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Java Developer Says He Built, Launched Basic Open Source Office Suite In 30 Days

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the quick-and-dirty dept.

Software 266

alphadogg writes "A freelance Java developer claims it took him only 30 days to build and launch a basic open source office suite that runs on multiple OSes. Called Joeffice, it works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux as well as in browsers, according to the developer, Anthony Goubard. It includes a very basic word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program and database software, Goubard said. The office suite was built with NetBeans and uses many popular open source Java libraries. That allowed him to built the program in 30 days, he said, a process that he documented daily on YouTube (video). The suite was released as an alpha version, which means that not everything works yet. Goubard's Amsterdam company, Japplis, launched the suite, which is available under an Apache 2.0 license. This license allows companies to change and redistribute the code internally without having to share the new code publicly, he said."

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In Java? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826227)

But, he coded it in Java? Nooooooooo

Redistributing the code internally (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826231)

Actually if he had bothered to read the GPL he would have notice that it too allows internal redistribution.

Re:Redistributing the code internally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826293)

Actually if he had bothered to read the GPL he would have notice that it too allows internal redistribution.

What makes you think he didn't read it?

Re:Redistributing the code internally (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826363)

Not GP here, but the fact that he specifically points out the advantage of the APL as "being able to distribute internally" strongly implies that he is unaware of the fact that the vast majority FOSS licenses allows this.

Re:Redistributing the code internally (5, Informative)

abies (607076) | about a year ago | (#43826415)

I assure you that not many companies allow you to touch anything GPL even with 10-foot pole. I work for big company (150k+ employees) and there is a blank ban on touching any GPL code ever for internal development.
Internal redistribution or not, there is always a chance that you may want to give some variation of the software to client/subsidiary company/whatever - and opening source at this moment (which might be linked to some in-house prioprietary libraries in meantime) is just not worth the effort.

GPL and Redistributing the code internally and FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826477)

Yes, too observe a lot of this kind of FUD. When I ask specific questions it turns out that actual knowledge is more-than-fuzzy.

The whole thing is usually handled quite opportunistically, GNU/Linux deployments don't seem to be a problem, despite the kernel's and GNU libc's (and a ton of other userspace thing's) licenses.

Where does that stupidity stem from? I'd like to know.

Re:GPL and Redistributing the code internally and (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826487)

Where does that stupidity stem from? I'd like to know.

The Open Source community. Apart from the enlightened few, it's long on zealots and short on knowledge

Re:GPL and Redistributing the code internally and (4, Insightful)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43826843)

There ain't too many zealots that follow ESR. If you were talking about RMS, he'd take umbrage at your referring to his followers as the 'Open Source' community. Liberated software, or as they prefer it, libre-software, is more like it.

To answer the GP, part of the reason is around GPL3. Linux is well understood to be GPL2, so while GPL2 was the norm, it wasn't a major showstopper. But once GPL3 came along, w/ its patent termination clauses, its 'anti-Tivoization' clauses and so on, it was rightly perceived as being hostile to business. So guess what, businesses became more hostile to it. Also, enough lawyers have come to a consensus that using GPL3 would open a can of worms as far as company practices go, and hence the ban on GPL software in offices.

Abies above hit the nail right on the head. There is always a chance that one may want to give some variation of the software to a client/subsidiary, and that's where the differences b/w copyleft licenses and others kick in. With BSD, they wouldn't need to bother about any implied obligations incurred as a result of the redistribution. With GPL, they absolutely would. The reason not too many worry about Linux is that not many, aside from say router designers would worry about tampering w/ that code. But any application software that is GPL is another story altogether.

Re:GPL and Redistributing the code internally and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826857)

> > Where does that stupidity stem from? I'd like to know.

> The Open Source community. Apart from the enlightened few, it's long on zealots and short on knowledge

Not convinced. Last time I asked someone (a company working for my company as a sub-contractor) they quoted "some attorney" who prepared a talk on that topic for them. Hardly any "Open Source community zealot". I asked for more details -- I'll keep pursuing that.

Re:GPL and Redistributing the code internally and (5, Insightful)

socode (703891) | about a year ago | (#43826915)

It's quite simple really.

