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July 13, 2009 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Microsoft Office 2010 - for free, on the web. Yeah, you heard me right.

"The company also announced that Office Web applications will be available in three ways: through Windows Live, where more than 400 million consumers will have access to Office Web applications at no cost; on-premises for all Office volume licensing customers including more than 90 million Office annuity customers; and via Microsoft Online Services, where customers will be able to purchase a subscription as part of a hosted offering."


Not to be outdone by Google, who recently announced it was trying to take a bite out of Windows not to mention Office, Microsoft has decided to offer a web version of Office 2010 for free - and it will even support non-IE browsers.
posted by Muddler (106 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
The big point is at the very end of that Fortune article:

Office Web Applications will work better if you actually purchase Office 2010. Users with the latest Office software will be able to more easily share documents and keep each other’s changes in sync. Add in the fact that the paid version of Office will come with a brilliant feature that lets Office buyers broadcast their PowerPoint presentations over the web (like Cisco’s WebEx), and the Microsoft’s online giveaway looks less like an oops, and more like an upsell.

So this is kinda like a Microsoft equivalent of one of those free-to-play MMOs that are no fun unless you buy points.
posted by jbickers at 1:05 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's a trap!
posted by Cranberry at 1:05 PM on July 13, 2009 [39 favorites]


Install Silverlight, eh? Any opinions on this?
posted by nosila at 1:05 PM on July 13, 2009


FWIW "Microsoft Office 2010 Hits Major Milestone and Enters Technical Preview" probably isn't the best above-the-fold link. And while MS moving Office online is sort-of news, everyone kind of knew they were going that way anyway and possibly waiting until there were some firmer details (or screenshots! or running code!) might have been better.
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on July 13, 2009


This is a good time to point out that this won't be available until 2010. Unlike car-makers, MS seems to take this whole model year thing very literally.
posted by Mister_A at 1:08 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


a Microsoft equivalent of one of those free-to-play MMOs that are no fun unless you buy points.

Sweet! I'm looking forward to ads featuring a heaving-bosomed Bill Gates entreating me to Save The Queen, My Liege.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:09 PM on July 13, 2009 [24 favorites]


Installing silverlight is no big deal, in the end. No different than installing flash, and it has to be better than installing adobe air.

This is I guess good? I don't have much of an opinion, I feel as if word processing is not something that really needs to be in the cloud anyways.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:10 PM on July 13, 2009


free shit is still shit.
posted by blackfly at 1:17 PM on July 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


Installing silverlight is no big deal, in the end.

Unless you're using a browser on a platform where Silverlight doesn't exist. i.e. not Windows or MacOS.
posted by GuyZero at 1:17 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sweet! I'm looking forward to ads featuring a heaving-bosomed Bill Gates entreating me to Save The Queen, My Liege.

You and I are very different people.
posted by !Jim at 1:18 PM on July 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


One of my favorite expressions, blackfly.
posted by Mister_A at 1:18 PM on July 13, 2009


burn it with fire
posted by tapesonthefloor at 1:19 PM on July 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Artw, I don't like linking strictly to news stories where the news stories just mimic the press release anyway. Sometimes the news stories aren't even accurate. However, I was contemplating linking to this gizmodo article that should satisfy some of your further interest - although beware, previously the page was acting wonky.
posted by Muddler at 1:20 PM on July 13, 2009


free shit is still shit.

I think that every time I use OpenOffice.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:22 PM on July 13, 2009 [39 favorites]


Unless you're using a browser on a platform where Silverlight doesn't exist. i.e. not Windows or MacOS.

There is Moonlight, which I confess I have not tried.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:22 PM on July 13, 2009


Unless you're using a browser on a platform where Silverlight doesn't exist. i.e. not Windows or MacOS.

Or Linux, where it also works (Moonlight). So uh, not ChromeOS then.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:23 PM on July 13, 2009


(well, I suppose Moonlight could work on ChromeOS, depending on whether you can actually install anything outside the browser...)
posted by wildcrdj at 1:25 PM on July 13, 2009


Moonlight will not install on my Asus Linux netbook, FWIW.
posted by jbickers at 1:27 PM on July 13, 2009


Or Linux, where it also works (Moonlight).

Do you really think Moonlight is going to be compatible enough to run this?
posted by mikelieman at 1:29 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Install Silverlight, eh? Any opinions on this?

Yes.
posted by ardgedee at 1:31 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's so fricken' sad. MS reaction to any and all competition is to announce a wannabe product which will be released in 18 months' time. When it's finally released it's a clunky snapshot of the product-they're-competing-with circa today, and the competitor remains 18 months ahead of the game.

