Phillip Rhodes wrote:
OK, counter-point to the other thread... let's talk specifically about
needs to happen next, given that some (plenty|most|all|???) of us want
continue moving forward.
What has to happen next? What is the most important thing/things we
working on? What could I do *right now* to help move things in a
How can we attract more developers? How do we counter the FUD that is
already being promulgated in response to the "retirement" discussion?
I just want to give you my impression.
For what OpenOffice needs to begin with.
1) rename it to ApacheOffice
2) keep the intellecutal property (of the name) but release it after a
while (maybe 10 years in full)
3) Focus on user interface beauty and essential features that don't work
right, but should (no feature expansion, only feature improvement)
4) Disallow LibreOffice from taking in improvements and/or commits
5) Appear it as if you are starting a new product (call it a restart)
6) Change the binary names from soffice etc. (the star office remnant)
to something more modern (such as openoffice or aoffice or
7) Focus (again) on user interface improvements to make it 'compete'
with e.g. Google Docs (or LO itself)
8) Disregard compatibility issues for a while but focus on only two
things: compatibility with the most popular MS Office version to date
(or currently) and compability with one office suite on Linux of choice
(Calligra and LibreOffice/OpenOffice are not compatible) -- disregard
all the rest.
9) Focus on introducing a form of interoperabolity with Google and
Microsoft cloud (Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive) that will make
*their* (desktop) clients irrelevant in a way.
You cannot use Microsoft Office 365 from the web. You need a client for
that. This is either Windows or Mac or Android or iPhone or whatever. If
you can provide an alternate client you become something that can in the
future expand to its own platform, even if it doesn't feel entirely
10) Ensure printing works perfectly, PDF writing works perfectly, and
introduce a few more PDF features such as integrating PDF documents into
an existing PDF, a little bit of editing. Become that tool. Suppose
someone has printed 3 separate PDFs and now wants to combine them into
one document. Enable that feature, provide that tool.
11) Again, make sure the interface is attractive (no black border around
a page, use shadows).
12) Try to see if any kind of interoperability or co-working or shared
goals with Mozilla "BlueGriffon" could exist. BlueGriffon is the only
available HTML editor that is to my mind usable enough and also free, in
Some of these things may seem like you'd be begging for approval or
becoming a lesser thing because you submit yourself to the platform of
another person or entity.
But I'm just speaking out of a sense of what would be popular.
1) Having your program as a tool that can do stuff no other tools can
(such as PDF combining, and subscribing/logging into Microsoft and
Google cloud) instantly transforms it into something valuable to have
2) If your interoperability with the Microsoft and/or Google formats is
excellent (Google Docs can export to Microsoft) people will also want to
have your tool around because they wouldn't be so dependent on the
existing tools (and platforms)
3) This is particularly helpful for non-tablet users. People who still
use desktops are often not served or serviced by existing developments
on the tablet/android/iphone market.
LibreOffice can continue being that Linux desktop powerhouse for all it
wants. Linux is not popular and hard to use no matter how much Ubuntu is
trying to get that to change. People are not safe on Linux. I am not
safe on Linux and I know almost everything.
I would suggest being a little sneaky and borrowing from the popularity
of Microsoft and Google cloud platforms. Become a client and become
compatible with either LibreOffice or Calligra in your native format.
That means losing your identity as a separate, own thing. You become the
glue that ties a lot of things together.
Personally I would suggest using Calligra but its program is rather poor
in quality to this day.
Nevertheless it is all ODT and it is the small things that can render a
document unusable (such as bulleting completely changing between saves).
So it would mean choosing either LibreOffice or Calligra as your source
of what your own document format should be. So you lose your own sense
of identity in being a leader in this area.
The moment OpenOffice becomes that tool that people can use to use
Microsoft OneDrive or Google Docs, every linux distribution will want to
have it on board.
If you change your binary executable names, no one will be offended by
If there is a sense of interoperability between it and BlueGriffon, in
terms of a synchronisation of design goals perhaps, and a shared
purpose, you have another friend that will help you survive.
So I suggest: look for friends. Calligra is a friend. BlueGriffon is a
friend. You don't need their permission, but OneDrive and Google Drive
So what I suggest is to become more of the sneaky person and more of the
underdog even in a sense but the underdog can still be stronger than the
master of the competition.
You could try to disregard LibreOffice completely, state in your license
terms that they can't use it, seek out ties or relations with Calligra,
and then just create a net of applications that may be lesser known but
that create a shared experience of sorts.
What I mean is that having supporters might be important, and supporting
others likewise. LibreOffice, I don't want to offend anyone or give any
But when you're strong and powerful you may not think of seeking out
However others who are in your position may welcome you as a comrade and
But I haven't really named the biggest strength of ApacheOffice.
It's the fact that it could become a commercial entity of its own.
Because it is only at that point that people will take it serious.
But it would probably require a change of code base or a restructuring
of code and at some point to make it semi-closed-source. What I mean is
that for people to recognise ApacheOffice as an important player (but
this is a long term goal) it must have a bit of a feel of Apple. You
could lower your dependence on other people's platforms in due time.
ApacheOffice is a good brand name but you would have to stay away from
the tablet markets for a great while. Also no phones then, not in
essence. This is a pure desktop/online browser creation.
But it has to start small as well by becoming that glue that borrows
other people's platforms and formats.
I am sorry I cannot really finish this message the way I started it. I
need someone's support and i cannot reach that person ;-).
What ApacheOffice would become in a sense would be a bit more sexy and a
bit more Apple and a bit less Microsoft and a bit less Linux and a bit
more Google and in the end perhaps something that has its own cloud or
online store for documents that people depend on.
I can't really say what I mean in full here.
But I still wanted to write this anyway.
ps. so what I think would be the biggest selling point in the short term
would be being an OneDrive and / or Google Docs client. (I would say
Why? There is no OneDrive/Office365 client for Linux. Also if people see
Microsoft Office as the main alternative, you are now closing the gap.
Now you remain an alternative.
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