Re: GNOME Office list, and Sun/AbiWord


	unless we have core StarOffice developers on this list, I try to give 
some informations. SUN has a deep interest in a open source 
desktop/browser/office environment which is homogenous, XP and feature 
rich. The picture how this environment looks like is in some parts as 
clear as your discussion about StarOffice/GNOME office. It is obviously 
that the Desktop part is already taken by GNOME - and SUN developers will 
mostly contribute bug fixes, porting, documentation and localization. The 
browser question is also answered with the mozilla project and SUN is 
actively participating with porting and Java integration. 
	But will there be one open world office suite soon? I believe not, the 
different products will exist side by side for a long time. This will be 
because to points: first each of the products have their advantage over 
the others and their own users, admirers etc. Second merging them 
together to one superior product will be extremely difficult because of 
totally different history, technology, design issues ...  

	So we are thinking of another starting point: 'make them interoperable 
and share some base technology'. This could affect two things, the file 
format and the component ware. My vision is that the users can choose 
whatever productivity tools he want on his GNOME desktop. And because of 
the foundation on XML he can interchange his text docs between abiword 
and starwriter without any headache (I'm aware that XML is not magic  
different XML formats needs conversion, too). And because of the 
foundation on Bonobo the user has a homogenous way for embedding 
documents, inline editing ..., and the different apps work together 
	Over time the community will determine, if it is reasonable and feasible 
to merge products instead of having more than one alternative. But at 
this time it is very difficult to discuss this possibility without having 
access to the OpenOffice source nor any detailed architectural 
information. I will try to push the people to put more information on but the whole opensource process is a real challenge 
for SUN and old StarOffice here in Hamburg. So we ask for your patience 
until October.  

Some detailed comments blow.

> On 30 Aug 2000, Havoc Pennington wrote:

> >
> > Martin Sevior <> writes:
> > > From what I know of staroffice it
> > > does not have Abi's GUI independence which makes this simultaneous
> > > development possible.
> > >
> >
> > I have heard that Sun intends to continue to make StarOffice cross
> > platform. Remember that it is XP now. I'm not sure how they will
> > implement XP, but you could talk about it with them. (Right now I
> > think they have an XP toolkit in the Java/Swing tradition, maybe they
> > are planning to move to GTK as XP toolkit. I don't know.)

> Who do we talk to? As far as I know their previous code was based on
> 3-rd party cross platform toolkit.

	StarOffice founds on a system abstraction layer, which is not based on 
3-rd party products but totally developed in house. It does consist of 
several libraries encapsulating ui toolkits, file system, networking, 
threading... It is not in the Swing tradition because it was developed 
before SUN has had their hands on it. 

	We are thinking about moving to GTK, but one important requirement will 
be a very good Windows port of GTK. Please keep in mind, that windows is 
one of the main plattforms of StarOffice/OpenOffice and this will last 
for more than the next year.
> >
> > > We can share code and ideas but I don't see a merger happening unless Sun
> > > adopts the Abiword code base and helps us develop it.
> > >
> >
> > Don't decide until you talk to Sun. Maybe they are willing to adopt
> > some of the AbiWord goals.
> >

	In my oppinion our goals are very similar.

> > There's huge value in my opinion to having the current GNOME Office
> > developers work with Sun; it will jump-start a vibrant community for
> > the combined office suite, and keep the project from being 100% Sun
> > engineers.
> >

	That will be really great. Hopefully I will see lots of 
AbiWORD/Gnumeric, ... guys on the openoffice mailing lists when we start 
to publish more information or at least at October 13th when we open our 

> I agree.

> > StarOffice is something like 6 million lines of code; this is not to
> > be sneezed at. It brings us a couple years closer to a complete suite,
> > without StarOffice and the Sun engineers we were probably looking at 4
> > years or so, now we can hope for 2. But only if we take advantage of
> > the opportunity, and build a strong free software community around the
> > combined GNOME/Star office suite. So I'm hoping the AbiWord hackers
> > will be interested in helping out with that.
> >

	This 6 millions lines are not only a opportunity but also a big risk for 
the openoffice project. Imaging that portions of the code are 10 years 
old and grown over time as company closed project with very less 
documentation, it could be very hard for us to get acceptance and make 
the community work with the code. This will be a real exciting moment 
when we are awaiting the first comments / flames.
By, Torsten

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