Sell sell sell.
posted by unSane at 1:32 PM on July 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


Does anything not made by Microsoft actually use Silverlight? I thought it was stillborn technology.
posted by rokusan at 1:37 PM on July 13, 2009


Capossela told me that Microsoft has studied it closely, and Office Web Applications, the free, ad-supported version of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, will probably appeal to tightwads who weren’t going to buy a copy of Office anyway.

Seeing as how I've never, ever paid for a copy of any of these programs, yet use them anyway through means fair and foul (OK, they're all foul), I'm one of those tightwads that would likely be tempted by an upsell.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:41 PM on July 13, 2009


Are Linux users really complaining that a Microsoft product isn't going to work on Linux? Really? Were you only hoping to run it once so you could find something to mock?

Man, I remember the good old days when Linux was all about avoiding Microsoft. You've changed, man. You've changed.
posted by bondcliff at 1:41 PM on July 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


Does anything not made by Microsoft actually use Silverlight? I thought it was stillborn technology.

I think Netflix's on-demand player uses it.
posted by jbickers at 1:41 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


rokusan, I've encountered a few sites that rely on Silverlight so far...Netflix for example.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:42 PM on July 13, 2009


unSane: "It's so fricken' sad. MS reaction to any and all competition is to announce a wannabe product which will be released in 18 months' time. When it's finally released it's a clunky snapshot of the product-they're-competing-with circa today, and the competitor remains 18 months ahead of the game."

So frickin true.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:42 PM on July 13, 2009


I heard this is much more useful if you have SongSmith installed.
posted by dersins at 1:42 PM on July 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


On (lack of) preview, jbickers beat me to it.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:42 PM on July 13, 2009


MS has also been pursuing deals to get Silverlight out there - I think the NBC Olympics coverage last time around used Silverlight for video streaming. You see it here and there.
posted by GuyZero at 1:44 PM on July 13, 2009


Is there anything to actually preview yet, or just the press announcement?

Sparklines in Excel is sort of like that scene in Mad Men where the advice they give to the sloppy drunk is to just stick with beer.
posted by geoff. at 1:44 PM on July 13, 2009


Silverlight? Meh.

Does anything not made by Microsoft actually use Silverlight?

Well, it will probably be like .net. Used a lot by MS shops, but not much by anyone else. But it's not going to be very useful for posting applications online, since you'll be excluding people needlessly.
posted by delmoi at 1:46 PM on July 13, 2009


Office 2010: The Movie
posted by P.o.B. at 1:46 PM on July 13, 2009


You can pay for office?
posted by mattoxic at 1:48 PM on July 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


Office 2010: The Movie

ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT FOR INFOPATH. ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE.
posted by GuyZero at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yeah, Netflix. Also I've seen it used (rather impressively) to stream live sporting events. Think they made a deal with one or more of the networks.

On preview:

I think the NBC Olympics coverage last time around used Silverlight for video streaming.

That's what I was thinking of.
posted by brundlefly at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2009


So long as they put all the buttons and menus in different places, that's all I ask.
posted by mazola at 1:53 PM on July 13, 2009 [17 favorites]


If handing out free shit distracts everyone from Microsoft corrupting the ODF process, it's a good deal for Microsoft, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:54 PM on July 13, 2009


It's so fricken' sad. MS reaction to any and all competition is to announce a wannabe product which will be released in 18 months' time. When it's finally released it's a clunky snapshot of the product-they're-competing-with circa today, and the competitor remains 18 months ahead of the game.

Amen. Wait, when's that hot new "ChromeOS" supposed to ship?
posted by Slothrup at 1:54 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Install Silverlight, eh? Any opinions on this?

Mefites won't use it even to see pictures of naked girls.
posted by squalor at 1:55 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, man... I forgot about that thread. Damn, that was hilarious.
posted by brundlefly at 2:00 PM on July 13, 2009


Pepsi Blue Screen
posted by misha at 2:00 PM on July 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Are Linux users really complaining that a Microsoft product isn't going to work on Linux? Really?

Why not? I mean, if MS is marketing it as a web app, it should work on the web, right? The web is not IE.

I spend my days working on a Mac and my evenings working mostly on Kubuntu and partly on another Mac. If this product doesn't at some point work on other browsers and OSs, is irrelevant not only to me, but to my entire industry (marketing). It's irrelevant to much higher education, because while there is a metric buttload of Wintel boxes in any given university, interoperability is critical.

Does MS get that or care? I don't know. I don't really care. They no longer have the ability to make the industry say "how high?", which I think is a very good thing.

