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Michael Meeks Says OO.o Project is "Profoundly Sick" 676

unassimilatible writes "Michael Meeks, who works full time developing OpenOffice, writes in his blog that the project is 'profoundly sick.' 'In a healthy project we would expect to see a large number of volunteer developers involved, in addition — we would expect to see a large number of peer companies contributing to the common code pool; we do not see this in Indeed, quite the opposite we appear to have the lowest number of active developers on OO.o since records began: 24, this contrasts negatively with Linux's recent low of 160+. Even spun in the most positive way, OO.o is at best stagnating from a development perspective.'"
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Michael Meeks Says OO.o Project is "Profoundly Sick"

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  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @07:37AM (#26248255) Homepage Journal
    Sun wants give the impression of making the software open but at the same time they need tight control over the copyright so that they can continue to sell Star Office.

    The code is notoriously difficult to work with and the the owners of the copyright use this to limit the number of players.
    • by Tatarize ( 682683 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @07:52AM (#26248295) Homepage

      How likely is that conspiracy theory? I mean does *anybody* actually own Star Office? And if they did, what feature could it possible have that Open Office doesn't? In fact other than worthless bloat what does OO.o lack period? Microsoft Office finished in 98 or so, and just adds bloat. OO.o is to that point now.

      There's such a thing as finished software.

      • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @07:58AM (#26248323) Homepage Journal

        I mean does *anybody* actually own Star Office?

        According to the article:

        Distance the project from Sun: perhaps less branding, certainly less top-down control, reduce the requirement to 'share' all your rights over to Sun before you can contribute to the project. Better still, share ownership of the code with a non-profit foundation to guarantee stability and an independent future for the code-base.

        ...Sun owns open office.

        There's such a thing as finished software.


      • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:05AM (#26248363) Homepage

        Maybe in terms of feature-completeness, but IMO Microsoft really did Office 2007's new UI really well (though I certainly see why some people would hate it). My understanding of the Ribbon was that their goal was to expose functionality that's always existed but was hidden too deep to ever be of use - and they certainly did that. Plenty will call it pointless eye candy, but I for one consider it a huge step forward in usability for a product that I too had long considered finished.

        Maybe adding in additional features to OO.o would be bloat. Honestly, I don't use any word processors often enough to say (though it handled what I needed the last time I used it). But speeding it up and polishing the UI could go a long way in any software, and twice as much in OpenOffice.

        • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:40AM (#26248549)

          Then maybe you can answer me one question, and it's a honest one, I couldn't find it: How do you print in MSO 2007?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Then maybe you can answer me one question, and it's a honest one, I couldn't find it: How do you print in MSO 2007?

            You're shitting me...See the big fucking round button on the top left corner with the office logo on? When you click on it, a menu comes up with file and print functions....

            • by paimin ( 656338 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:57AM (#26248617)
              Yeah, that's perfectly obvious, a big glowing yellow MS logo orb for print. Nobody could figure that old File menu out.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Stormx2 ( 1003260 )

                I know it's different, but it is akin to the old File menu. The new Ribbon interface has casualties for the sake of simplicity. The interface is GREATLY improved. They could have put the old "File" functions (new, open, save, print) in a ribbon, but they're too important. It makes SENSE. It takes all of 10 seconds to realise and grasp. I normally hate microsoft, I'm a faithful ubuntu user, but they got office 2007 right! it's one of the best pieces of software around.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Haeleth ( 414428 )

                Because "File" is just so intuitive. What could be more obviously related to printing than a word that originally referred to the act of storing paper in a cabinet, and now instead has come to refer to storing bytes in a virtual cabinet? Grandma was certainly going to guess that her printer is related to "filing". Not.

                Meanwhile, power users continue to use the keyboard shortcuts to print, instead of wasting time with the mouse. And the keyboard shortcuts remain the same. Microsoft understands muscle me

            • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @11:52AM (#26249531)

              Oh what a fool I am! Of course, how could I miss it? After all, for decades we have been trained to click on the big flashy MS logo and expect something sensible happen. It's been that way in IE... erh, no. In Windows ... erh, no. In any Office version before 2007 ... erh, no. In ... fuck, in ANY program?

              • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @07:44PM (#26253099) Journal

                Oh what a fool I am! Of course, how could I miss it? After all, for decades we have been trained to click on the big flashy MS logo and expect something sensible happen. It's been that way in IE... erh, no. In Windows ... erh, no. In any Office version before 2007 ... erh, no. In ... fuck, in ANY program?

                Actually, yes, it has been in Windows for a long time - since Win95. You just probably don't notice that Windows logo on the "Start" button anymore :)

                By the way, the logo on the "pearl" (which is what MS calls that big round button) is not that of MS - it's that of Office. So the button is directly analogous to Windows "Start"; as I understand, this is, in fact, the intent - it's like "Start" for Office, from which all other actions may be reached. It's also more obvious on Vista, where the usual "Start" is also round, and is roughly of the same size.

                On the whole, though, I don't see the point of the complaint. Yes, UIs do change sometimes as they evolve. In this case, the change had been, on the whole, a positive one (from personal experience - I used to hate Office2007 badly when it was just released, because of the Ribbon, but when I got used to it eventually, I actually liked it).

            • by b4dc0d3r ( 1268512 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @12:32PM (#26249797)

              You are the one who is shitting. I had to go find an example on google images.

              Never in a million years would I have even thought to click on that thing. If I would have had the idea that it might be clickable, I would expect it to open a browser window to the Office home page or something equally useless. Apparently lots of people are shitting you.


            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Toonol ( 1057698 )
              I haven't used 2007, but my son (Physics/Chem major, very computer literate) was telling me he used it for the first time at college, and had a difficult time figuring out how to print. It sounds like a design flaw, not the incompetence of the users.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

            How do you print in MSO 2007?

            ALT-F, P. Or, click on Office icon in top-left corner, click on print...

          • by Chapter80 ( 926879 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @11:18AM (#26249337)

            Exactly! Print is hidden! How stupid!

            The Properties are hidden too! (Personally, I take issue with Microsoft's logic that they are going to embed hidden properties (specifically, Title, Author, and Company name) in a place that they can't easily be found, so that when I post a document (or send it to someone), it can't easily be anonymous.) Now that I have found Properties, I routinely check it on documents sent to me, as it's always a source of entertainment, especially on Resumes.

            For the record, Properties are conveniently located under "Windows Orb / Prepare" of all places!

            ... or how about the "Find" button. Holy shit, I have spent cumulative HOURS looking for that in each Microsoft Ribbon product, BECAUSE IT MOVES AROUND! In MS Word, it's on the Home tab, under Editing (but if the window is maximized then it appears to the right listed *separately*. If it's not maximized, then you have to click on "Editing" to discover it.

            Oh, but in Outlook, in the Inbox display, I see "Find" under the "Edit" menu item (not sure why I don't see a ribbon, but I am thankful). Until I want to read an email - then the Ribbon appears, and "Find" is hidden to the right. This time, it's on the "Message" Tab, on a "Find" button, not an "Editing" Button as it was in Word... Until you press Reply. Then it's GONE. Of course, it's now moved so that it's under the "Format Text" tab under an "Editing" button.

            But wait, there's more: In Excel, it's on the "Home" tab, under "Editing", "Find and Select". Intuitive!

            Don't get me started about Excel. Want to insert a row? Oh there's an "Insert" tab - let's look there. Our options are..."Pivot Table", "Table", "Picture", "Clip Art", "Shapes", "SmartArt", "Column", "Line", "Pie", "Bar", "Area", "Scatter", "Other Charts", "Hyperlink", "Text Box", "Header & Footer", "WordArt", "Signature Line", "Object", and "Symbol". Is ANY ONE OF THOSE used more than INSERT A ROW??? NO!

            I would say that Inserting a ROW is a FUNDAMENTAL Spreadsheet option, done (by me) more frequently than EVERY ONE OF THOSE options combined! But where is it?

            Turns out "Insert a Row" is not on the "Insert" Tab! How intuitive! It's on the "Home" tab! Brilliant! And it's under "Cells / Insert". ("Cells Insert" can insert cells, sheet, sheet rows and sheet columns.) Clearly something is mislabeled: "Cells/Insert Cells" vs. "Cell/Insert Sheet Rows" makes no sense (that is, if inserting rows belongs under "Cells", then clearly it belongs under "Insert Cells" as well.)

