How should this web site best support LibreOffice and others

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How should this web site best support LibreOffice and others

Postby John_Ha » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:44 pm

 Edit: I have changed the subject because this post was based on an incorrect understanding I had.

My objection was not based on "I don't like LO", but on "the confusion I think will arise if AOO and LO information is mixed together in one place".

Please jump to here for my correction and here for how I think this web site should support LO. 

This forum states on its header "User community support forum for Apache OpenOffice, LibreOffice and all the OpenOffice.org derivatives"

I think it is a fundamental and grave error for this forum, forum.openoffice.org, to support LibreOffice and other derivatives and I ask that this forum ceases to provide such formal support.

LO users have their own forum at Ask LibreOffice and that forum should be the repository of information related to LO, not the AOO forum. LO posters should be re-directed to the LO forum.

AOO and LO share a common beginning, but are now two completely different programs authored by completely different teams. The programs are continuing to diverge so what is valid for one is not necessarily valid for the other. Some obvious differences include LO supports writing to .docx files; LO supports displaying and inserting MS Word Textboxes; and LO creates SAXParse errors. AOO does none of these things.

The value of this forum as a repository of unambiguous information about AOO will decrease as readers will not understand that some posts refer only to LO and are completely irrelevant and even misleading for AOO.

I raised this point in Re: A error with LibreOffice 4.4.1.2 writer save at HTML fil

Please - remove formal support for LO and derivatives from this forum.
Last edited by John_Ha on Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby acknak » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:31 pm

You've made some good points about the minuses that come with supporting LibO here.

However, I'm not convinced that the problems are enough to support a policy change. Is it desirable, or practical, to enforce such a policy?

I prefer to keep it as it is. If someone wants to help with a LibO question, or not, or to send them somewhere else, that's their choice.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby John_Ha » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:09 pm

acknak wrote:You've made some good points about the minuses that come with supporting LibO here.

acknak

I come with over 25 years of experience in the IT industry and that formed the background to my comments about the problems.

I am not saying that we should not answer LO questions - we can always do so as a favour. What I am asking is that the official policy is that this is a forum about AOO - and not about LO or any of the other derivatives.

Some suggested changes would be

1 Change the header to "User community support forum for Apache OpenOffice"

2 Moderators should ideally label LO posts as LO so as not to confuse readers. This is now often done for SAXParse errors. I have posted [Tutorial] Fixing .docx files with SAXParse error in the LO forum so LO responders have the expertise and knowledge to fix SAXParse errors witthout drawing on the AOO resource.

3 Moderators? Responders? should direct all LO posters to the LO forum with something like "Please note that the official LibreOffice forum is at https://ask.libreoffice.org/en/questions/
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby Villeroy » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:05 pm

-1

With respect to the questions I use to answer almost every day, LO and AOO are still identical applications. Of course I know the differences. Only in some cases the right answer to a given question depends on LO or AOO.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby Zizi64 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:10 pm

-1

Change the header to "User community support forum for Apache OpenOffice"

It is a very bad idea. Me, and our company are using the LibreOffice since the fork date. Still I am trying to help others here ...
And what about the Volunteers of this forum who use the LibreOffice? How do you think about this?
They must leave the AOO Forum??? Or they can stay here, but they do not ask about the LibreOffice??
It will be some banned, forbidden themes in the future?

Yes, there are differences between the AOO and LO. Yes, there are advantages and disadvantages in both office suite.
But there are much more identities, similarities...

In my opinion: this forum is the best of the existing open source office suite related forums.
There was some other forums (OO.o, OpenOffice and LibreOffice forums) in the past, but unfortunatelly those are disappeared.

The structure of the mailing lists is not the best for this task (searchability, orderliness).
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby floris v » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:42 pm

-1

We started this forum as an independent forum, to help all users of OOo and forks, first kindly hosted by Sun/Oracle, later by Apache. The fact that this forum is hosted by Apache doesn't mean that we are the customer service of Apache or that we should focus on only the flavor of OpenOffice offered by Apache.

So far, the differences between AOO and LibO are not yet very important. We already have to ask what version of OO new users have, and seeing how undisciplined people are at what you generously called the LibreOffice forum, we should be prepared to ask that a lot more often. Many of the volunteers have a working knowledge of LibO and/or use it actively, I don't see why we should send people to the Ask site where communication is so terrible when we can help them much more easily here.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby Hagar Delest » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:51 pm

The only good point I see is that a feature specific to LibO (export to .docx) uses resources from this forum.
However, by doing so, we do help users and that's the main point.
It just means that we offer a much better support, even for their crappy features.