ChromeOS is a fascinating effort. I've been really skeptical about the "Google OS" in the past, but if they can make it work, bully for them. Likewise I've been very skeptical about the "don't be evil" ethos, but Google does seem to be at least showing the right attitude.

Anyway, given the constrained nature of ChromeOS, I think MS will create or at least sponsor a Silverlight environment for it. They've been getting more pragmatic in the last few years about that stuff. I believe Gates is a pragmatic thinker, so that could be him; but I'm not sure how much influence he has there, anymore. (If it's all Ballmer, I think they're probably screwed.)
posted by lodurr at 2:03 PM on July 13, 2009


Wait, when's that hot new "ChromeOS" supposed to ship?

Many of its parts (Gmail, Docs, Apps, Gears, Calendar, Google Video) are here now. A number of the current crop of Netbooks rely on Google apps for productivity. Many people could get by without any real client-side apps but your browser.

Mind you, I wouldn't. But one could.
posted by lodurr at 2:06 PM on July 13, 2009


Man, I remember the good old days when Linux was all about avoiding Microsoft. You've changed, man. You've changed.

That's only those Ubuntu softies, not us die-hard Slackware users.

I keed, I keed
posted by eclectist at 2:08 PM on July 13, 2009


So this is kinda like a Microsoft equivalent of one of those free-to-play MMOs that are no fun unless you buy points.

The impression I got when I read the description you quoted is that it'd be more like those Shareware/Freeware CDs from back in the day you picked up because you were just a dumb kid and it had the words "share" and "free" in it and holy shit, like fifty million games for only 10 bucks. Then you realize there are only 10 games worth playing or even playable for that matter and 7 of them are variations of Mahjong or a ripoff Korean pool game that had you fooled because the screencap on the case made it look like it'd be some kind of cool Koei RPG or strategy game because it had some Romance of the Three Kingdoms ripoff looking artwork. So you decide to go to town on the three remaining games, and in the middle of kicking some goddamn ass on Jazz Jackrabbit or something like that you find out the thing only has 2 playable levels or you can't go to the final level unless you buy a full version.
posted by kkokkodalk at 2:13 PM on July 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


Wow, it's 2010 already?
posted by swift at 2:14 PM on July 13, 2009


Wait wait wait - does this mean that Mac and Windows users will finally have feature parity in an official Microsoft Office product?

I am stunned.

Also, I predict that the next version of Office for Mac will not be released until circa 2012 (and it STILL won't frickin' work with Spaces).
posted by caution live frogs at 2:15 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Moonlight doesn't work with Silverlight 2 or above, which is every Sliverlight application on the Internet.
posted by dirigibleman at 2:16 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


> "They no longer have the ability to make the industry say "how high?", which I think is a very good thing"

Microsoft's trick has been to simply re-define the scope of their industry so that they no longer have to ask. They provide their short-sighted tools, languages, and solutions; they offer a list of Gold Certified Partners who are trained in the art of never, ever thinking outside of the Microsoft box; and they reinforce this elaborate and expensive cycle with every as many ads, product placements and disingenuous newsgroup postings as they can manage.

Silverlight is not a web app. It's a tentacle.

And now, time to go home. [Start] / [Shutdown] / [Install Updates and Shutdown].
posted by tapesonthefloor at 2:17 PM on July 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, I truly feel that large software companies really would be smart to develop a Linux version of their most popular apps. There are a lot of people who choose Linux not because of any ideological argument against Evil Closed Source Software, but because they don't like Microsoft and don't want to buy Apple hardware. (For example, I highly doubt anyone chooses Linux because they really think The Gimp is a better program than Photoshop. Cheaper, yes. Functional, sure. Open source, definitely. But better? No. It's a clone, and it's several generations behind Photoshop. If it were truly better people would be running the OSX and Windows ports instead of paying for [or pirating] Adobe products.)

As Linux gains market share, Microsoft is losing potential customers. If I don't run Windows, I can't run most of Microsoft's software without some sort of virtualization. Even when there's an officially supported Microsoft version for an alternate platform, it is a sad echo of the version available on Windows (looking at you, Mac Office...)

How difficult would it be to take an OSX version of an app and port it to Linux? If I owned Adobe or Microsoft I'd certainly be asking.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:24 PM on July 13, 2009


Microsoft Monday!
posted by acro at 2:28 PM on July 13, 2009


Looking around at the Star Wars bar-scene we call the U.N., I have yet to see a better offer than the one crafted in Philly during that hot summer, warts and all. As a prototype it needed a few tweaks, but the frame is straight, the body is rust free, and it still runs well.