            Want to change the "Format" of an email that you're about to send? Change the "Format" from Plain Text to HTML? Clearly that'd be on the "Format Text" tab. ooooooh no. it's not. It's on the "Options" Tab, under "Format". Why would "Format" not be on the "Format Text" tab? What the hell!???? (probably no room for it there, because "FIND" is taking up space)

            Who organized this shit? Usability experts my ass!


          • by ericlondaits ( 32714 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @05:28PM (#26252093) Homepage

            > man winword

        • by paimin ( 656338 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:52AM (#26248605)

          If they had done that without obscuring an equal amount of useful features that were previously perfectly accessible, like oh say Print, then maybe it would have been worth it. I'm glad you like it, but roughly 100% of users I've talked to find the new design utterly infuriating. And it's not just a matter of getting used to it, I'd say.

          The talent MS has for causing human suffering through user interface is truly breathtaking. Then again, these are the cursed ones who gave birth to the demon clippy, so who's surprised?

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@wo[ ] ['rld' in gap]> on Sunday December 28, 2008 @09:07AM (#26248659) Homepage Journal

          The parent may have hit on one reason why there are so few people working on OO.o. As far as most people are concerned, it's complete and doesn't need improving beyond a few bug fixes.

          Most programmers probably don't spend a huge amount of time with word processors, and when they do it's just with the basic features to bash out a letter or some documentation. OO.o and various other free suites can do that just fine, so why invest time and effort that could be spent elsewhere on more pressing problems?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          My understanding of the Ribbon was that their goal was to expose functionality that's always existed but was hidden too deep to ever be of use

          Oh there are pros and cons. The disadvantage is all the sweet from Common User Access guidelines is lost.

          But that is not what the ribbon is all about. The ribbon is just another product cycle. The problem with WIMP is that basically, just as 20 years ago, you click an icon to start an application (etc.), and nothing has changed except looks. So Apple comes and goes with the dock and MS now entertains us with the ribbon. But it's all the same thing. Its only true purpose is to sell "next gen" which incorp

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by IICV ( 652597 )

          I do tech support at a small company, and most of the people there have never seen the ribbon interface before. For some reason, I can usually find stuff in it faster than they can, even though I've used MSO for a total of maybe two years and most of them have been using some version of MSO for their entire professional lives. I'm doing tech support for them, so I guess this is my job, but it was astonishing to me how I could figure out where the functionality they wanted was in a few seconds, after they'd

    • by GreatBunzinni ( 642500 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:09AM (#26248391)

      Indeed that is a problem that affects OpenOffice since it's inception. To make matters worse, it's recent migration from a 2.0 to 3.0 was apparently made with a conscious decision to keep the code as unlearnable and unwriteable as it was. You can't have a flourishing developer community if your project purposely obscures the code.

      Moreover, you don't make many friends or any inroads if you manage a project in such a way that you expect volunteers to contribute their work for free in such a way that a company keeps the rights to that code and incorporates it in a proprietary product while the original developer gets squat.

      Having said that, let's not forget other FLOSS MS-Office clones out there such as KOffice. It would be nice to compare the community participation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It seems like Sun is licensing a lot of their stuff under the GPL. I agree with the comments concerning the licensing issue. If Sun wants to be the maintainer, that's fine. Let them make it like Red Hat does: work with GPL, insert company branding and lead the project with proper maintenance. Dual licensing doesn't seem to meet the needs or the interests of the developers. Removing the requirement for developers to give ownership of the code to Sun would attract more developers to tackle the bugs, clea
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet ( 841228 )

        Until KOffice has a NATIVE Windows port I doubt you will be hearing much more about them even if OO.o ends up in the toilet. That was one of the nice things about OO.o, that I could hand it out on a nice freeware CD and folks could install it just as easy as any other Windows app and have a usable free office suite. I was just hoping that it would improve, because for me OO.o has always been slower and more unwieldy than my MS Office 2K. But when I tried OO.o 3.0 it seems to have gotten even slower than the

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Klivian ( 850755 )
          Native KOffice for Windows and Mac are already exist, they are in beta just as the native X11 variant.
      • by MrZaius ( 321037 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @09:08AM (#26248667) Homepage

        >your project purposely obscures the code.