1) FSF's position on dynamic linking is retarded
2) A large corporation consists of multiple legal entities. It's not difficult to trigger "distribution".
3) If any "distribution" doesn't abide by the terms of the GPL, even when to a wholly-owned subsidiary, the organization could lose all rights under the GPL.
4) Therefore it may have to "include" source code for an entire application + vendor libraries
5) It literally won't be able to, since it may not own all of them, or some may be extremely commercially sensitive.
6) an individual developer, manager or department head can't just decide to commit a large corporation - that's why they have legal
7) Whatever a dev know about licenses won't accurately transmit to legal anyway
8) None of this stuff has been tested in court. "Making sense" or "I think" isn't enough.

Linux won't count for primarily three reasons
9) vendor distributions - if there's a problem with closed source binary drivers, practically speaking they'd have to take out Oracle, RH, SUSE first
10) the GPL specifically excludes use of e.g. common OS APIs in dynamic linking, so applications a firm distributes internally can stay closed, as long as they don't add anything GPL that is NOT part of the OS
11) There's probably nothing of real value that they add to e.g. Linux anyway. Do you want to see thousands of poxy scripts added to configure up the HTTP proxy and new hostname generation in every large enterprise?

Re:Redistributing the code internally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826603)

> I assure you that not many companies allow you to touch anything GPL even with 10-foot pole. I work for big company [...]

I'm afraid your point-of-view is biased. The "never touch GPL" rule is much more likely to occur with big companies than smaller ones. Big companies are clumsy, and the decision about using GPL'ed software must likely be made by someone who is too disconnected from the differences between use/extend/link to, and the differences between use/distribute internally/distribute externally. Smaller companies are much more likely to just gather the relevant people and make a more informed decision.

If an anecdote were in fact relevant, I'd say that I work for a small company that has absolutely no problem with using GPL'ed software, and even linking to it since we're mostly doing SAAS and not distributing code.

Re:Redistributing the code internally (1)

turgid (580780) | about a year ago | (#43826625)

Completely true. I used to work for a very large company of > 150k employees who decreed that we wouldn't be allowed to touch certain types of Open Source software with a 10-foot pole, completely missing the fact that their entire line of copier products was based on Linux...

There was a complete disconnect between the PHB-side of the business and R,D&E.

Re:Redistributing the code internally (3, Interesting)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year ago | (#43826701)

Completely true. I used to work for a very large company of > 150k employees who decreed that we wouldn't be allowed to touch certain types of Open Source software with a 10-foot pole, completely missing the fact that their entire line of copier products was based on Linux...

There was a complete disconnect between the PHB-side of the business and R,D&E.

Not really - the code running the copier was pretty much useless without the copier; and few companies have the manufacturing ability to build copiers. Releasing the code isn't going to impact them competitively so it makes sense to use GPL'd code if it works and is cheaper than rolling your own. On the other hand, using GPL'd code in a stand alone document management system that runs on someone else's widely available hardware would not make sense; because any competitor could then resell your code without the investment in developing it and potentially undercut your pricing.

Re:Redistributing the code internally (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year ago | (#43826695)

> I assure you that not many companies allow you to touch anything GPL even with 10-foot pole. I work for big company [...]

I'm afraid your point-of-view is biased. The "never touch GPL" rule is much more likely to occur with big companies than smaller ones. Big companies are clumsy, and the decision about using GPL'ed software must likely be made by someone who is too disconnected from the differences between use/extend/link to, and the differences between use/distribute internally/distribute externally. Smaller companies are much more likely to just gather the relevant people and make a more informed decision.

Big company decision making can be cumbersome and it's often easier to say no than yes. However, they are likely not looking at the technical aspects but potential liability. They don't want to accidentally get into a situation where some proprietary product potentially becomes subject to he GPL because some coder added a few lines of GLP'd code. It's easier and less risky to simply ban the use of GPL'd code and pay to develop or license code that doesn't expose them to such a risk.

If an anecdote were in fact relevant, I'd say that I work for a small company that has absolutely no problem with using GPL'ed software, and even linking to it since we're mostly doing SAAS and not distributing code.

That is a different model - the code is not what you sell, it's the service. A company can ban GPL'd code in products while using it to run servers or in other applications where the value is not in the code but what it does and how the company provides the service.

Re:Redistributing the code internally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826697)

Well, if you do "internal development" for "a company," you are exactly the sort of enemy the GPL is intended to fight against.
From the OSS point of view, development is not supposed to be kept internal to a company. It is supposed to be released.