...and so began the Greg Nogg Photoshop challenge!
posted by LarryC at 2:46 PM on July 13, 2009


Oh damn iPhone copy and paste--please delete!
posted by LarryC at 2:48 PM on July 13, 2009


Also, I truly feel that large software companies really would be smart to develop a Linux version of their most popular apps. There are a lot of people who choose Linux not because of any ideological argument against Evil Closed Source Software, but because they don't like Microsoft and don't want to buy Apple hardware.

Yeah...But neither of those guys are ever going to pay what the companies would need to charge to make a profit.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:50 PM on July 13, 2009


MSFT circa 1999, $40-50.

MSFT circa 2009, $15-25.

60% of companies plan to skip Windows 7.

That says about all that needs to be said for Microsoft's product development. It's coasting along on achievements made a decade ago, going nowhere fast.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:53 PM on July 13, 2009


# "How difficult would it be to take an OSX version of an app and port it to Linux? If I owned Adobe or Microsoft I'd certainly be asking."

Unless your app was designed from the beginning to be cross-platform compatible (meaning it probably looks and functions equally poorly on all platforms,) this is a very difficult task. Generally a very large portion of the code in commercial apps deals with user interface and experience, and this is precisely the area where there are the most differences among platforms.

If you owned Adobe or Microsoft, though, you'd probably be asking how much Linux users are willing to pay for your apps, and the answer is $0.
posted by ijoshua at 2:53 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good news. Office is far and away the best at what it does; having it available on the web seems like a useful thing for those who use it, or would like to use it.

Also good news for people who hate microsoft, since (like all MSFT news) it reminds them of their choice of alternative computer software, and gives them an opportunity to talk about it.
posted by magic curl at 3:09 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, sounds from the introductory paragraph like the buy-once shrinkwrap price won't be an option this time around. Hmm... rubs me the wrong way, but it's probably a good idea.
Upgrade enthusisasts get to do without a sunk investment.
Luddites can stick with Office 97, which does everything they need.
Students can use the free version.
Pirates won't care.
Business still have volume licensing... although this is probably where the interesting price levers will get pulled, and I don't know what they currently are or might change to.
posted by magic curl at 3:16 PM on July 13, 2009


Word is the best at what it does? Are you on glue? God, bring back WordPerfect, the old Word Perfect. It was vastly superior for ease of use in page numbering, setting margins, etc., that could vary from page to page. WordPerfect is still more flexible, by far, even in its current incarnation.
posted by raysmj at 3:19 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


60% of companies plan to skip Windows 7.

Another way of looking at that would be "40 percent of all companies in the ENTIRE WORLD will pay Microsoft to update their software, even though they probably shouldn't and certainly don't need to."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:19 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


What, no plans for a free web version of Microsoft Access? I've got a database that I need to access and update. It'd be nice if I had the ability to design some forms to do that plus the scripting necessary to do data validation. Oh man, could you imagine it? A free relational database? That would certainly cut costs.
posted by Mister Cheese at 3:23 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, whoop dee doo. I need to go put 'select visible cells' in my Excel toolbar for the gazillionth time.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:07 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Having been working with bloody office 07 for too long now, I can only presume that by the time 2010 comes out there'll be no buttons left at all.

Maybe that'd be a good thing.
posted by pompomtom at 4:16 PM on July 13, 2009


caution live frogs: If [the GIMP] were truly better people would be running the OSX and Windows ports instead of paying for [or pirating] Adobe products.

Poppycock. People use Adobe software for the same reason that people used to 'choose IBM': Because everyone else does. At this point, the quality of the software is secondary. The GIMP could be 50% "better" (pick your metric), and people would still pay $1200 per seat to equip their graphic artists with CS4.

It's a matter of confidence: Most people who rise to a position where they get to make significant financial decisions in Capitalist enterprises believe that value is proportional to monetary cost, and won't stop believing that until some capitalist institution endorses an alternate view. If two of the top five ad agencies started using The GIMP, then you might see people switching. But until then, to paraphrase The Yogi, the main reason everyone uses that stuff is because everyone uses it.
posted by lodurr at 4:39 PM on July 13, 2009


Want Microsoft Office Web? Don’t Hold Your Breath
posted by reflecked at 4:40 PM on July 13, 2009


the main reason everyone uses that stuff is because everyone uses it.

Well ... in the Photoshop / GIMP example, you're forgetting the oodles of training materials and plug-ins available for Photoshop that are not available for GIMP.

GIMP works because people are already familiar with Photoshop. You couldn't sit someone down with GIMP and get the same learning curve as you would with Photoshop + training materials.

