Microsoft has disputed a report that it has been working to port its Office productivity applications suite and other Windows applications to the open-source Linux platform.
Doug Miller, group product manager for the Windows server group at Microsoft, said on Thursday the report by Paul Thurrott, editor of the WinInfo newsletter, was "based on rumor" and "not true."
WinInfo reported that developers from Microsoft and Mainsoft, a maker of Windows-to-Unix porting tools, had been working for more than a year to port Office and other Windows applications to Linux.
"There is a relationship with Mainsoft, a very good, close relationship with Mainsoft to port certain Microsoft technologies to Unix, and they're porting Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player. We have those available for Solaris and HP-UX," Miller said. "But there's no news here about Microsoft porting either of those technologies to Linux, or [porting] Office."
Rumors that Microsoft eventually will port Office to Linux, much like it did for the Macintosh, have persisted ever since the open-source OS began gaining mindshare. Proof of Microsoft's interest in Linux first surfaced in fall 1998, when a company engineer's research on Linux - the so-called Halloween Papers - was leaked to the press.
Mainsoft president Yaacov Cohen said the company is using its MainWin product to port Explorer 4.0 and 5.0 and Windows Media Player to Unix. Via "strategic agreements" with Microsoft, Mainsoft has access to Windows NT and Windows 2000 source code, millions of lines of which are incorporated into MainWin.
MainWin is a source code solution that provides a Unix-on-Windows platform, so developers can write to Windows, then recompile using a native Unix recompiler. Since last October, Mainsoft has offered MainWin for Linux, which recompiles Windows source code for Linux.