Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Software IT

Major Australian ISP Pulls OpenOffice 336

Posted by kdawson
from the can't-stand-the-competition dept.
thefickler writes "Australia's largest Internet service provider Telstra BigPond has removed OpenOffice from its unmetered file download area following the launch of its own, free, hosted, office application, BigPond Office. The removal of OpenOffice was brought to TECH.BLORGE's attention by a reader, who complained to Telstra BigPond's support department about no longer being able to download OpenOffice updates. The support people were quite open about why OpenOffice was no longer available, i.e. because it was perceived to be competitive with BigPond Office."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Major Australian ISP Pulls OpenOffice

Comments Filter:
  • All the big ISP's seem to be convinced they can keep people in their own little ecosystem.  God knows why.  Like, what if one of their users tries to send a file generated by their supercool Bigpond Office software to someone, I dunno, who doesn't use BigPond?  And it doesn't work?  How useful is that?
    • by LingNoi (1066278) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @05:03PM (#21744754)
      I hate your font, it's so damn small..

      Anyway on with the topic, I have one better then that.

      What if the ISP restricted file transfers of .odt files since after all it would "be competitive with BigPond Office".
      • I wish my ISP would stop all the .doc, .xls and .ppt files that come through. My world would be a smiler, happier place filled with rainbows and dew drops on kitten whiskers.
      • by WilliamTS99 (942590) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @05:59PM (#21745594) Homepage
        They are not restricting anything, they just stopped subsidizing the download of OpenOffice.org.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by rtb61 (674572)
          That of course is a lie. For an ISP any direct downloads from ISP to customer are saving money. Downloads that have to come from different sites from different networks cost money not only for the ISP but also naturally enough for the customer. As Open Office would be a really regular download it would be served by a proxy server any how, so basically Telstra are selling Open Office by charging for downloads that are basically costing them nothing.

          This from a company that at one stage were disconnecting p

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by maxwell demon (590494)

        I hate your font, it's so damn small..

        It's not his font, it's whatever font is set in your browser for fixed width content. In other words, it's your font which is too small. Change your browser settings and the font will get bigger (I know because I did so).
      • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @06:39PM (#21746058)
        Tesltra is not blocking anything, they have just removed the Open Office installer from their unmetered downloads area (All residential broadband accounts in Australia are metered unfortunately, an unmetered account costs in the vicinity of 4 to 5 times as much if you are lucky). Which basically means they've removed it from their own servers, not blocking it in any way what so ever.

        Telstra is not the first choice for anyone with half a brain, they sucker in the less tech or financially savy with deals like tieing in a mobile, landline and broadband account for 10% off (doest apply to calls and other crap in the fine print). Compared to plans offered by iinet and internode (iinet's not the cheapest either but hosts its own apt repository which is unmetered) telstra's plans are severely overpriced.

        Telstra owns all the copper in Australia but thanks to some propper planning and healthy regulation the govenment sets the price that competitors can use this copper. Telstra has been a major stumbling block in the FTTN project (Fibre To The Node) as it wants to enjoy the same monopoly it does now despite the fact that other ISP's and me the Australian Tax Payer also will have paid a share. Under the previous government telstra was hit fairly hard with the regulation hammer for uncompetitive practices and the new government doesn't look like they are going to be any more lenient to Telstra, the Australian government is not as corporate friendly as the US govt. If they even tried filtering ODF files the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) will come down on them like a ton of bricks.
    • In some areas, they do have one as you really dont have any practical alternatives other then disconnecting.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by houstonbofh (602064)
      All the big ISP's seem to be convinced they can keep people in their own little ecosystem. God knows why. Like, what if one of their users tries to send a file generated by their supercool Bigpond Office software to someone, I dunno, who doesn't use BigPond? And it doesn't work? How useful is that?

      I have a plan! I will start an ISP, but I will have my own internal e-mail to protect others from spam! I will have my own content and forums to protect you from spam, kiddy predators, and porn. I will h
  • Other sites? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @05:00PM (#21744694) Homepage Journal
    Are their users restricted to only get what is offered by their ISP? If not, why not just go somewhere else to download?

    Its their storage/local bandwidth that is at stake here, why should they support competing products since one is their own? Or am i missing something key here?
    • by Radon360 (951529)

      I believe the issue at hand is that users of this ISP pay per Mb download or are limited by their plan on how much can be downloaded per week/month. It's not a problem of accessing those downloadables, rather a matter of now having those downloadables go against your alloted amount of data use charges when they were once offered "toll free" from the ISP.