At the same time and for the same reason, I couldn't hire a top-notch artist, sit him down with GIMP and get the same productivity output -- he's gotta learn GIMP. Most of the top-notch artists out there wouldn't even accept the job knowing they weren't going to be able to use the tool(s) with which they've spent years becoming familiar.

This isn't stupid consumers or a capitalist cabal in action. This is a classic barrier-to-entry that Adobe has had the incredible luck to fall into.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:53 PM on July 13, 2009


MSFT circa 1999, $40-50.
MSFT circa 2009, $15-25.


There have been two 2:1 stock splits since 1999. Adjusting for that, a $34.67 Jan 1, 1999 share would be worth 4 * $23.23 = $92.92 today, or roughly 11% annual return, not counting dividends. While Microsoft will probably not continue that same level of growth (see, e.g., your 60% non-adoption of Windows 7 statistic), I think it's a little soon to start drafting the eulogy.
posted by jedicus at 4:58 PM on July 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, no one has seen fit to fight Adobe for the market. MSFT isn't going to make a Photoshop competitor and Corel managed to self-destruct.
posted by GuyZero at 4:59 PM on July 13, 2009


It's so fricken' sad. MS reaction to any and all competition is to announce a wannabe product which will be released in 18 months' time. When it's finally released it's a clunky snapshot of the product-they're-competing-with circa today, and the competitor remains 18 months ahead of the game.

Slothrup:Amen. Wait, when's that hot new "ChromeOS" supposed to ship?


Are you suggesting Chrome OS will be a wannabe, dated clunky snapshot of a product that's available now? Which OS is that?
posted by millions at 5:14 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you're hiring someone to be a graphic artist or photo editor, do you think that person MUST have the software on his or her home machine? It's like expecting everyone in social science or econ to have SPSS or Stata at home (although the open-source R Project software for statistical analysis is increasingly popular). A future in which people only use ludicrously expensive software at work or via a cosortium or university or what have you, while using cloud computing or open-source alternatives for the coffee shop laptop or cheap desktop is not too hard to see coming. If I want to use Photoshop for any good reason, I can pay a $35 fee for it at a local photo shop that acts as a sort-of coop.

I'm using a combo of Open Office and Adobe Buzzword for an academic project I'm working on right now, and using Google Docs to allow people to give it fresh eyes in the editing, do a sort-of informal peer review thing before the work gets sent off for formal peer review. The editors will want a final version in Word, but Word's available to me in so many different places--libraries, the homes of friends, university centers and Fed Ex Kinko's. Why do I need to buy Word, which is not only pricey but clunky and overloaded? Last time I had it, Word crashed when closing due to conflicts with Vista, at one point even quit working completely due to a conflict with a Vista update. (After that I said, Fuck it, and went with Linux.)
posted by raysmj at 5:15 PM on July 13, 2009


Gimp, though much lauded, is basically for people who like pain, I would suggest looking elsewhere for a photoshop alternative, or just getting Phototshop (even the lite version that comes with scanners and suchlike).
posted by Artw at 5:19 PM on July 13, 2009


If you're hiring someone to be a graphic artist or photo editor, do you think that person MUST have the software on his or her home machine

If he/she is an experienced professional, yes, absolutely. In the same way I would expect a carpenter to own a hammer, and a chef to own knives.

If he/she is not, I would expect the person to acquire the software anyway through other means, such as a student discount.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:20 PM on July 13, 2009


Dammit, I thought I had the split-adjusted prices there. Oy, vey!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:29 PM on July 13, 2009


So, will you buy pricey updates for that person's at-home version? How the hell would you know what that person has on his or her home computer? It would be none of your business, legally speaking.
posted by raysmj at 5:32 PM on July 13, 2009


A student discount? So you'd only be hiring actual students? OK.
posted by raysmj at 5:33 PM on July 13, 2009


Dammit, I thought I had the split-adjusted prices there. Oy, vey!

Ah, crap. Looks like those were split-adjusted after all. Well, nevermind then. Clearly the stock is in the toilet, growth-wise.
posted by jedicus at 5:49 PM on July 13, 2009


cool papa bell: Well ... in the Photoshop / GIMP example, you're forgetting the oodles of training materials and plug-ins available for Photoshop that are not available for GIMP.

I believe that was covered under my aphorism ;-). That stuff exists, after all, 'cause everyone uses it...

(Ya know, people always underestimate The Yogi. Don't underestimate The Yogi.)

