Funny how StarOffice gets all the press for being the best alternative to MS Office — compared to Gobe Productive, StarOffice is just as bloated as MS Office, and doesn’t really push the game forward.
Gobe was forged from old Claris Works engineers dissatisfied with Apple, who went off to develop BeOS software. I wrote quite a few glowing reviews of Gobe Productive during the BeOS years, not just to be a cheerleader, but because Productive truly rocked. They were doing stuff with cross-app data integration that Microsoft hadn’t even dreamed of yet — one app to handle spreadsheets, word processing, graphics, illustration, and presentations, shifting seamlessly between modes in a single document. Awesome.
Long story short, Be belly-flopped and Gobe created Windows and Linux versions of the product. Then the dot-com teat deflated and Gobe hit hard times. For a while there’s been talk that Free Radical Software was going to buy the Productive license from Gobe and open source the product. But they too are cash shy, so now organizations like BeUnited are going door to door to raise collaborative money (more discussion).
An open source Productive would benefit users of all platforms (even Windows). Yes, there’s got to be a good Office alternative for the open source crowd. No, StarOffice ain’t necessarily it.