Re: [guppi-list] GNOME Office and OpenOffice

I have used both AbiWord and Sun Office. 

Both have problems.

The problems from Sun office are generated by the concept that the
authors of Sun Office believe that they know what has to be done better
than I do or better than industry standards so they have automated their
program to convert correct usage to incorrect. If I wanted such GOD like
programs I of course would be running MS Windows not Linux.

The problem with AbiWord is that it is still a relative young program.
This means that many of the functions or features that I would like to
have have not been created yet. Sparing the ax and given sufficient time
these will develop because it is a wonderful program that allows one to
put documents together correctly with out a GOD like know it all

The significance here is that AbiWord can be fixed. 

With Sun Office there is no power under the sun that will ever permit
the obnoxious portions of Sun Office to be deleted from the program
because once a feature is once includes then that feature will develop a
following that will scream bloody hell is you ever attempt their
favorite feature even though it is used by only 1% of the users and 90%
find it objectionable. Like wise you will never get enough option blocks
into the program to satisfies everybody or to remove the obnoxious
portions of the program.

Microsoft did precisely this same thing. They once had a good word
processor and spread sheet but they decided to automate it. Now one can
not enter a small letter say "i" into their spread sheet with out it
automatically converting it from "i" to "I". The difference is that in
economics a small "i" is widely used to represent interest rate while a
capital "I" is normally used as investment. In power electrical a small
"i" is normally used for AC or DC power while a "I" is normally a vector

The preceding may be appear to be irrelevant to the folks that would
like Sun office to be a standard in Gnome or who think they can modify
Sun Office to be acceptable. They may make it a standard but no way are
they going to make the obnoxious of Microsoft acceptable. No way is the
symbolism of a small "i" going to become the same of a capital "I" in
scientific circles. Not with the shortage of symbols need to express
what needs to be expressed.