        Interesting allegation, but could you be more specific?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 28, 2008 @07:38AM (#26248263)

    No one can compete with M$ for bloatware and useless feature exploits... so why try?

    I'm of the somewhat biased opinion that if an app gracefully does what it's supposed to do, it's done.
    OO does this, in my experience. Why try to feature-add anything but security improvements?

    • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:14AM (#26248417) Homepage Journal

      Seriously, as is is slick, very usable, I love it.

      If those 24 developers can continue to right filters for new file formats (24 of them should be able to handle that), make bug fixes, and make the occasional improvement here and there I say great! does not need a rewrite from the ground up every six months to two years.

      Seriously, the guys from Neo Office [] don't have near the funding or man power of the core team, look what they've accomplished on "Macing it" (Macking it?).

      Between Neo Office and Go-oo [] making fixes that the upstream developers don't take, I would say there's some FUD going around and there's more people interested in developing for than Sun lets on. I'm thinking this may be the first artificial rublings to justify dumping the project sometime in the near future since it's not profitable and hasn't been a big enough thorn in the MS side.

  • Not Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by countach ( 534280 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @07:52AM (#26248301)

    I think it's just not that interesting and/or rewarding to work on an office package, especially one of Oo.o's complexity, for no monetary reward, especially if you have to also deal with the politics of getting it approved by Sun. If I had an itch to tinker with something like this, I'd probably write my own from scratch.

    • Re:Not Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:22AM (#26248465)


      My wife often asks me for help with Office, on the general principle that I'm the computer geek, and she isn't. But I probably know less about the features of office suites than she does ; I certainly use them less.

      I sometimes use spreadsheets to make a few calculations. I use Word when I have to fill in some piece of red tape that's a Word form.

      I've donated many hours of my time to tools that make my life easier - almost entirely selfishly, because if I donate my patches and features, I don't have to maintain a separate version for myself.

      I don't use an office suite enough to care though, and I suspect the same is true of the majority of programmers, which means that it's likely that to get someone to write code for OOo, you have to pay them, and also that they are not in a position to pick and choose their projects, which likely means that they are probably not as good as say, kernel developers, who almost certainly enjoy the geek thrill of getting cool new hardware working smoothly.

  • by MongooseCN ( 139203 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @07:57AM (#26248317) Homepage

    Ever since Open Office 3.0, I've been able to completely move away from MS Office 2003. I can create word documents that look exactly the same in MS Word 2003, like they do in OO 3.0. Now I can easily exchange documents between coworkers and they have no idea I'm using OO.

    I work in aweful world of end-user IT for small businesses. These people are INCREDIBLY picky about how their word, excel, etc documents look. They are also incredibly slow at learning how to use office software. Switching these people from MS Office to OO is nearly impossible. People HATE HATE HATE software with a different interface. Most Office 2003 customers won't touch office 2007 for that exact reason. If OO were improved to the point that it could simulate MS Office so people could easily switch over, OO could take over. I think replacing MS Office with OO is one of the Big Steps linux needs to take to push windows off the desktop.

  • Barriers to Entry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jekler ( 626699 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:02AM (#26248343)

    Like so many Open Source projects, it's not easy to get involved. It's telling about the complexity of a project that only a handful of people in the world bother to tip-toe through the minefield. Open source projects don't want people who can write code, they want people who can setup build environments and navigate a complex political environment.

    At a job I wouldn't need to spend so much time setting up a build environment, there would already be a dozen people who have already figured out even the most intricate details of it. The person whose project it is should have fairly detailed information on setting up a build environment for their project. Open source projects tend to go with a "figure it out yourself" philosophy bragging that it's a rite of passage, but then they wonder why nobody is contributing.

    Maybe I'd contribute to, but I've already got a mental block realizing that figuring out how to get involved would be at least a week long process. As luck would have it, I also have a week's worth of sleep debt and I already know how to fix that problem.

    • Re:Barriers to Entry (Score:4, Informative)

      by slashbart ( 316113 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @11:50AM (#26249525) Homepage


      I've tried to build OOo, and after hours of installing all kinds of dependencies and compiling it turned out that the thing would not compile a working binary. There was some sort of circular dependency in it, with a compile bug in one, and when I removed that supposedly optional configure item, something else would fail.

