Re: GNOME Office and OpenOffice

Hi Havoc and everyone else monitoring this list,

This mail was sorely appreciated and long overdue, IMHO. Thank you.

Yes, Evan has contacted members of the AbiWord team, including(only?) myself, though his questions didn't particularly relate to OpenOffice (OO). Mainly he wanted to know more about our relationship to the Gnome Foundation, since I had at one point naively "requested" membership in it. Michael Meeks clarified to me that the big coroporations were paying large sums of $$ to get figurehead positions and that we could get the same result by joining the gnome-foundation mailing list and voting/running for office, which at least I have done. Which reminds me to write/submit my candidacy speech...

Personally (i.e. not speaking for AbiWord as a whole), I never felt that AbiWord was being dropped from Gnome Office and replaced by OO components. In fact, sadly, I never thought that we were never really considered part of Gnome-Office to begin with, other than a mention on gnews when new versions come out and a small webpage in the "Office" section of the main Gnome website.

It took me a while to form that opinion, but I do have some reasoning behind it, which I don't want to start a political flamewar over. It won't do any good now, as my opinion is beginning to change again.

It's admirable and indeed the best solution(tm) to want to evaluate the existing codebases before choosing a course of action. Mainly this is the indies (AbiWord, Gnumeric, Guppi, etc...) "vs." the OO Suite. Ideally, the best concepts, snippets of code, etc... would be used to further one project or the other, or perhaps to even spawn a hybrid project. Using the best code/ideas available to one is a no-brainer.

Having two office suites or components with similar/exact design goals is plain silly from certain perspectives. It is also attractive from other ones (political, "hacking", orginizational). I mean, look at the Gnome vs. Kde, Licq vs. GnomeICU, etc... two almost identical products seem to fill the same niche, or do they? To clarify, I'm saying that for ensured greatest success, Gnome should officially endorse some body of code/product as a "Gnome Office Component." But that's not to say that all of AbiWord's developers should "jump ship" and join OO or vice-versa. Peaceful co-existance is possible.

A serious and sustained effort toward some end solution is needed. I'd like to help. And there is no reason why there can't be friendly competition, even if one group is seriously out-financed by the other one :-) But first communications barriers must be breached, and is why I'm really happy to hear you break the silence and I want to be the first from AbiWord to greet all of my fellow hackers out there. Right now nothing would please me more than to hear from a Sun/OO representative. It'd be encouraging. Some some sort of communication is desparately needed to avoid a political and ego-driven flame-fest that I at one point envisioned this emerging into.

I can speak for AbiWord when I say that a 1.0 release is not all that far off. Afterwords, we can speak of CVS repositories, mailing lists and such. I'm personally interested in collaboration with anyone who wants to help us and the end-user community as a whole.

As a side note, I disagree that a full-featured office suite is far off in the future. And I'm not sure that "abandoning" either project will ever really happen, if merely for some of differing design goals. Consider Abi's dedication/solution to XP approach for example. This could be a huge stumbling block not easily overcome. But that doesn't mean that we can't try to work together.

Thanks for your post and for hearing me out. I'm looking forward to prosperity for both of our projects in the near future.

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