The popularity of OpenOffice, the open source productivity suite, will be key to the financial success of Novell, said company president and CEO, Ron Hovsepian, who hopes to be a 'custodian' between the open source community and the commercial world.
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OpenOffice is a direct competitor to Microsoft Office. "The financial holy grail is actually the office productivity suite ... when you look at structures of companies there is a lot of profitability in those product sets from the competition," Hovsepian said at a media briefing in Sydney yesterday.
Real-time collaboration was also flagged as an important market, with Hovsepian predicting that enterprises could benefit from looking at projects such as Hula, which is still in its alpha development stage, to provide collaboration solutions not possible with proprietary products.
"Real-time collaboration between organisations is going to become more important and that is going to be more difficult with all of the older products in the market -- Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes etc.
"In Hula there is so much more real-time stuff coming. This is a young, evolving market at this point and a lot of the pieces are going to move around for the next couple of years before we see it shake out," he said.
In acting as a bridge between the commercial and open source worlds, he said: "What we have done with the open source community around OpenOffice ... and our commitment to ODF (Open Document Format) ... is a very powerful statement.
"We are just one of many custodians that work with the community. Nobody is ever going to own the community and that is the good news ... you can't kill it. We have to define ourselves as a custodian to the community and to the commercial customers -- that is our role," he added.
Yesterday, in a video interview, he said Novell will continue its march against Microsoft and any uptake of Vista despite a recent alliance with the software giant.