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, breakfast, somehow missed an 8am meeting;
Encouraging sync with Ralf. Insightful
from Brian on the IBM move, and an even more insightful
from Marbux doing some of the spade-work on expanding the
history. Marbux is right - this has all happened before: IBM
trying to fork, based on an old code-base (under a non-copy-left
license), against the existing developer community's wishes as/when
the non-copy-left license was withdrawn last time. Nice to have
Heintzman interview from 2007:
[three+ years ago]: IBM's contributions will
include 35 dedicated
programmers as well as editing, accessibility, and other code ...
We've been investing in creating many complementary things in Notes
that aren't in the core OpenOffice code, such as the SmartScreen
filters and iAccessibility2 ...
While in fact I applaud IBM's lack of engagement with the
(highly unreasonable) Sun regime that was OO.o - it is interesting
to note the exaggerated claims of dedicated developer
numbers never really materialised (or perhaps there was just an
effectiveness problem). Also IAccessible2
integration is still one of the (great) promised distinctive new
features they plan to finally
contribute for Apache Office (much improving accessibility for the
impaired on Windows, analagous to SUSE & Sun's integrated
work on atk integration for Linux - an unfortunate feature to
politic with). The code was
to the community in 2008 in an IBM keynote, and eventually dumped
vs. a very, very obsolete branch (1.1.5) and left; and is still not
integrated to this day, hence re-appearing as a new value-add. Of
course times change, and strategies morph and some commitments are
un-sustainable, no doubt it happens to us all.
Poked at mail, wrote up some thoughts on the 3.4.0 release,
and the encouraging progress there; with so much good work by so
many, I wanted to highlight some of the behind-the-scenes work too.
Are the LibreOffice statistics just made up ?
I was amused last night with Rob's attempt to dispute the
statistics we publish, he was promoting the idea that LibreOffice
had only 54 developers in the last six months, most of them
Novell. It seems (on a benign assumption) that this is likely to
stem from a rather simple error, counting just 'bootstrap'.
Admittedly we do the rather evil thing of downloading more code
when you run 'make' (can be forced with ./download after configure)
so perhaps understandable. It raises the question of how we could
possibly publish graphs with a straight face that show the opposite.
re-generated the numbers last night and posted
them. Of course we all make mistakes, perhaps we have - we
use Jonathan Corbett (and GregKH's) gitdm which is quite
well established, and all the code and patches are published.
They show for the last six months:
Employers with the most hackers (total 214)
(Unknown) 138 (64.5%)
Oracle 45 (21.0%)
Novell 18 (8.4%)
Known contributors 7 (3.3%)
Canonical 4 (1.9%)
Redhat 2 (0.9%)
Of course - the numbers show nothing about volume of contribution,
only discrete numbers of affiliated contributors: so RedHat did a
much larger volume of work than Canonical - who donated a more
diverse set of changes. Cue argument about the usefulness of
lots of volunteers contributing small changes (personally I
love and want to encourage that - I love 'Unknown' affiliated
hackers they sound spicy and interesting).
Is TDF going to 'fall over in the next storm' ?
A great allegation
from Rob Weir:
I'd be absolutely giddy with joy if LibreOffice
developers would come over to Apache and run their project
under the Apache 2.0 license under the Apache process. I'd
even be open to calling it "LibreOffice". But this is much
more an issue of organizational capabilities than it is the
rather narrow gulf between the current OpenOffice and
LibreOffice source codes. I want an organization that will
last, not something that will fall over in the next
Ignoring the red-herring about naming; the question is: is
Apache really that vast, stable, storm-proofed and
well funded as an organisation ?
First I should say, that I think the Apache governance
rocks in many ways, and this is no critique of them. They
are a voluntary organisation, and they kick some serious ass.
More amazingly than that they achieve so much on a fairly
If I read it right:
Attachment AE: Proposed 2010-2011 Budget
ASF budget for FY May 1 2010 - Apr 30 2011
INCOME Total : $541,200.00
With the majority of that coming from the sponsorship
program. This makes me wonder, whether financially and
structurally they are really playing in a different league to
TDF or whether volunteer Free Software projects like this,
doing amazing things on a shoe-string are the norm. Clearly
age, experience, and being incorporated are helpful predictors
of future stability. Another example would be GNOME's financials
bringing in $187,000 last year, KDE ev reports are in German,
but Die Finanzsituation im Kalenderjahr 2008: Einnahmen:
235.406,15 EUR seems of a similar magnitude. Clearly, financially
TDF's raising of Eur 100k in a couple of months (from a mix of
generous donors), seems quite adequate to finance the project.
My conclusion - There is no need for TDF to fall over in
any storm - not even a man-made one. But of course, we are
eager for more contributors, members and stability.
One of the nice things about the Attachmate acquisition
is being part of SUSE; working with management with a deeply
informed grasp of Free Software, the importance of the
community, and how working well with them will always, in the
end, be best for our customers; anyhow enough raving - here is
SUSE Perspective on Oracle's Contribution of OpenOffice.org
My content in this blog and associated images / data under
data/ directories are (usually)
created by me and (unless obviously labelled otherwise) are licensed under
the public domain, and/or if that doesn't float your boat a CC0
license. I encourage linking back (of course) to help people decide for
themselves, in context, in the battle for ideas, and I love fixes /
improvements / corrections by private mail.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)