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09.30.10

KDE Still Does Not Support LibreOffice

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, KDE, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle, Standard at 12:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

KOffice Logo

Summary: A polite call for KDE to put its weight behind LibreOffice

“LibreOffice and the Document Foundation are for sure a hot topic today here at OWF,” wrote Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer this morning.

This is an important cause at this particular stage, primarily because of Oracle. The goal it to override OpenOffice.org (notice how it came from proprietary StarOffice to dual with OpenOffice.org and now all the way to freedom with LibreOffice).

LibreOffice boasts a growing list of supporters (growing as we speak), but KDE has not yet been added to this list. GNOME has been there for several weeks (based on information Techrights received in advance [1, 2]), so we can only assume that KDE was approached for support and declined.

“[W]hy does the steering committee and founding member list have only two developers?”
      –Aaron Seigo, Plasma developer
Aaron Seigo, one of the most prominent voices from KDE, has voiced his opinion in Identi.ca by writing: “best of luck to Libre Office, as Oracle’s ship of F/OSS sinks faster and faster … though somehow i doubt they care… though i have to say .. “Document Foundation”? really? contender for “Poor Foundation Name Of The Year”, subcategory “Vague and Misleading”… and why does the steering committee and founding member list have only two developers? (inc one guy who worked on the KDE integration)… are there really that few developers left, or are the local(ization) teams for OO.o the managerially savvy ones?”

For reasons we explained this morning, Oracle is not a safe company to trust. Can KDE explain why it has not added itself to the list of supporters, or at least not yet? Might it be because the KOffice team collaborates with OpenOffice.org on some code?

Interestingly enough, 2 years ago we mentioned "LibreOffice" based on this post (“It is time we had a ‘LibreOffice’”).

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9 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    September 30, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Gravatar

    What “support” should KDE provide? KDE implements ODF, isn’t that all we should ask of them? Libre Office people are welcome, I’m sure, to use, modify and share QT and KDE tools if they like. Standards and freedom that make free software work. If Libre Office is free software, it will do well.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Some people do require more than KOffice can deliver. Remember that GNOME too has an rudimentary office suite.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    s/an/a/

    twitter Reply:

    This does not place KDE is a position to “support” Libre Office. It is appropriate for distributions to say they will carry Libre Office, for Gnome to help with their tool kit and language support and for the FSF to judge the freedom and intent of the project. Besides adhering the same standards, I don’t see what KDE can or should do.

    Oh now look what you have done! I use Open Office every day and am happy that it liberated the legacy Microsoft documents that came with my job. Now, I had to ask myself why I don’t use KOffice, Gnumeric or even Abiword. The whole point of liberating these documents was to give myself the choice of using those relatively lightweight tools. It seems that even the 3.5 branch of KDE gives acceptable formatting from OO converted documents. It’s not perfect, but that is probably due to the document’s perverse, Microsoft origin. With a little work, those problems will be fixed.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    This ongoing debate led to some of the top people in the ODF TC say:

    “well, perhaps #kde users prefer #koffice ? :-) anyway, the more #odf implementations (free and commercial) the better :-)” -Bart Hanssens

    “I could argue that either way. More choice is good. But getting critical mass on a project is good also. Can we have both?” -Rob Weir

    I take Weir’s side but also accept Hanssens’ which is why I mentioned KOffice.

    Pete Daniels Reply:

    “Some people do require more than KOffice can deliver. Remember that GNOME too has an rudimentary office suite.”

    That’s not fair on either side. KDE’s office suite is no way rudimentary. It’s certainly not at the level of spit-shine that OOo/LibreOffice is, and I wouldn’t claim otherwise, but it is just as certainly the #2 office suite in the free world. For cryin’ out loud, KOffice predates OOo by almost five years. They’ve been around.

    And to call what Gnome has a “suite” is misleading. Abiword and Gnumeric are individually fantastic and lightweight programs, and I don’t have a bad word to say about either of them, but they’re not a suite.

    I was going to address your general point seperately, but I feel like I already have. KDE has a mature office suite built on their native technologies, representing an investment of more than a decade’s worth of work. There’s no other group in the free software world that can say anything like that, so it makes sense for Canonical, the Gnome foundation, et al, to throw their weight behind the liberation of the de facto standard, OOo/LibreOffice. KDE doesn’t really stand to gain much of anything from that.

    So with my obligatory defense of KDE out of the way, let me say that I’m really excited about LibreOffice, and I really hope this move breathes new life and enthusiasm into the project. This could be pretty cool.

    best wishes,
    p.daniels

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’ll have to admit I didn’t know KOffice goes so far back. I’ve been a KOffice user since 2003 (Abiword before that).

  2. cyrille said,

    October 1, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Gravatar

    “Might it be because the KOffice team collaborates with OpenOffice.org on some code?”

    I find this comment very insultive, and out of line. We collaborate with every open source project, we will collaborate with the same respect with OpenOffice.org and with LibreOffice, or Abiword, or Gnumeric.

    And if you want an answer to your question, I suggest to contact the KDE ev directly on the subject http://ev.kde.org/contact.php (instead of using a blog where you have to register to answer).

    Personnaly, I have yet to see a reason why KDEev should be listed as a supporter of a software that does not use KDE technologies, its goal is not the defense and promotion of Free Software (for this, we have the FSF), it is the defense and promotion of Free Software using KDE technologies. Since LibreOffice does not qualify, there is no reason to be listed.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I was thinking though, what about Qt integration? The intention was not to insult at all. It’s just that KDE seemed a little absent from the list, which raised questions.

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