Summary: How about a Christmas Turnkey? That's not a typo either, see how OS/2 and StarOffice can be bundled, and a memory hogging WPS unbundled on a dirt cheap PC sold to first-time computer owners.
The first thing I did after downloading the free personal edition of Star Office 5 for OS/2 was to make this little change in the config.sys and reboot:
SET RUNWORKPLACE=D:\Apps\Office50\soffice.exeIt was just an experiment, but you know what? It works like a charm. In fact I'm using it this way right now. But why?
If you've tried StarOffice you'll notice that the company that makes it, Star Division of Germany, has bent over backwards to re-create a typical modern object-oriented desktop within the office suite itself. Under normal circumstances it'd be a desktop running on top of a desktop. But why not just let it have its way? That is, let it go all the way and actually become the primary desktop? That's what the above change to the config.sys does. It loads StarOffice instead of the Workplace Shell.
But is it feasible? Let's look at what the Star Office desktop can do:
The idea is not for all of us existing Warp users to suddenly say "Duh, okay!" and switch to something that is still far inferior to the Workplace Shell, the idea is to build a dirt cheap PC (such as the sub-$600 computers that IBM is now selling), put Star Office 5 on it, and sell it to first-time computer users; the same kind of market that the iMac is targeted to. By unloading the Workplace Shell, you decrease memory requirements (and shave a little more off the bundle's price), increase the performance of the suite, and radically reduce problems of both confusion (imagine a novice trying to figure out which desktop he's supposed to use) and crashes.
While I'm not an economics or marketing major, this machine should be ideally priced below $1,000 including the monitor. Just how cheap it can get, and how much profit the company who puts these together can earn, would depend on whether these machines would qualify for StarOffice's free personal license or not. It's entirely fair to assume Star Division would consider it a commercial use, and thus require a paid license for each copy of the suite, even though the ultimate customers would use it on a personal or non-commercial basis.
What Could Be Better
Even though the web client in Star Office is very good, it isn't perfect. This could be solved in a heartbeat by including Communicator with the system as well. It could also be solved in the long run if Star Division used the Next Generation Layout engine of the open-source Mozilla project.
But what else is better? If you have some opinions on this idea, talk about it with me and other readers in our interactive forum.
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