Older blog entries for Burgundavia (starting at number 52)

One format to rule them all

Rob, I have two points here: Betamax and OLPC.

Betamax

The primary lesson from Betamax is that usually one format wins. So pick your poison now. Do you want to:

A) Support a spec that is truly open and supported by other programs?

B) Support DocXML, which you don't have any no hope of ever influencing and is under the control of a corporation hostile to you?

C)There is no option C. This is a two pony race, and sadly W is right here: "You are either with us or against us". Your lack of explicit support for OpenDoc is basically implicit support for DocXML.

Kids

The kids I am primarily speaking about are the ones receiving their laptop through One Laptop Per Child (OLPC).

If Abiword is serious about trying to be their word processor, your current attitude towards OpenDoc is not going to get you there, in my mind.

Why not? Because if you propose that they save into your own format, you are going to be laughed out of the room. And if you propose to save into DocXML or Doc, you might get booted out. RTF might get considered but I suspect it too would be rejected. Which leaves you back at OpenDoc.

I really do want to love Abiword. I wouldn't be having this dicussion if I didn't care. Don't sit on the fence on this one any longer because remember, great software is opinionated!

ODF and why it is important

Robsta, ODF is a leapfrog because for the first time in recent history, we have a crack in the "One word processor to rule them all" mentality. Once people start thinking of documents as simply documents, not OpenOffice or MS Office documents, then we have true freedom.

I am not talking technically here, that problem is mostly solved. I am talking about social change, which is much harder to pull off.

See also: Ubuntu Bugzilla #21454

Sorry about spamming Planet Ubuntu with two posts in a row, as I just noticed Robstas post and wanted to reply.

Trying to love xchat-gnome

I recently installed xchat-gnome on my laptop to try it out. I like that they are responsive and are actively listening to users, but feel that there is a lot of work to do.

The good

  • Spelling checking is very cool, even if I don't use the correction
  • Using icons instead of colour for notifying what is happening in a channel is nice, but colour should be used to. Also, the icon for people joining/leaving/changing nicks probably shouldn't be the pen.
  • Timestamps are activated by default

The not so great

  • Unlike Xchat, you cannot see the user information on the right click. In fact there is no way, that I can see, to get this information graphically
  • Switching between channels no longer uses ctrl+{pgup|pgdown}. This may be due to the HIG.
  • The new users widget in 0.8 simply will not scale and hides useful information (who is in a channel)
  • The connect/network dialog needs some serious work. It removes functionality that was in Xchat, but doesn't make it easier to use
  • The channel topic is partially obscured by default, as it only shows one line
  • There is no way to set your server nick password

It would seem that I don't like xchat-gnome. However, that couldn't be farther from the truth. It is being actively developed by the right people. I just don't think it is quite ready for primetime yet because there is a lot of work to be done.

21 Dec 2005 (updated 21 Dec 2005 at 21:56 UTC) »
Dom, the reason I keep raising is because while you may be there technically, I don't know that you are there socially.

Doc and Docx import are great to capture the market now. But as Jeff said, not equalize, leapfrog. ODF is leapfrogging them. So is the rather cool colaboration features you are working on.

Why is ODF a leapfrog? While it doesn't appear to be so, it offers something MS Office is never going to be able to offer, full portability of documents regardless of program. I call that a killer feature.

20 Dec 2005 (updated 20 Dec 2005 at 23:30 UTC) »
Apologies to my boss

His OpenOffice crashes at least once an hour, with differnet documents. I kept insisting that OpenOffice.org cannot simply crash that much. It must be hardware, because I have never seen it. Well, it just happend to me, repeatedly.

Ok, it was only with one doc, but I have now confirmed that OpenOffice.org is a giant bloated pile crap, not just the Fedora Core version. Not only does it fail to copy MS Office, it also fails the stability test. Lovely.

Hey Abiword, Gnumeric devs, how is that OpenDocument work coming along? If you finish it soon, I can move my office over. And they say that OpenDocument is not important...

On opinions and being dumb

Ubuntu is going to piss some people off. It is also going to make some people love us. That is ok. Ubuntu strives to be the best Linux distribution in existance (Does not every distribution?). We have clear goals and clear objectives. We are opinionated. We make choices, bold choices and sometimes stupid choices, but we make them. This is no different than any other distribution out there. It is just that sometimes ours are a little more bold and a little more out there.

What sort of opinionated and crazy things have we thought up for Ubuntu 6.04 (Dapper Drake)?

  • A unified Live and Install cd, with an new installer based of the Google summer of code and Guadelinex work
  • A new server team and more effort being made to make Ubuntu the best distro on hte server as well as the desktop
  • Some work on the menus to make them a bit useful. Sometimes this involves hiding things we may shouldn't have. Oops! Tell us about your thoughts at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MenusRevisited/Comments
  • A long support period, extending to 5 years on the server and 3 on the desktop
  • Much much more.. For a full list see: Dapper specs

I also wanted to quickly answer what Robert said about building packages. Ubuntu does not ship any compilers installed by default but does provide an easy meta-package to install them and they are on the cd. This was a choice we made very early on, something that we carried over from Debian.

Gnome bugs and work

The whole linus thing has got me thinking about Gnome and options. Due to my status as the "Linux desktop expert" at our office, I get a lot of questions about "Why does X do Y?". Of all the things that people come to me to ask about, only one has been about customization. That was to do with the panels (which need work and upstream knows it) on the first day. Every other question has been about an annoying bug, usually to do with integration.

Oh, and most of those bugs come not from Gnome apps but from OpenOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird.

Therefor, I state that, given developer time is finite, I would rather have them fixing integration bugs than adding customization for power users.

9 Dec 2005 (updated 9 Dec 2005 at 06:55 UTC) »

Dear bloggers on Planet KDE

I am very sad. My bling quotient has sadly not been satisfied by Planet KDE recently. While I don't run KDE, I wish to learn about the cool (or is that kool?) new things you are working on. The buzz surrounding KDE 4 has even me excited, yet scarcely a screenshot can be had. KDE 3.5 just came out. Yet again, nary a screenshot can found on Planet KDE.

So please, just for me, can the world see the new KDE hotness?

Yours,

Corey Burger

26 Nov 2005 (updated 26 Nov 2005 at 21:55 UTC) »
On Abiword and collaboration

Marc, you ask what you should concentrate on for being useful for the OLPC project? My answer to that would be full OpenDocument support and dropping the abiword-only file format. Every day you hold out means that MS gets to beat us with a stick about not many applications supporting it.

As for collaboration, I am pleased to see that Abiword is working on collaboration features. Thus in a short while, we will have three different implementations, Abiword's, Inkboard (now in Inkscape 0.43) and Gobby/libobby. My personal opinion is that the Jabber idea which Inkboard did is the sanest, but I might be wrong. All I really care about is that we don't run into 5 or 10 different directions.

Anyway, done ranting now.

Laptop Testing Team

The time is upon us again to test our laptops. Dapper Flight 1 has just been released. (You can get it here). In light of that, I have moved all laptops which do not appear to have been tested with the final release of Breezy to an new table on LaptopTestingTeam called Unmaintained. If your laptop is on this list, don't dispair. Simply test Breezy and Flight 1, update your wiki page and then move the row entry back to the 2nd table.

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