Rant on OOo’s Community and openness


I agree with Davide’s post, I also heard comments on the same train of thought from other members of the community. For example everyone know that IBM join the OOo but also BrOO did also to a major extend. Yet they were not there, Koper was a similar fashion when Intel was up there as part of the community. However where is Intel now??On the other hand I do agree that we should play to the crowd and I am really not picky about who represent us on a wood table. I am more concerned on knowing who make the decisions that OOo feature list would be?The community council failed miserably to respond the question on becoming more transparent on exposing their decision making process. Not sure if there was some lost on translation but I asked what they should be doing and they answer by saying what they usually do and not saying if they plan to change or not.Yes, I wont be surprised if Extensions become the actual heart of the community just like new companies like Multiracio, Indesko, etc. Sems to have easier development access and cost since extensions don’t need to be approved on the code tree and also allow more tools to extend the core without dealing the barriers that it involve. I can see smaller companies building development frameworks to allow OOo’s Web 2.0 revolution interactivity. Also the other development platform would be on ODF rather than OOo because ODF parsing and manipulation is growing without needing to get approved to build new tools on top of other parsers on a faster way than OOo could approve a new project and foster the development to get them up to the level of the current Web 2.0 websites.Is not very difficult to find a branch in Drupal but it will take months before finding a specific branch in the OOo source code at least in my experience and the whole qa process might take many more months. Just to reference the python uno bridge update that was submited by Liyuan by the 24 of January. And there is still no changes.Localization is another example where Pavel implement the fixes that Sun is unable to coupe with. However this is the nature of the beast specially when we talk about huge projects like OOo and the learning curve is very high. There is no easy documentation to jump in compared with other projects like Gnome where they have multiple tutorials on develop with GTK while the amount of documentation to develop with VCL is hardly existent.One comment that was mentioned during the closing talk was the limited amount of people that hold the keys to development So doing what Google summer of code would be impossible because the developer community as it is is too limited to take on India/China.This is basically expose the highly concentrated of people in OOo that can only have an impact in the community.


Back from Europe

So is Tuesday and just a few hours before my work start again. I just wanna say that this ‘break’ was very helpful in so many levels. And I wish I can keep it that way in the near future. I really enjoy the time I spent with my friend Victor who I haven’t seen him in a long time. Is interesting how life change and now he is the adult and I am still the blunt adolecent.I spent a lot of things for myself, I didnt even think aobut it and after all that spending i come to realize it wasn’t that much anyway. I got some new G-Unit pants and some shoes. I dunno if I am having a md-youth crisis but I want to get back that hip hop cloth which was my brand garnment back when I was in college. Even if I really miss my gf, I am so grateful for being single and living on my own. I wouldn’t stand someone trying to change me.

OOoCon Day 3 – What I love about OOo

Day 3 was a short one and my last chance to get some pictures in place. I loved the conference in itself and even though I did attend to a lot of technical talks I did also had the chance to go to other NLC talks which was amazing. I was particular impressed with the Japan migration test cases. Also some more ODF talks were impressive.So my first talk was the BuildBot talk which was a bit over my head, and then the builder tools which I went with the naive intention on getting OpenOffice.org on my Nokia 800. Being the N800 a linux device we just need a port for the StrongARM processor. In the end I couldnt talk to the guy about doing this and I probably won’t do since well… I dunno. I should have gone to the “toolkit toolkit come and play” talk.Next talk was on “The OpenOffice.org ODF Toolkit Project” which was a very good talk basically is what’s comming for OpenOffice.org and how we can get more for less re-utilizing UNO. ODF Toolkit could have been the OOo Toolkit for all that matters cuz I think is more dependant on UNO than ODF as far as the project goal goes. However this seems to overlap with other projects in my opinion. With projects such as ODF4J and AODL for .NET this were interesting projects that are contained in what it seems to be one of the recent innovations this past year on the OOo community.After this talk I went to Tora’s talk from the JA NLC and it was a great test study on “Migrations in Japan” I think the information he gave was supperb and I am really waiting on his slide to show up at the conference page to put it on slideshare. Then there was a talk also on ODFToolkit related matter with the title “UNO based ODF Toolkit API” which was a more indepth look of the ODF4j implementation and the sister implementation under .NET. The content was interesting since there was a big differenciation between the philosophy that the ODF should be processed from XSLT to SAX to DOM or to an automation API that will handle this processing. Also showed that some of the limitation regarding the handling of metadata and other challenging things like styles. I enjoyed this talk and also participate with some questioning on the project.The last talk was by Svante “An RDF Metadata Model for OpenDocument Format 1.2” which I really liked and basically was pushing ODF to the semantic web which is something that many people have been dreaming about. The web technology has been a bit hard to understand but having ODF being web compatible will make it the premier file format and ultimate web friendly format. I did ask him if this was something to replace the current metadata standard (Dublin Core) but he assured me that the dublin core implementaiton is also moving this way. Finally the roundtable we saw the powerheads of the community including Simon Phipps, Michael Meeks and the new members the guy from IBM and Red Flag joning in with Google. In the end we saw — and didn’t saw anymore — the corporate patrons of the OOo project. One notoriously missing was the Intel guys which seem to have headed away from the project since there was nowhere to bee seen at the confernce or in the community after all.There was some concerns that OOo is getting too controlled by this gigantic companies but I dont think this is the case since we have also seem developing branching to smaller venues like the EuroOffice project.Some of the questions were regarding re-implementing google summer of code but by other companies like IBM and Sun, also having some random comments about the engineer vision of OOo and some very politically correct comments on the future of Innovation, OOo and ODF.After the meeting I was running around trying to get pictures with everyone. I’ll have more pictures comming up in the future regarding OOo’s conference.