As for what people are expected to use or have: If you're a freelancer, you don't get the work unless you've already got the tools. Period. If you're trying to hand over CS2 files to a CS4 shop and they have any problems they even think are because of that, guess what? Most places won't hire you again. Too much trouble and so many other artists out of work...same goes for web crap: If you farm out building templates, you're going to want them back as Dreamweaver templates.

This is what I mean by "because everyone uses it." Tautologies are non trivial. Like I said, The GIMP could be some arbitrary amount better, and folks would still use Adobe. And much as I dislike the Adobe stuff, they'd be right to do so.

You can make the same argument about MS crap, though I don't think it's as strong.
posted by lodurr at 6:12 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


raymsj, I don't know of a shop that would buy software updates for a freelancer, unless that person were a permalancer of some stripe. Which happens, but AFAICS not as often as freelancers want to believe it does. (Remember, to a hungry freelancer, permalancing can seem like a sweet deal. I think it mostly only looks raw after you're not so hungry anymore.)
posted by lodurr at 6:15 PM on July 13, 2009


It's like expecting everyone in social science or econ to have SPSS or Stata at home

Erm. I'd expect exactly that from my colleagues, except for the people who are anumerical anyway.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:28 PM on July 13, 2009


Really? Were you only hoping to run it once so you could find something to mock?

Ah, they only run it once? That explains Open Office, at last.
posted by fightorflight at 6:54 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Heh. Heh. OpenOffice. Heh.

I run it. I have Word 2004 on my Mac, but running Kubuntu on my new Dell so I no have Word. I do actually miss it. Some of that is a matter of being accustomed to it, but OpenOffice just doesn't do a few (maybe kind of picky) things I've come to rely on: Outline view, "normal" (a.k.a. "draft") view, views other than Print Preview on startup, and a few other things. It's annoying.

Could be worse, though. Kwrite doesn't even save as RTF. Which makes Kwrite worse that MS Works.

Yeah, I said it. I'm not takin' it back, either.

For some reason I can't explain, I rea,lly love AbiWrite, but I can't stand using it. Why is that?
posted by lodurr at 7:02 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does anything not made by Microsoft actually use Silverlight? I thought it was stillborn technology.

This guy tried to get me to invest in his "web start-up" company. His pitch was basically: "It's a photo-sharing site, for mom's and dad's... and it's written entirely in Silverlight!"

Yeah.
posted by odinsdream at 8:36 PM on July 13, 2009


Gosh, is it me, or are you guys totally in love with Microsoft? :-)

a) Office 2010 is available as a Technical Preview right now. I suppose you need to be an MSDN user or something to try it.

b) Office 2010 does _not_ use Silverlight; it uses AJAX. To be precise, it uses Script#. (In fact, this is actually a bit of a heartburn for Silverlight communities)

c) Silverlight exists for Macs.

d) Microsoft Office is already on the cloud. What that doesn't offer, though, is real-time collaborative stuff (so you get to see your colleagues etc changing documents while you're there and so on).

While it is true that MS has become a lumbering giant over the past 4-5 years instead of the lean, agile firm that it was in the 90's, it's always important to remember: Office has an estimated 500 million users here. Office 2010's biggest competition isn't Google or Apple, it is itself.
posted by the cydonian at 8:47 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does anything not made by Microsoft actually use Silverlight? I thought it was stillborn technology.

DNC, Obama Inaugural, Tour de France (on France2's website) and Wimbledon (on Netherlands' Net 5 website). Can't get into details here, but there will be some more deployments by some big media names in South East Asia.
posted by the cydonian at 8:53 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wimbledon and Tour de France both use Silverlight, I believe. The streaming video looks better than Flash, imo. I think the quality of the Netflix "play now" video is good as well.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:58 PM on July 13, 2009


lodurr: I wasn't talking about freelancing. I thought it was clear that I was talking about an office or photo lab/studio worker, which is probably where the vast majority of people who make a full-time living from Photoshop use it. I presume, meanwhile, that some people who make a part-time or occasional living from photos use Photoshop at the co-op type place I referenced, and don't have the software on a desktop or laptop. My larger point is I don't think the argument that "You can't have Photoshop and MS Office so people won't buy into cloud computing, even as it gets better" argument is weak.