      I'm far from inexperienced, but the OOo build setup is too complicated! I had this idea to make a sort of stripped version of OOo, to fill the niche that Framemaker used to have, but I gave up on it due to the non-functional build process.

      If the OOo team would like to have an open-source community around it, it would have to put major emphasis on fixing and documenting the build process.


  • "Finished" software (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cillian ( 1003268 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:04AM (#26248355) Homepage
    This is an interesting issue - I develop an open source program, and it has the main features, is reasonably stable, and so in my mind is finished. There are other features I could add, but how useful they would actually be is debatable. I think this is somewhat similar to the state of openoffice, at the moment. So, what does one do in this state? (Admittedly, I have plenty of bugfixing and stuff to do, so I'm not out of work yet, but you get the idea)
    • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @10:21AM (#26249015)

      OO is far from "finished". It is a great suite, but there are *hundreds* of things that need to be added and *thousands* of things that need to be fixed. I have reported a dozen requests for useful features over the years that I and my users really need. Only one or so has ever made it to light.

      Want an example? In Writer, you can convert all text to uppercase or lowercase. But there is no function for "Initial Caps". WordPerfect and MS-Word both have that feature, and have for many, many years. Then add some salt to the wound: Calc doesn't have the ability to convert cases AT ALL. When I reported this oversight, there were many supporters, and many duplicate reports. SEVEN YEARS PASSED and it is still not implemented!

      That feature is hardly "bloat". I use it all the time when converting data from one type of use or system to another. There are hundreds of similar types of improvements that need to be made.

      "Finished"?? Absolutely not.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        While I agree with the problem of Initial Caps in writer, I don't understand your critism of calc. You change case with =UPPER(), =LOWER(), and =PROPER(). Using functions to perform operations seems perfectly reasonable to me for spreadsheet software.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:04AM (#26248357)
    OOo is quite healthy. However, Novell seems to be profoundly sick: They arent even keep their employees in line.
    This isnt the first time Michael Meeks is ranting mindlessly in a misguided attempt to promote Novells private fork (which has problems so big that the official OOo inconveniences are just laughable).
    Michael Meeks isnt the only one doing this negative PR for Open Source: Greg KHs bitching about Ubuntu just hits the same chord.

    One has to wonder if the Microsoft-Novell Deal was just a bribe to the Novell leadership to refrain from enforcing discipline among their devs. Either that, or its just incompetence.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jbolden ( 176878 )

      What is so wrong with allowing your employees to express their honest opinions on issues not terribly closely related to the company? Especially when they do so in their own name.

      IMHO Novell should be applauded for allowing free speech not condemned.

    • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @03:11PM (#26251047) Journal

      Novells private fork (which has problems so big that the official OOo inconveniences are just laughable)

      Can you give some specific examples? I'm not trolling, I just want to know because I've been using the Novell fork for a while now, and recommending it to different people over the stock implementation, mostly because of slightly better MSOffice compatibility... is there something I'm missing? In terms of features and bugs and other technical problems, anyway, not some "embrace & extend" FUD.

  • Very bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Psychotria ( 953670 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:10AM (#26248395)

    Nearly every paragraph in the "article" begins with a disclaimer that the data (and/or the analysis) are flawed/biased/incomplete/not useful/meaningless!

    Wow. Gotta do some quotes:

    Firstly - the data is dirty


    Thus it is possible that there is at least somewhat wider contribution than shown

    More than possible

    This graph is more meaningless than it might first appear

    So, why are you basing are fairly hefty part of your argument on it? If it's meaningless, why is it even included?

    So the data is not that useful.

    No kidding

    Is it more useful to look at an individual to see if they are contributing something ?

    I dunno. You asked the question. Is it?

    Why one hundred ? why not ?

    It is clear that the number of active contributors Sun brings to the project is continuing to shrink

    Crystal clear.

    Novell's up-stream contribution appears small in comparison with the fifteen engineers we have working on OO.o. This has perhaps

    Yeah, expand on that conjecture

    So, it should be clear that OO.o is a profoundly sick project

    Clear? Clear based on all those assertions they made about their data being dodgy? Yeah, umm, ok.