OOoCon Day 2 – Techie talks

Day 2 I was mostly to be found at the developement tracks since is the most amazing for the geek inside me althought as a community manager I felt entitled to go to other tracks just to be aware of how the community is doing in such areas. However I really enjoyed this day and the talks that went around.The first meeting was on the community council which was well… a bit odd. Basically is intimidating that most of the council is really Sunpeople and reflecting on the recent computerworld fiasco well, it doesn’t really help as an image of what the community is all about.The questions were previously submitted by email althought there were live questions thrown at them from the crowd. Myself asked the question regarding another question that asked for the decision making process on what features should be implemented. The response is that this decision are based on conversations that take place at the Hanburg building which is defintetly is not the most open, transparent and dedicated process. However my suggestion was to blog, record or just handle this talks through IRC and publish them so they can be translated and at least we get some knowledge on what has a higher priority.My suggest was recieved but it wasn’t really thought about. At least that is the impression I got. Hope I am wrong and they were mostly playing for the crowd.There were other question regarding the Dell attempt to carry OOo and how Sun and OOo really trip on themselves for this and this was a big challenge. Also Dell concern for support and patent indenmenity and what lessons can we learn from that experience to approach the next 1-tier manufacturer.Another question was regarding assistance on the writting on documentation to elevate the quality of the technical documentation which seems to be stalled since writers don’t get the development and developers don’t have time for documentation.After the consil I went to “Benefits of Extensions” from Daniel Darabos, his talk was amazing which are the modifications they did to OOo to make EuroOffice. They mainly did this in Python which is great and having them support the Python bridge I think is key to get hackers involved into OOo. And extensions really is the way to go, but there should be some motion moving into improving the speed. What interest me out of this implementation is the way the project was worked out. A merging between business, colleges and funding of the EU made this implementation possible and I think this is the framework that we should at least imitate for Latin America. This is definetly a ToDo list after the talk.Next impressive talk was the one of the Mobile Office which is a ODF viewer on the symbian OS. This is an amazing piece of software so I am definetly try to get it running. Unfortunately my main phone is not Symbian but is a blackberry which might set me off reading ODF. However I found this product very advanced with multilingual support, thumbnail creation and even a whole complete GUI provided by the OS. For a small price of 15 euros is pretty affordable althought there was a big sentiment of making this open source. Also that it didnt support OOXML but I actually was happy that this guy expressed his feeling that he don’t care about OOXML.One of the things from Mobile Office is the parsing of the ODF is basically done in C++ as opposed to XSLT or UNO DOM for parsing XML. Also that there is no binary abstraction of the file so the editing is being done on the ODF’s XML. I just wonder how good it did on the ODF camp which seemed to be doing better than most.My next talk was a success story from the Google summer of code, as opposed of day one which was a failed case of GSC for the SVG import and export handling. However the end result of this one was a great and succesful implementation of OpenGL on Impress creating really great effects on having a ‘Keynote-like’ effect of slide transition. I particuraly was excited about the helix effect but also was more excited about the learning curve on learning UNO was really ironed out by the Sun Mentors.”Beyond Microsoft” was an interesting talk but I was busy messaging my gf. However I got an awesome pre-talk about the future of office document collaboration. The OOoForum guy was very into 2nd life and also give examples on how do group documents are pulled out in hours like contract submittion and real time editing on wiki formats as the platform for the future of office editing. I was specially interested in the transport layer for XML what would be the technology such as XForms.After this talk I went to a talk given by Thorsten Behrens given one of the largest titles out of all OOo “Not the parrot sketch: Implementing an OOo config browser using Python“. As a punishment for him, the project refused to work and end up in a very delayed talk which end up giving just enough time for the demo. However the configuration browser sounds interesting since it push the idea that the gui of OOo just carry 10% of the actual configuration it can be done to OpenOffice.org. I would want to run this and examine the different parameters that you can configure.The last presentation was “OpenOffice.org Extension Development with Java and NetBeans in practice” which was a nightmare for me because I was really shutting down and I was afraid of giving the casual snoring while the session was going on. However the NetBean tutorial seemed to be good except I completly lost track of it. This was the last talk of the day so I guess I felt good that after this we just went out for dinner which actually went back to the hotel so I could take a real nap.