Havoc Pennington wrote:
> Hi,
> Computer writer Evan Leibovitch recently contacted the steering
> committee to ask about the relationship of AbiWord to
> OpenOffice. According to him, some members of the AbiWord team are
> worried that Sun's code has been declared the canonical office suite
> and that AbiWord will be entirely dropped, without consulting
> them. Evan is writing some sort of article about this; but the views
> he cited in mail to me are in my opinion an inaccurate description of
> reality.
> The actual situation to my knowledge is that all technical decisions
> were put off until we had an elected foundation board and access to
> the OpenOffice code. Our announcement at LinuxWorld was the
> common-sense fact that we're going to use all the best code that's
> available to us, and create a GNOME Office suite out of
> that. OpenOffice is one such piece of code. This is not intended to
> imply that any particular pieces of code will or won't be used in the
> final product.
> In a mail to abiword-dev shortly after the LinuxWorld announcement, I
> tried to make clear that no decision in this area has been made, and
> indeed hardly could be made until the Oct. 13 code release which
> allows us to evaluate the Sun code. This is still true. No decision
> has been made. Unfortunately I think my mail to abiword-dev was held
> for moderation and judging by the archives, the moderator never
> approved it; but the mail was partially quoted in followups IIRC.
> I'd like to take the opportunity to 1) apologize to the AbiWord team
> for the confusion and 2) ask the AbiWord team to please participate in
> discussions about this, and feel free to initiate such discussions. At
> the same time, Sun should be actively working to meet and work with
> existing GNOME Office hackers.  The burden is on _both_ the AbiWord
> and OpenOffice projects to communicate.
> My personal view is that having two office suites, or two office suite
> components, with exactly the same design goals (full-featured end user
> word processor) is entirely stupid. Therefore, we should have only one
> project, and I think that _eventually_ _after all the technical issues
> have been discussed_ and _the best course is evident_ the GNOME
> Project should pick a single application of each type to go in the
> suite called GNOME Office.
> In my ideal world, the single resulting project would include both the
> historical StarOffice team and the historical AbiWord team, and the
> best code from all of StarOffice and AbiWord and Gnumeric and Guppi
> and so on. The only reason that won't happen is ego or lack of
> trying. So, I'm asking both teams to please try; and to think about
> the end goal of delivering a full-featured office suite to end users
> as soon as possible, putting ego aside.
> If people don't make a serious and sustained effort to do this, it's
> going to damage the prospects of free software office solutions. So I
> hope people will take the task seriously. If the merger doesn't
> happen, that's not so bad; but if people didn't honestly try there
> will be lasting bitterness because the split will be gratuitous and
> political in nature. If people really try and there's really a good
> technical reason to have two projects, then we can get friendly
> competition instead.
> I recognize that the barriers are huge. Some of the underlying
> technologies, such as Bonobo and libgnomeui, are themselves immature;
> the amount of code involved in OpenOffice and in GNOME Office is
> enormous; there are multiple programming languages involved; there are
> half a dozen target platforms; there are probably 150 hackers involved
> in half a dozen different communities on different mailing lists. This
> is not easy.
> If people wanted to just jump in and really attack this problem, one
> possible set of stuff to do might be this:
>  - let's use gnome-office-list gnome org for now to discuss these issues
>    and plan future direction.
>  - a short-term goal should be to get all the office code on a single
>    CVS server and with a single mailing list, etc. framework. The two
>    candidates here are and If it's done on
>, should basically shut down its independent
>    hosting. Though purely from a load-balancing standpoint, using
>    their setup is sensible. To start, the GNOME code and Sun code
>    can be in separate modules.
>  - If possible, I would like to see a short-term release of the Sun
>    codebase which basically patches up breakage caused by removing
>    proprietary stuff, makes dialogs appear in real toplevel windows,
>    and nothing else. The reason is that the full-featured fully-GNOME-aware
>    office suite is going to take a couple years, and it would be nice
>    to have a relatively complete suite users could use in the meantime.
>    Going ahead and finishing AbiWord 1.0 before introducing major
>    breakage wouldn't be a bad idea either.
>    Hackers tend to have the "if it's not perfect it's useless"
>    attitude which I think is broken; learning from Mozilla, an interim
>    release that saved us from 2 extra years of closed-source unfixable
>    Netscape 4.x would have been invaluable.
>    So IMHO the discussion should perhaps focus on plans for _after_
>    the next stable release of each project.
>  - Modulo that short-term release, I would suggest creating a new source
>    tree in the agreed-upon shared CVS repository. There I would create
>    a new package; and then in a planned way, with all the hacker teams
>    cooperating, start moving chunks of code into the new GNOME Office.
>  - Another thing we can learn from Mozilla; often the only way to get
>    people to decide between two chunks of code is to write a new chunk
>    of code that replaces both chunks with something better. Though
>    obviously it would be better to avoid rewriting something like 7
>    million lines of code, judicious use of this tactic for portions of
>    the office suite can't hurt. It gives all the hackers an investment and
>    interest in the new code.
>  - Recognize that a real office suite with native look-and-feel that
>    can genuinely compete with Microsoft's is a couple years away. You
>    may as well go slow and get it right.
>  - MOST IMPORTANTLY: keep it technical. As soon as anyone escalates to
>    fear tactics and conspiracy theories then nothing productive will
>    get done.  Ignore the flames; don't do conspiracy theories; get
>    together and solve the problem at hand, which is to deliver a
>    full-featured open source competitor to MS Office sometime in the
>    next couple years. (If people don't agree that's the problem,
>    then maybe start by saying what problem you think the project
>    should be addressing.)
> All this IMHO, not an official statement of any kind. Use it as a
> starting point for discussion.
> So, I hope to see posts from hackers at Sun, AbiWord, and any other
> interested groups in the near future, outlining their design goals for
> an office project and how they'd move toward them; maybe distinguish
> your "must have" goals from your "could compromise on this" goals.
> Explain how you would go about creating a single project from the
> current chunks of code - would you entirely abandon one codebase, or
> how would you merge them? What rationale would you give for that? What
> kind of stuff can be done to integrate all the office suite
> communities into one development team? See what the current issues
> are, and then we can see if they're resolvable.
> If some parts of the new Sun team and the older GNOME contributors
> have already been discussing this stuff, all the better.
> Please reply to gnome-office-list gnome org only, or people will be
> complaining about spam in a hurry. ;-)
> Havoc
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> guppi-list gnome org

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