Re: Mono and GNOME. The long reply.

On Fri, 8 Feb 2002, Miguel de Icaza wrote:

> Hello Martin,
> > Gnumeric is more than enough for my humble needs as a scientist and
> > academic but AbiWord has a long to go before I can use it as a drop-in
> > replacement for MS Word. Gnome has no presentation program at all and I
> > cringe when I go to conferences and see scientists who I know use Linux
> > all day for their data analysis make their presentations in Power
> > Point. At my University we're strongly encouraged to use Power Point for
> > all lectures.
> I have been suggesting people to work with OpenOffice, and to work with
> the OpenOffice hackers to improve that code base.  

I think that this is way beyond what you can could expect your just
beginning Gnome hacker to handle. Think about it for a moment. The issues
with OO that make it less than attractive to a MS Office user require deep
and fundamental changes. Someone who has just mastered glade would be
totally inappropriate. On the other hand we're constantly getting new
patches from newbies eager to help, despite being this total lack of
encouragement. I can't speak for the Gnumeric or Actung hackers but this 
statement strikes me as counter-productive.

> Although I love
> Gnumeric (I wrote a large chunk of it), right now if you want to have
> good interoperability with Windows applications, OpenOffice is your best
> bet.  They are on the high-end side of the scale.

I can't honestly recommend OO to any of my Windows-using colleagues. I do
know that in my Physics department we have a Computer lab of 16 PC's
running Gnome (that was my doing). Gnumeric and AbiWord are being used on
these machines. Star Office is not (that was not my decision). The
students decide they'd rather not run it. AbiWord is being used to teach
students Word Processing at a college down the road from me, not Star

> Evolution took us a couple of years to develop, with a well funded
> staff.  Writing large applications like the ones you mention that
> duplicate the functionality of OpenOffice is definitely possible, but I
> am not sure that there is a strong case to pour a lot of resources into
> it.

What about OpenOffice achieving the functionality of Gnumeric and AbiWord?
What about native widgets, fast load times, non-Modal dialogs? MS Office
has these and they matter to a lot of people.

> > Does it make sense to spend two years developing a
> > framework so that you can spend only 2 years writing a Word Processor
> > having written the framework?
> I know that once I have .NET, I will be a happier coder, and would enjoy
> more writing code.  Will I write a presentations program?  I do not
> know.

That's great. I'm writing code mostly coz it's fun too :-)

> But given that OpenOffice exists now, I think that we are given a chance
> for the first time look at *other* applications, or looking at new ways
> of implementing those applications, or bring new ideas into the table.
> Do not look at me for a guide to innovate.  Everyone makes fun of my
> desire of cloning existing products, but I encourage you to look at new
> and innovative software development for *new needs*.  For the Office
> application kind of thing, I am going to stick with `Use OpenOffice'.

We can do new and innovative things with AbiWord. Speak to Dom privately.

Cheers :-)


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