    • Re:Other sites? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ozzee (612196) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @05:20PM (#21745024)

      In Australia, ADSL is a joke. Telstra was once a government owned monopoly and now it is a legislated one, owning all the last mile copper and being the only one responsible for installing new phone lines. Telstra also markets it's own ISP - Bigpond.

      Telstra has no incentive to make DSL more affordable and has even taken the prior government to court over attempts of the government to do so. It appears that the only thing Telstra and Optus (the co-horts of Telstra) understand is that by holding the reigns on services and service prices in their tight control will make them more money. The "pair-gain" crazyness is another example of just how stupid the situation is.

      In defence of Telstra's management, that is exactly what the arrangements of privatization regulations encourage. It really is another one of these privatizations gone crazy scenarios.

      It should be of no surprise that Telstra would do this with OpenOffice. I think that the public expect Telstra to have the interests of it's customers as a primary objective but it should be no surprise that the shareholders hold the attention of the management.

      The only way to fix this is to remove the monopoly protections. Telstra needs to be changed by the government and it's monopoly broken if Australia is every going to get services that are other than a joke.

      Having said that, the new Rudd government has made a pledge to make improvements in internet access, although I think it's going to be a hard one to pull off.

    • by zotz (3951)
      Perhaps conflict of interest? Improper product tying?

      all the best,

      drew
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Tel$tra aren't restricting anything per se. What this is all about is that Tel$tra BigPond charge for data as well as bandwidth. They also charge for backhaul, so your 200mb plan (for $29.95 / month for 24 months) includes all traffic in both directions. Now, while this sounds crap, they do provide some areas of hosted content that are not included in that 200mb. There is FileArena, which provideds Australian mirrors of popular files. There is also GameArena, which has popular game downloads (demos/patches
      • They also charge for backhaul, so your 200mb plan (for $29.95 / month for 24 months) includes all traffic in both directions.

        Jesus H. Christ! Just 200 megabytes a month? Sounds like you guys would welcome Comcast or Verizon.
    • by _KiTA_ (241027)
      Are their users restricted to only get what is offered by their ISP? If not, why not just go somewhere else to download?

      Its their storage/local bandwidth that is at stake here, why should they support competing products since one is their own? Or am i missing something key here?


      Isn't Australia one of those backwards countries who still pay per meg downloaded, unless you're downloading off an official ISP server? If so, pulling a 100 meg file might be a few bucks...
    • by dbIII (701233)
      Somebody could be on a 200MB/month plan and then has to pay $150/GB for the excess bandwith. Telstra's broadband charging is horrible so people try to get things from the local unmetered mirror as much as possible.
  • Why is this news ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @05:01PM (#21744710) Homepage
    They want to sell more of their product so they take something else out of the front window.

    They are an ISP, if they blocked their customers from reaching http://www.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org] that would be news.

    • It's not news, it's Fark.

      Oh, wait.
    • by fm6 (162816)
      Why is this news? Because it's an important move by a major ISP, a blow to Open Office, and a milestone on the road from local applications to web hosted applications.

      Why should we be up in arms about this? Nobody said we should be. There are other reasons to care about events, believe it or not.
    • They want to sell more of their product so they take something else out of the front window.

      I don't know about that. They're presumably paying the licensing fee to offer ThinkFree to their internet customers, instead of offering OpenOffice for free. Also, we're not talking about the "front window" by any means. They just have a cache of software they provide from their own servers without charging you for the data transfer costs (since they don't have to pay transit). It would cost them basically nothing to leave OpenOffice on that server. I might even buy into a MS backroom deal conspiracy theo

    • by david_craig (892495) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @06:25PM (#21745896) Homepage
      In the Australian market, Telstra is a state run ISP and phone company. While they do not have an outright monopoly, they own the vast majority of the countries infrastructure. Almost all other ISPs use Telstra's infrastructure, so there is little competition. With Telstra's home use internet connection (as is the case with all home internet connections) you have a limited amount of data you can download per month. A basic account only offers you 200MB of downloads per month. You are charged on a per MB basis for exceeding that amount. Telstra does not count the downloads from a limited number of sites, so downloads from those places are free.

      Removing OpenOffice from one of these sites means that many people who are on the smaller Telstra plans will have to PAY to downloaded it.