Re:Redistributing the code internally (1)

socode (703891) | about a year ago | (#43827005)

That is complete and utter rubbish, since most software development activity is precisely this, and the GNU FAQs explicitly address it.

Re:Redistributing the code internally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827119)

Right, the risk is just too high for most everyone. Its either BSD licensed ( or similar ) or we can't touch the code. We might be able to use a GPL app, but not touch code.

Sad really as, a lot of great stuff is out there we just have to pass on and 'reinvent' in-house.

Re:Redistributing the code internally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826473)

Actually if he had bothered to read the GPL he would have notice that it too allows internal redistribution.

Speaking of licenses, it might be interesting to check the license on the libraries, he's using.

It doesn't sound like he checked any of those before he just slapped the Apache 2.0 license on the code.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826237)

I built a video game in 48 hours. Well ok it is not a AAA title. It is a tron clone. But who cares, lets just not precise this and everybody will think that I rewrote Crysis 3.

Re:So what? (2)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43826279)

I built a video game in 48 hours. Well ok it is not a AAA title. It is a tron clone. But who cares, lets just not precise this and everybody will think that I rewrote Crysis 3.

Crysis 3 played like it was written in 48 hours.

Re: So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826959)

It certainly didnt look like it though.

Sills will be all over this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826239)

Let me guess, Java vulns, not as good as MSOffice, all the usual crap.

Re:Sills will be all over this. (4, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43826291)

What? You say that an application developed in 30 days is not as good as one developed in 30 years? Heretic!

Re:Sills will be all over this. (2, Insightful)

sosume (680416) | about a year ago | (#43826333)

This, so much this.The question is not 'can you build an Office suite in 30 days', the question is, how much functionality can you deliver in 30 days, keeping it consistent, extensible and maintainable? Surely, I can build "Photoshop" in 30 days, even make it look the same. But will it be valuable software and an improvement over previous iterations? Deploy this kind of software in a large organization and watch hell unleash. This article says more about the ego of the developer.

Re:Sills will be all over this. (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#43826491)

I can sit down and blend Word, Excel, Access, even PowerPointless, using VBA. I have yet to enjoy success doing any macro coding with OO or ilk. And, yeah, I could hack the Java straight away, but, ugh.

Re:Sills will be all over this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826545)

I've written macros extensively for OO and its "ilk", including an extension publicly released and used by others. I'd say that you have not enjoyed success doing any macro coding with OO says more about you than it says about OO.

And this is coming from someone who's done enough coding for OO to come to the realization that OO was designed by a finite amount of monkeys given finite time on typewriters that were not fully functional. That is, terribly designed, with arbitrary limitations here and there, and the constant need for workarounds. If I taught a software development class OO would be my go-to example for how to NOT design an API.

Re:Sills will be all over this. (5, Insightful)

CdBee (742846) | about a year ago | (#43826341)

Office was got as near as possible to perfection in about 17 years then they spent 13 years making it worse and worse. The current version is only slightly preferable to being buggered with a cactus

Re:Sills will be all over this. (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43826359)

Quite an analogy, no pun intended. I think everyone needs to realise that some things reach a peak of maximum functionality and then can't be improved upon no matter how much you want/need to sell the next generation office suite. Business requirements are usually standardised, unchanging, and not terribly exotic. Fix bugs, speed the code up, add functions if really required, that's it.

Re:Sills will be all over this. (4, Funny)

greg1104 (461138) | about a year ago | (#43826475)

The current version is only slightly preferable to being buggered with a cactus

They call that a ribbon now.

Re:Sills will be all over this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826645)

hmm i'm still using office 2003, is this a common thing?

Re:Sills will be all over this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827117)

yep, you're not the only one, and I know a lot of other people still using it....

2010 looks quiet beautiful, but paying a few 100 dollars for such a thing? And getting those terrible ribbons, on thank you... 2003 works fine. It works even finer than openoffice/libreoffice...

Re:Sills will be all over this. (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43826319)

Time for the car analogy, not as reliable as a Porsche or as good looking as a Ferrari nor the space of a Bentley, I need to get my groceries but this must be crap.

Re:Sills will be all over this. (1)

Grashnak (1003791) | about a year ago | (#43826379)

Time for the car analogy, not as reliable as a Porsche or as good looking as a Ferrari nor the space of a Bentley, I need to get my groceries but this must be crap.

