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My main problem with OpenOffice is the brand

My main problem with OpenOffice is the brand

Posted May 12, 2013 21:50 UTC (Sun) by rcweir (guest, #48888)
In reply to: My main problem with OpenOffice is the brand by keithcu
Parent article: Results of the Apache OpenOffice 4.0 Logo Survey

Keith, You've stated that people only contribute to AOO because they do not know what is going on in LibreOffice. I contracted your assertion by pointing out that some developers contribute to both project. You then responded by dismissing those LibreOffice developers who also contribute to AOO as "confused". This is not a very good argument, but it does have a name. It is called the "No True Scotsman Fallacy" [1].

Would I like the fork to end? Yes. Do I want a permissive license? Yes. Do I want high quality? Yes. I want many things, in various degrees, according to my personal preference order. This undoubtedly differs from yours. That does not make me confused.

Remember, if the fork ever does end, it will not be because of rhetorical flourishes from someone like you who neither contributes to LO nor to AOO. It will not occur because of bad logic. The fork will not end because you demonize your opponents as "confused". To end the fork will require some give and take on both sides, and if you truly want that then you might want to step back and ask yourself if your methods have any chance of success in this regard, or whether you are merely seen as the crazy bystander who inserts himself into the debate.


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My main problem with OpenOffice is the brand

Posted May 12, 2013 23:29 UTC (Sun) by keithcu (guest, #58738) [Link]

Dear Rob,

A few people contribute to both projects, and very few of them are developers. How many of them have read papers on forks in software? How many of them have really thought about the opportunity cost compared to combining resources?

So you'd like the fork to end, but you also make analogies regarding Ford / GM, Calligra and Abiword, the Soviet Union, and breakfast cereals. Why do you make bad analogies? Either you should admit they don't apply, or you don't want to end the fork, or you believe contradictory things. Which is it? The people who contribute to both also have such contradictions in their heads.

My words might not be directly useful in helping to end the fork, but there are multiple reasons to write. For example, one of the reasons I write because I'm very impressed with the people in LibreOffice and want many more to join them. Success is not always binary. I also think you put out disinformation, and I feel it is important to combat it. I also think that maybe one day what many people are writing to you and about you will sink in.

I find it interesting you would feel the need to tell me that my words won't end the fork, especially because it is almost entirely up to your whims. Don't tell me what doesn't work for you to change course and do better, tell me what does. Also, please tell me what your contingency plan looks like.

I'm not demonizing people by calling them confused. They are also naive, lack knowledge on forks in software, don't consider opportunity costs, believe contradictory things, etc. I just use the word confused because it sort of summarizes the situation, and because you are part of the reason they are that way with all of your half-truths and propaganda.

I am a bystander, but one with a unique perspective. I spent years writing code in Microsoft Office, and after I left MS, I've spent years surveying the free software community. You can call me crazy, but it was intuitively obvious to me that your plan was a bad idea. And then I researched it and found almost 50 reasons which made the arguments against your fork even stronger than what my intuition told me: That is 2 years old now, but it is mostly still relevant.

So why is it that a crazy person can see things years before you? I'd not worry too much about me, and instead worry about what a mistake it was for you to not revise your incubation plan after you got so many complaints. That sounds crazy to me.

My main problem with OpenOffice is the brand

Posted May 12, 2013 23:50 UTC (Sun) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

<conspiracy mode>

Ahh, so you've just admitted that LO is a microsoft plot to destroy the pure and good AOO

After all, you are a "former" Microsoft Office developer arguing for LO, against AOO

</conspiracy mode>

In case anyone didn't get it, the above is a combination joke and sarcasm

I was also very disappointed to see Apache setup AOO in the face of the strong go-OO/LO development that was happening. I agree that the OpenOffice brand is valuable, and am disappointed that Oracle forced the split and Apache didn't mend it.

My main problem with OpenOffice is the brand

Posted May 13, 2013 0:28 UTC (Mon) by rcweir (guest, #48888) [Link]

Keith, I'm sorry the analogies did not make sense to you. Although I certainly appreciate that you have graciously offered me the choices of being confused or being a liar, I must decline your dichotomous thinking. Can't you acknowledge that different parties just might have different priorities and preferences? Why does it need to be black & white? I'm not saying LibreOffice is wrong or their contributors are confused or ignorant. I'm just saying it does not match my preferences.

You ask about a "contingency plan". Sorry, but LibreOffice does not enter into my strategic planning. Microsoft and Google do. LibreOffice specifically, and the Linux desktop in the broader sense, is a round-off error in today's market. I'm looking forward, not watching past trends recede in my rear-view mirror. Niche markets are not really of interest to me personally. But if they bring pleasure to you or others, then great for you. Your having fun with LibreOffice does no harm to my plans.

