I seen this article about Novell saying SUN getting of OpenOffice.org is not a bad thing but thought nothing about it initially. After all, SUN marshalling of OpenOffice.org is not without problems itself.
However, there is a question I need to ask Meeks of Novell: “Who will step up?” With this, I mean do the plumbing work, i.e. working on stuff that will not get you headline. Novell? I think not. Not because PJ will not be happy (See her comments on the news pick), but at present Novell is going to be a worse choice than SUN. Its pact with Microsoft irks a lot of people in open source. Moreover, In the longer run, I don’t think Novell can do better.
Problems with VCL??? Like any software that has been a long for sometime, there are problems with the current OpenOffice.org program code. That is what I can historical baggage. Every time you show me a software, I can tell you how I think I can make it better, usually it involve a makeover and a very radical one as it means bring the software practice up-to-date. My proposal not being taking up? That 99% of the time.
His problem with OpenOffice.org appears to be he cannot get things to be accepted at the top level main OpenOffice.org. I am sure everyone had problems like this. Since he is the contact at go-oo.org, a collective that aims to “enhance” OpenOffice.org with non-open technology, I can see why he had a problem.
He says SUN’s advocation of a plugin architecture will not resolve the problem because users will get a “broken” initial installation and have to go online to search for plugins to “repair” the installation. My impression is that his definition of “broken” is this: A download that do not do what I want “broken”, but if so, everyone’s installation of any software is broken. For example, I like “DownTHEMAll” Firefox extension. However, my vanilla download of Firefox would be by this definition, broken. Is it fair to say that it is broken? I don’t think so. Why? because Firefox itself is useable and do a good job out-of-the-box.
I like the plugin architecture. As Eclipse had demonstrated, it is a good way to deal with copyright problems. it will give OpenOffice.org great flexibility and may one day prove to be its biggest asset. If implement correctly It encourage participation as well and build an ecosystem around it.
To counter the point about “broken” installation, as go-oo.org demonstrated, you can always get do your own download. Hence, if you think someone else download is broken, fix it and roll your own download. Do you own download. Fork it if need be. That’s your right. OpenOffice.org allows you to do so. Novell has the expertise to do it. History had shown that sometimes the person who fork it got it right and the main developement team got it wrong. History has also shown that main development teams are willing to swallow their own humble pie a few years down the line.
Some stuff he mentioned cannot be fixed by plugin. Take for example, systray integration that Novell took time to write. It’s has t o be in the main source code. In fact, it is but not activated because it does not work on GTK. He is crossed. I emphatize with that. However, for a software that support multiple platforms, it is not unusual to require a piece of code to work across all platforms before activation. As it is domant, it is clear that the OpenOffice.org development team see a value in it. It is probably not high up on the prioirty list. Novell can fix it if it want to. It has the expertise. If I am cruel I will say that It seems that Novell is only interested in the Windows aspects and expects others to resolve the GTK problem. When it did not get this, it decided to complain rather than do something about it.
SUN could had handle OpenOffice.org development better. That is true. Let’s not forget that under SUN stewardship, OpenOffice.org had transformed from a wannabe to a realistic competitor to Microsoft Office. it must had done something correct here.