Applix Sets Up Office for Linux

Applix, Inc., through its e-commerce site, has added to the momentum and thrust of the open-source movement, with the release of a new version of its Office Suite for Linux.

The latest version — Applixware Office Suite 4.4.2 — features several productivity components, including Data, Graphics, Mail, Presents, Spreadsheets and Words. “It also incorporates an open-source software architecture,” said the company, “that enables programmers and developers to access the core Applixware runtime environment.”

Runtime — included with Applixware’s SHELF toolkit — is a developer’s tool 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.

The fact that several features of the product are similar to Microsoft offerings is of course no accident. The Linux operating system (OS) is seen by many industry analysts — and by Microsoft itself — as a serious threat to Windows market dominance.

According to International Data Corp. (IDC), Linux is making significant inroads. IDC numbers indicate that there are more than 12 million Linux users worldwide. In 1998, the Linux market grew by 212% and nearly 18% of all server hardware licenses sold last year were Linux.

With the new office suite version, Applix will also offer free support to its customers for the first time. According to R.J. Grandpe, vice president of sales and marketing for the Applix Linux division, the company’s “initiative of providing free Internet-based support to (its) user community further strengthens (their) commitment” to the open-source movement. Based in Westboro, Massachusetts, Applix develops, markets and supports Internet-centric business solutions.

Multimedia, Democracy and Linux

In other Linux news, Vovida Networks, Inc. recently announced that it will assist the Linux development community to elect and send a representative to participate on the International Softswitch Consortium (ISC). Vovida is fronting the cash for a Linux development community member’s involvement, and the election will take place this week at the LinuxWorld Expo in San Jose.

“The Consortium,” according to an ISC statement, “was created in May of 1999, to help advance the formulation of open standards and interoperability in Internet-based real time interactive multimedia applications by establishing a forum for the exchange of ideas among like-minded companies and individuals.”

“With an estimated 12 million Linux developers around the world, we wanted to be sure that not only would the developers be represented at the ISC, but also their representative would have equivalent rights and voting privileges as any of the enterprise member companies,” commented Alan Knitowski, president and CEO of Vovida.

Knitowski added that his company is “pleased to sponsor a seat on the ISC and will work with the Linux community to achieve widespread support for open-source, royalty free standards.”

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