You're welcome to your "50 reasons against Apache OpenOffice" blog post, for what joy that brings you. I'll just need to cry myself to bed with the consolation that I have 50 million good reasons to the contrary.

Unfortunately for both of us, and although it has been entertaining, it doesn't really make sense for me to discuss with you further the topic of ending the fork, since you have absolutely no influence in that regard, not being a member of either project and not having anything to offer. Those who do already know how to contact me.

I'll leave you with the opportunity for the last word on the topic, so you can repeat for the 4th or 5th time today your assertion that anyone who disagrees with you is confused or ignorant.

Regards, etc.

My main problem with OpenOffice is the brand

Posted May 13, 2013 1:40 UTC (Mon) by keithcu (guest, #58738) [Link]


It isn't that your analogies don't make sense to me, it is that they don't apply, and furthermore contradict your own statements on the matter where you suggest the fork should end.

You used to be shopping around an analogy about spaghetti sauce, and it is also flawed as I wrote about here:

So now you've switched to new ones, which also are invalid. Eventually, hopefully, you'll run out of incorrect analogies. Don't worry about what I think, you've got contradictions to resolve and I suggest you spend some time working on them.

I agree that sometimes it makes sense to create a fork in software, but not this time. That is why you are confused.

The point of this contingency plan is if one day you notice that you don't have a healthy volunteer community around your software, you are squandering the OpenOffice brand because you can't legally take changes created by the larger outside community, etc. and when you add up all the new data you are seeing, it is clear you need to do something different. It is for scenarios like this you would make a contingency plan. This is about looking forward.

I can tell you've not bothered to make one in case your community of volunteer developers, etc. dies. You should have made this contingency plan along with your original plan. Maybe it never will reach the point where you should execute it, or maybe it already has, but you should have one.

None of your 50 million downloads disproves any of those 50 reasons. All it demonstrates is that you inherited a valuable brand. That is why I bother to reply to you.

Why should 50 million downloads give you any reason to feel good about your decision to fork? It seems you don't know the difference between inheriting $50M versus earning it. You are confused here also.

BTW, LibreOffice is a niche percent of market currently, but it has some very important things: a better codebase and community. You should not be simplistic and look at LibreOffice's marketshare, but other aspects as well.

You were talking with me about things such as whether to end the fork. That is a hypothetical discussion you can have with anyone. If you actually wanted to end the fork, then you'd have to go talk to other people to arrange the details. But if you say you don't want to talk about the fork with me because I have no power, that is a half-truth because you could discuss many aspects with anyone as much as you wanted. And it could even be useful to you because you can't do something better until you realize why you would want to.

I never said that *anyone* who disagrees with me is confused or ignorant. Your attack is a half-truth at best. There are confused and ignorant people regarding this fork. You are the source of much of it with all of your disinformation like your spaghetti sauce analogy.

My main problem with OpenOffice is the brand

Posted May 13, 2013 6:59 UTC (Mon) by spaetz (subscriber, #32870) [Link]

Dear Keith,

could you just let it rest here, please? I don't want to add you to my spam filter, but the whole childish he-said-she-said is quite annoying and tiresome (independent of who is right).

Sometimes it is sufficient to let things just rest the way it is. There is enough back-and-forth so that everyone can form their own opinion by now.


My main problem with OpenOffice is the brand

Posted May 13, 2013 8:37 UTC (Mon) by keithcu (guest, #58738) [Link]

Dear Spaetz,

You needn't have said anything, Rob was done and I had written my last response. I'm sorry if you found the discussion annoying, feel free not to read every comment in a discussion between other people.

It is important that people not be tiresome, but it is also important for the free software community not to shoot itself in the face. Such as to build up a brand and then create legal structures which ensure it will wither away.

I did repeat myself, but in general, I kept writing because there were new points to make. For example, Rob wrote in his last post he ignores LibreOffice because of its small marketshare. He made what I believe were numerous incorrect statements in every post. If you want to complain about how the discussion kept going on, you should talk to him. I also have plenty of other things to do in my life than read that I've been called crazy and more in a public forum by an IBM employee. You can complain about my writing, but I endured plenty of abuse while making it.

My main problem with OpenOffice is the brand

Posted May 13, 2013 21:44 UTC (Mon) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

And as the guy who actually wrote the licencing guff that appears on the LO contributor web site, why did I carefully write it to make it EASY for LO contributors to use the Apache licence if they so chose?

Okay, it's not LO policy that they should, but if contributors want to, it's easy.

And as a coder who is hoping to contribute a major feature, I *might* add the Apache licence precisely to avoid a fork. I might not, I'm a copyleft guy, so we'll see.

But I won't be mistaken - it will be a deliberate intent to avoid forking!


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