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Google Hiring Programmers to Work on OpenOffice

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the money-and-open-source-like-peas-and-carrots dept.

Google 538

massysett writes "Google is hiring programmers to work on "We use a fair amount of open-source software at Google. We want to make sure that's a healthy community. And we want to make sure open source preserves competitiveness within the industry," said Google's manager for open-source software. Perhaps Google's work will address an oft-heard complaint about OO.o: "Google believes it can help OpenOffice--perhaps working to pare down the software's memory requirements or its mammoth 80MB download size.""

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Well (2, Insightful)

justsomebody (525308) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918362)

How about their free software for Linux first?

Re:Well (2, Interesting)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918411)

Yeah, Google Earth on a Debian box would be unspeakably cool....

Google Desktop Search might be better done as a GUI for many pre-existing Linux tools, though. Grep, locate, find, etc. all with a pretty Gnome or KDE wrapper.

Having said that, I've never used GDS, and it might have some incredibly cool functionality that isn't replicated by any of the above. Even so, they could still probably write that functionality as a command line program and tie it into the same GUI, though....

Re:Well (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918431)

mod parent offtopic

Re:Well (3, Interesting)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918443)

or how about forget the memory usage, just make it start up fast, i mean seriously i would switch the OO.o if they would

(although i must admit, reducing memory usage and speeing up startup does overlap)

Re:Well (1)

insouciant neglige (921261) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918474)

"Google is not building an OS, Google is not building an OS,..." Clap your hands over your ears and repeat it to yourself if you refuse to read the writing on the wall.

I thought this was a repost... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918363)

...but then I realized I read Ars Technica 2 hours ago.

Please join me in opposing this. (-1, Offtopic)

LeonGeeste (917243) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918364)

As someone previously figured ld=1&commentsort=0&tid=217&mode=thread&cid=1387568 1 []

Google can get away with paying below California's minimum wage laws. If they solicit people to work on OO.o, they will inevitably find some Indian or Chinese person willing to work at an [imputed] wage below that which Californians need to live. That's why we need to make sure Google pays a FAIR WAGE, an amount ENOUGH FOR SOMEONE TO LIVE ON (including and especially Californians). When Google does things like this, it puts California's programmers out of work. Even if the amount is enough for the Indian to live on, it drags down the wages of Californians and other Americans. Let's shut the exploitative project down. Write your state representa...

No, that made no sense whatsoever. Yes, it made exactly as much sense as any other argument for minimum wage laws.

Before you mod me down, please, for the love of God, explain how you can support minimum wage laws, but also what Google is planning to do. I want to know where I erred, and if I have in fact erred, I am more than willing to change my mind.

Re:Please join me in opposing this. (2, Insightful)

antis0c (133550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918420)

Do you have any facts, references, sources of information, some kind of substantial data to back up your theory that Google is planning on hiring cheap Chinese or Indian workers to work on OO.o and paying them below minimum wage, or even below an accepted industry standard of wage for that particular job?

They already have (1)

LeonGeeste (917243) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918485)

See the link the post of my you replied (which you did read). In the Summer of Code, they paid below McDonald's wages, and thus, well below programmers' wages. If any of the programmers in India worked longer hours, they were paid even less per hour.

I don't know what else you want me to show. Do you deny that Indians are going to offer to be programmers for this project? Probably not. Do you deny that they will have to underbid Americans, and will in fact underbid Americans? Probably not. Do you deny that Google will accept some of these offers? Probably not.

Re:They already have (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918551)

They paid students who didn't work full time an incentive to help open source.

Re:They already have (4, Insightful)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918573)

You need to read "The World is Flat" by Thomas L. Friedman [] .

California minimum wage laws don't apply in India! Even if the company hiring them is in California.

I don't like outsourcing anymore than you do, and it is the primary reason I boycott Walmart, but it is what it is.

I commend you for being passionate about it and trying to do something about it. But you won't change the nature of outsourcing. You can avoid it, boycott it, and discourage it, but personally I don't think you can change it.

Thomas L. Friedman hits the nail right on the head, and America needs a boot to the head if we're going to survive the new transition.

Otherwise we'll end up just like stage coaches or any other industry that failed to adapt and tried to hang on to old models.

Re:Please join me in opposing this. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918444)

A - california programmers are horribly overpaid. sorry but your fault for living in the one state that the cost of living is horribly out of control.

B - Paying a programmer $50K and locating them in Iowa is a better idea. they live the middle class lifestyle at the lower class income level you get cheaper labor, happy programmers that can afford a nice home and a couple of cars.

C - locating your global business in california is pure stupidity. there is no valid reason to be in california. most businesses there need to get the fark out now and cut their operating costs by 60-70% right away.

Here's hoping that google CEO and CFO have 1/2 a brain and relocates to a sane location soon.

