Linked by Rahul on Sat 11th Oct 2008 01:39 UTC
Features, Office Michael Meeks who leads the OpenOffice.org development team within Novell has taken a detailed look at contributions associated by metrics to OpenOffice.org and makes the case that Sun's tight control over the codebase and the lack of enough volunteer contributors leaves the development slowly stagnating over a period of time. Michael Meeks has recently started strongly advocating the position that Sun needs to setup a more independent OpenOffice.org foundation or otherwise allow more relaxed policies for commit access and be less rigid about assignment of copyright to itself for the development community of Openoffice.org to thrive beyond Sun developers.
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heh...
by Phobos on Sat 11th Oct 2008 14:28 UTC
Phobos
Member since:
2008-04-30

first off, it's funny to see how Meeks constantly seems to forget were his go-oo code came originally from... yes, from Sun's OpenOffice... instead of bashing Sun every now and then, being thankful doesn't hurt anyone, right?

Of course Meeks wants less Sun branding in OO... Sun competes with Novell... but guess what?... It's a Sun product!!! why should they remove their branding??? why doesn't Novell removes their branding from their products?

On the other hand, Meeks has got some balls when attacking an open source contributor as Sun while working at a company like Novell and it's unclear deals and intentions with Microsoft... look at yourself before judging others, man

Lastly, developers on OO have decreased thanks to the introductions of OO extensions... why doesn't Meeks takes those numbers in account?... how many extensions have been created and how many people are creating them?... these half-truths aren't helping Open Source, Mr. Meeks... Perhaps that aligns best to your corporative rulings, hmm?... create confusion and you (MS) will reign...

Reply Score: 0

More than that...
by bornagainenguin on Sat 11th Oct 2008 14:35 in reply to "heh..."
bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

If Novell is so concerned, why don't they ask their good friend and business partner for a port of MS Office to SuSE Linux?

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: heh...
by karl on Sat 11th Oct 2008 23:44 in reply to "heh..."
karl Member since:
2005-07-06

Get a clue before you start bad mouthing Meeks.

You obviously have not been following what he has been blogging about for the past years. If you had you would know that branding is not even *one* of the significant issues that Meeks has raised time and time again. (and copyright attribution is *not* simply a branding issue)

Meeks is one of very few people on earth who actually knows and groks the OpenOffice codebase-and he has been tirelessly working on that code, improving it and making OpenOffice better for everyone involved. The text which he wrote attempts to numerically illustrate the severe problems, which do exist, which he has been calling attention to over and over again, but which has been met with apparently deaf ears by Sun and those managing OO.org.

You may wish to characterize this as some kind of Novell vs. Sun thing. But the fact remains- there are far too few devs working on the project, far too many hurdles to go threw to become a contributing dev, far too many procedural hurdles which actively thwart the good will of those who would like to contribute- and this in the context of a project which is extremely important, not only to the Linux and FOSS communities, but also to a much broader community commited to wresting control of document creation out of the hands of propietary format creators and guaranteeing accessibility to the documents we create.

The viability of the FOSS software in the desktop commercial and government/institutional markets is uniquely dependent upon OpenOffice. If something were to happen to Sun where they could no longer afford to pursue this project and the project would fail due to the lack of knowledgeable contributors-the entire FOSS community would be delivered a profoundly painful blow-OpenOffice is perhaps *the* most relevant alternative to MS Office which exists and makes FOSS desktops even thinkable-without OpenOffice FOSS desktops would not be able to compete at all.

But the stakes are much larger than the relative success of FOSS desktops: what is at stake here is the accessibility of the documents we create, now and in the future, whether the documents we create can be opened and modified using software which is freely available to all and which runs on all of the major platforms, or whether are documents are stored in propietary formats which can only be accessed by propietary software, which is exceedly expensive and which only runs the platforms Microsoft chooses to support.

You bad mouth Meeks and fail to see that his *real* interest in OpenOffice has nothing to do with the relative market success of Novell vs. Sun-his concerns, which he has blogged about quite frequently is the health and longevity of a community of contributors capable of maintaining and improving perhaps one of the most pivotal pieces of software in the FOSS world.

The OpenOffice codebase is horrifically large and complex. Extremely few programmers, given sufficient expertise and capability, have what it takes to become a meaningful contributor. Not only does one need to be extremely skilled to grok the code at hand, not only does it take an inordinate amount of time and energy to get up to speed in the OO codebase, but then one has 10,001 programmatic constraints which makes it very difficult to change something without breaking anything else. Working on OpenOffice is about as unsexy as it gets. And then to top it all off Sun has this extremely heavy-handed procedural system in place, which may have been fine back when the code was not opensource and exclusively Sun employees worked on it, which makes it nigh-impossible for the project to attract enough devs to become a really viable competition.

I just hope that Sun one day begins to understand what community software development is all about and how to encourage, motivate and entice developers to contribute to the project-instead of creating one hurdle after the next and actively discouraging potential contributors. And I hope this day comes before OpenOffice as a project fails due to manpower issues.

OpenOffice, as a project, will never be able to compete with something like the Linux kernel in terms of the number of developers. If for no other reason than the fact that as a new dev that you have remarkably little freedom to innovate in such a godawful complex codebase-pre-existing code which you must accept and deal with, little room to experiment and change, a remarkably thankless task. But given such an initial situation- one must do *everything* possible to lower the barriers for new devs to participate-and this is the simple message that Michael Meeks has been pounding on again and again to deaf ears at Sun and a FOSS community which by and large, although precariously dependent upon the success of OpenOffice, practically ignores it.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: heh...
by Phobos on Sun 12th Oct 2008 00:16 in reply to "RE: heh..."
Phobos Member since:
2008-04-30

Au contraire, I do have been following Meeks for some time now... I even remember last year's Sun badmouthing (much like this one) and his official/unofficial fork/non-fork go-oo... that had existed for quite some time before that but he re-released as a new/old project for contributors to get their code "upstream" quicker...

yes, I do know what he does... and I do know what OO means for FOSS... but guest what, that IS Sun's code... and it's open source, so, whatever could happen to Sun won't matter, OO is not at any risk... even yet, he chooses to attack Sun, one of the biggest contributor to FOSS ( http://blogs.sun.com/bnitz/entry/is_sun_behind_more_than )..

from my POV, not the best way to promote open source... Novell (via Meeks and others) attacks fellow contributors (like Sun and Red Hat) while joining forces with Microsoft... great job... NOT

Reply Parent Score: 1