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
- Tried to poke at mail, apparently wal-3 is still
malfunctioning, so while it worked enough over the weekend to get
mail, it's now down and I trashed the cache finding that out, bother.
The joys of a non-production POA, another day of pain.
- Eventually the mail cache decided to work again, both mhu
and rml agree that allocating memory in order to free it under memory
pressure is not a clever move with today's OS This does NOT sound
useful! etc. On the other hand it used to be useful: mhu pointed
out it was great for 16bit windows, and MacOS 8, with simple global
memory management and co-operative multi-tasking. But these times
are long gone and dead. So, don't hesitate to get rid of this.,
neat. Unfortunately - other memory savings tend to require more work.
- Again GrokLaw banging on Novell:
Novell's "Danaergeschenk" once again IMHO confusing tactics with
substance, I had a few thoughts.
My conclusion is - if you care most about the success and deployment of
Free software on the desktop, everywhere; then it is best to be
up-front about that, and not get distracted by some transient Open Standards
argument. Microsoft can (pretend to?) play Open Standards but they will (or can)
not play Free Software. If our competitors switch to Open Standards that might be
nice, but when they switch to Free Software - we have truly won.
- Open Source, over Open Standards (I prefer the
term Free software, but this sound-bite is more chewable).
As in the past, I will bang on about Free Software to people, and
mention OpenDocument as one peripheral (and good) advantage of OO.o.
However a lot of end-users find the Open Standards argument much
easier to understand: after all they create data and not code, and since
they can't even -read- code (written in this foreign language of C++)
they don't value the real Freedom here as much as we hackers do.
Of course, many of my colleagues whom I respect at both Sun & IBM
take a different view, and that's fine, and they have excellent
reasons no doubt. My interest is in re-focusing attention, co-operation
and investment on where the -real- value is: the 1000 man years of OO.o
rather than the <5 man years of the OpenDocument spec. I want the
Free software desktop to succeed - for me if Microsoft adopts OpenDocument
this is not a final victory.
- Real Openness - I am personally impressed at the genuine
openness and neutrality of the OASIS/OpenDocument process, quite apart from
its stark contrast to the ECMA process, which IMHO is reasonably termed
rubber-stamping ( at least for the 1.0 version, though I'm not optimistic
this will change later ). So - this point is at least truthful, OpenDocument
really lives up to the 'Open' part.
- Multiple Implementations - this is less substantial,
by almost any metric there is only one reasonably complete implementation
of each standard. That is OpenOffice.org vs. Microsoft Office. Period.
Now - of course, in order to claim you are a 'standard' it is often thought
necessary to have a 2nd impl. Hence, there are all sorts of "2nd impls" that
minimally fulfill this need, these do not bear detailed scrutiny.
But coming back to my 1st point, there are a plethora of products,
and a diverse vendor community backing OpenOffice.org based products: the
fact that StarOffice, Novell OO.o and Lotus Workplace (to name a few) share
a common code-base, takes -nothing- away from the real value of standards
(for business): multiple-vendors, no lock-in etc. and is an emerging triumph
of Free Software. So again, lets talk about Free Software. For those lovers
of KOffice as the OpenDocument 2nd impl. I quote (with manful restraint) from
the recent LXF88 / Jan07 review of KOffice 1.6 ...(KOffice apps struggled
to open MS and OpenDocument files)... [ do read the article ]. And I
suspect like many reviews, this was based on a small sample.
- Size of Standard - yes a huge & complex standard can be
hard to implement, this is completely true. Of course, this is partly
true of OpenDocument - it's quite big too, we just happen to have
a nice implementation of it already in OpenOffice.org. The general level
of mathematical excellence being shown off here is quite incredible
though. If you divide >700man years of OO.o code by 700 pages of the
ODF spec, you get 1man year/page to implement which seems slightly silly.
Also this new SI unit of specification complexity the metric page is
rather comical. There are lots of largish specs out there (where no PDF is
available, I used print-preview on the HTML in firefox (A4)):
So - we can see there is some truth in the huge standard
argument here, OpenXML's markup lang ref is larger than the approximate
sum of the other standards that OpenDocument references (and of course
it's notable that while OpenDocument "makes use of existing standards"
(which is great) it's often a small sub-set of them; so a simple sum of the
non-OpenXML standards is not a fair comparison. So, perhaps there is a factor
of 5x as much 'stuff' here.
- Impossible to interoperate with MS - this is the argument
whereby we assume the answer and then run around screaming. Of course, it is true
that 100% interop is impossible, but OO.o does a pretty good job, and
- Screwing Customers - Georg concludes OpenOffice.org
should refuse to add OpenXML to its main branch, and we should avoid OpenXML
while spreading information about the problems as far as we can.. Of
course I beg to differ. The same logic could be re-used for removing the binary
file format support. Is that also proposed ? how would that help anyone ?
Also - it is emphatically not just Novell working here to improve interop,
people with real customers realise this is necessary. Sun of course has been
doing a ton of work to re-factor the core, improve interop, re-write
filter logic etc. and, as-yet Novell has done almost nothing in comparison,
(though of course we're trying to increase our efforts).
- Standards - now this is something I really know nothing about.
What is and is not a standard ? What is a de-facto standard ? etc. Actually I think
(eg.) DVD recording formats are perhaps interesting. Which was first ? which
is a true standard ? which has the moral highground ? why there are various
combinations of +'s and -'s ?. All I know is - I buy the cheapest, commodity DVD
drive I can get, and it (apparently) works with all of them. In the same way I
want to see OpenOffice.org become the obvious choice for the best, most
inexpensive, interoperable, re-usable, flexible office suite that anyone could
want, that also gives you incredible Freedom.
- Lydia over for lunch, good to see her. Call with JP.
- Novell needs to hire several
OpenOffice hackers, if you think you fit the bill, or know of someone else
that does, please encourage them to apply, location shouldn't be a major issue
for the best people. I wonder if any Gnumeric / AbiWord (or even KOffice) people
- Quick call with Florian to catch up on his trip - hopefully the
photos will show up soon.
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)