyaffs, then they will just go away.

          I'm with you on the Microsoft-hating little wazzocks - give it a rest you lot, and try to find some good in life...mmm??. Believe me, this life isn't a beta...it's the real deal...grow up...find a girl...(that translates as sheep in Wales)...and raise a pint to that day when your children ask what you did with your life....what are you going to tell them?

          Now, about this Playboy 3-D centrefold then....

          1. Roger Heathcote 1
            Gates Horns

            Erm...

            ...you just told somebody to "grow up" and used the word "wazzocks" in the same paragraph. Really who says that? What are you, 8 years old and still living in 1982?

            Oh and haha on the casual racism and fnarr fnarr Playboy references, that stuff really marks you out as a grown up who's opinion I should respect doesn't it?

        5. Someone Else Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Umm...err...

          You lost me at, "...at the one bloody thing they're actually good at."

          Stop it! I'm trying to eat here!

        6. J 3
          FAIL

          @Captain Save-a-ho

          Are you retarded or just have reading skills even worse than your writing ones?

          (it's "bane", not "bain" -- doesn't your browser show you the misspellings as you type, or are you just too thick to understand what the wiggly red underline means?) Gee, between you and Micky 1 here I don't know who the MS employee of the month will be, seriously...

          Can't you read what people said? Can't you understand text? People are complaining about the practice of charging for software that CAN NOT be used in order to use another, not the fact that MS is changing for something at all. Obviously anyone is free to not buy it if they don't like the license. But that's the *anti-competitive point* of the whole thing. You know, lots of people run Oracle on Linux, and last time I checked it wasn't for free, or even cheap.

          See, I will write, slowly for you, a little boring bedtime story to scare MS chills at night: some business bods are thinking of running Linux (or whatever) on their new computers, but are forced to run MS Office (because the world sucks like that). So they can't. All of a sudden, MS releases a web-based version of MS Office, and that will run on any system, yay! (I'm hypothesizing here, maybe it does not run). Now business bods are happy that they can install any OS they want, and can stop using their Windows 2000 Frankenthing that's been deteriorating over the years and demands a re-install every year. MS can't have that, can they? What next, people will start selling computers with other OSes installed, since now Office runs in any of them and there's little reason to run Windows? (assuming they don't also need other non-Linux friendly software, of course) Can't stand even the hypothetical possibility, can we?

          So lo-and-behold, MS says that you have to pay the full price of the standalone desktop MS Office to run something that does not depend on it at all. So, think our hypothetical business bods, what's the point of buying the license for the web thingy? Might just as well keep using the old system and being able to run both the stand-alone and the web versions.

          I know you did not get a word of what I wrote (by nature or by choice), but I did it anyway just in case someone else who is not an MS chill reads it and wants to understand other people's points.

          1. Gary Turner

            Picking nits wiith j3

            I'm sure his spell checker didn't catch "bain", because it's an actual word—at least my dictionary and spell checkers say it is. I am sure, though, that he meant "bane", a scourge, curse, nemesis, poison, etc., rather than bath. ;)

            For the rest, a big thumbs up for the clarity and for the major put-down.

            1. J 3
              Happy

              @Gary Turner

              Hm, so yours accepted "bain", mine doesn't... Maybe my FF spellchecker is as foreign as I am...

              Anyway, I knew the word "bain" as bath in... French. :-)

              Always a problem when we misspell a word as another real word, like my "chill" instead of "shill", natch. Happens to me more and more as my English improves, sadly enough (specially the homophone-related misspellings, which I could never do before but happen now sometimes).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            I am not an MS chill

            Or, for that matter, a shill which is presumably what you meant if you weren't so busy taking someone to task for a spelling mistake. A further point is that not all browsers are puffed up with a zillion add-ons like spelling checkers. I've never seen a wiggly red underline typing into an El Reg message box (just as well as most web spelling checkers are American, so don't know how to spell anyway).

            So, who's retarded now?

            1. Atli
              Boffin

              @AC re "I am not an MS chill"

              ""A further point is that not all browsers are puffed up with a zillion add-ons like spelling checkers.""

              Actually, by now I believe IE is the only major browser to not include a spell checker in it's vanilla distribution. All the modern browsers (Fx, Chrome, Opera, Safari) include them, but no version of IE does. - In fact, the only way I know to get a spell checker in IE is via an addon... and they are all sub-par compared to the native spell-checkers in the modern browsers. -- I made a genuine effort to use IE exclusively when I was testing the Win7 RC, but I couldn't last for more than a couple of days because of the lack of the spell-checker. (My spelling sucks xD)

              And how is the ability to add a "zillion" addons a downside? (They aren't installed by default, you know, and you can install them individually.)

      2. The BigYin
        FAIL

        @ Not quite right

        very, very bad analogies.

        1) Of course you can. So long as you (or someone) pays for the water, tea/coffee/whatever, milk, sugar and electricity.

        2) As long as someone pays for the extra fuel and wear-and-tear costs.

        I would have no issue with MS saying "Web-only users must pay X", but they are saying "Web users must pay Z". Where Z = X + Y and Y is a huge figure for a program that some web users can't even run!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No... but...

        If you buy one fish it means that you can not feed the multitude, unless, of course, you're Jesus Christ.

    4. Random_Walk
      Thumb Down

      @save-a-ho:

      re:"It's obvious that you and the other freetards on here don't want to run M$ products, so why the fuck do you even care?"