OOoCon Day 1 – The adventures begins

This day was a bit of a shake-up since I got some results from the computerworld guy which I post earlier. Also have some interesting more technical talks from the ODF track. To have a visual guide of the meetings that were handled that day you should be able to check them out here.So the conference officially started with some changes on the scheuduled and we got the breakfast pushed back for the Louis Suarez-Potts keynote on “OpenOffice.org 3.0 and Beyond”.Louis basically sounded more like a part 1 of two presentations which was between the ‘what’s new in 2.3’  and the ‘state of the project’ which was ok because I have to listen to the summary.So Louis basically talk about Red Flag office and IBM jumping in the comunity with us and how to prove this is really a diverse project.He also went on listing some of the features in OOo such as:  MediaWiki support, OOo 100 NLC supported languages, the future of web 2.0 and the impact in OOo, the extension project, and finally ODF and the recent victory over OOXML. Also some changes on the community such as the ODF toolkit, Mozilla Lightning/Thunderbird.The next talk I assist at least was the Chineese Red Flag Office talk on “Beyond Technology, The Chinese Roadmap”, Hu Cai Yong the CEO of Red Flag talk about some of the innovations they did on the code base showing a newly re-designed interface as well as the announcement of the collaboration primarily with Sun and some of the more cultural reasons on why is important to adopt free software for china and how Microsoft has been bluntly disrupting their cultural specific needs and how they can regain this.After these talk we left one of the most beautiful halls we have all ever been and we went into the smaller auditoriums for other talks. One of my personal suprises was joining Ismael Fanlo from the OOoES community. Which he made a couple of jokes on how fake and exagerating sometimes the catalonian generalitat can be about the announcements they did on the use of OOo.The next talk I assisted was “Free software telecentres in Catalonia” by Francesc Rambla which basically talk about the ambicious project of the telecenters. This was rather interesting since I remember this project being mentioned back in the days where I was working in the UK. The biggest challenge really was having a deployed support of the infrastructure. Stablishing a call center and giving hands-on support to all this centers of free software. I actually approach him after the talk and offer to assist him and ask for a follow up on this project. A couple of guys also were interested including Manuel Serrano from openXarxes.Moving on I went into the “ODF Interoperability” talk where I was able to hear Rob Weir expose his concern on the state of ODF and how to support it on a very tightly manner. This means that the support should be also standarized so we avoid breaking documents within all this vendors re implementing the way they parse and render the ODF.This is important since to push the ODF proposition we surely need to be able to do QA not just between but around the different platforms. From Google Docs to KOffice to the new plugins developed for MSO. Really interesting talk and also good experience on them.The next section of the talks were about marketing and both talks Leif and Ben were amazing. This both prove how much difference a single guy can do both at the advertising space as well as the political space. They both have limited time, resources and support and they were able to achieve the goals they set. This is a very strong lesson for everyone that wants to do something and is willing to go beyond the aparent limitations.So Ben’s talk “Case Study: OpenOffice.org Guerrilla Advertising in the New York Metro Newspaper” was simply amazing. Like I said, very little ammount of resources were able to pull this through. I actually feel proud I donate to his cause and will definetly donate again. He mention also interestig experinence of on-line marketing and how most of the people that talk don’t really have an impact and the donators are usually the silent guys of the croud. He got from 5 to up to 50 dls in donations and eventually was about to pull out the 50,000+ dls that he needed.Right after Ben, Leif came with the talk “Political struggles in Denmark – My experiences”, he made strong points on communication skills and how accurate we need to be on the message we want to provide. Also how to cover your back and research who you give your information to since some of the media could be doing more damage. Another big concern is how to aproach competing parties and make them agree on one common goal.Finally the last talk of the day was “Releasing OpenOffice.org: translation and QA process” which was a join talk between Rafaella Braconi and Joost Andrae. This talks were a bit boring to be honest and well also long, could be also that the jet lag was hitting and that some of the comments when on and on and I am really not that involved or excited about QA. :)I got the chance to meet Aridane which is the language lead from Sun and also a really nice looking female. Although the experience was a bit of a mixed bag. I’ll talk about it later. All in all the first day was very exciting and even thought there were talks I wish I could have gone I am glad that the kiberpipa people got it on tape.A general feeling about this conference is the huge ammount of information comming from everywhere from technical to cultural, to motivating talks and also some disruptive rummors. All in all the OOo conference had a bit of everything.