(Regardless, it's silly to think that all people could buy a "student" version. You do need a student ID to buy those, typically.)
posted by raysmj at 9:13 PM on July 13, 2009


I'm too lazy to google it but isn't the US' library of congress the (data) largest user of silverlight?
lctltl
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 1:29 AM on July 14, 2009


Also, you can't (legally) use a student version of Office for any kind of commercial work. Obviously it's very unlikely that MS is going to come after individuals for breaking the licence terms in this way, but legally a contractor has to buy a full version of Office, not a student version.
posted by pharm at 2:00 AM on July 14, 2009


raymsj, it seemed to me like you were describing non-employed scenarios. But if you're talking about business environments: They do upgrade, and because the upgrade pricing sucks we still pay a shitload. So we tend to skip versions: We switched to CS3 from "CS1" right as CS4 was coming out, and we're broke right now so we won't be dropping thousands of dollars to go to CS4 any time soon. (Anyway, our main designer is on a dual G5, which I'm not sure can run CS4 -- don't bother looking it up, we'll look it up if it's an issue, but eventually Adobe will stop doing PPC on CS.)

Anyway, if you include ad agency artists and desingers in "studio" workers, then I'm with you. I know of a number of pro photographers who use either very old versions of photoshop or use something else. But they're not freelancers, they're pros. Somewhat different scenario, and there aren't that many of them.
posted by lodurr at 5:27 AM on July 14, 2009


After that I said, Fuck it, and went with Linux.

Can I use that for an email sig?
posted by flabdablet at 6:39 AM on July 14, 2009


Microsoft: Work anywhere with Office Web applications — the lightweight Web browser versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote — that provide access to documents from virtually anywhere and preserve the look and feel of a document regardless of device. (Emphasis added.)

Yes, that's just what we need, dumbed-down klunky versions of applications that don't even support the level of features that the first Microsoft Word offered on the Macintosh almost 20 years ago.

Fortune: Folks like Google, Zoho and SlideShare have been offering free equivalents to Word, Excel and PowerPoint for years. (Emphasis added.)

Doesn't "equivalent" mean something other than "stripped to the worst selection of minimal usable features and forced to run using a GUI construction kit that originally started as a formatting spec for technical documents?"

But scrolling up a bit. The big problem with porting from MSWin or OSX to Linux is the GUI toolkit. Apple and Microsoft have been reluctant to license their implementations, and reverse-engineering those toolkits (see wine as an example) have often been at the "almost but not quite" stage.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:41 AM on July 14, 2009


60% of companies plan to skip Windows 7.

Wrong. http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=1181

Adoption rates for Windows 7 stand to shatter those for both XP and Vista.
posted by lohmannn at 7:40 AM on July 14, 2009


Doesn't "equivalent" mean something other than "stripped to the worst selection of minimal usable features and forced to run using a GUI construction kit that originally started as a formatting spec for technical documents?"

For Google Apps, yes, pretty much, although the collaborative aspects are often worth more than the features Office has. This is why Google is so interested in improving the HTML environment - their own browser, Gears, HTML 5, etc. For Zoho, I think, Flash is used, which is a GUI construction kit that originally started as an animation package.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:54 AM on July 14, 2009


yeh, when Writely burst on the scene i heard so many folks parroting paretoish punditries that it drove me bats. It's find to talk about "80% of the functionality", but a) it's got to be the right 80%, and b) it's probably still not good enough.

They are getting there. But MS is going to have an edge on them in the corporate space, because they'll be able to promise seamless and lossless interoperability via Word/Excel file formats. Google just will never be able to do that. They just won't. The MS formats (even the "open" ones) are far too artfully obfuscated to do lossless conversions. You always lose something.

I know this from experience. I've tried to do business using only OpenOffice, and it just doesn't work. I could spend hours formatting or calculating, and then when I see what my clients or partners see in their Microsoft software when they look at my documents, it's downright embarrassing.

So I think what Google's got to do is create a climate where people hardly ever have to interoperate with Office. I haven't the foggiest how they do that, but at this point Office is like the Beast That Wouldn't Die just on the strength of file compatibility.
posted by lodurr at 10:20 AM on July 14, 2009


lodurr: So I think what Google's got to do is create a climate where people hardly ever have to interoperate with Office. I haven't the foggiest how they do that, but at this point Office is like the Beast That Wouldn't Die just on the strength of file compatibility.

Yes. And personally, I don't think that Microsoft, Google, or Zoho can get there by worshiping at the shrine of the bastard lovechild of desktop publishing and semantic document markup. You can do the right thing in MSWord, if you lobotomize it through preferences and are reasonably consistent in your practice. But Google Docs and Zoho won't let you create well-structured documents, and it's hard to create reasonably good-looking documents.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:09 AM on July 14, 2009


> Adoption rates for Windows 7 stand to shatter those for both XP and Vista.

Man, what a crappy article that ZDnet post is. It's something I'd expect hurled around on Digg, not the product of a professional writer paid to cover technology.

