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Month: November 2011

Re: [trinity-devel] KOffice Suite

From: Darrell Anderson <humanreadable@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 12:30:06 -0800 (PST)
> Any evaluation should not be how these apps compare to MS
> Office, but are they palatable for most people for many
> tasks? Don't look for missing esoteric features. Forget
> about importing and exporting MS Office files. Focus on
> usability by typical users with common needs.
> I think everything you have said was just invalidated by
> this paragraph. What is a user with common needs? almost
> 100% of the time that involves MS compat one way or another.
> It is unrealistic to pretend that users won't need this.
> And what do we do when they say "oh no I can save my
> .docx file", do we just say "oh well most common
> users don't need that?". No.

Everything I said was invalidated? Oh Calvin, so melodramatic! :D

I do struggle with the concept of what is a typical or common user. I hesitated before using those terms but did so anyway. :)

First, we are discussing TDE users. That fact distinguishes those users from other users because a TDE user is using a Linux based system and not Windows. Few users of Linux based systems are as naive as the majority of Windows users. :) That is, many Linux based users have a clue about computers.

Second, how much does a TDE user need or care about MS Office compatibility? I don't know the answer. I suspect many don't care. Primarily they are interested in using computers to satisfy their needs and wants, not some brain dead boss's. Thus, any office suite provided with TDE should satisfy the basic office needs of a TDE user and not an enterprise user.

Jeepers creepers, Calvin, just the other day you were screaming to use markup languages for documentation... :D

I don't want to completely ignore compatibility. I am only stressing that our selling point is personal usage, not enterprise usage. I don't know that enterprise support is sustainable for our small team size.

I suspect for simple documents that KOffice will import MS Office documents. I can test that. Yet users need to understand that the more complex the document the more likely importing will be disappointing. We need to provide a little tough love, so to speak. I still have floppy disks from the early 90s of a software package that was nothing more than many dozen file conversion filters. The challenge of file compatibility is nothing new. There never has been a smooth solution and never will. If there was then none of us would support the idea of open formats. :)

We have to sell some realism with usage. Yet if we focus on the positive aspect of personal (and perhaps small office usage) then I think these apps might surprise us all.

Regarding compatibility, professionally I am required to work in Windows, primarily FrameMaker and Word. I have no illusions about using KWord, LO Writer, or (eew!) WINE. I use virtual machines and run those apps natively. I am realistic about what I need to do. KOffice is not for such people. If I did not have those professional requirements I suspect I would be more than happy with LO Writer or KWord.

As I mentioned, with respect to export compatibility, this is a social conditioning challenge. We need to teach people to use the underlying PDF print engine.

We probably do need to look into a docx import filter.

> With that said, I am not against supporting OO/LO as long
> as that focus is tight integration with TDE. I hate the
> OO/LO file picker dialogs. They are useless compared to
> KDialog. Menu and toolbar look-and-feel needs help. Tim was
> working on some of that a while ago but I don't what
> happened. I think Tim told the LO people the TDE team would
> maintain the hooks needed for TDE integration.
> This is important obviously, and we don't want to roll
> out a premature LO picker. I think it is safe to say that
> OpenOffice is all but dead...

I'm including OO just to be nice. We still need an integrated TDE file picker.

> Agreed, but we also need to make long term decisions. No
> point putting weeks of labor into a product just to drop it
> in a few versions. Make sense?

Makes sense, which is why I recommended some serious evaluations before we get to any discussion point. How can any of us honestly discuss the future of app that none of us use? Even you admitted to not using the apps in any constructive manner. I admitted as much. That excludes both of us from deciding the future of KOffice. I already stated I am willing to help with such evaluations. I understand from a coder's perspective that you might be resistive to supporting a huge code base such as KOffice. Yet if the focus is personal (and perhaps small office usage), then the maintenance perspective changes.