Open Office has problems... So what else is new?


Heywood Jablowme (download for Windows | Mac) has a range of problems:
Monolithic architecture, declining interest in fat-client software, etc. But
it's primary problem may be its corporate ownership, as Michael Meeks,
long-time OpenOffice developer and Novell employee, notes:

I think one of the sad things we see at the moment is the decreasing amount
of interest in investing in So we see Sun cutting back their
developer count on, while we still see them demand ownership
for all of the code, which kinda retards other people investing in it....
But the sad thing is [Sun's] failure to build a community around it, getting
other people involved. And that's tied to Sun owning It's a
Sun project. They own all of the code, they demand ownership rights, and
that just really retards developer interest. I mean: [Who] would want to
work cleaning someone else's gun?
This isn't just a Sun problem. Michael's comment speaks to a much broader
problem as more and more open source goes corporate: How do you encourage
development as a corporation?
This is much easier for non-profits like the Linux Foundation, Mozilla,
Eclipse, etc., even when the contributors are overwhelmingly corporate in
nature. It's more palatable to contribute to a community than a company.
Yes, companies do receive contributions, but they tend to come from partners
and customers, and not as much from the organic, unaffiliated community. Is
this a bad thing?
I'm not sure it matters. That's just the way it is. But I understand
Michael's point, and think that is not strategic enough to
Sun to justify keeping it under its corporate guidance any longer. It needs
to be given a foundation's guidance, and a foundation's ability to attract
outside development. has largely been an effort between Sun
and Novell for too long.
It's time to open it up.




Heywood Jablowme said: (download for Windows | Mac) has a range of problems:
MS Office 2007 has a range of problems - like you can't open the default
OOXML documents with any prior version without downloading the Compatibility
pack. And indeed if you have Office 97 which still is perfectly adequate for
your needs then you can't install the pack AT ALL.
Outlook data cannot be transferred using WET - it corrupts the mail profile.
Etc etc etc.
Need I go on?


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