I propose to move indeed all the topics about the SAXParse issue in the LibO forum. If users want to help for that bug also, they are free to do it.
I'm also against "limiting" the scope of the help provided here.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby RusselB » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:33 pm

As a user of AOO, Libo, and Excel (at work), I like the ability to be able to ask a question (or answer a question) on a single forum, rather than having to ensure that all questions/answers are specific to one particular forum.
I must also post a -1 in regards to this proposal.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby John_Ha » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:19 am

Thanks all for your views and it looks like I am in a rather small minority of one. :(

May I explain where I am coming from? I had not realised floris v's point
floris v wrote:We started this forum as an independent forum, to help all users of OOo and forks, first kindly hosted by Sun/Oracle, later by Apache.

and I had mistakenly thought this forum was the successor to the OOo forum; that AOO was the successor to OOo; and that this forum was therefore "AOO based"; and had strayed unintentionally into supporting the other forks.

 Edit: I also thought that as the forum is on AOO's https://openoffice.org website that is was "The AOO forum". I did not realise AOO Apache hosted it on the Apache web site on behalf of all the forks. 

I do think we should keep an eye on it though and I will continue to worry about the confusion between AOO and LO. It would be helpful if posters stated which fork they were using.

I was tempted to move to LO when AOO's future began looking uncertain, not least because LO had MS Word Textbox support; because LO can write .docx files; and because LO's licencing model means LO can take any AOO enhancements or bug fixes but AOO cannot take any LO enhancements or bug fixes, suggesting LO has a better future. However a short trial of LO showed LO was nowhere nearly as stable as AOO for producing my monthly magazine. AOO is as stable as a rock.
Last edited by John_Ha on Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby RusselB » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:49 am

It would be helpful if posters stated which fork they were using.
+1 (or more) on this.
I have noticed that some of the posters have this information in their signature, but some of them fail (or do not know how) to keep the information up-to-date.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby Villeroy » Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:01 am

On my current system (Ubuntu 16.4 64-bit) AOO is not fully functional. I think it is the system's fault but interfaces do evolve as time goes by.
 Edit: Writer has become unusable, even with a new profile. It crashes all the time. 
Last edited by Villeroy on Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby floris v » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:32 am

The biggest problem with people asking questions is that they often don't properly state the problem. They may forget to say it's a problem with Calc instead of Writer, or they say they couldn't download OO when in fact they could but the installation fails, or they can't find a menu item due to a change in the GUI of Libre, and you can't help with that if you don't know what version they have. Compared to that, the differences between AOO and Libre are insignificant.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby robleyd » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:48 am

Rule #1 - users lie :-)

-1 to the proposal
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby John_Ha » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:55 pm

robleyd wrote:Rule #1 - users lie

I don't think it is intentional - it is just they do not know enough about things to understand what is normal, to know how things work, or to do even the most trivial diagnosis; and they are unable to express themselves clearly.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby robleyd » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:00 pm

Notwithstanding that they may be required to do all of the above as part of their work - computers excepted. It sometimes seems that skills in problem solving and communication evaporate when a computer is introduced into the environment!

Perhaps I should leave it there - this is going a bit OT.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:39 pm

Hagar Delest wrote:I propose to move indeed all the topics about the SAXParse issue in the LibO forum.

For the record, I've moved all the topics from the Writer section to the LibreOffice section of the forum. It has nothing to do with the use of Writer.
Since many users had posted in a single (solved) discussion, I've also split all of them to separate the closed ones from the still open ones.

It also shows:
- The frequency of the issue (there is quite a list by now)
- How good are people here for this kind of support (most of the topics are solved)
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby floris v » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:47 pm

Hagar Delest wrote:
Hagar Delest wrote:I propose to move indeed all the topics about the SAXParse issue in the LibO forum.

For the record, I've moved all the topics from the Writer section to the LibreOffice section of the forum. It has nothing to do with the use of Writer.
Since many users had posted in a single (solved) discussion, I've also split all of them to separate the closed ones from the still open ones.

