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From Kevin Grignon <>
Subject Re: Next steps for Symphony and AOO
Date Tue, 12 Jun 2012 04:03:16 GMT
KG01 - See comments inline.

On Tuesday, June 12, 2012, Dennis E. Hamilton wrote:that the challenge
before us is to find the best possible
> Predictably, I prefer approach I on first principles:
> Never derail the train that's running.
> From that perspective, there's all of this:
>  - All of the developers and many testers and others know
>   how to build AOO 3.4.0 including people who are working
>   from the source tarball and the folks working on LibreOffice
>   and other co-dependents as well
>  - the current community includes those who build special
>   distros (of OOo and LO), provide QA that serves all of us,
>   etc.
>  - There is still IP clearance to be done on the Symphony
>   contribution bits and that can be worked through selectively
>   as staging of features/fixes before merging to the SVN trunk.
>  - Alignment of the symphony code can be done off-trunk with
>   merging of selected features and fixes on an iterative basis
>   accompanied by testing of various kinds and localized attention
>   to build breakers and other potential regressions.
>  - There is an abundance of bug reports and analysis based on
>   the current lineage.
>  - All of the documentation, forum contributions, MediaWiki
>   and user lists are currently oriented around the OOo-lineage
>   and they need to be morphed in a progressive way, not a sudden
>   switch.
>  - Users and others may like new features but for many sudden
>   switches are unsettling
>  - Plan II could end up with us having to maintain OOo-lineage releases
>   and Symphony-merged releases concurrently.  That is a frightening
>   prospect.  It is like forking ourselves and maintaining both forks.
>  - Then there's the localizations, etc. that would crash against the
>   forked support, etc.
> Dennis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rob Weir [ <javascript:;>]
> Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 18:08
> To: <javascript:;>
> Subject: Next steps for Symphony and AOO
> As we wait [0] for the Symphony [1] code to be loaded into Subversion
> I think it would be good to start a discussion on "next steps" of how
> we can make best use of this contribution.
> Hopefully you've had time to review the list of features on the wiki
> [2], install one of the binaries [3] , or maybe even download the
> source [4] and try to build it [5].
> As will see by your examination, the Symphony code base has co-evolved
> with for several years now, and continued to co-evolve
> with Apache OpenOffice even recently.  Symphony has many features and
> bug fixes that AOO lacks.  And there are areas where Symphony is
> missing enhancements or bug fixes that are in OpenOffice.
> Our challenge is to find the best way to bring these two code bases
> together, to make the best product.

KG01 - While I appreciate that merge/migration presents a host of
challenges and opportunities from an implementation and support
perspective, I'll defer to the community to assess the technical
dimensions. I do, however, have an opinion on the design direction of the
offering moving forward. I don't see one product as better than the other.
Rather, they are different. Each has strengths which could be emulated, and
each have opportunties for improvement. Diversity presents opportunity. If
design is choice, then we have two great products as sources of user
experience design patterns. The best possible user experience would
ultimately be the outcome of migrating and merging the best user experience
elements from each of the offerings into a new code base. Features found in
one offering, but not the other, present migration opportunities. Features
found in both offerings, present an opportunity to merge the user
experience. As Rob noted, our challenge is to determine how we choose the
best user experience, then establish a roadmap to deliver the best user
experience possible for our users. The AOO UX wiki [1] contains a user
experience-oriented assessment of the Symphony contribution. Visit the AOO
UX wiki to learn more about UX migration/merge candidates, and review key
feature analysis. The intended outcome of the UX-oriented assessment
activity is to form a prioritized, actionable backlog of user experience
opportunities to drive informed design and development decisions. Please
note, this UX-oriented assessment is an living, ongoing activity, and all
are welcome to contribute to these work products.


> I think there are two main approaches to this problem:
> I.  Merge code, from Symphony, feature by feature, into AOO, in a
> prioritized order.  This is the "slow" approach, since it would take
> (by the estimates I've seen) a couple of years to bring all of the
> Symphony enhancements and bug fixes over to AOO.
> II.  Use Symphony as the the new base, and merge (over time) AOO (and
> OOo) enhancements and bug fixes into the new trunk.  This approach
> quickly gives a new UI, something we could fairly call Apache
> OpenOffice 4.0.  But this approach would also give us some short-term
> pain.   For example, those involved in porting AOO 3.4 would need to
> merge their patches into the new trunk.   We'd need to update license
> headers again.  Help files and translation are done differently in
> Symphony, and so on.
> Looked at another way, option I is a slow, but easy path.  Option II
> is a leap forward, but will be initially more work and disruption.
> Evolution versus Revolution.
> So let's discuss.  Please ask questions about the pro's and con's of
> each approach.  The code and binaries are all posted, and my IBM
> colleagues in Beijing are happy to answer your questions.
> Regards,
> -Rob
> [0]
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]
> [4]
> [5]

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