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So I'm sitting here updating packages on my system (I have to do it semi-manually so I don't accidentally update any kde apps to kde4) and I finally get down to OpenOffice.
All the other OO.o packages updated easily, but when I checked the openoffice.org-help-en-us package synaptic suddenly told me it needs to install more than a dozen other new package dependencies, mostly related to java (particularly libgcj).
WTF?? Why do I need 57 megabytes of new packages just for the documentation? Besides, I'm just upgrading an existing package here, it's not like it ever needed them before.
No way am I going to install all that. Somebody needs a good boot-ta-tha-head.
[Putting this in general 'cause I'm mostly just ranting. I don't really expect any help. But if anyone does know anything about it, I'd be happy to hear it.]
I think all my updates combined increased the total size of my installation by 200MB+. Still, if the bloat adds features I'm not too concerned. I can afford the space.
But this one isn't just your standard bloat. This is, AFAICT, a completely unnecessary dependency requirement. Why should I need a dozen gcj libraries for the documentation package, but not for any of the other modules? Particularly since I already have Sun java installed. Shouldn't OO.o be able to use whatever java is available?
There was even a time when I wss able to use OO without java. Sure it would still complain that java wasn't there, but non of the functionality that I needed was affected. Not so anymore it seems.
I also don't understand why software seems to depend on even more useless additions that seem to have no real bearing on it's original intentional use. This behavior seems somewhat familiar, to another type of OS... Hrmm..
For the code to live, grow and improve, to encourage participation and compete with the other office suite - we need sensible licensing: ie. weak copy-left. While in general we think LGPLv3 is a great & sufficient license for our code, others eg. Sun & IBM appear reluctant to include LGPL code into their products, and prefer other licenses such as the CDDL (a weak copy-left derived from Mozilla's MPL).
its still better then MS Office 2k7. i am doing some testing with win7 v linux installs including installing and updating an office suite. for win7 i am using MS office 2k7. the install (enterprise) is 570M compressed and that expands to slightly over 2G uncompressed. then SP2 is 290M download that adds an additional 1G plus an additional 50M of patches bring the total space on the HDD for MS Office 2k7 to roughly 4G of space. Hell i have games that are smaller then that now.
So yes OOo has several java packages it adds for functionality but in all the total footprint of OOo v MS Office 2k7 is night and day. considering the functionality of the 2 is near the same with OOo being IMHO easier to figure out then the new GUI of MS Office 2k7. That just hides and places basic functions in out of the way locations that are next to impossible to find without digging around for much longer then should be required.
Gcj librarires are there to help you with help documentation because lot's of features depends on them, like searching, GUI etc. That's why you didn't need them for the other modules, as you said.
Yes, I know it's not just the documents themselves, but also the browser system that goes with it. But that doesn't make this excusable.
1) A simple search and browse documentation system shouldn't need 50MB+ of bloat just to operate.
2) I could possibly accept that 50MB+ of bloat if other parts of the program depended on it as well, but there should be no need to install a separate java engine just to operate a single sub-system of a single program (yes, there are other parts of OO.o that use java too, but I don't see them demanding that I install all this).
3) So the licenses aren't compatible (even though Sun's java is GPL). Even if you can't embed your own, can't you just build a bridging system of some kind to make external calls to whatever JRE is available?
4) Or better yet, why not avoid using java entirely? There are other ways to build in search and browse functionality. It's just a help browser, fer goodness sake! It's not like this is cutting-edge technology that requires features only java can provide. OpenOffice is primarily written in C++, a solid, well-performing programming language. So what's wrong with writing the help system in C++ also?
5) And finally, why now? I've had OO.o installed on this system for 7-8 years now, and it's never required all this before. What's changed recently to make it necessary?
Well, I'm sorry, but I'm not OO developer and I can't tell you why they are using Java and why it's not all written in C++, but I believe they want to make OO the best it can be and since I'm not an expert in Java, C++ or any other programming language, I can't say which one would've been better for something in their project, I can only respect their choice of programming languages used in their project.
That said, if they needed 50+ MB of code to build something in the way they thought it's the best, well I as (only) a user can't blame them for that.
It looks like you have some ideas to make the project better. Well, if you think and feel that you can and should make it better, all the doors are open for you.
I would like to quote one more thing from the OO web site;
OpenOffice.org 3 is the result of over twenty years' software engineering. Designed from the start as a single piece of software, it has a consistency other products cannot match. A completely open development process means that anyone can report bugs, request new features, or enhance the software.