Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Stefana Muller

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Changing Perceptions of Open Source Software: OpenOffice.org, Mozilla Firefox, and More

Moving Beyond "You Get What You Pay For"

“You get what you pay for.” It’s an adage we all know, understand, and probably agree with. But is it true for computer software?

Those of us in the tech industry would say no, as our experience with Linux has informed us to the possibilities of open source software. But what about the broader consumer market? Until recently, open source software has been more associated with “freeware,” “shareware,” and other similar applications. Compared with their commercial counterparts, they have generally been inferior in quality. Until now.

OpenOffice.org, Mozilla Firefox and others have been leading a wave that is bound to change broad conceptions about the quality of open source applications. Bringing the value of community innovation and collaboration, mass adoption and pricing disruption to consumer software will, in the end, stand to benefit both consumers and the tech industry alike.

One of my favorite examples is Gaim, a powerful multi-protocol instant messaging application, that released its 1.0.0 version on September 17, 2004 and notched a 300% spike in downloads. According to Sean Egan, one of Gaim’s lead developers, Gaim is used by hundreds of thousands of users worldwide and is the de facto standard instant messaging application in virtually every Linux desktop, including Sun’s Java Desktop System.

Firefox’s recent 1.0 Preview Release netted over a million downloads in its first week and brought praise from the Wall Street Journal’s Walter Mossberg, one of the world’s toughest consumer technology critics, who recommended dumping Internet Explorer for Firefox. He noted that “it’s not only more secure but also more modern and advanced, with tabbed browsing and a better pop-up ad blocker.”

OpenOffice.org, which Sun Microsystems open sourced four years ago, has combined with StarOffice for over 40 million downloads worldwide, largely due to its high quality and exceptional interoperability with Microsoft Office file formats. It is far and away the number one Linux platform office suite and has been making significant inroads on the Windows platform as well. These massive worldwide deployments actually inform a larger point: consumers matter.

Few large-scale technology projects can survive and progress without a dedicated user base. As Sun promotes the OpenOffice.org Conference in Berlin, Germany this week, it is worth noting that Microsoft asked for and received a presence at the show. This is remarkable in and of itself, but in the end it happened because Microsoft saw that a large ecosystem of OpenOffice.org enthusiasts have developed across the world in addition to the millions of consumers who use it everyday without a second thought.

The arrival of quality open source applications for consumers portends a massive shift in the economics of consumer software. Once consumers come to expect that their most basic applications should be affordable, high quality and developed in the open to mitigate security risks, communities of developers and enthusiasts will continue to converge. For example, how long will it be before Adobe Photoshop feels the pressure from GIMP, the open source graphics editing software?

At Sun Microsystems, we heartily endorse the idea that consumers should have a choice in their desktop applications and encourage them to try OpenOffice.org, Firefox, Gaim, GIMP and others. We also encourage companies and open source organizations to work together on defining open standards for interoperability and expect that our futures will be better off because of it.

More Stories By Manish Punjabi

Manish Punjabi is responsible for marketing StarOffice and OpenOffice.org products, and speaks frequently at trade shows and industry conferences on network computing trends.

Prior to his current role, Manish was responsible for marketing Sun's Network Identity, Communication and Portal Server products to key industry verticals and OEM markets.
Before joining Sun Microsystems, Manish launched a venture capital backed venture, Quamba. Quamba delivered remote managed testing and monitoring services to high-traffic Web sites. Earlier work experience includes various software development positions encompassing the design and implementation of X-window applications in the Unix environment.

Comments (8)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry's first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence-dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it. Druva's...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DSR is a supplier of project management, consultancy services and IT solutions that increase effectiveness of a company's operations in the production sector. The company combines in-depth knowledge of international companies with expert knowledge utilising IT tools that support manufacturing and distribution processes. DSR ensures optimization and integration of internal processes which is necessary for companies to grow rapidly. The rapid growth is possible thanks, to specialized services an...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...