    I'm sorry, but this is article is very hard to take seriously.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dubl-u ( 51156 ) *

      Nearly every paragraph in the "article" begins with a disclaimer that the data (and/or the analysis) are flawed/biased/incomplete/not useful/meaningless!

      Honestly, that's usually a plus to me. It means the author actually understands what good data is, and how one extracts meaning from data. 98% of humanity would have run reports like that, called it definitive, and you probably would have never noticed the difference.

      Never confuse confidence with competence, or frankness with weakness. Imperfect data, honestly presented, is much better than no data.

      As rough as his numbers are, they are reasonable support to his conclusions. If somebody disagrees with his co

  • Too complex (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:20AM (#26248447)

    I would bet that as projects grow, fewer new developers join -- unless the complexity is managed.

    Open Office is starting to feel like X11. It hard to even build let alone modify let alone test. It is a very old code base and it shows.

    There is another issue as well I think. It is typically an application "end-point." Projects like Apache, PostgreSQL, PHP, etc. are foundations for other projects. People use them and contribute because they are interested in their own project and they fix or add features to the open source foundations to that end. The primary self interest is their project not PHP or PostgreSQL, but the open source foundations benefit regardless.

    With OpenOffice.Org, there is no individualized primary self interest. If I add something to OpenOffice.Org, I only add it because I want it. With the code base as big and complex as it is, I'd have to want it quite badly. I can't think of a feature I need that much or a reason to do all the work to add it. OpenOffice.Org is pretty good as is, what does it need?

    • Re:Too complex (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:34AM (#26248515) Journal

      This is a problem for all open source projects. Once any project gets above a certain size, it becomes difficult for casual developers to make contributions. This is why open source and UNIX grew so well together - the UNIX philosophy was to have simple tools doing one thing well. Individuals can make useful additions to a simple tool, and the simple tools can be combined into powerful systems.

      You make a comparison to X11, and that's probably quite apt. One of the big changes in has been splitting the project into a large number of smaller ones, and this has allowed casual contributors to start making a difference once again.

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:28AM (#26248487) Homepage

    There are many things that would float my boat project wise in IT , working on a word processor or spreadsheet isn't one of them.

  • by charlener ( 837709 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @08:55AM (#26248611) Homepage

    For a while, I used OO mostly to assuage my guilt at using Office illicitly.

    Then I found out that OO has a major advantage: internationalization for countries that just aren't within Microsoft's marketing strategy. As a (foreign) person working in Mongolia, the relatively basic addition of international spelling packs, particularly for Mongolian, has been a lifesaver - and though I haven't used it, there's a Mongolian localization for the entire suite that I think would remove a significant utilization barrier here. It's hard enough teaching someone how to click versus double-click; throw in a menu system in an incomprehensible language and you might as well give up at anything but the most basic data entry.

    For this alone I'll use OO over Office.

    And from a helping standpoint, I haven't done much beyond web-based DB-driven apps for a while, but with Ubuntu's relatively painless localization process, I'm trying to help out by doing Mongolian localization for the OS myself.

    There are places for everyone to help - it may not be exciting but I figure you should pay it back in somehow.

  • by Qwavel ( 733416 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @01:05PM (#26250039)

    I'm a C++ developer and I was interested in participating in OOo soon after Sun purchased it.

    I joined the project and started participating in the discussion about which GUI toolkit to use. The idea was to start using a common GUI toolkit such as GTK, wxWidgets, SWT, Qt, instead of continuing with the current GUI code which was a mess and was specific to OOo. A lively discussion took place and some consensus emerged, but then behind the scenes it was decided to stick with the existing code.

    It seems so obvious to me that using one of the GUI toolkits would have facilitated sharing code and developers with the rest of the open-source community. For example, I wanted to work on the GUI code, but I had no interest in getting involved in this toolkit that was just for OOo, so I abandoned the idea of participating.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by peraspera ( 555081 )
      I had a similar experience. I wanted to fix the scanner dialog in swriter. I couldn't set the dpi value for my scanner. I fixed it and set an email to the most appropriate core developers listed on the OO developers site. I received an answer a month later or so, asking me to sign an agreement with SUN. At the same time I received an email from a developer who encouraged me to continue. I sent by fax the agreement and fixed several other things. The guy contacted me several times asking if I had received a

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker