Under urging from Intel Corp., TransMedia’s Glide online applications suite–an emerging competitor to Microsoft Office–will gain a Linux desktop client in January of next year plus a Linux version of its back-end infrastructure during the March 2007 timeframe.
Earlier this month, TransMedia rolled out Glide 2.0, a major update to the company’s online application environment for multiplatform PCs and mobile devices.
In a meeting during last week’s Digital Life Expo, TransMedia CEO Donald Leka told LinuxPlanet that TransMedia now plans to release a Linux client in January. The upcoming client will offer similar functionality to an existing client for Apple’s OS X.
Glide is a browser-enabled environment, already accessible from Windows, Mac and Linux desktops, as well as from some mobile devices.
But Mac users who want to work offline–or synchronize their desktops with the online environment–need to use the Mac client software, Leka said.
Meanwhile, in about March of next year, TransMedia will finish up development of “a complete Linux version of the (Glide) back end,” according to the CEO.
“Intel has asked us to [keep pursuing] this course,” Leka said, sitting down with LinuxPlanet a TransMedia press event in Manhattan on Thursday. “Intel is very happy that we’re doing it.”
The Linux version of the back end will include “all Web applications, services and transcoding/batch processing,” Leka elaborated, during follow-up questioning later.
“The Glide Linux back end consists of C++, Mono (open source .NET) and J2EE implementations. The Glide back end will also run on OS X,” he said.
The upcoming Linux back end will also support Oracle, DB2, PostgreSQL, and other databases.
Glide’s Linux back end will co-exist with already installed Unix and Microsoft .NET servers, including Microsoft’s SQL Server database server. TransMedia has already added Oracle to the database mix.
Earlier Thursday, TransMedia presented Glide 2.0 as part of the Intel keynote at Digital Life.
Under a new user interface, Glide 2.0 includes a heavily revamped Glide Write word processing application, Glide Presenter presentation software, and Glide Online Photo Editor & Print Shop.
The updated environment also brings support for 16 additional mobile devices, beyond the previously supported Palm Treo 700w, Sony Ericsson W600i, and Motorola RAZR V3.
During the TransMedia press event, the company showed a new photo editing feature for touch screen-enabled devices that lets you crop a photo instantly, simply by dragging the corners of a box with your fingertip.
“Traditionally, photo editing software’s been very hard to use,” Leka contended.
TransMedia is also providing separate editions of Glide 2.0 for three different markets: consumers, universities and colleges, and enterprises and small businesses.
Citing customers’ disenchantment over Microsoft’s software licensing fees as one big reason, Leka told LinuxPlanet on Thursday that a number of large organizations–including Univision Communications, New York University, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers– are using Glide’s online applications environment already.
“We don’t have that (many competitors],” according to Leka. “Google might be one (competitor), and Microsoft could be another. But Microsoft doesn’t really have anything like what we have.”
Leka also maintained, however, that some businesses are sticking with Microsoft Office because their users have grown dependent on Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet.
Meanwhile, also at the Digital Life show, Palm Computing, a Microsoft competitor in the PDA space, unveiled a strategy to grow the market for Palm devices as much as tenfold by adding so-called “mobile accomplishers” to its previously targeted “mobile professionals.”
Like mobile professionals, mobile accomplishers are college-educated, said Palm officials. But the “accomplishers” are less interested in underlying technology than in how a device might help them accomplish tasks in their daily lives.
The new Palm OS-based Treo 680, the first Palm device to be aimed at “accomplishers,” will bundle Google Maps, a software application that provides information about traffic conditions and nearby restaurants, for example, along with the maps.
TransMedia’s Leka told LinuxPlanet that his company is now in discussions with Intel over a variety of possible deals, which might take the shape of “anything from an investment [by Intel] to [just] a stronger relationship.”
Up to now, TransMedia’s funding has come entirely from Leka and a band of angel investors.
According to Leka, the Glide Linux client software slated for January release will run on top of a Linux distribution from “a major Linux software vendor.” He declined, though, to specify which vendor.
“But eventually we will have our own Linux distribution,” the CEO told LinuxPlanet.
This article was first published on LinuxPlanet.com.