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Robertson: "OpenOffice.org and Firefox are the Secret Weapons of Desktop Linux"

OOoFf! Who Let the Source Out!

Desktop linux developer Linspire announced today the release of a new retail software box set - OOoFf! - consisting of open source favorites OpenOffice.org office suite and the Firefox Web browser just in time for the holiday season.

OOoFf! is an acronym for OpenOffice.org and Firefox both which are freely downloadable from the Internet.

According to Linspire CEO, Michael Robertson, Linspire wants to compliment the online efforts of OpenOffice.org and Firefox with a retail product.

"I think OpenOffice.org and Firefox are the secret weapons of desktop Linux," Robertson says. "If people get familiar with these applications they will find they function almost identically on Windows as they do on Linux. I think OpenOffice and Firefox reduce that switching cost from one operating system to another. This is our clandestine effort to get them comfortable with cross platform applications."

He also acknowledges that the majority of the purchasers of this product probably won't be Linux users but Windows users which make up about 95% of all desktop PC users. The OOoFf! box set includes versions of products for Linux, Mac and Windows users alike.

Firefox made a quite a splash this year with their November 9th Spread Firefox campaign heralded by a two-page spread in the New York Times. Since their release of the 1.0 version, Firefox has chalked up an estimated 5.5 million downloads. OpenOffice.org celebrated their third anniversary in October boasting over 30 million downloads and not counting all the various redistributions of their software. The OOoFf! package is an alternative to PC users who don' t have high speed access to download the office suite or prefer to receive CDs to downloads.

Linspire isn't new to the idea of cross-platform applications, they have supported the development of Nvu which is a Web authoring suite based on the Mozilla Composer code base. Nvu like OpenOffice and Firefox can be used on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms.

It bears asking whether this is the beginning of things to come where the software distributors' package and supply free open source software as their value ad with less restrictive software licensing than proprietary packages.

You can find out more about OOoFf! at http://www.oooff.com, currently the only listed outlet for OOoFf! but Linspire is recruiting resellers. Who knows, some day it may be sitting next to the Microsoft Office boxes at your local CompUSA.

OOoFf! retails for $49.95 but is being offered at an introductory price of $29.95 with free shipping in the continental U.S.

More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

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Most Recent Comments
Someone somewhere 11/23/04 12:41:38 PM EST

I like the concept, in that many friends are reassured by boxed sets and would be more willing to give these programs a try.

But the price, for a mere repackaging of something which is otherwise free, is a little steep, isn't it?

Linuxwatcher 11/23/04 03:01:09 AM EST

Michael Robertson is a pretty reliable barometer of the leading edge of Linux adoption - he's right that the Firefox/OO combo is like the wooden horse of Troy, allowing the Linux soldiers inside the city limits where previously they'd had no access...

No Broadband 11/22/04 11:24:08 PM EST

Not a bad deal for someone like me that doesn't have broadband.

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