      Perhaps you're not familiar with enterprise environments. It's like this: If I have a mix of Windows and *nix users, and I'm the IT director, why do I have to pay for seats that I know won't be used?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Profit Making Company In Charges For Software Shocker...

    Is anyone out there NOT surprised that they are charging people at least once to use their software rather than giving it away for free?

    As for Office not working on Linux...Well that's not a surprise, Linux isn't exactly known for it's tip top compatability with paid for software and ease of use.

    1. William Towle
      Boffin

      @Micky1

      "Linux isn't exactly known for it's tip top compatability with paid for software and ease of use."

      ? Linux has excellent compatibility with proprietary software - as long as it has come from companies that implement the de jure standards cleanly or at least document things required for reasonable levels of interoperability in a fashion that permits clean-room reimplementation, whoever seeks to attempt it.

      I don't think it contradicts their business model to expect it, yet I have not thus far seen any obvious sign from Microsoft that it is willing to be one of those companies.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There's always that cavet isn't there

        Standards....In Soviet Russia everyone is equals.

        If you call having to install various different programs in order to shoe horn in a piece of software that a 5year old...no, infact a 75year old could install on windows as excellent compatibility with proprietary software then I think you should apply to that Hotel Software company that's looking for a new marketing guy.

        1. William Towle
          Boffin

          Since you brought it up...

          "If you call having to install various different programs in order to shoe horn in a piece of software that a 5year old...no, infact a 75year old could install on windows as excellent compatibility with proprietary software then I think you should apply to that Hotel Software company that's looking for a new marketing guy."

          At least it's vaguely possible to achieve as much with an out-of-box install (not that it's got anything to do with what I actually said, or is an issue limited to Linux in particular) - and the fact the converse is more readily feasible goes some way to bolstering my argument to boot.

          I don't see Microsoft making any effort to expand their enterprise user base by extending equivalent support, or any OEM's for that matter - not least because virtualisation-solution suppliers would cry foul, I imagine ...which is a shame, as our IT people would give an arm and a leg to have an externally-supported means of running two platforms' binaries on the same (Windows) machine while retaining near-native execution speeds*.

          (* yes, our evaluation did feature a VM with a dedicated physical HDD amongst other things. Alternatives even included a cute-but-nasty config file hack which worked but got several very loud "you're doing what?"s back)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If businesses want to run Microsoft Office's new web-based apps on Linux machines"

    And why the hell would they want to do that?

    No one smart enough to be a Linux user is also dumb enough to drink not just the web2.STFU kool-aid but also Microshaft kool-aid at the same time. Christ, throw in a volume licence agreement from McAfee or Norton Antichrist and you've got the holy trinity of shit software.

    "Now you can use the 'ribbon' interface online!" well here's a newsflash for you brainiac, NOBODY CARES.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suicide note

    They're banking on the fact that "everyone" "must" use their office stuff. And that's increasingly less often the case. Heard years ago of a HR girl who snuck a "must be proficient using micros~1 office" requirement into an engineer-written advertisement for a unix engineering job. In a very unix-y shop. The engineers were Not Amused, except to note that she wrote that on a linux machine using open office, and she hadn't even noticed. She didn't last in her job there.

    The lesson here is that most of the resistance to not using office is between warm bodies' ears. And contrary to popular belief, that *is* fixable, as increasingly many people are finding out, sometimes the hard way.

    Me, I'm not complaining. Let micros~1 drive their customers away. Please.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Sounds pretty obvious to me

    There's no way I would buy into it, but as has been pointed out, MS charge per seat, not per installation. It therefore comes as no surprise at all that they would continue this policy to their web apps.

    I'm rather surprised that you think this is even worthy of pointing out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Me, I'm not complaining. Let micros~1 drive their customers away. Please"

      What???? They arn't even customers in the first place so how can they be driven away? If they were customers then they would get to use it without issue.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Funny...

      My heavily unix orientated job requires that I am familiar with and competent at Microsoft office. I have to write design documents (word), carry out calculations and data analysis (excel), the comany email client is Outlook and we also use MS project and Visio. If I weren't familiar at MS Office, I would be qualified to design or work on any of the systems at my company.

  12. Jay Jaffa
    Linux

    If business are sensible enough to migrate to Linux on the desktop then

    they're running OpenOffice.

  13. DanX

    Outlook2010

    Seems pretty OK. Upgraded no issue from 2007... Ribbon doesn't seem useless. Not sure where all the settings are yet!

    ...the convosations view is SO slow though. So very slow. And it doesn't seem to track convosations very well really...

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      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...

  14. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    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...

  15. pootle
    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.

  16. Beritknight
    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?

    1. The dog ate it
      Thumb Up

      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!

  17. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    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.

  18. calagan

    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.

  19. g e

    Linux TCO

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

  20. Paul 4

    Other than a chance to start a flame war

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

  21. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  22. D. M
    Thumb Down

    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.

    1. Charles Manning

      ...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.

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      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...

  23. DS 1

    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.

  24. apexwm
    Thumb Down

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    2. Beritknight
      FAIL

      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.

    3. Beritknight
      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?

  25. A J Stiles
    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.

    1. JohnG Silver badge

      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.

      1. A J Stiles
        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.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  27. Sureo
    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.

  28. Kwac
    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?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      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.

  29. BanjoPaterson
    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?

  30. Big-nosed Pengie
    Linux

    Who on their right mind...

    would want to run MS crap on anything?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    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!!!!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Microsoft -

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

  33. Michael Schmidt
    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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