This is my (in)activity log. You might like to visit my employer
Novell which is an amazing company, and also
Dell who in days of yore provided me with a
free laptop for Gnome development / conferences.
Also if you have the time to read this sort of stuff you could enlighten
yourself by going to Unraveling Wittgenstein's net or if
you are feeling objectionable perhaps here.
Stuff Michael Meeks is doing
- Up early, N. very upset after her 'duch' was confiscated
in an attempt to stop the process of her climbing up the ladder into
her sister's bed (waking her) and getting stuck up there, remonstrated,
returned to sleep.
- Up early, poked mail, started to see some
hacking at the end of the tunnel - nice. Lunch. Call. Chewed over the
optional arg patch with Eike, need some more tests. Generated some
warm-start numbers for Malte of OO.o:
Clearly we're getting faster, at least on Linux - and clearly
something really dumb is happening on Windows, I suspect configmgr's
locking fetish personally; hopefully VTune will show us something.
|WinXP 2.0.4||Lin 2.0.2 (Nov)||Lin 2.0.4 (Sun)||Lin 2.0.4 (Nov)
|Avg. Time (secs)||4.0||2.4||1.69||1.55
- Started doing some hacking with Mono - soon fell foul of
the jumbled impl./interface concept, #mono had some helpful
suggestions, a simple grep 'public' being great.
MS) happened. It's been a privilege to be involved with a small
part of this process, and as always working with
lawyers (those word-hackers) helps sharpen the mind. It's great to
see some of the full scope here.
- Inevitably people will have some really good questions
here, and to save my fingers I thought I'd point out a few points.
- Why help Microsoft with OpenXML interop. ? OpenXML
sucks, OpenDocument Rocks !?. So several thoughts:
- This should not be a surprise - Jody Goldberg (on
my team) has been working hard for months with Microsoft and
others on the ECMA process. At one stage there around 1/2 the
open 'issues' wrt. improving disclosure (and hence the spec.)
came from Jody. I for one am proud of the job that he did there,
an (ongoing) investment that will yield better interoperability
for years to come.
- As I have said for many months now, focusing on
an 'Open-Standard' of ~700 pages written by a small team over
a short period, is to miss the staggering value that is
found in Free software. OpenOffice (as anyone who tried to
start it recently knows) contains millions of lines of code,
and a staggering investment of thousands of man years of sweat,
tears (and perhaps blood). It's localized to umpteen languages,
has deep help, scripting, accessibility, interoperability;
it's just an immensely feature rich and powerful product.
- To re-emphasise this, the value in OpenOffice.org
is not what file format it supports (eg. we want to add good
Lotus Word Pro support) but that it is truly Free software, that
gives people critical Freedoms. An open format is anyhow
implicit in the native file format of any openly
developed Free software project.
- Telling people about open standards, instead of
Free Software is easy - 'normal' people generate data, not
software so they understand, but it sells them radically
short. In my view better interoperability (with any and all
formats) strengthens Free Software, quite without the obvious
pragmatic benefits to users & customers.
- Why do business with these scum ?
- It's true there is a widespread perception of unfair
business practice from Microsoft out there, but my experience of
working in the ECMA process with the developers, has been of
meeting a (to my mind) mis-directed, but equally passionate
world-view based around the love of their technology.
- Broadly, I think it's fair to say there is a certain
kind of person that loves to solve complex, technical problems,
and I like that kind of person. It's also interesting to note that
the average Microsoft (from my small sample) political viewpoint
is -way- to the left of the average Novell Free software developer
(perhaps a statistical aberration but ...). So, in a nutshell,
they're good guys, if mis-directed. The great news is that we can
help change that direction and get these guys addicted to the Free
- One couple it was fun to meet, both on the
Office team, obviously in love, confided in me that they had delayed
their marriage to meet the Office 12 schedule: is that dedication ?
Let's hope Wedding 2007 will ship on time; but imagine if we can
help focus these guys on improving Linux <-> Windows
interoperability, and in time Free software for it's own sake.
- What does it mean for OpenOffice ? - my hope is
over the long haul: better interop, more bodies hacking on OO.o,
wider penetration of (Novell's) OpenOffice into the enterprise,
and more individuals able to boldly hack on Free software.
- What does it mean for Hackers ? - of course, I'm
pleased that our team got such a great formal IPR covenant for
individual developers from Microsoft. For sceptics that think
this is a pure gesture, it's always surprising to me how a few
key people seem to pop up again and again in Free software,
and not everyone has the 7 year stamina that can be required,
the RIAA demonstrates the danger well.
- What does it mean for Novell ? - I'm pleased that
it seems Microsoft will be distributing lots of SLES coupons,
the more the merrier. Of course Nat and Miguel who helped
setup the deal have a clearer view.
- What is this Translator ? - it's the early stages
of a open-source project to make a standalone bi-directional
Open XML to OpenDocument converter. See SourceForge:
odf-converter. What is important to me is not the set of
design choices here (a standalone XML to XML converter:
though that may be useful for other Free software projects
such as Beagle, or it's capabilities: a sub-set of Word
only so far). What is important is the end-goal of getting
substantially better MS Office interop. (with OpenXML)
In case it's not painfully obvious: the reflections reflected here are my
own; mine, all mine ! and don't reflect the views of Novell, The
Lithuanian Gov't or Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's also important to
realise that I'm not in on the Swedish Conspiracy.
Occasionally people ask for formal photos for conferences,
Michael Meeks (email@example.com)