And the first time you take it up over 50 the transmission is going to seize up.

But it's java (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826243)

So on top of the limited functionality mentioned it is going to be about 10 times heavier than anything written in C and 10 times slower. It will also breath fire and eat your children.

Re:But it's java (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#43826665)

It will also breath fire and eat your children.

That would be awesome. My one year old just spent the night screaming. I'd code a dragon to eat her if I could... Sadly this cannot be done in C.

Built with Netbeans (5, Funny)

digitaltraveller (167469) | about a year ago | (#43826253)

That's proof he is lying. Even the developer's of netbeans don't use netbeans.

Re:Built with Netbeans (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826285)

I use Netbeans during my BDSM sessions.

Dress her up a little in a latex theme and jump straight in to it.

Re:Built with Netbeans (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43826457)

They are termed document classes in LaTeX, not themes.

Re:Built with Netbeans (5, Funny)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year ago | (#43826297)

No, he says he used Netbeans to justify the 30 days. Otherwise the whole development process would have taken only 15.

Re:Built with Netbeans (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826351)

The suite was released as an alpha version, which means that not everything works yet.

He is lying about the 30 days. That last 5% takes 95% of the project time, so he'll be looking at 300 days to be finished.

Re:Built with Netbeans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826361)

doh. math fail. i meant to say 600 days

Re:Built with Netbeans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826443)

doh. math fail. i meant to say 600 days

Still not right. 600 days would be the full project time, but since he already spend 30 days, he only has 570 days left to finish the program.

Re:Built with Netbeans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826653)

So you're saying he's spent 0 days so far?

Re:Built with Netbeans (1)

rve (4436) | about a year ago | (#43826541)

Netbeans is great if what you want to do is develop applets and desktop applications in Java.

That's just not what 90% (educated guess) of Java developers are doing.

Re:Built with Netbeans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827027)

Do they use extra apostrophes?

30 days? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826255)

It took him a whole 30 days? Facebook was releaed in just two weeks.

Re:30 days? (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43826299)

That's because Facebook wasn't written in Java. ;-)

nice one ... (1)

armandoxxx (2484940) | about a year ago | (#43826271)

respect on my behalf !

Another Open Source office suite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826327)

...another crap name.

Here's my office suit, written in 3 minutes in C (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826357)

#include
void main() {
  printf("Basic office suite\n");
}

As you can see, it was possible to program this office suite so quickly because I used libraries. Note: this is an alpha release and some features aren't finished yet.

Re:Here's my office suit, written in 3 minutes in (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826405)

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
int main() {
  printf("Basic office suite\n");
  exit(EXIT_SUCCESS);
}

Thanks FSM for Free Software, otherwise I couldn't have fixed your bugs.

As you can see, it was possible to program this office suite so quickly because I used libraries. Note: this is an alpha release and some features aren't finished yet.

Can I join the developer team? Hopefully we can finish the program quicker, if we double the dev.-team.

Re:Here's my office suit, written in 3 minutes in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826519)

Calling exit instead of returning is just about the funniest thing I've seen in code lately, especially considering the fact that you forgot the params (int argc, char **argv). Thank you for this. I was amused.

Re:Here's my office suit, written in 3 minutes in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826825)

Calling exit instead of returning is just about the funniest thing I've seen in code lately, especially considering the fact that you forgot the params (int argc, char **argv). Thank you for this. I was amused.

No arguments were forgotten, main is allowed to take 0, 2 or 3 arguments (the third one would be char **envp).

Re:Here's my office suit, written in 3 minutes in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826667)


#include <cstdio>
#include <cstdint>
int32_t main()
{
    std::printf("Basic office suite\n");
    return 0;
}

Re:Here's my office suit, written in 3 minutes in (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43826463)

You needed 3 minutes to write that code?

Re:Here's my office suit, written in 3 minutes in (1)

someones (2687911) | about a year ago | (#43826543)

mod parent up!

Re:Here's my office suit, written in 3 minutes in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826819)

He's using autotools to build it.

Re:Here's my office suit, written in 3 minutes in (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43826999)

He is considered the fastest chizzler in his circles, uses a bleeding stone age technology, applying appropriate amount of force by his mallet to his chisel to carve the zeros and ones into a stone tablet and then run it through a special punch card reader to produce C code. Wait, that's not chizzler, that's wanker. He wanks the chizzle, not the chisel.

