Some of the big boys of enterprise computing seem to feel threatened by free software. Why else would they go out of their way to drag their less commercial competitors' names through the mud?
For example, Microsoft
Those objections to OpenOffice may be true in isolated cases. However, I find myself more confused by the "ribbon" interface in recent version of Microsoft Office than by the more traditional icon lineups of OpenOffice. Maybe it's because I'm a grumpy old fart who once got used to the look and feel of Office in the late 1990s; after all, OpenOffice does a fine job of emulating that experience. As for the support issue, I can assure you that Mr. Softy's products require support staff as well, and they're no cheaper than your average open-source specialist. On top of that, more resourceful users have a plethora of zero-dollar support options available to them. This complaint doesn't hold water.
Then again, OpenOffice is currently overseen by rival enterprise software outfit Oracle
If that wasn't confusing enough, Microsoft is also attacking Oracle's semi-free Java platform as a major attack vector for virus and malware exploits. In this, Microsoft has allies: Symantec
On one hand, these attacks must create a lot of work for PR reps, lawyers, and sales people at open-source businesses Red Hat
Would you settle for fewer cutting-edge features in exchange for free software and potentially cheap support? Would you invest in providers of such software? Discuss in the comments below.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. This article, and everything else Anders writes, was composed on OpenOffice.org. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value choice. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Oracle. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.