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Thank you LWN

Thank you LWN

Posted Dec 15, 2010 8:44 UTC (Wed) by ingwa (guest, #71149)
In reply to: Thank you LWN by niner
Parent article: Behind the KOffice split

Quote: They got rid of him to be able to develop without maintaining a proper test suite? To focus on competing with Microsoft Office instead of getting the product ready to use first? Talking about unreasonable...

This is bullshit!

Some points:

* The drive towards end user readiness was proposed one year before Thomas at the KOffice sprint in Oslo. By me, in fact. At that point Thomas was dead against it, wanting to work on the libraries instead.

* The so called new features that "were in the way of making KWord user ready" were mostly bugfixes. For instance, in one of Calligra / KOffice the keys PageUp and PageDown works, in the other not. I will let you guess which community has implemented this "advanced feature".

* Calligra is not focused on mobile. We want to create an architecture that allows many different user interfaces. One of them is a UI that works for mobile. However, we also maintain the desktop version. If you look into the mailing list of Calligra Suite right now, you will see several usability improvement initiatives that are not done or even wanted in KWord.

* It is true that a lot of effort was put into import filters for MS formats. I fail to see why that isolated effort would impact end user readiness for the applications.

Finally, regarding end user readiness, I think it consists of two parts: lack of bugs and a usable user interface. The text layout a year ago was very bad with lots of bugs. A lot of the effort at that point went into fixing text layout bugs, leaving the KWord maintainer to fix problems in the user interface. In no way did the bugfixes impact any user visible parts of the UI except for improving rendering of document contents. Needless to say, we hardly saw any such UI improvements.

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Thank you LWN

Posted Dec 15, 2010 9:52 UTC (Wed) by rvfh (subscriber, #31018) [Link]

What about the alleged breakage or lack of unit tests? Could you please shed some light on that point too?

Thank you LWN

Posted Dec 15, 2010 10:17 UTC (Wed) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185) [Link]

Thomas complained that a long-standing community member who had been helping a summer of code student with the tables feature had not delivered the exact set of unittests he had requested and refused all further contributions from that community member after he joined KO GmbH.

Despite being the only free software suite that actually has a set of unittests (with about 25% code coverage) there are problems with the architecture Thomas designed for the text editing feature that make writing unittests in this particular area very hard or even impossible, so it was a convenient tool for him to make people's work impossible. (And there's not just unittests, we have a set of over 3000 documents that are tested after every commit. This set was provided by Nokia, by the way.)

As for breaking stuff... Well, I'm sure that happened. Basically, KWord's layout engine is not just very complicated, it's also really brittle and buggy. Basically, unmaintainable spaghetti code, so everyone who touches it breaks stuff, including Thomas. And even if it were great, where work is being done, stuff breaks.

Thank you LWN

Posted Dec 16, 2010 15:27 UTC (Thu) by cesarb (subscriber, #6266) [Link]

> we have a set of over 3000 documents that are tested after every commit

Does LibreOffice also test against that set of documents?

Thank you LWN

Posted Dec 20, 2010 19:28 UTC (Mon) by k8to (subscriber, #15413) [Link]

> Despite being the only free software suite that actually has a set of unittests

Do you mean the only free software office productivity suite? If so, what are the candidates? OpenOffice, KOffice and .. is there another entrant?

I'm not mocking, I just don't really know what's being implied here. If the statement is essentially "we don't have full coverage and we'd like more, but OpenOffice has none", I find that pretty informative, if somehow personally unsurprising.

Read flatly, it seems to imply that you're the only free software suite of any sort that has unit tests (not sure what comprises a suite.)

Tried Monkey Testing?

Posted Dec 29, 2010 16:26 UTC (Wed) by gmatht (subscriber, #58961) [Link]

I was just wondering if you had tried monkey testing. Dumb monkey tests only find crash/abort type bugs, but that is certainly good start. I wrote a script to perform Monkey tests and related tasks: spamming millions of keypresses, detecting crashes, finding minimal recipes to reproduce the crash, automatically finding the changeset that introduced the crash and so on. At the moment I've mostly used it on LyX (on which is has found about 60 bugs), but I am making it more general, and it has found a bug in abiword.

My goal is to get it so that you can just point it at any project and press go. It is still rather finicky at the moment however.

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