But aside from that, the details in it are interesting, albeit somewhat disingenuously framed: "Meanwhile, in yesterday’s news (literally), PC World summarized a new report by IDC analyst Al Gillen, which predicts that Windows 7 will account for 75% of units shipped in 2011 and will achieve total world domination within three years: 'Windows 7 momentum will translate in 2013 to the new OS accounting for 95% of the operating systems Microsoft sells to businesses. That percentage is up from 90% forecast for 2012.' What, not 100%? Losers."

What ZDnet's blogger fails to understand is that this is Microsoft's projection of 7's share of all Windows OSes, which is an easy target; XP will be the longest-lived version of a desktop operating system ever, and Vista will presumably be on life support by then as well. It is not Microsoft's projection of total market share, and those projected numbers are reachable even if Apple and Linux control 85% of the desktop OS market.

So what Microsoft is saying is that, "Once Windows 7 is three years old and has had its first major service pack release, it will probably be selling more than the five and eleven year old OSes. In the business market. The home market? Maybe totally different. But in any event, people will still be demanding the legacy OSes, too."
posted by ardgedee at 1:48 PM on July 14, 2009


they'll be able to promise seamless and lossless interoperability via Word/Excel file formats

Ha, good one! Seamless, lossless interoperability of successive versions of Office! Hoo!

Now pull the other one.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:02 PM on July 14, 2009


I didn't say anything about successive versions. I know there are sometimes problems. I've had them. Not very often, though, and when I have, they were almost always less problematic than when I was trying to push out to or pull in from a non-MS app.

The point is not that Microsoft is great. The point is that they have a baked-in edge in Microsoft-compatibility. Considering what apps most people use in their workplaces and schools, that's a pretty dominant advantage. And considering how effective MS has been at obfuscating the real characteristics of their file formats, coupled with their willingness to bend them if they think someone's getting too good at reading them, it's an advantage that's not likely to go away.

Thus my claim that if Google wants to seriously compete, they need to make it a non-problem.
posted by lodurr at 3:49 PM on July 14, 2009


Sorry. It didn't make much sense to me that you were talking about seamless, lossless interoperability between the same version, because that is pretty much true of any application whatsoever.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:36 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


yeh, well, the fact that it sounds a little weird is kind of the point. i expect that you and i are of an age that "interoperability" used to mean different file formats, not mac v. pc on the same format. i'm just trying to think about the business reality.
posted by lodurr at 7:35 AM on July 15, 2009


Re: Microsoft profitability — they just posted a huge loss in sales. A billion dollars short, sales down some 17%, shares down 10%, and poor hopes for the near future.

If someone wanted to put them out of their misery, getting businesses to understand that sharing PDFs is a bajillion times a better idea than sharing DOCs would do it. Unless there's a need for editing (I dare say most of the time there is no need to have recipients directly edit a document), PDF is way more sensible.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:49 AM on July 24, 2009


If a format were ever less loved than the word doc*, it would have to be the pdf. People just flat out don't like them.

* personally it's the powerpoint slideshow that gives me the red mist.
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on July 24, 2009


Caching caches

Actually, Artw ...
Loading plug-ins

to be honest...
Plugging in plug-ins

I think...
Loading Adobe online shopping extensions

what people...
Waiting for Adobe contextual updater

really hate ...
WOULD YOU LIKE TO UPDATE NOW?

... is Acrobat. Christ that's some shitty, shitty software. And since it makes itself the default plugin for browsers wherever it can (Adobe: killing the web one plugin at a time) websites that use PDF have given people a really visceral reaction to seeing its ponderous splash screen appearing.

"Oh, that looks interesting, *click* AW shit, noooooo. Fucking PDF."
posted by fightorflight at 10:41 AM on July 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


> If a format were ever less loved than the word doc*, it would have to be the pdf. People just flat out don't like them.

PDFs are okay. They have their uses, and those uses are fine uses. Adobe Reader and Acrobat, however, are malice incarnate, and their latest versions have made third-party apps the only useful, reasonably secure, means for reading PDF files.
posted by ardgedee at 12:21 PM on July 24, 2009


I had forgotten what a rotten piece of shit is Acrobat Reader today. I use OS X Preview, which is quick and light. The few times I have encountered AR on a machine, it makes me want to kill.

Nonetheless, PDF itself is a great file format: installed in essentially every machine with which you're likely to communicate, carries its own font subsets with it so you can be sure the document looks like it is supposed to, and with a few permissions that make it easier to control changes or printing. Way the hell better than sending crufty MSWord documents that aren't going to look remotely the same from machine to machine.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:18 PM on July 24, 2009


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