Applix, Inc., (Nasdaq: APLX) a solutions provider for the UNIX and Linux markets, has entered into a strategic distribution agreement with Walnut Creek CDROM to bring its office suite product and development resource tool to users of the FreeBSD (Free Berkeley System Distribution) operating system.
Under the terms of the agreement, Walnut Creek will distribute the Applixware Office Version 4.4.2 and the Applix SHELF visual open-source application development toolset and runtime environment with their FreeBSD 3.3 Power Desktop package.
Additionally, Applix will make its mounting resources available to FreeBSD users of its software products via support through its SmartBreak.com developer resource site.
“Applix is dedicating extensive resources to develop applications for open-source software environments, and the feedback from our customers has been tremendous,” said R.J. Grandpre, vice president of sales and marketing for the Applix Linux Division.
Home Suite Home
“FreeBSD has always been a strong contender as a server OS, but until now we haven’t had a top-tier office suite to give us a competitive edge as a Desktop operating system,” commented Bob Bruce, Walnut Creek president.
The Applixware Office Suite, which features Data, Graphics, Mail, Presents, Spreadsheets and Words components, could represent an attractive productivity software alternative to high-priced Microsoft office offerings.
Additionally, the product incorporates an open-source software architecture, enabling developers to access the core Applixware runtime environment. Runtime is a developer’s tool that is similar to Microsoft’s Visual Basic, intended to streamline and simplify the process of coding. The product also includes updated filters that permit document interchange with Microsoft’s Office 2000 market offering.
No BS, Just BSD
Originally developed at the University of California at Berkeley, FreeBSD, like Linux, is an OS based on UNIX. After the university cut off funding for the project, BSD fractured into several groups — including the current FreeBSD — that focus upon optimizing the OS for Intel chips.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to bring our applications to the large installed base using FreeBSD,” stated Grandpre. According to an Applix statement, “70 percent of all ISPs use FreeBSD,” and that “a number of large Web sites using BSD include Yahoo, CDROM, Inc. and Hotmail.”
Applix will utilize its SmartBeak.com Web site to provide free Internet-based support for new FreeBSD users of its products. Current FreeBSD users can download the Applix software online from the FreeBSDMall.com e-commerce site.
Take a SmartBreak Online
SmartBreak.com, a site created and maintained by Applix, was designed to accelerate support for users and developers working with open-source environments. FreeBSD and other Applix users can access site features that include a searchable knowledge base, FAQs, how-to, HTML and support database texts, all automatically updated and indexed.
The availability of support was an early issue identified as a potential barrier for moving open-source operating systems, particularly Linux, into larger business and eventually consumer markets. Resources such as the Applix Web site, according to some industry analysts, might attract more adherents — includinge-commerce professionals — who increasingly seem to be identifying with the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of Linux.
According to International Data Corp. (IDC), Linux is making significant market inroads. IDC numbers indicate that there are more than 12 million Linux users worldwide.