Finally got the chance to blog

So after the OOoCon is over I got finally a time to confortably blog. For real live action blogging while the sessions were on you could have check out my twitter.For the subscription to my twitter get the syndication here.But here is the summary and bring some order to the insane disconnected ammount of stories. Check out my next post.

OOoCon2007 Day 1 – ComputerWorld Fiasco

Wow this was an exciting start of events with many things going on, probably the most important and scandalous has been the ComputerWorld fiasco that was slashdoted yesterday night. So let’s start with aproximately 24 hrs ago when I woke up and I discover an email from a journalist named Todd Weiss.The email seemed like a rushed attempt to get a OOo related news out in time for the official kickoffof the conference. Is pretty funny how the media work since a similar situation happened almost ayear ago.The email basicaly said:

I’m a reporter at Computerworld magazine and would like to ask for your thoughts about a story we are working on today. Can I get your thoughts about this ASAP by Tuesday afternoon?

So me being as open and helpful as I can found myself in too much of a rush to read the posts by Michael Meeks, Andy Upergrove and Doug Heintzman on Sun’s stronghold on the OpenOffice.org project.So my responses were positive and I saw this as an opportunity to promote the new Extension project. The complete email response is here. However this turned out to be a some very disturbed part of an article with an agenda to attack Sun directly. Todd seemed to have been a very good wordsmith and spin doctor to build his case. The final article is here and he quote me on the context on agreen with whatever HE said and adding more reasons as a something we have to come up to fight back Sun’s evil plans. Maybe my harddest word was bashing out of my whole quote so I guess I wasn’t as spinned as others in this article. I still think this article was completely hype.

OOoCon2007 – Day 0

It’s the middle of the night here in Barcelona and before further waiting for day 1 (2nd day of my stance). I had to blog something.Today was a busy day no doubt with many old faces back again in the mix while some old nicks just got new faces. These never seems to stop amazing me on these kind of events.So let’s get started, first of all let’s start with the meetings. The meeting started pretty laid back with people joining the room gradually until the room was full. Once we got going people were a bit shy to talk. Charles and Rafaella did most of the talking at the beginning giving a status as NLC and 10ln did in the past year.The NLC meeting was followed by the MarCons or Marketing Contact meetings and a lot of good ammount of rants were produced on this meeting. Finally the NLC party was a very good and important event for all of us where we got the chance to eat some good real food and interact with many people of the community. I finally got the chance to meet long time OOoES community members such as Ismael Fanlo and Falcaraz which are very active in the community.I also talked with Rafaella Braconi and other developers such as Rob Weir and Leif Lodahi were very helpful to talk about the different issues involving OOXML and it’s implementation. After the NLC party we both went on to a pub which was quite fun and I have the chance to talk more with other community members as well as the Kiberpipa guys. We talk about business in FLOSS and how to achieve it around OOo. I gave many examples including having an environment where we can make a stronger point on migrating OOo by covering it with more tools like, a student / teacher book and also a better strategy than just pointing them out to the website. I had to leave early since I needed to get back to the hotel before it was too late for my train to depart. I left at 10:15 which was enough time since it seems trains run until midnight. I finally got home and got enough time to prepare for tomorrow.

OOoCon2007 – The NLC roundtable

NLC grew less in quantity but more in quality of the communities. This mean there was less new communities being form. But more communities reaching level 2 status.Also the localization process experience a high level of interaction this year with a broader number of NLCs and also a bigger platform on deciding which tool to move forward. This topic really got the discussion started with the german community picking up the meeting with some issues regarding the glossary, pootle and the transcoding scripts (po2oo).Brasil also had concerns with the use of a centralized pootle vs a distributed one since they use a dedicated pootle to just not translate OOo but also other things like Firefox.Other issue was the Vasque situation where the translation was pretty much handled by the government and acceptance of external contributors was pretty much a no go as a policy. So working on a centralized pootle with leave them away from the process.The meeting move on with some contributions and comments ffrom myself (and the Spanish community). Specially on the point of constant mentoring so we can get the full knowledge of using this tools. This being particularly important since the new process for translating 2.4 will start by the end of the month.The file format was also a big discussion as PO was debated vs XLIFF and SDF and the very demanded TMX for Omega-T. XLIFF is also being pushed as an OASIS standard.We moved on to other topics such as the use of the wiki as well as guidelines for using categories and sub-folders or namespaces.I made a small proposal on modifiying the wiki so that it looks more like the Collabnet pages. This message moved us on to Collabnet and their infrastructure to protect the security of the project versus the flexibily and hassles to create a more localized NLC project homepage.In the end there was not enough time to air all our pains but there was a lot of points being made and a lot of good things too.