Re:Here's my office suit, written in 3 minutes in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826681)

should've used entities

Re:Here's my office suit, written in 3 minutes in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826961)

It uses Java, I'm pretty certain, there's at least one 0-day exploit for every line of code written there.

I knew Java was slow, but seriously! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826365)

A freelance Java developer claims it took him only 30 days to build ... an alpha version, which means that not everything works yet.

Big fucking deal! I can do that in 5 seconds...

How does he mean it with the license? (1)

devent (1627873) | about a year ago | (#43826371)

Nice work,

but any Open Source license allowing "companies to change and redistribute the code internally without having to share the new code publicly, he said." Even the GPL is allowing companies to change and redistribute the code internally.

But maybe his definition of "internally" and "publicly" is different then mine?

Re:How does he mean it with the license? (3, Informative)

drolli (522659) | about a year ago | (#43826643)

No, its just usual to have even good developers licensing somtheing under a license without having read and understood these or other licenses.

The top misunderstanding is actually the one about the GPL mandatign you to publish the source code openly, which lies at the heart of the "Softwar as a service" problem.

To state that clearly: The only thing the GPL mandates is what you should give to the people to whom you give your software product. The GPL is designed for the freedom of the user (or customer), not the intellectual property protection of the programmer or as socialistic "software mus be open for everybody". If you distribute a product inside a company, the person you are distributing it to will have certain rights *as a part of the company*. However there is nothing wrong with a company rule which does not allow him to exercise these rights, like confidentiality agreements. Currently i am working for a company where the GPL is blacklisted due to that misunderstanding.

Re:How does he mean it with the license? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43826865)

Maybe what it means is that the company is allowed to restrict redistribution, which most open source licenses are not.

Nothing New (1, Funny)

Grashnak (1003791) | about a year ago | (#43826373)

EA has been putting less than 30 days of work into its titles for years. At least, that's how they feel.

He built an Alpha in 30 days (2)

otherniceman (180671) | about a year ago | (#43826375)

Claims to have built an office suite in 30 days, but it is only an alpha and not everything works. Well how much is not everything? It is just a bunch of nice splash screens?

Re:He built an Alpha in 30 days (2)

Mark Hood (1630) | about a year ago | (#43826391)

In other words, an unemployed Java coder spent a month working on something to get him publicity and hopefully hired....

Re: He built an Alpha in 30 days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826435)

There aren't a lot of unemployed java developers

Re: He built an Alpha in 30 days (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826565)

yep, most of them woke up and went and learnt another language.

Re:He built an Alpha in 30 days (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826461)

Yes, he did a very nice job of it. Why do coders have to be so jealous and dismissive of other people's knowledge/achievements?

I applaud the guy for taking sacrificing his time and energy on software that could have been a failure. By taking a risk, he's accomplished something impressive.

Re:He built an Alpha in 30 days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826531)

I'm going to guess that people aren't jealous so much as annoyed at the arrogance this type of person tends to have. People write useful utilities quite often but never publish because they don't think they're useful enough. Things much, much, *much* more useful than a "office suite" written in java of all things. And frankly, I don't blame them for being dismissive and annoyed. This guy hasn't done anything of note, and certainly not anything that merits a slashdot post.

Re:He built an Alpha in 30 days (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year ago | (#43826973)

Why do coders have to be so jealous and dismissive of other people's knowledge/achievements?

Because the rest of us don't get mentioned on NetworkWorld.com or Slashdot for working 30 days to create incomplete alpha software to solve a problem that has been solved by multiple free (speech and/or beer) and commercial software packages that actually are complete and work well.

Now do one in a language not riddled with exploits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826389)

Like... Rust!

Re:Now do one in a language not riddled with explo (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#43826631)

I was just thinking "Interesting, I'll download this just out of curiosity," then realised I'd uninstalled Java after warnings from practically every member of the software community....

Re:Now do one in a language not riddled with explo (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827137)

If you'd actually listen to those warnings, you'd realise they're against Java browser plugin, not JRE or Java itself.

30 Days? Really? (2)

hduff (570443) | about a year ago | (#43826399)

If you can get to 'alpha' stage in 30 days, how many years is that to a 1.0 release?

