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Linux users may want to go for the gobe.

After years of waiting for office suites for Linux, desktop Linux users now face a plethora of choices. The latest is gobeProductive, soon to be from Free Radical Software. Free Radical Software plans to release the gobeProductive suite, probably under a different name, later this year under the GPL open source license.

This move will allow the Linux open source community to finish the Linux version of gobeProductive. Originally designed for BeOS, gobeProductive is now a Windows application with a Linux pre-release version. Gobe has made a lot of progress on the Linux version, but it is still far from release.

Gobe has been selling the suite as a commercial application. Since the demise of Be, makers of BeOS, Gobe has tried its hand at selling the suite on Windows, only to be faced with the impossible task of defeating the Microsoft Office juggernaut. The fact that the suite was up for sale tells all we need to know about the resolution of that battle, unfortunately.

Bruce Hammond, a co-founder of Gobe, bought the rights to the gobeProductive source code under the Free Radical Software Corp. Free Radical Software plans to release the suite with full source code under the GNU GPL open source license.

That move adds gobeProductive to the OpenOffice.org suite, as well as the up-and-coming KOffice suite and Siag Office, offering Linux users even more choice for office suites. Add to this the upcoming release of GNOME office, and well, Linux users are left with more choices than most know what to do with.

The gobeProductive suite shares some similarity with AppleWorks, formerly ClarisWorks, on the Macintosh. Many of the Gobe developers came from the original ClarisWorks team.

The primary feature of gobeProductive is its small size and tight integration between the word processing, spreadsheet, image creation and slide show modules. As a BeOS application, gobeProductive was considered one of the best, if not the best, commercial application for BeOS. The Windows version of gobeProductive has also garnered rave reviews. Companies also appreciated the low price, compared to Microsoft Office, for the Windows suite.

The small size for gobeProductive is a perfect complement to the more-featured OpenOffice.org suite. The OpenOffice.org suite is huge, so users with less-powerful systems may want to wait for the free gobeProductive suite.

For now, users on less-powerful systems can look to separate applications, rather than a complete suite. For example, AbiWord and Gnumeric provide an excellent word processor and spreadsheet, respectively.

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