Re: Question to candidates: what about next ODF?

<quote who="Jody Goldberg">

> The will is there, but like so much else we're short on man power.

There is a really important point to be made about this that hasn't come up
at all so far, to my knowledge:

  Around the time of the establishment of the GNOME Foundation, the GNOME
  community (under much clearer leadership at the time than we have now)
  basically ceded all office/productivity development to,
  with the idea at the time being that would be ported to
  GNOME and become, if not in name then certainly in implementation, "GNOME

The dudes who work on the GTK+/GNOME AbiWord frontend are certainly involved
in the GNOME community, Jody has his little team working on Gnumeric, the
GNOME-DB team are largely focused on their platform stuff now, Glom is not
totally associated with "GNOME Office" but is looking very promising as a
database component, and a few projects have popped up here to do things like
presentations without getting very far -- but none of these have really had
the primary support of distributions or the GNOME community in general for a
while now. We don't even have a GNOME Office release suite to ship every six
months (not for lack of encouragement or trying though).

So although there will be a few people up in arms if I describe this as a
"storm in a teacup", what do they seriously think we have to gain by making
*political* statements about ODF or OOXML when it's not massively relevant
to the GNOME community in the first place? If the GNOME Foundation made a
profound statement on the legitimacy of OOXML, it would be about as helpful
as a flame from some random commenter on a news website. Given that, on the
whole, we are not office/productivity software practitioners, our *political
opinions* on those issues don't carry a lot of weight. So why should we be
pushed or bullied into making them?

What's relevant here is that we have helped a member of the GNOME community
to achieve his aims in support of his work on Free Software, and that there
is legitimate disagreement about whether that demonstrates *passive* support
for an unpopular company and format. We don't think that's the case, but we
accept differing opinions on the matter. Other commentators have been less
tolerant in this regard, and that is disappointing.

Phew. Ahem. :-)

- Jeff

-- 2008: Melbourne, Australia
   "Consensus is whatever the developers remember or agree with." - Paul
                            Vixie, Open Sources

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