Sounds like a stunt to me (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year ago | (#43826439)

This dude is just trying to get himself attention and Slashdot is obliging. I mean for one, building an "office suite" is not necessarily impressive. All that office suite actually means is a program that does word processing, spreadsheets, maybe presentations. Well, there can be a great range in that. High end office suites, like Microsoft Office, do a whole lot of complex shit and do it well, and has a bunch of well built tools (like a spell checker and so on). However a crap office suite might do little more than you'd get out of Wordpad and SSS.

Then there's the fact that "alpha" has traditionally meant in software "feature incomplete, still under heavy development." These days given that beta often seems to mean that (it used to mean feature complete, working on bugs) alpha might mean "Well, it complies now and runs sometimes!"

It would not be very hard to set a rather low goal for what constitutes an "office suite," bash the basis of that out, and then call it an alpha. I can't try it, since I do not care to install Java on my system, but looking at the screen shots, it looks like he did precisely that. It looks exceedingly simple, largely using a bunch of the built in Java controls. That's fine and all, but I don't find that really that impressive for 30 days of work. Part of the point of managed languages like Java, C#, that kind of thing it to be able to bash together something basic pretty quick.

So ya, I'm voting that he's just publicity whoring. If he wants to call us back when 1.0 comes out, then I'll have a look. Maybe then it'll be something cool, but I kinda doubt it. Personally I'd stick to MS Office, Google Docs, Libre Office, or whatever your current preferred suite is.

Re:Sounds like a stunt to me (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about a year ago | (#43826551)

One might also add that he hasn't delved into the patentable/copyrightable regions by being at alpha. No doubt if you came up with a fully functional suite that did things that MS or IBM patented, you wouldn't be in business very long.

Re:Sounds like a "successful" stunt to me (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about a year ago | (#43826663)

He did make it to the front page of Slashdot, which is a pretty cool achievement unto itself. I've only made the front page for a meteor shower...

And I don't think it's "whoring", it's self promotion, and hugely successful, at least from the perspective of a developer (front page of Slashdot). Self promotion is how one gets ahead in the world, combined with development skills.

The .Net distributed caching layer I'm working on isn't as visible as an office suite, although it is more marketable in the corporate sphere (as you mention, there are plentiful office suites). And I don't blog or post YouTube videos. 30 days isn't a lot of time if you follow a strict coding standard, document well, run style and static code analysis, and unit test everything to death. Shoot, just setting up my build system took almost a week, and I followed the standard I use at my day job so it was mostly configuration rather than learning.

In my experience, 30 days is about a proper amount of time for a rapid prototype to let the business types see what is possible (before funding). That also includes 2-3 user experience tests per week, with constant refactoring based on better understanding functional requirements and in response to the user tests. Production code takes a considerable amount of additional time for any non-trivial system.

I say congratulations to the guy. And now I'm going to RTFA...

Re:Sounds like a stunt to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826757)

Part of the point of managed languages like Java, C#, that kind of thing it to be able to bash together something basic pretty quick.

Apparently you have never tried to build something in Java or C#.

Re:Sounds like a stunt to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826805)

High end office suites, like Microsoft Office, do a whole lot of complex shit and do it well, and has a bunch of well built tools (like a spell checker and so on).

I know what you're going for, and I agree with the sentiment, but saying Office is good is....

- LaTeX user was here

Re:Sounds like a stunt to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826985)

You know the sad part?
It's idiots like this that make programmers look bad.
Someone says "look! I've written this code in just xx days". What people don't mention, is that one, the code is crap, or two, the programmer has years, decades of experience he's used to build on.

Then again, that's marketing for you, all flash and little substance.

He didn't write an office suite in 30 days (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826403)

He assembled components together in 30 days. He can't get from those components to a competitive product, he would need to rewrite each of those netbeans to bring the functionality up to the level of the competitors in order to actually make an Office Suite.

But as a way to show off Java as a development environment that's good.

But a Microsoft guy could do the same, dropping in a load of stock rich text edits and grid controls to product a very similar quickly.

It took me only 30 seconds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826489)

to write this reply and go to the shitter laughing all the way at /. "news that matter to the nerds"!

Install Java 7 first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826493)

..and that is the problem. At least for me - I don't want java & flash & skype & windows & all the crap on my pc.

