Help Open Source Gobe Productive
by Scot Hacker
Funny how StarOffice gets all the press for being the best alternative to MS Office -- compared to Gobe Productive, StarOffice is just as bloated as MS Office, and doesn't really push the game forward.
Gobe was forged from old Claris Works engineers dissatisfied with Apple, who went off to develop BeOS software. I wrote quite a few glowing reviews of Gobe Productive during the BeOS years, not just to be a cheerleader, but because Productive truly rocked. They were doing stuff with cross-app data integration that Microsoft hadn't even dreamed of yet -- one app to handle spreadsheets, word processing, graphics, illustration, and presentations, shifting seamlessly between modes in a single document. Awesome.
Long story short, Be belly-flopped and Gobe created Windows and Linux versions of the product. Then the dot-com teat deflated and Gobe hit hard times. For a while there's been talk that Free Radical Software was going to buy the Productive license from Gobe and open source the product. But they too are cash shy, so now organizations like BeUnited are going door to door to raise collaborative money (more discussion).
An open source Productive would benefit users of all platforms (even Windows). Yes, there's got to be a good Office alternative for the open source crowd. No, StarOffice ain't necessarily it.
Is this really what is needed?
I'm uneasy about this. Is an application suite really where people should be putting their efforts these days? I agree that Office is sub-sub-optimal, but I also have a strong feeling that the world has moved on with respect to this sort of thing.
It's a viable and desirable project
I don't there's an angel investor on the horizon who would fork out the money to bring Gobe Productive to GPL, but I think there's a substantial user community who can poll enough money to purchase the intellectual property right to Gobe Productive. Add to that, I think it is desirable to see Gobe Productive being released to GPL (or BSD?), not only because it was a brilliant office application, but because it could contribute to the efforts of other office application developers who are trying to develop that "viable alternative" to MS Office.