Re: What is GNOME office?

[I've set the reply-to to gnome-office-list, where this discussion belongs.]

On Wed, Nov 15, 2000 at 08:23:54AM -0800, Bart Decrem wrote:
> The beauty of free software is that anyone can start or fork a project.
> Therefore, I'm sure there will always be multiple wordprocessors, spreadsheets
> etc.
> However, the truth of the matter is that GNOME currently lacks a competitive
> productivity suite.   When I read discussions on our mailing lists on this
> topic, I often wonder if the people in the flamewars actually use productivity
> software on a daily basis.   While there are many interesting discussions to be
> had about the technical superiority of one product over another, I feel that we
> sometimes ignore the end-user needs, specifically the importance of complete
> feature-sets and the ability to exchange documents with Windows and Macintosh
> users.

It should be pointed out that currently, AbiWord users can share documents with
their windows-using colleauges, with no lossage whatsoever.  Also with their
BeOS, or QNX, or AIX using colleague (we've had a bit of mail recently about
problems on AIX :).  It should also be noted that the AbiWord word file format
importer, which is what I assume you refer to in the above paragraph, accepts
more word documents than does the star office importer.  

> We need to face the fact that we don't have a competitive productivity suite,
> that it's a *major* hurdle in our move to make GNOME *the* free desktop of
> choice, and agree to focus our energies on deliver ONE kick-butt suite that
> includes a wordprocessor, spreadsheet, presentation package, charting tool,
> painting program, personal organizer suite, maybe web-browser.  And I know this
> is a controversial item, but I do think that the wordprocessor, spreadsheet and
> presentation packages should be primarily built on the OpenOffice code base.

Yes.  We don't have a competetive productivity suite, defined the way that 
Microsoft defines that market.  There are lots of things that we need to improve,
but we shouldn't let Microsoft define the market here, any more than we let them 
do that anywhere else.  

But given that you are an elected member of the gnome foundation board, I find it
very surprising that you are advocating using OpenOffice primarily here.

1) The current GNOME office suite actually uses GNOME, something OpenOffice 
cannot say.  I would be very surprised if GNOME made the decision to make
non-GNOME software an official part of itself.

2) Currently, there is not even a procedure by which to submit code to 
OpenOffice (at least, not as far as I can tell).  This doesn't sound 
like free software development to me.

3) To contribute code to open office, the developer must sign over the copyright
to Sun, a company that has recently shown signs of changing, but has done lots
of things that make the free software community less than happy.  Java standards?
SCSL?  Need I go on?

4) Sun has stated [] that they 
want their XML file format to be an industry standard, but also that they want
it to "evolve like Java specifications", that is, with Sun making all the

I feel somewhat bad for being negative about Sun, but I don't think that either
they or OpenOffice is all that GNOME needs at the moment.  

	sam th		     
	sam uchicago edu
	GnuPG Key:

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