The Unsaid Document Foundation (more talkbacks)

“The  Unsaid Document Foundation” series is disappointingly considered “fud” from LibreOffice developers, and Michael Meeks saying (again) that I made some  good points, calls me a non-developer, probably  to infer that I am not the best person to make programming suggestions.

Commercial open source blog readers care little to know about my computer science degree, or how much code I have been writing on a PDP-11 system. Therefore I would rather spend the rest of this blog entry sharing more thoughts about LibreOffice future.

In addition, each single module of LibreOffice will be undergoing an extensive rewrite, with Calc being the first one to be redeveloped around a brand new engine – code named Ixion – that will increase performance, allow true versatility and add long awaited database and VBA macro handling features. Writer is going to be improved in the area of layout fidelity and Impress in the area of slideshow fidelity. Most of the new features are either meant to maintain compatibility with the market leading office suite or will introduce radical innovations. They will also improve conversion fidelity between formats, liberate content, and reduce Java dependency.

Volunteers working on easy-hacks will hardly turn into code hackers able to make this kind of changes.  Full-time developers are needed, especially now that LibreOffice is meant to be something different.

Apparently 90 developers joined LibreOffice, but looking at the top ten contributors 8 of them are Novell’s employees, one is from Red Hat and only one is an independent developer. LibreOffice is far from being a multi-vendor open source project, and it is definitely not a community-led project.

Michael says that development decisions shouldn’t be taken by non-technical audiences, and I totally agree.

Suggesting them to learn from FSF GPL3 process of course I was thinking of potential stakeholders, especially those who could join the will-be foundation. Companies like Oracle or IBM, have a lot to offer, ranging from development to IP protection, but giving them a chance to join the debate requires a clear and well-defined process.

LibreOffice developers say talking about my suggestions say hat “if we follow what he proposes, we don’t move anywhere“. But having on board corporations may make easier to start a foundation, especially considering how much will cost to register the LibreOffice mark, foundation bylaws, etc.

Another option could be join an existing foundation, though.