The Path to Apache OpenOffice 4.2.0

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Monday, December 4. 2017 in ASF, Open Source

It is no secret that, for awhile at least, Apache OpenOffice had lost its groove.

Partly it was due to external issues. Mostly that the project and the committers were spending a lot of their time and energies battling and correcting the FUD associated around the project. Nary a week would go by without the common refrain "OpenOffice is Dead. Kill it already!" and constant (clueless) rehashes of the history between OpenOffice and LibreOffice. With all that, it is easy and understandable to see why morale within the AOO community would have been low. Which would then reflect and affect development on the project itself.

So more so than anything, what the project needed was a good ol' shot of adrenaline in the arm and some encouragement to keep the flame alive. Over the last few months this has succeeded beyond our dreams. After an admittedly way-too-long period, we finally released AOO 4.1.4. And we are actively working on not only a 4.1.5 release but also preparing plans for our 4.2.0 release.

And it's there that you can help.

Part of what AOO really wants to be is a simple, easy-to-user, streamlined office suite for the largest population of people possible. This includes supporting old and long deprecated OSs. For example, our goal is to continue to support Apple OSX 10.7 (Lion) with our 4.2.0 release. However, there is one platform which we are simply unsure about what to do, and how to handle it. And what makes it even more interesting is that it's our reference build system for AOO 4.1.x: CentOS5

Starting with AOO 4.2.0, we are defaulting to GIO instead of Gnome VFS. The problem is that CentOS5 doesn't support GIO, which means that if we continue with CentOS5 as our reference build platform for our community builds, then all Linux users who use and depend on those community builds will be "stuck" with Gnome VFS instead of GIO. If instead we start using CentOS6 as our community build server. we leave CentOS5 users in a lurch (NOTE: CentOS5 users would still be able to build AOO 4.2.0 on their own, it's just that the binaries that the AOO project supplies won't work). So we are looking at 3 options:

  1. We stick w/ CentOS5 as our ref build system for 4.2.0 but force Gnome VFS.
  2. We move to CentOS6, accept the default of GIO but understand that this moves CentOS5 as a non-supported OS for our community builds.
  3. Just as we offer Linux 32 and 64bit builds, starting w/ 4.2.0 we offer CentOS5 community builds (w/ Gnome VFS) IN ADDITION TO CentOS6 builds (w/ GIO). (i.e.: 32bit-Gnome VFS, 64bit-Gnome VFS, 32bit-GIO, 64bit-GIO).

Which one makes the most sense? Join the conversation and the discussion on the AOO dev mailing list!

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Which one are you?

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Thursday, February 23. 2017

Some people speak because they have something interesting or useful to say.

Others speak because they know everything (or, much more likely, think they do!).

Others speak because they like the sound of their own voice.

And others speak because they want to shut down others speaking.

In general, which one are you?

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Fun

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Wednesday, February 8. 2017 in Personal

They say that a sign of depression is when you no longer enjoy what you used to find pleasurable. Yeah, I guess, that could be a sign of depression all right. But it could also be a sign that it's simply no longer fun; that what used to be enjoyable, simply has changed to the point that it no longer is.

That is certainly the case with me.

As you may know, for decades I have poured my heart and soul into being deeply, actively involved in various Open Source projects and activities. But lately, some of the ones that used to be fun, simply no longer are. What used to be a group of like-minded people, working together, valuing each other, collaborating and operating with a common goal has turned for some of these projects and actvities into "putting up" with power plays, soapboxing, petty squables and a dismissive attitude towards basic common tenets and goals that, up until recently, were respected and honored. Life is too short, and my talents (as limited as they are) are too valuable to waste on such things. When an Open Source project is no longer fun to be around, there are plenty to take its place.

My advice when it comes to getting involved in Open Source has always been to Have Fun. The corrolary to that is that once it stops being fun, it's time to shake off the dust and find another place more welcoming and more inviting... and more fun. I give that advice to others, it's time to take it myself.

The positive part of all this is that it allows me more cycles and the ability to work on other things and projects and activities that I've been interested in, but have lacked the time to do. All of us involved in Open Source should do this: take an inventory of what projects you are involved in and seriously ask yourself if you are still having fun. If not, maybe it's time for a change as well.

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August 29th

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Monday, August 29. 2016 in Personal

August 29th is one of the happiest days of my life. It's Eileen and my wedding anniversary and today's day is even more special, since it marks our 30th wedding anniversary, certainly an important milestone (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153904362288511&type=1&l=6578ef1cbd)

The 29th is also, ironically, also one of my saddest, because it was 5 years ago today that my Dad was admitted to Hopkins Bayview hospital with shortness of breath and because he just "wasn't feeling too good." Little did we know then that less that 3 weeks later, we would be saying our goodbyes and planning his funeral. This was especially true since just 5 days before that we had celebrated his 80th birthday.

It is surreal to both celebrate and mourn on the same day; you feel as if you are doing a disservice to both events no matter what you do. But as sad as my Dad's passing was, and is, I have tried to look upon differently. I've tried to see these days as times to celebrate his life, and to honor his memory by enjoying life.

And that means being grateful and extremely happy that I was fortunate enough to, 30 years ago, marry my soul-mate and my best friend.

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The brave, new post open source world disaster

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Friday, January 29. 2016 in Open Source, Personal

Ahhh... The post open source, hipster development world. All is light and unicorns. People have rejected the ideas of governance and licenses; just shove it on Github and share, share, share. "This is the way Open Source should be", it is declared in Vape shops whilst listening to vinyl on their turntables, pork-pie hat skewed so ironically. "Rulz just get in the way, I just wanna do my own thing".

All Hail the fork; meh the merge and the pull. Don't lurk on a mailing list (A mailing list! Get with the times!), ask drive by questions on Stack Overflow. Don't use open tools and collaboration s/w, use cool proprietary systems and software (lock in? what's that?)

Yeah, I'm a greybeard, and I've been part of the open source movement for awhile, having at least some small part in its success. "Wasn't the whole idea of the open source movement, in some way, to make it the default, to move software and software development to align with the goals and ideals of Open Source? Wasn't it, after all, to make Open Source a success?" people will say. "Well it is! So what are you complaining about?"

I am not complaining about the success of Open Source. What I am complaining about, what I am worried about, is redirection of the movement in a way which destroys the successes by ignoring the history of the movement. What I am worried about are people ignoring the lessons learned, and the wisdom obtained during the decades within the movement, by people who don't understand it, but think they do. What I fear is the increasing "influence" of so-called open source experts today, who dismiss what Open Source is, because it is "old" and "outdated" and "that's not how we do things anymore". And I'm angry at people taking a dump on such concepts as community, collaboration and consensus because "that's just too much work".

I'll be honest. IMO, if the prevailing attitudes and "understanding" of Open Source today were around at the beginning of the Open Source movement, then Open Source would never have gained traction. Look at the things that made Open Source popular and successful. It was a keen awareness that code needed to be explicly licensed so people could use it. It was a deep understanding that working together, on a single project, was important, instead of numerous side-projects recreating the wheel. It was a core tenent that people worked on this project because they were personally invested in it, it was important to them, it was personal to them, they volunteered their time and energy on it. It was the balance that communities governed the projects, and companies worked with the communities instead of over them.

Look at all those points, and look at how today, in many ways, they are no longer "important" or "a big deal" to many self-proclaimed next generation open source experts.

You don't honor a movement, you don't carry the torch, you don't keep the dream alive, by ignoring and dimissing the core of what made that movement, that dream, special. Don't turn the Brave, New, Post Open Source world into the Weird Bizarro Open Source World, where it's a funhouse mirror-image of what it could, and should, be.

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