Microsoft and Adobe are announcing, at exactly the same time, competing services for sharing documents from your computer. Adobe's Share converts all shared documents to Flash, so you can embed them in any Web page. It's like Scribd but designed more to share files with workgroups than the world at large. In its current beta form it supports PDF and image files only. Adobe plans to open up the Share API so the service can be used as a virtual storage drive.
It's almost shameful how paltry Novell's understanding of open source is. I don't say this to denigrate anyone personally, but when I read things like this from Groklaw I just can't understand how Novell manages to say "open source" with a straight face.
I'm all for using open source as a capitalist weapon. But this is the opposite of that. It's an attack on open source by a company that claims to espouse it. And it relies on deliberate falsehoods to propagate its still anemic success.
Pamela writes:Justin Steinman reveals that to market their SUSE Linux Enterprise Server against Red Hat they ask, "Do you want the Linux that works with Windows? Or the one that doesn't?" It's just appalling. Let me ask you developers who are kernel guys a question: When you contributed code to the kernel, was it your intent that it be used against Red Hat?… Read more
I was reading Dave Rosenberg's commentary on Novell's patent deal with Microsoft and got to thinking about how much "protection" there actually is in the relationship. Novell has been selling this protection hard to its Suse prospects ("Linux is scary because Microsoft might sue. But we have a deal with Microsoft..."). Extortion? Sure. But for some it seems that integrity has a price.
For those who can't be bought, just how much protection are you missing? Not very much, it seems to me, and to a range of open-source legal experts I e-mailed to solicit their opinions.
I asked them to weigh in on the matter. Here's what I heard.… Read more
Every once in awhile, Microsoft does something very right. Microsoft's anti-spam technology and a Windows server farm, along with some innovative thinking from Microsoft researcher David Heckerman, are cracking the AIDS code.
Why is Microsoft in the AIDS research game? Because it's in the anti-spam game, and it turns out there are some similarities between the two:
This parallel between spam and biology resonated for Heckerman, a physician as well as a PhD in computer science. It didn't take him long to realize that his spam-blocking tool could extend far beyond junk e-mail, into the realm of life science. In 2003, he surprised colleagues in Redmond, Wash., by refocusing the spam-blocking technology on one of the world's deadliest, fastest- mutating conundrums: HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.… Read more
Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and their Office allies can be great applications, but not everybody needs everything they offer. How do you know where to start when shopping for alternative software? You'll save money with a different brand, but will it do the trick? Should you buy boxed software, download freebies for your hard drive, access browser-based apps, or juggle all of the above?
We've reviewed nine productivity suites--including downloads and online services--and cooked up a jumbo chart mixing up their gumbo of features and file formats. IBM's release of Lotus Symphony beta added more spice to … Read more
I've always liked Michael Meeks. He's Novell's point man on OpenOffice, and is a core committer to that project (which is saying something, since he doesn't work for Sun :-). Michael gives a good interview to ZDNet that uncovers some of the interesting usability work he's been doing with OpenOffice, among other things.
Michael on IBM's involvement in OpenOffice and the value of multiple suppliers:… Read more
Bored of Google Presentations already? If you're looking for something with a little more pizazz, there's Prezentit, a Web-based presentation maker. Like Google, Vyew, and others, Prezentit lets you build, and work on a presentation with several collaborators at once, all in your browser. You can send out the finished product as a URL, or even download it in the form of an HTML file that will run on any computer with a browser installed. These are handy features, but how does it stack up on features? The answer, unfortunately, is not well.
As far as presentation makers go, Prezentit is pretty bare-bones. You can only add text and images, and there are no slide templates like you'll find on PowerPoint. To add content, you can upload image files from your hard drive, which get stored in a free storage locker that holds up to 250MB. There's also a gallery of background art, although you're limited to less than 20 sample shots. Unfortunately, there's also no way to upload a PowerPoint file and have it convert to the editor, which is where these services can be incredibly useful, especially for creating a highly searchable index.
So what sets Prezentit apart from the pack? Despite its lack of features, its interface is wonderfully easy to use. If you're familiar with Microsoft Office 2007's "Ribbon" UI, the idea isn't too far off. There's also a slew of genuinely good-looking transitions, many of which are smooth, and low on the cheese factor (read: there are no glitter graphics or explosions.) While there's no built-in chat client, there are hosting pages for each presentation that double as a place to let others add their two cents about what could be better. The service is also adding an "explore" section soon for publicly shared presentations.
I wouldn't recommend using Prezentit over some of the other Web-based presentations out there simply due to a dearth of features I think are pretty essential to a good presentation app, but the service is young, and there's definitely room for growth. We've got more screenshots after the break.… Read more
Wednesday night, my colleague Anne Broache and I posted our article previewing the U.S. Senate hearing Thursday where Microsoft and Google will face off regarding the search company's attempt to purchase DoubleClick.
The hearing is about to start and can be watched via Webcast. Anne is there and will be writing about the hearing later Thursday.
That article previewed Google's arguments. Now we have a copy of Microsoft's prepared remarks by Brad Smith, the company's general counsel, and we're sharing this excerpt. Smith, no newcomer to antitrust fights, says the merger would be bad … Read more
Back in 2006, Microsoft decided to borrow a Linux distribution. Microsoft, which has felt little negative direct effect from the Linux operating system, needed to ensure it could skew the open-source business model in its favor, by levying a patent FUD tax on anyone who chose to use Linux.
Microsoft has paraded its Linux in terms of customer choice and customer protection, but both are complete canards. Mandriva Linux is just as interoperable with Microsoft Windows as Microsoft's SUSE, is. The same is true for a wide variety of Linux distributions - they are all as interoperable with Windows as any officially blessed by Microsoft.
The major search engines are notorious for their claims of out-doing each other. For years, Google and Yahoo battled it out over which had the largest index. Google eventually claimed the title two years ago, but Yahoo countered that relevancy is more important than size.
And this year, the features race is on, with interface and site overhauls either already done or in the works at the top four search providers.