All I want for Christmas is an Office Suite?

My friend Armijn pointed me to a thing called Orange Office (no link). I get a Dutch site, which is full of d/t errors (a fundament of Dutch grammar) which tries to sell me .. OpenOffice.org. It comes down to a long spiel about Microsoft Office compatibility and how OOo works exactly the same as Microsoft Office and yet it’s so cheap! Buy now! Word! Powerpoint! Operators are standing by! Yes, they’re charging 15 EUR for an OpenOffice.org download. Going through the terms and conditions is hilarious (well, ok, I should take my medicines now) for disclaiming responsibility, disallowing resale (hello, LGPL!), disclaiming the applicability of refund law which applies to tele-sales. You know the drill. It gets better as the “buy now” page has a “limited quantity offer!” for Calc and Draw as well. The payment processing, somewhat to my surprise, seems to be legitimate — it’s still a heck of a way to rake in 15 bucks for an otherwise gratis download of OpenOffice.org 3.1.

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5 Responses to All I want for Christmas is an Office Suite?

  1. icwiener says:

    Yeah, the same was here in Germany. Some Website sold Free Software … but in a more disguised way. They just told you to register to download it and then sent you a bill around 4 weeks later (one week after the right of withdrawal expired). OOo has started a campaign to tell the people that OOo is free and if somebody sues them with the name of OOo, OOo itself has nothing to do with it.
    http://de.openoffice.org/abgezockt/ (German)

    http://www.openoffice.org/servlets/BrowseList?list=users&by=thread&from=1897377 also has some other examples of scammers using OOo for their purpose.

    Regards

    • adridg says:

      Note that it’s not that selling OpenOffice.org — that is, charging money either for the download, or for subscriptions, or support — is the problem. There’s commercial support for OOo out there. What’s surprising me in this case is that they’re providing so *very little* value, disclaiming everything, and possibly violating the license (through the no-resale clause) at the same time. If you want to sell users access to a download that they could otherwise get for free (oh, that also gets me: the OOo download site seems to work *better* than anything I’ve seen here) then have at it. After all, the license permits it. I’d just wish for, say, a *better* business doing this, with better value. As it stands it looks more like this outfit is likely to disappoint people in what OOo can do.

  2. Alejandro Nova says:

    This make me ask myself, kindly…

    WHY, OH WHY LINUX DISTRIBUTIONS DON’T CHARGE MONEY BY FREE (AS IN _FREEDOM_) SOFTWARE?

    This works like this.

    1. Software is delivered in “channels” controlled by the distro, and updates go through a paywall.
    2. If I want to get my software for FREE (as in beer), OK, I can do it… if I compile the thing.
    3. Pirates won’t pop up unless you charge way too much for the thing. After all, most of them love FREE (as in FREEDOM) software, and if you have the knowledge to patch software and create a “scene”, well, you have the knowledge to use free software for, well, free.
    4. Using the dwm analogy, the compilation barrier will discriminate between users, who only want to use software, and contributors, who want to report bugs and enhance free software. Also, you can drive some incentives through the paywall system to those users who turn themselves into contributors.

    This way, you have a sustainable desktop Linux business. The key: the price must be low enough (I suggest a yearly payment of $10, after all… imagine if 1/2 of every Linux user out there donate you $10 a year…)

    Believe me, there are people willing to pay for free. If you pack the software in a pretty container, and you control the whole experience KEEPING THE GATE OPEN FOR THE USER TO GET OUT AND START CONTRIBUTING, you’ll have a much better desktop Linux world.

    • adridg says:

      @alejandro: I think you’ve just described almost exactly what RedHat and Novell and Canonical do for their enterprise customers. I’m not sure why that’s all that relevant here, though.

  3. cghislai says:

    Interestng,
    You want to pay the packagers…

    I think the whole purpose is to offer free services. I get a lot of satisfaction givin, knwoing people enjoy it. I don’t want anything back. It feels great to be part of a team who ‘tries to make the world better’, to use big cliché, without this commercial motive.

    On the other hand, I dont’ want to pay for it either. You want? Please do it. Use something like Linspire if you think the distributions deserve the money, or feel free to donate, lots of interesting project are actually looking for some funds.