      And if you live in Australia, and you don't like it then it's just tough. Almost all other ISPs have similar pricing structures as Telstra, because Telstra is selling the connections to them and they setting the prices. An un-metered domestic internet plan in Australia means that your connection speed is dropped back to dail-up speeds when you reach a certain limit.

      For an idea of how expensive internet connections are in Oz, look at the pricing here:

      http://my.bigpond.com/internetplans/broadband/adsl/plansandoffers/default.jsp [bigpond.com]

      This is news for people who live in Australia.
    • by that_itch_kid (1155313) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @07:21PM (#21746452)
      Normally I'd agree with all the people saying that this is not a big deal, citing "it's a competitive product, etc."
      Now, that's a fair point...at least it would be if Telstra's plans were not so shockingly bad. As Australia's biggest and most well known ISP/telecom company, they have a huge proportion of Australia's internet users. What a great deal of them don't realise is how much they're being shafted.

      My plan:
      256/64K (down/up), 12BG download limit, shaped to 64K.
      AUD60/month (Which would be somewhere between US45-50, I think)

      Not my choice, a family member chose the plan, I wouldn't have been so idiotic. Oh, and did I mention the 24-month contract? Yep, if you cancel your plan, you still pay for the full 24 months after signing the contract.

      Consider this vs competing ISPs who offer twice the speed and bandwidth for half the price.

      For some other plans with limits, the bastards charge 15c/MB (Which is roughly $150/GB). Imagine you are one of those poor people who were sucked in by Telstra's omnipresence and huge T.V. marketing campaign. OpenOffice is not small, and Telstra's servers are a place where you can get unlimited downloads. You'd be pretty pissed too if they pulled it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Consider this vs competing ISPs who offer twice the speed and bandwidth for half the price.
        That's putting it mildly. Compare that to mine:

        ADSL2+, 24/1Mbps, 8GB limit on peak (12pm-12am), 32GB other times, $3.00 per GB excess usage, uploaded data not counted, all for $40/month. I won't tell my ISP, or else I'll be accused of advertising for them, but you can see the difference.
  • by Lendrick (314723) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @05:03PM (#21744748) Homepage Journal
    Company doesn't want to supply free bandwidth to a competitor, so they pull that competitor's download. Consumers can still download the competitor's product for free elsewhere on the internet. I just can't bring myself to be outraged about this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by timmarhy (659436)
      But it's NOT free you dickhead, access to the bigpond mirror sites is part of your agreement if your a bigpond customer. by making those mirror sites less useful they have degraded your service without offering anything to combinsate you.

      Anyone from australia who is familar with telstra won't be suprised by this move, they are the biggest bunch of cunts i've ever seen. this same company wanted to charge $32 for shared access to phone lines, and after careful invesgiation our regulartory body here the accc r

  • Not really news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pkadd (1203286)
    ...unless you count "acting as any company with some sense of business-strategy would have done" as news.
    • You're not Australian, are you? If you were, you'd realise that "acting as any company with some sense of business-strategy" is just not what Telstra does. Telstra's business strategy is this: (1) Be the biggest dog; (2) Stay firmly seated in the manger, growling.
  • I don't see the big deal. They're just saying that if you want to download OpenOffice (a product they feel competes with their services) you'll have to pay for the privilege rather than offer it to you as an unmetered download. Not a particularly enlightened approach, but they are certainly within their rights to do this. You can still download open office from lots of other places. Download it, throw a copy on your USB thumbdrive and give it away to as many people as you like. :)

    Cheers,
  • Big Pond? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MMC Monster (602931) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @05:13PM (#21744890)
    I live north of the equator. Exactly how big is this ISP that they can afford to develop their own office suite? And what is the business plan behind this? Especially since it competes on one side with Microsoft Office and on the other with openoffice.org.
    • by Otter (3800)
      It seems to actually be a competitor to Google Docs, but your point is still a good one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I live north of the equator. Exactly how big is this ISP that they can afford to develop their own office suite?

      They're very big, you might know them by the name Telestra. BigPond is a subsidiary and the dominant ISP in Australia. They didn't develop it, they just rebranded ThinkFree after licensing it from Haansoft.

      And what is the business plan behind this? Especially since it competes on one side with Microsoft Office and on the other with openoffice.org.

      Partly I think it is value added to compete with the other ISPs (they actually have some competition still). They may be selling support and addition services to the business market in the future.

