Why keep the AOO project alive when LibreOffice exists?

Talk about anything at all....

Re: Why keep the AOO project alive when LibreOffice exists?

Postby John_Ha » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:47 pm

Lupp wrote:Not much similarity, imo.

The point I was trying (unsuccessfully!) to make was that there is one group of people writing AOO and a separate, different group of people writing LO.

I think it is a bit presumptuous for someone, who is not a member of either group, to turn up and say "You two groups should abandon one of your projects and get together and work on just one".
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Re: Why keep the AOO project alive when LibreOffice exists?

Postby Lupp » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:29 pm

You are right...

Nonetheless, I had a different point earlier when also my signature still expressed it. It was one of hope. Of course, If I post an opinion concerning what should happen, it isn't an attempt to force respective action on others.

I don't know about licensing problems as keme explained them more than once - and that's pretty much because I wanted to evade...
I still doubt (in fact I deny) whether the creation of abstract goods like copyrights and patents was a good idea... Well, I'm a heretic?
Anyway there must be a way to change the basis of licensing if concerned people decide so. We cannot accept to be immobilized by a respective decision many years ago. If we are, we need to fight for being freed.
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Re: Why keep the AOO project alive when LibreOffice exists?

Postby AOOisdead » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:37 am

The only reason Apache Open Office is still alive is because Jörg Schmidt, who has a whole business around scamming retiree Germans into buying his product support, implies anyone on the development mailing list is a traitor if they suggest working more closely with Libreoffice. 2 years ago there was a project maintainer that submitted a proposal to retire Apache Open Office, it was the completely responsible thing to do considering the lack of development.

Now we have baby boomers and other non-technically minded people using Apache Open Office because it still hits no 1. on the SEO rankings due to it's brand power. Not realizing there are superior software out there like OnlyOffice or Libreoffice, that would offer a more secure, and functional software. All these zealot developers are doing is continuing to proliferate the reputation of FOSS being an unprofessional and inferior product. And TBH, they're right. It's dumbo's like this, who somehow are able to continue to release software with known security exploits that the Apache Foundation continues to allow because Jim Jagielski has so much clout on Apache Foundation's board, that make FOSS look like amateur hour; not something to be considered seriously.

BTW, if you're wondering where AOO is headed:
Screenshot at 2019-03-25 19-08-59.png


You should read the dev list; they just do what they can to keep it on life support. I honestly believe some of these guys are getting paid off by Microsoft to do this in their spare time so that the FOSS office suite world can remain fractured and Libreoffice gets less donations for development. Or maybe the Apache Foundation realized how much in donations they were getting from keeping AOO running and so they keep it there as a cash cow. (Apache Foundation doesn't allow individual projects to receive funding, some sort of communist model.)
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Re: Why keep the AOO project alive when LibreOffice exists?

Postby John_Ha » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:48 am

Lupp wrote:I don't know about licensing problems as keme explained them more than once - and that's pretty much because I wanted to evade...

I think the key differences are:

AOO uses the Apache licence which means that an author writing code which is released under the Apache licence effectively gives away all rights to his code. The code is placed in the public domain and it can be taken, reused and modified by anyone.

LO uses the Mozilla Public License v2.0 which retains (some? all? )author's rights to the code they write except their code can be used again within the project for which it was written.

So LO can take any code from AOO. AOO cannot take any code from LO.
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Re: Why keep the AOO project alive when LibreOffice exists?

Postby orangeli » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:06 pm

@AOOisdead
What a sad chart.
Microsoft is a platinum sponsor of the ASF.
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Re: Why keep the AOO project alive when LibreOffice exists?

Postby RGB » Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:43 pm

Disclaimer: ex AOO-PMC (Project Management Committee) here. I left the project on December 2013, though. If you want to see my background story, check this article


orangeli wrote:@AOOisdead
What a sad chart.
Microsoft is a platinum sponsor of the ASF.


There is no need to feed conspiracy “theories:” one good thing about the “Apache way” is that only people, not organizations, can vote on projects, so it’s a “one person one vote” system. The fact that MS is a platinum sponsor for Apache has no relation with the situation of the AOO project because no AOO-PMC is a MS employee. And of course, that means that the current situation of the AOO project is a direct consequence of its PMC (lack of) activity, nobody else should be blamed for that. In fact, how the AOO-PMC has (not) reacted to real problems was the main reason why I (and other people) resigned back then.

So yes, the AOO is in a sorry state and the graphic showing mailing list activity is really sad, but unfortunately is not unexpected. When a few years ago Denis Hamilton started the discussion about the possibility of retiring AOO many accused him of talking “too soon,” but in my opinion that warning arrived too late and nobody in the project was willing to understand it.

AOO is managing to release a few (late) bug fixes, so it’s still moving, somehow. I think that the fate of AOO is not “dead,” but something worst: oblivion. And I think that’s a worst fate because the project will drag behind it a lot of unaware users relying on the history of the OpenOffice brand.

Honestly, and it makes me sad to say this, I see no reason to still use AOO. The myth that LibO is unstable is now false: if you remain with the “still” branch, it works pretty well. And yes, there are things that are wrong in LibO (Writer’s default template is just stupid), but nothing that’s a real problem (they finally fixed the silly behavior of Navigator’s tree view!).

The “fact” that licenses allow LibO to pick code from AOO but not the other way round seems to be a myth too: a developer told me that the code base has diverged enough to make it almost impossible to apply an AOO patch to the LibO code tree. And let’s be honest: when was the last time AOO added an interesting feature?

So in the time AOO barely managed to offer a couple of bug fix releases, LibO refactored its UI, providing more options (menus and toolbars are still the default, people!), added OpenType support, updated Graphite support (AOO is not able to manage the “latest” —from 2014!— versions of SIL fonts) in a way that can also be used in mac, next version will add discrete Fourier transforms to Calc… I mean, you see the point.

If AOO fulfill all your needs, that’s OK, but be aware that LibO will fulfill them too… and probably Abiword and Gnumeric, but that’s another point.

I would love to have some other free office suite at the same level of LibO. Calligra was promising, but it also failed. Oh well.
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Re: Why keep the AOO project alive when LibreOffice exists?

Postby John_Ha » Fri Mar 29, 2019 1:11 pm

RGB wrote:I think that the fate of AOO is not “dead,” but something worst: oblivion. And I think that’s a worst fate because the project will drag behind it a lot of unaware users relying on the history of the OpenOffice brand.

The graph is very sad and regrettably I think you are correct. I have been using OOo and AOO for decades and post in the forum to do "my bit" to support the developers as I cannot write code. I was disheartened when LO split off from OOo.

The lack of developers means that AOO will become, and probably already is, "functionally stabilised". Minor fixes will be made so that new "releases" can be released as required if it is to keep the Apache branding, but AOO will not progress and will fall further and further behind other competing products. We are seeing problems which only appear under W10 and this is likely to continue. For example, Edit > Find and Replace ..., in Calc fails - the workaround is to invoke it with Ctrl+F.

AOO (and LO before v6) have a known bug where images are occasionally lost. LO let a tender for 40 thousand Euros to fix the code - that is probably 6 person-months of coding. AOO cannot use that code, nor the LO code for creating .docx files, nor the LO code for supporting MS Textboxes in .docx files.
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Re: Why keep the AOO project alive when LibreOffice exists?

Postby orangeli » Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:54 pm

@RGB
IMHO Apache way sucks and I am sure with any other company OpenOffice would have looked different.
Bad luck with the controlling hands (Oracle and now ASF) is the main reason for the sorry state of the suite.
I also would love to see a worthy competitor to LO.
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