He didn't build it in 30 days. (3, Insightful)

unwesen (241906) | about a year ago | (#43826523)

"it took him only 30 days to build and launch a basic open source office" and "The suite was released as an alpha version" mean's he's got the 80 (visible) percent done that take 20 percent of the time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle [wikipedia.org]

I wish people wouldn't get headlines with this sort of claim. It helps push the entire profession towards cutting corner in order to under bid each other, which does not speak well for the quality of future software.

Speak instead of prototyping. That's much closer to the truth.

Re:He didn't build it in 30 days. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826947)

For anyone unfamiliar, Pareto is talking about general business and game theoretic concepts which happen to also apply to the programming world. I was going to post this exact same thing, mod unsween up! Adding in all the thousands of missing features which different subsets of people use in something as expansive as "office" software, fleshing out the bugs, and then MAINTAINING it -- these are the least fun parts of writing software and unfortunately the parts that take the most time.

So is it good? (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43826563)

Because end users won't give a damn about how much time did it take to build, or whether it's opensource. The only thing that matters to them is whether it's better than the existing ones.

Re:So is it good? (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year ago | (#43826591)

better... and compatible! Because are usually writing docs to be shared with other people. I doubt in 30 days he was able to make that possible, especially when you look at openoffice and how much it took them to make something really useable.

Re:So is it good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826615)

> The only thing that matters to them is whether it's better than the existing ones.

Glad you aren't setting the bar too high.

Re:So is it good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826867)

>Because end users won't give a damn about how much time did it take to build, or whether it's opensource.

I don't give a damn if it's good, only whether it's free software.*

* https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html [gnu.org]

He actually built it in one week. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#43826651)

Then it took 3 weeks to open the first hello world document.

Alpha version? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826723)

Hey guys, I'm not quite sure what an "alpha" version is. The summary doesn't adequately explain it.

And this is news? (2)

golodh (893453) | about a year ago | (#43826751)

Someone banging out a crappy alpha piece of code by sticking pre-fab functionality together and then billing it as 'office suite' ? Do we really want to know about this?

Even the article noted it doesn't work, being alpha code.

This is too much like all those crummy half-baked Kxxxx apps that come with KDE, and they're a huge waste of download time and disk-space too.

So can we just stop wasting our time with all this and ignore it until and unless there are some in-depth reviews that come up positive *and* that give a good reason to choose whatever this is over existing software?

Dismissing comments (4, Insightful)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | about a year ago | (#43826765)

Perhaps as an exercise if people think they can do better in other languages then by all means lets have a Slashdot "Office-A-Thon" of sorts to see who builds what in 30 days. Certainly beats sitting around a /. post grumbling at a guy who put some time and effort in his off time to do something and wither or not this is /. worthy.

Get your nerd on and lets see other people build something better in 30 days solo. Be nice if /. set aside a section that lets you see a summary of people's progress on that challenge.

Re:Dismissing comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827043)

You are totally missing the point. People aren't complaining because they think they can do better. They are complaining because 'creating a basic office suite at alpha level in 30 days' is a completely pointless benchmark. Especially when it includes strapping together components that provide major chunks of office suite GUI functionality (like a well-featured GRID control). This simply isn't news.

Why all the hate? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826853)

Sure, its not 'feature complete' yet, nor is he claiming it is. What the hell is with all the bashing? Lets see what *you* have done for the community lately, instead of complain and attack.. Put up or shut up.

who even benefits? (1)

h4nk (1236654) | about a year ago | (#43826877)

Doesn't Open Office service this purpose?

It all depends on the requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826907)

If your requirement for an office suite is compatibility with all Word version document formats (an related), you can kiss your life goodbye. If your requirement for an office suite is something which nobody can use because it's not interoperable, yes, you can do it in even less time.

estimates (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about a year ago | (#43827009)

Software development times are extremely variable. It all depends on how much good quality reusable existing code and tools were found or known about beforehand.

How long it would take to write an Office Suite using no tools, environments, or libraries newer than what we had in 1984? No Linux, no Windows, no MacIntosh, just one of the many DOSes. Probably have to be C, Pascal, or some kind of BASIC, and that only if performance wasn't an issue. Otherwise, it would have to be assembler. C++ existed then, but was too new to have much support. No mouse either. It would run on an 80x25 text screen, unless the developer had the time and energy to make a graphical interface.

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