Re: [NTLK] [OT] OpenDoc...

From: Mark Ross (
Date: Sun Jun 02 2002 - 14:17:13 EDT

>>Another aspect of OpenDoc is that the apps would cost very little
>>compared to the full featured software packages that we have today.
>This is probably one of the many reasons why it sadly failed.
>Everyone would cheaply buy the very few parts that they actually
>needed, but few would fork out for the grotesque bloat of features
>that is M$ Office. Software developers probably reckoned that they
>wouldn't be able to sell so many people things they don't need at
>'full-feature-set' prices. I believe Corel committed to an OpenDoc
>version of WordPerfect, but there weren't too many other takers.

>Actually, it was mostly IBM doing the work on OpenDoc. I still have an
>OS/2 Warp 4 box sitting on my shelf which had a fully working version of
>OpenDoc on it, with quite a lot of interesting servlets to play with. Of
>course, Warp's OO desktop interface already looked and behaved quite a lot=
>like OpenDoc, so for us Warpies the migration curve was rather flat.
>The plug on OpenDoc was basically pulled when IBM halted developmetn on

As a beta tester for WAV, a container application for word processing in
OpenDoc, I can shed some other light on this. There was an OpenDoc
consortium of developers that numbered about 15 or so making various
components or containers (a container is an application that could
"contain" other parts). Both Apple and IBM were working on OpenDoc to
counter MS's stranglehold on applications. The thinking was that this
was a way for small developers to get into application development and
not have to compete with MS with their massive Office suite, just make a
superior piece that would inter operably work with all the other superior
pieces. It was Gil Amelio, at SJ's suggestion, who killed this at Apple
because they could no longer support it (and didn't do much of a job when
it was alive). Nevertheless, it was almost working when it was killed.
IBM dropped it subsequently. The OpenDoc developers consortium wanted to
take the code, fix it, and give Apple the license for it for no charge.
Apple refused to work with them, sell the code or even offer a
"returnable" license arrangement (stop me if this sounds familiar!). As a
result, most of the developers died out with the exception of a
spreadsheet container app named Adrenaline, which now is a full featured
charting program. The classic OS still has a component extension that
was derived from OpenDoc, "SOMobjects=81 for Mac OS".

Mark Ross

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