    • by gringer (252588)
      They're a subsidiary of Telstra, which is the largest provider of both local and long distance telephone services, mobile services, dialup, wireless, DSL and cable internet access in Australia.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstra [wikipedia.org]

      My guess is that they would be comparable to AT&T in terms of how they compete with other products/companies.

      Then again, I'm from New Zealand, so don't have a great grasp of either AT&T or Telstra — we do have Telstra[Clear] here, but it's somewhat swamped by our Telec
    • by fm6 (162816)
      I doubt if even a big ISP can afford to develop its own office suite. Very likely this is a rebranded version of software that they've licensed from somebody else. It probably won't be too long until every ISP has something similar.
    • Re:Big Pond? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fex303 (557896) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @06:03PM (#21745652)

      Exactly how big is this ISP
      It's already been answered a bunch of times - they're freakin' huge - but those answers left out one important detail. Telstra, who use the Big Pond (AKA big pwnd) brand for their ISP business, used to be the government monopoly, but have been sold off by the previous government. This has led to all sorts of craziness, since they own all of the infrastructure and have been forced to lease it to competing companies.

      They've been complete pricks about the whole thing (selling bandwidth to individuals at a cheaper rate than claim that they are able to sell it to ISPs, creating crazy caps on bandwidth with massive fees for going over, deliberately holding back the rollout of ADSL 2+, etc).

      They are widely despised by the Australian internet community. Oh for the days when natural monopolies were retained by the state and rented to companies/individuals at fair rates... (I know, I must be a socialist or something, right?)

      • by Mike89 (1006497)

        Big Pond (AKA big pwnd)
        Most people I know call them "Bigpong", because they don't peer with any 'local' peering companies (mainly PIPE, but also WAIX etc), and as such you get subpar pings to gaming serves (typically IGN - hosted by Internode)
      • by SQL Error (16383)

        creating crazy caps on bandwidth with massive fees for going over
        He's not kidding. We're talking $150 per gigabyte.

        Oh for the days when natural monopolies were retained by the state and rented to companies/individuals at fair rates.
        In the case of Telstra, there never were any days like that.
      • by dbIII (701233)
        Another thing to add - these guys are actually so incompetant and greedy that they were hosting spyware installers via pop-up ads from their main telephone directory services web site a couple of months ago.
    • Re:Big Pond? (Score:5, Informative)

      by bigbigbison (104532) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @06:06PM (#21745690) Homepage
      BigPondOffice is a rebranded version [marketwire.com] of thinkfree.com's online office suite [thinkfree.com]
  • by ShagratTheTitleless (828134) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @05:14PM (#21744914)
    Everyone using that ISP could set up a script to download BigPond Office over and over when their machine is idle. ;) Bah, it would probably violate their T.O.S. and lag out the network for everyone else.
  • Personally, I'd call 'em and ask what you're supposed to use for an office suite if their "hosted" solution is down for maintenance, or if the phone company cut one wire too many. Ask if they'd be ready to pay the salary of the average office worker that suddenly can't work.

    If not, ask them to send you their copy of OO on any disk they can burn it on. ;)

    • by TeraCo (410407)
      I'm pretty sure the answers would be: "Don't care" and "No" in that order. What then?
      • What then?

        Myself, I'd go to the OpenOffice site, click here, [openoffice.org] find the nearest local source for the disk, and contact them for directions....

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Feanturi (99866)
      Ask if they'd be ready to pay the salary of the average office worker that suddenly can't work.

      They might respond with: "Oh, so you're using our service for business purposes? You'll need to be "upgraded" to our business package for $200/month, here I can adjust your account right now."
  • Don't be evil (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bearhouse (1034238)
    This will be news when Google search no longer returns OO results. Kinda dumb, since online apps are not going to replace offlne ones anytime soon IMHO. Surely much better to encourage their use, (if you're trying to sell such concepts/services) by 1. making better bridges between online & offline docs. 2. building trust by not acting stupidly.

    I'm really going to trust my data with asshats like this?
  • by nozzo (851371)
    If you really don't want to download it then it's on the coverdisk of some magazines, in the UK it's in PC Pro for example with updated versions each month.
    It does seem small minded of the ISP to behave this way - but hardly the end of the world.
  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @05:19PM (#21745012) Journal
    Earlier this year (several months ago) they switched billing systems. You'd think this is a good thing as their previous billing system was a bit of a joke. (For a long time the only ways you could pay was via credit card or by walking into a telstra shop or post office. After years of this they added BPAY but not automatic payment).

