Microsoft are considering a native Linux port of their popular Microsoft Office software – or so a rumour circulated at an recent open-source conference alleges.
If the gossip, born at last weeks Free Open-Source Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM), is correct – and it is far from that at present – the increasing ‘commercial viability’ of Linux on the desktop is to be credited with piquing Microsoft’s interest.
Valve’s Steam port and Canonical’s OEM tie-ups putting Ubuntu preinstalled on millions of laptops around the world have all helped to drag Linux out of the fringes of computing. Something that won’t have gone unnoticed by Microsoft.
Microsoft is not averse to porting their flagship office suite to new platforms. As well as crafting a special version for ARM-powered Windows 8 devices, ‘Office Mobile’ versions are planned for Android and iOS.
Microsoft Office is already able to run on Ubuntu by way of Wine (or, for better results, using the ‘CrossOver’ tool from CodeWeavers).
The Linux port supposedly being trialled by Microsoft is a ‘fully native’ version.
Pinch of Salt Needed
Before anyone pulls a muscle in celebration remember that this is a rumour from an unnamed ‘source‘.
This doesn’t preclude it from being true, of course. But it does mean that such news is best taken with a grain of salt.
Help yourself to some from the bowl on the right.
Even if it the ‘source’ is real and reliable it doesn’t mean the message is. We’ve seen mixed messages from companies on Linux ports before - just browse our Netflix or Photoshop archives to see more company flip-flopping than jelly on a treadmill.