Re:Please join me in opposing this. (1)

conJunk (779958) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918500)

C - locating your global business in california is pure stupidity. there is no valid reason to be in california. most businesses there need to get the fark out now and cut their operating costs by 60-70% right away.

there's a grain of truth in this, sure, but there are *lots* of good reasons for basing a business in ca:

talent - lots of good people are in CA, especially in the bay area... hiring good people is easier here than in des moines (no offense, i know some top notch people in IA city... y'all know what i mean)

expectation/investors - investors get all bright and smiley when there hear about your "san francisco-based company" in a way that they don't so much when you talk about your lincoln- or tucson- based company... location is related to marketing

Re:Please join me in opposing this. (2, Informative)

GenKreton (884088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918457)

That was a competition and this is hiring someone.

Besides what is wrong with rewarding people who most likely would have done that work regardless of the monetary reward? It just enables students like myself to work our crap job/internship less and work on what we love more.

And at least here in New Hampshire, $9.30 an hour is enough for a student job. I made $15 welding in a sheet metal shop but most of my friends were doing worse work at $8 an hour, all before taxes.

Their pay seems decent for students, their target for the competition.

Re:Please join me in opposing this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918479)

I'm in Mississippi, and will work for 30% of the wages paid
to a California. I'll code you under da table too.

You got anythin' to say 'bout that?

Or was your comment about foreign workers merely a
slur against other people, or a cheap stab at fear

You're making my point for me (1)

LeonGeeste (917243) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918518)

By accepting that wage below what the Californian will work for, you are better off. There's nothing wrong with that. What minimum wage law proponents want to do is price you out of job. Actually, you'd still be making above minimum wage. That's why I brought up foreigners. Not because I'm racist, but because they would be priced out of a job if anyone actually enforced the insanity that is minimum wage law.

Re:Please join me in opposing this. (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918481)

There is No such thing as a fair wage. This is free software, be happy that someone's getting paid at all.

Programmers should realize that software companies don't hire programmer A over B just based on salary. They also look at the return. If someone can give you 80% of the quality at 30% of the price, do it.

Do you buy at newegg over your local store? Why?

Re:Please join me in opposing this. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918533)

Not to dissuade you from working against the man or anything...

But damn, dude WTF!? You made some huge leaps in logic, mushing an article together with a freakin' /. comment and concluding that Google is out to destroy US programmers. Please stop tilting at windmills, and focus your energies on some wrongs that truly need righting.

Re:Please join me in opposing this. (1)

GileadGreene (539584) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918610)

I suspect that you'd get a better reaction if your writing was more coherent. I eventually managed to figure out what I think your message is ("minimum wage laws are bad" - please correct me if my interpretation is wrong). But it took a while, and required reading your responses to other comments.

Or better yet (4, Interesting)

syntap (242090) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918367)

maybe they can dedicate some Google programming talent to getting an Outlook-killing, cross-platform PIM introduced into the suite. 2.0 introduced a database component, and now it's time to even out the offering. I like Evolution but would like to see a cross-platform PIM in the suite as an alternative.

Re:Or better yet (4, Informative)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918455)

> I like Evolution but would like to see a cross-platform PIM
> in the suite as an alternative.

Tor Lillqvist was hired by Novell [] to help get Evolution running on Windows. While I was working on Revolution [] and was subscribed to evolution-hackers I remember that he'd occasionally post progress notes there.

I'm not sure how far that effort is along at this point, although Tor certainly seemed to be making excellent progress and was patching all sorts of Gnome/Win32 bugs in various projects.

Re:Or better yet (4, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918512)

Why should a PIM be part of an office suite? Next, OO bathtub and jacuzzi? It would be better if OO dont get into feature adding mode. Instead of adding features make the ones already there better. I would much prefer if people started new projects and forks instead of trying to cram anything possible into the succesful projects. Its just piggybacking. I hate thos plier/screwdriver/hammer/axe/nailpolisher combination thingies that does everything, just very very badly. Just like office suites. I do understand the need for integration between some office apps but mail clients and calendars? Nope, cant see the connection sir.

Re:Or better yet (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918630)

I think a PIM would be an excellent part of an Office suite. Being able to use it with ease to generate mail merges, modifying it through the database and spreadsheet apps. The reality is that email is part of the office system even if it isn't directly an office app.

It's been a while.... (5, Insightful)

sfeinstein (442310) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918369)

...since I've installed Office but is 80 MB really mammoth? That doesn't phase me. I only get mildly annoyed when I see a 500 MB or greater install, these days. Pretty crazy when you think back to the size of harddrives ten years ago.

Re:It's been a while.... (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918387)

Size of the install seems an odd complaint. How big is MS Office? If people find that offensive, they can always send away for the CD. I would, however, like to see some of the memory bloat taken out.

Re:It's been a while.... (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918427)

but is 80 MB really mammoth?