It also shows:
- The frequency of the issue (there is quite a list by now)
- How good are people here for this kind of support (most of the topics are solved)


Good job, Hagar. :) Quite an impressive list.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby acknak » Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:12 pm

Thanks, Hagar! Good idea.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby John_Ha » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:59 am

Hagar Delest wrote:[For the record, I've moved all the topics from the Writer section to the LibreOffice section of the forum. It has nothing to do with the use of Writer.

Hagar

Thank you.

I did not know that there was a LibreOffice section on this web site :oops: and its presence gives what I was asking for: namely one repository for AOO problems and information; and a second, separate repository for LO problems and information.

I was only able to find the LO section by searching the entire site with SAXParse. Might it be worthwhile making the LO section more prominent? And giving it a more logical path so LO users can find it more easily? At present it is at Board index > Getting started > Install, Setup and Troubleshooting > LibreOffice which bears no relation the AOO section at Board index > Applications > Writer. Perhaps something like Board index > Applications > which then offers LO and AOO as two separate paths.

The first SAXParse error was reported in Dec 2015, the next in March 2016 and the third in August 2016. The floodgates then opened and there have been 20 since October 2016. I did ask a poster to report it as a bug with LO and I wrote the bug report text for him but I cannot see it reported. There are 16 open SAXParse bugs at https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/bug ... h=saxparse

 Edit: https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/show_bug.cgi?id=104718 says:

Currently (since 5.0.4), when LO opens an XML format (ODF, OOXML) file with errors (like duplicated attributes, data-past-body etc.) an error "SAXParseException: ..." is returned to user, and the file isn't opened.

This is the result of better error detection/handling introduced by commit ebf767eeb2a169ba533e1b2ffccf16f41d95df35, and allowed us to detect and fix quite a number of errors.

... and is no doubt why AOO opens such files as AOO presumably handles the duplicated tag better.
 
Last edited by John_Ha on Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:18 am

My personal view on this, but if there is another consensus among Volunteers, I'll follow any decision:
- I'd like to keep the core modules only (Writer, Calc, ...) in the Applications section. Users have already some difficulties to post in the right section (a great part of my time is spent on moving topics from the Beginner or General sections to the relevant ones depending on the module involved).
- We support LO users because most of the problems are relevant to AOO users also, this is why only a troubleshooting section was created for LO.
- I do not want to give too much visibility to LO here because I don't want this forum to be too much dedicated to LO. I'm personally against LO and if they don't want to have a decent support channel, I don't see why this forum should take that role.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby RoryOF » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:03 am

I haven't been very active in the past few days, as I have been rebuilding my computers - time for complete reinstall of operating systems and applications rather than incremental updates. My view is that we should flag LO problems as LO problems, fixing them if we feel like it and, as John_Ha says, directing the poster to LO support channels (such as these are). I use OO in preference to LO because of stability - the old rule about not changing horses midstream has validity - I have several extended writings under way..
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby Villeroy » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:22 pm

RoryOF wrote:I haven't been very active in the past few days, as I have been rebuilding my computers - time for complete reinstall of operating systems and applications rather than incremental updates.

Apache OpenOffice 4.1.3 on Xubuntu 16.04 (mostly 64 bit version)

Can you open files from a Windows share? https://bz.apache.org/ooo/show_bug.cgi?id=127187 [absolute show stopper in a corporate environment]
Since years I can not use charts on spreadsheets when the ORB extension is installed: https://bz.apache.org/ooo/show_bug.cgi?id=124063 [no big for me deal because I don't need ORB but for others ...]
Oh, and yesterday's Writer file with an image map does not work with AOO: https://forum.openoffice.org/en/forum/d ... p?id=30220 [had to create it with LO because AOO constantly crashed. yes, I have a new profile because some of my Basic modules caused instabilities]
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby RoryOF » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:33 pm

Yes, I can open files, such as I need, from a Windows share. These are mostly my .odt, ods (very simple - simple tables of expenditure), and .opd files. I am in the happy position that I have very little file interchange with others: the files I use are my own work and my own records.

Now back to rebuilding!
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Re: This forum should not support LibreOffice and others

Postby acknak » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:19 pm

+1 to what Hagar said above.

Hagar Delest wrote:... if they [LibO] don't want to have a decent support channel, I don't see why this forum should take that role. ...


My take on it is that LibO was started by developers and most of the effort is by and for developers. They've done a lot of good work, but the effort is very dev-centered, and the project and the product would be more robust if it was more balanced between devs and users. Despite the improvements, I still prefer to use AOO. I'm afraid that isn't going to be an option for long, though.
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