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Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 18/02/2002Corel announces -- very, very quietly -- that it's getting out of open source software. This might seem a shocker and a half, coming from a company that only a couple of years ago was more pro-Linux than a hackers' convention, but I guess that sort of thing happens when Microsoft gives you millions of dollars.

Monday 18/02/2002

Corel announces -- very, very quietly -- that it's getting out of open source software. This might seem a shocker and a half, coming from a company that only a couple of years ago was more pro-Linux than a hackers' convention, but I guess that sort of thing happens when Microsoft gives you millions of dollars. Kind of beats that nice warm feeling you get from open source. What's the company doing now? Porting .Net components to Unix, that's what, and doing its own workflow/document management/big fuzzy monster thing called DeepWhite. So far, that's just spawned press releases written in eye-numbingly dense marketing prose, but I'm sure it'll be lovely when it's finished.

Corel's always been a strange beast, with a propensity to do the right thing in just the wrong way. It gave a home to the long-orphaned Word Perfect, but never quite seemed to believe it was worth putting up against the giant mechanoid of Office. It ported various bits of software over to Linux, but never quite in a way that let people use them across different distributions with confidence. And now it's back in the world of the corporate, with barely a backward glance to its bold statements of yesteryear.

Does this mean trouble for the eternal quest for the Linux Desktop To Topple Gates? Probably not. Linux' problems don't come from too few people fighting the fight, but too many. The tribe is divided, and it needs to get vision. Corel wasn't helping. Meanwhile, the company probably doing the most to prepare the ground is Apple - which with OS X has done the seemingly impossible task of putting Unix on the desktop without anyone really noticing. The Linux Tribe should stop trying fifty different ways to be like Windows and build one way to be like the iMac. The rest will follow.