Compared to AbiWord, yeah, it's kinda mammoth. I think it's about 5MB for Windows. So, the Word Processor component is only ~5MB. Why does OO have to be over 10x as large and yet still load slow, be a memory hog, and be only mildly competitive in the Windows/MS Office world?

Re:It's been a while.... (4, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918469)

Yah, 80MB isn't that bad. What is bad, though, is how much memory OpenOffice takes up, and how slow it is to load. I hope they make those issues a priority.

Of course, if history teaches us anything, their programmers will spend a year looking through the code, decide it's impossible to deal with, and start from scratch. We should expect Moz^H^H^HGoogle Office to be ready for prime time in about 5 years.

Re:It's been a while.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918552)

Funny story:

On a ~2.4 P4 with 2G RAM running RHE3:

Using this file: [] (3.7Megs)

In every following case the processor was being 95+% utilized by OO.

OO2 and 001.14 perform about the same. The file took 5 minutes to open and maxed at 350M ram.

So, I save the test file as Excel in OO2. And: 1.03G of RAM is sucked up! It frees some of it up once the file is saved but now it's using 661M RAM. The file took about 90 seconds to save.

Anyway, I quit 002, relaunch it and use it to open the Excel file I just saved. It takes 45 seconds and uses 140M RAM. So I save this file as another Excel file and it takes about 15 seconds to save and the RAM only jumps 474M (and stays there even with only one 50M file open doing nothing.)

The test data file is like 3.7 Megs and the saved Excel file is 50 Megs.

LOL, it's funny because it's so stupid.

Re:It's been a while.... (2, Interesting)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918483)

Well, KOffice is 19 MB, for example (in source form). Binaries seem to be similar in size, depending on what exactly you do and don't need (debug info, for example), of course, as well as on your architecture, distro etc. That's a quarter, and KOffice is not significantly less full-featured than OOo.

Yeah, it's an office suite... (2, Insightful)

WoTG (610710) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918561)

I agree. For an entire office suite 80MB is quite reasonable to me. We're not talking about a one-task webbrowser. You get a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation package, drawing tool and more in that 80MB. I haven't looked recently, but I'm pretty sure that MS Office is at least 2 or 3 times that size on the CD.

80MB may be awkward for those on a dial up modem, but put into context, it isn't that bad. I suppose that it would be nice to modularize it so that bits are downloaded as needed. A 20MB base download in one language with other bits downloaded in the background or as needed would bring the base download time for a modem user down to about an hour.

Memory size consumption and start up time are bigger concerns to me. Oh, and a small web-plugin to read OOo files off websites would be excellent.

Re:It's been a while.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918567)

is 80 MB really mammoth?

Compared with less than 20MB for (the much faster) KOffice? In any case, I don't think it's the download size per se that is the big deal, it's just that it's a convenient metric that roughly correlates to some sense of bloat.

If Google can fix the load time (4, Interesting)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918373)

If Google's programmers can get to open as quickly as does, I'll find a way to pay for Open Office! That's about my only complaint left with Open Office, is that it should start taking input in a simple text window within seconds, and worry about filling in the rest of the program later. That way I can open it up, start typing, and not have to wait 20 - 70 seconds for the blank sheet of e-paper to show up.

Re:If Google can fix the load time (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918412)

Well, they seem to have fixed it on my end. Google's load time today makes OpenOffice look snappy...

Re:If Google can fix the load time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918506)

Disable Java , problem solved. This was covered in the slashdot story last week about open office. several people posted that solution and it worked for all of them!

Re:If Google can fix the load time (3, Interesting)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918606)

What functionality is lost by disabling Java?

Please... (3, Funny)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918374)

Never say OO.o again.. I cringe whenever I see something that might possibly be an emoticon.

Re:Please... (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918461)

But isn't /. an emoticon for a tipped scale?

Re:Please... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918495)



Re:Please... (2, Funny)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918504)

I cringe whenever I see something that might possibly be an emoticon.


Tricky Dick #2 (-1, Offtopic)

Enoch Lockwood (889602) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918375)

Meanwhile, in Dick's Secret Bunker...

Cheney: Okay, motherfuckers. This plame shit has totally fucked all our asses royally. What are you cocksuckers going to do about it?

Scooter: We could let Osama out of his cage, finally say we caught him.

Cheney: Abso-fuckin'-lutely not, asshole. That shit is for 2008.

Karl: Okay, how 'bout we blow stuff up? Hehehehe! Blow stuff up real good!

Rummy: That is the BEST idea I've heard all day.

Cheney: Now we're cooking with fucking gas! All right, we gotta make this big, so I say we take out... fuck... I dunno... Peoria. Whole motherfucking town! Like we use a nuke this time, blame it on some raghead fuckers again.

Condi: I'll go get the plutoooniuuuum!

