by December 6, 2000 0 comments

No PC is complete without basic productivity applications.
These include a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, e-mail, etc. Gobe
productive is an office suite that runs on the BeOS.

The suite is divided into five primary components-word
processing, graphics, spreadsheet, image processing, and presentation. It has a
neatly integrated interface. As with other suites, frequently used functions are
available on toolbars. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support customization of
toolbars, and many functions available on the toolbars are not available in the


Gobe Productive 2
An easy-to-use, feature-rich Office suite for BeOS
Gobe Productive 2
Office suite for BeOS. Rs 2,950
Comprises word
processor, spreadsheet, image
processing, graphics, and presentation
Fast and easy to install; compatible with Office 2000 file
Can occasionally crash.
GT Enterprises, 912,
14 Main, 4 cross Maruti Circle, Hanumanthanagar, Bangalore 560019. Tel:
Fax: 6671407
RQS# E21

One useful feature for people switching to Gobe is its
capability to import as well as export documents created in Office 2000. We
opened DOC and XLS formats, and it was able to read them without any problems.

Compared to other Office counterparts, Gobe runs pretty fast.
However, stability seems to be an issue, as we managed to crash Gobe quite a few
times. Fortunately, none of the crashes were fatal, as we were able to save our
work after BeOS gave us the crash warning.

It comes with a 35-page manual, which is not very detailed
and gives
you a concise introduction to the different tools.

Gobe is pretty easy to install, and someone completely new to
BeOS managed to install it without any problems within a few minutes. No reboots
were required, and the software was up and running after the installation.

Word processor

Gobe Productive’s word processing features are easy to
adjust. The interface is fairly intuitive, and has a clean look. The toolbar is
not cluttered with unnecessary buttons.

Spell checking is a simple process. Click the spell check
button on the toolbar, and the SpellBar is added to the window. Our installation
shipped with an English dictionary, but other languages are also available for
download from the Gobe site.


The graphics program is similar to Paintbrush for Windows. It
has some very elementary functions like pen, eraser, arc, rectangle, etc. It has
the capability to save the image in several formats, including JPEG, GIF and
BMP, but can’t export files to other image-editing utilities like Adobe
Photoshop, etc, in their native formats.

As with other components in Productive 2, the graphics module
supports layer and transparency effects. However, you shouldn’t expect to
accomplish major illustration work with this package. Most of the functions in
this application are too basic for this. The Image Processing tool (we’ll talk
about this later) would do a far better job of it.

Transparency controls apply to spreadsheets as well as to
word processing, letting you define the transparency factor of any image you
want to put in the document.


Editing cells and adding formulae is fairly straightforward,
and is similar to Excel for Windows. Unfortunately, some features are
conspicuous by their absence in the spreadsheet component. These include trend
lines for charts, and statistical functions like Z and T tests. In fact, there’s
little you can do to a graph after you’ve made it, except for change type of
graph, and resize, rotate, etc. You can make all types of charts, however,
including Bar, Pie, Line, Area, and XY charts.

Productive ships with a number of impressive demo documents,
most of which are various forms of spreadsheets. Amongst the
“applications” included with Gobe are a calendar, monthly day planner
and a business card generator. Users could find ways to use the functions in the
spreadsheets to build similar applications of their own.

Image processing

This software comes in use when you want to touch up, or even
edit image files and digital photographs. Gobe supports many standard graphics
formats such as TIF, JPG, etc.

It’s easy to alter images with the several tools available.
They include the magic wand and lasso (for selection), an eyedropper color
selection, and magnifying glass among others. Lots of plug-ins are included to
add effects to your images. If you mess anything up, the undo function can
always come to your rescue.


Using this software really made us wish we had to make
presentations more often. You can make stunning presentations from scratch in
almost no time.

It consists of slides, which are made up of a number of
layers. Slides themselves can’t be drawn on, and you have to insert a layer
before placing graphics on a slide. Gobe Productive also has the ability to
create common background elements for slides, so that they have a unified look.

When run, the presentation takes up the entire screen.
Controls are simple. A click, spacebar, or right arrow key displays the next
slide, and a left arrow key or backspace returns to the previous slide, like
with any other presentation package.


Gobe productive is a fairly complete Office application for
BeOS-easy to use, and packed with lots of features. Although this version
still has some rough edges, it’s good enough to be used full-time. It has to
mature a little, and lacks the decades of development other Office suites in its
league have been through.

Anuj Jain at PCQ Labs

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