    - The new billing system still does not recognise certain discounts. I've called repeatedly about this and been promised they will be applied retrospectively once the billing system is fixed, but that they can't give an ETA. I don't know if I'll ever see that money, and I'm considering switching to a different ISP. (The only reason I'm hesitant is that I'm on cable and other ISPs would be ADSL. If my phone lines aren't niece in addition to setup costs I have to worry about an ADSL filter etc.)

    - The new billing system allows for automatic payment. The old system did not. What they fail to explain to you when they tell you this is that if you apply for automatic payment, you will no longer receive paper bills. What's worse it's not even possible on their new system to have both paper bills and automatic payment. Email's nice but it's still difficult for some employers to accept an emailed bill if they're paying a portion of your Internet bill as part of your entitlements. (Fortunately it's not been as big a problem with my employer as I thought it would be).

    - When I made a formal complaint through superviser, I was put on hold on and off for about an hour then told that the system was running slow and that I'd be called back to confirm the complaint had been put in. I provided my mobile number, which they did call just the once but since I didn't answer it they didn't bother to call or email again.

    Bigpond has always been a pig of a company to deal with and they're only getting worse.
  • Metered-Unmetered (Score:3, Informative)

    by emjoi_gently (812227) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @05:35PM (#21745234)
    One thing to note is that Australian net users, and especially customers of Bigpond, have fairly tight, stingy, download quotas. This means that the unmetered archives becomes important when you want to download the large stuff. Having said that, just how often do you download a fresh copy of OOO anyway?
  • Metered bandwidth for consumer accounts is a pretty sad concept in today's market. In any part of the world.
  • by realmolo (574068) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @05:58PM (#21745578)
    Seriously. They seem to be the MOST "anti-consumer-rights" of the so-called "Western" countries. It's just bizarre. Is Australia really a police state? Because that's what it seems like, honestly.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Vegeta99 (219501)
      Well, prison state, any way =)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ozzee (612196)

      Seriously. They seem to be the MOST "anti-consumer-rights" of the so-called "Western" countries. It's just bizarre. Is Australia really a police state? Because that's what it seems like, honestly.

      There are a number of factors. Firstly, the population in OZ is about 1/10th that of the US. This means that the market is smaller and the competitive pressures you find in the US are just not as profound in OZ. The telecom supplier in OZ (telstra) is a government created monopoly. The regulations under which Telstra (which owns Bigpond) operate are truly detrimental. No competitor will ever be able to make a dent into Telstra's monopoly unless the government fixes the regulations.

      If I was paranoid

      • by GaryPatterson (852699) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @07:02PM (#21746298)
        Sadly the Telstra privatisation was bungled from start to finish. As soon as 51% of the shares left the government, the board they appointed turned around and flicked the finger to the government. They feel that as a private company they should have no obligation to the government beyond those defined by laws. They had a very hostile relationship with a government that privatised them but still expected them to toe a policy line.

        Which would be fine if they were not created with tax dollars. Even that would be acceptable at some level if they didn't own the entire damned network as well!

        The government, driven by a privatisation ideology, effectively [i]gave away the entire taxpayer funded network to a private company[/i].

        Optus are laying a few cables here and there, but the network is effectively Telstra's. The ISPs and other telecom companies pay Telstra, or customers can choose Telstra directly and pay more (oddly they're rarely competitive).

        I'd have been thrilled to see the government keep the network and privatise the company. That'd ensure a level playing field. Or privatise the network as a seperate company unrelated to Telstra. That'd fit with their "government stays out of business" mantra, despite the 10 billion dollars Telstra was giving back in profits each year. Either option would have provided real competition in the industry.

        Sadly the bozos who ran the Communications Ministry just didn't think any of this would happen. After years of literally retarded IT policy under Richard Alston (well known for a while as the world's biggest luddite), we suffered years of utter inability under Helen Coonan (who drove the privatisation, brilliantly relaxed media ownership to encourage diversity but resulted in less, and recently introduced an Internet filtering app paid for with $80M in tax dollars that was completely hacked in 30 mins by a high school kid). Under the new Labor government, anyone put in the role would be better. I'd argue that random choices made by a die throw or Magic 8-Ball would have given us a better communications industry than we've got now. Surely no-one could do any worse.

I have not yet begun to byte!

Working...