The planet is very quite at the moment and I’m afraid I will not get any usable information and slides about the talks given at this years akademy before Monday or even the end of the coming week. Poor me. But anyway, there is other software worth writing as well: OpenOffice.org.
As a previous explanation: I do not really like OpenOffice.org. Despite the fact that it technically introduced the Open Document Format to the masses there are not too many good things I could leave on it. Ok, that’s probably a bit too hard: Sure, OpenOffice.org is the only competitor for MSOffice at the moment, and it delivers what most people expect. It also seem to be good enough so that quite a lot of people are backing it.
But: from my point of view OpenOffice.org is more bloated as the most other pieces of software around, and there are too many ways where you can just not compare it to MSOffice – like the start up time. The same is true on the Linux platform, btw., where you could compare it to KOffice – which starts up much, much faster. Also the desktop integration is less than perfect – on Windows as on Linux. Again you can not really call it a competitor in this field.
So the question is what to do – for me I expect quite a lot from the upcoming KOffice 2.0 – it will take its time, but it looks like that this Office version will have quite a lot to offer. But there is still hope – OpenOffice.org will be further developed of course. This article is quite interesting in this regard, it talks about the OpenOffice.org conference OOoCON 2006. The author mentions that OpenOffice.org will get extension support like for example Firefox has it. The idea is to add much more user developed functions through a stable and open plugin interface. Sounds interesting, but it has to show if such a thing is really useful for an office suite – and if the plugin API is done right to fit the needs.
However, after reading this entry I checked the conference page and found some more slides for interesting talks. For example the talk “Comparing ODF and OOXML” (PDF) explains pretty detailed what the difference between ODF and Microsoft’s preferred document “standard” are. It’s worth a read if you are interested in some figures and facts.
Also “OpenOffice.org 2.x… and beyond” (PDF) sheds some light at what we can expect from future versions. For example there are plans to expand OpenOffice.org to a full personal information management platform – with the integration of Mozilla Thunderbird / Lightning.
Fortunately there are also talks about topics like GUI design and speed of OpenOffice in different situations. These are key topics for normal users – they need a pretty designed GUI, and a fast working program. And, yes, OOo has to focus on these topics because it lacks there much too much. I hope that OpenOffice.org will reach a state where I can recommend it without any doubt because it is nice designed and works fast.