I.B.M. to Offer Office Software Free in Challenge to Microsoft’s Line - New York Times -- Good news here, as IBM announces that Lotus line will go open source in direct competition with Microsoft Office. I ran IBM's OS/2 for years because it was a solid system that attempted to allow compatibilities across platforms. The whole idea was that we be functional, secure, and able to communicate. Microsoft won out in the operating-system wars by being exclusive, proprietary, and marketing-savvy. They also sabotaged everybody else's standards in order to achieve dominance. Since then, having become the only game in town for business applications, they have proceeded to extort us.
IBM has been offering Lotus on its machines for a good while. We're looking to buy a refurbished IBM-certified machine, and they still come with Lotus SmartSuite on board.
Another bright spot in the open source arena is Ubuntu, which people are comparing to a lean, stripped-down Windows XP. LAPTOP Magazine's Jeffrey Wilson ran a good bit on it in the September 2007 issue; the print edition has less than the online link I've furnished, and they're different.
The point is that we will now be able to whack about $200-300 off the cost of every machine. We will be able to get high-quality refurbished equipment into the hands of just about everybody in our communities. With tactical deployment of wifi, we will all be able to build our own community networks. We will be able to do an end-around and to go faster than those who now are blocking progress, to hold onto their vested interests. Soon, everybody will have "access." It sounds really American.