Cheney: Someone go upstairs and tell that cum-belcher, "bright eyes." He's been wanting to push the fucking button ever since we fixed the fucking election. Every god damn day, I have to hear that shit from him, "I'm the president, Dick! I should get to push the button! Lemme push the button! Heh heh!" You know, that fucking snicker of his, sometimes I could just... OUCH! Third fuckin' coronary this morning.

Upstairs in the white house later...

Condi: Darlin- uh, I mean, Mr. President, guess what we get to do tooodaaaay?

Chimp: Clear brush and then ride muh bike?!


She opens the TOP SECRET panel that reveals THE BUTTON!

Chimp: HOOOOO DOGGIES! THE BUTTON! You know, I always tell
Dick, I always tell him, I'm the president, Dick! I should get to push the button! Lemme push the button! Heh heh!
He pushes the button. Fade to white.

Re:Tricky Dick #2 (0, Offtopic)

minairia (608427) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918532)

This is about 1000 light years off topic but ass rippingly funny! I literally fell out of my chair reading this.

Re:Tricky Dick #2 (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918553)

You bastard! I got Coke coming out my nose! You owe me for a new keyboard!

firts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918376)

frist psot

Re:firts (1)

NYYankee161st (785590) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918438)

sorry shitbag, you fail it. eat a cancer infested cunt and die.



Bugs (4, Insightful)

Gr33nNight (679837) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918380)

I am not being a troll but hopefully some of these programmers can help fix some of the [] 5721 bugs listed, some of which are from 2002!

My boss has made it a priority to seriously look at replacing MS Office with OpenOffice when that buglist gets below 1000. We shall see if that can happen.

Re:Bugs (4, Insightful)

bernywork (57298) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918502)

As RedHat said once, 'People complain about the bugs in our software, they refer to our bug database, and our outstanding bugs' (This isn't a direct quote but you know what I mean) that's because the bug database is open. How many bugs do you think are outstanding in Microsoft's Office code base?

Re:Bugs (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918580)

> How many bugs do you think are outstanding in Microsoft's Office code base?

All of them.

Re:Bugs (1)

DickBreath (207180) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918572)

I think your boss should stop using MS Office until its buglist gets down to under 10,000 bugs.

Nevermind how you are supposed to know if that ever happens.

Re:Bugs (1)

motox (312416) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918587)

I can imagine MS Office buglist isnt that far. The problem here is more structural, and waiting for the bug count to go down may not be indicative.
MS Word to load the same 27 MB word file takes a couple of seconds, while OO Writer took a few minutes ( not including starting up ). The footprint of MS Word with the document load was roughly 1/3rd of OO. OO 2.0 performance once the document is loaded was OK, but there's definitely lots of space for improvement.

Re:Bugs (1)

starwed (735423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918591)

That is a pretty weird metric to use in judging a product. Especially when it's a metric you can't even apply to the product currently in use!

Your boss is probably relieved that he'll never actually have to spend time looking into this... I think that a downward trend in the number of filed bugs would only ever occur if the product was losing popularity, and thus no one was filing bugs. :)

Re:Bugs (4, Informative)

nvrrobx (71970) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918612)

You've got to be kidding me.

I work in the software industry, and every product ships with bugs. That's just how it works. Most companies put a severity level on bugs. Severity 1: ship blocker. Severity 2: really should fix it. Severity 3: we *might* get around to it.

The bug databases don't necessarily contain just bugs - there can be feature enhancements, documentation errors, etc.

Looking through the link you posted, I see 5603 defects in the "new", "started" or "reopened" categories. Of those, 7 are "P1" (aka Severity 1) defects, 144 are "P2", 4083 are "P3", 1160 are "P4", and 209 are "P5".

I didn't look at exact specifics, but some are probably localization errors - not functionality bugs.

Please learn a little more about the software development life cycle before making a comment like yours. Educating your employer about this would probably be a wonderful idea also.

So, for the bugs that would stop you from getting your job done, I see 151. It looks like it's time for you to evaluate OOo in your organization.

Again? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918382)

Is there anything Google isn't involved in?

Anyway, thumbs up :)

Re:Again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918594)

Hopefully, yes [] .

Private sponsorship of public projects (3, Insightful)

Trigun (685027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918388)

I am glad that Google is going to help out openoffice. I just installed OO2, and, although impressive, lacks the polish of a professional application. Hopefully Google can bring its minimalistic design to the codebase.

Re:Private sponsorship of public projects (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918424)

"I just installed OO2,"
I bet OO7 will be killer!

So much for Mac support (5, Insightful)

illtron (722358) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918389)

So much for ever getting a real Mac OS X version Spare me your comments about NeoOffice and the X11 version working on OS X.

I know Google can't *stop* a Mac port, but they've got an awful track record of supporting Macs. I'm sure they won't direct any of their resources toward the recently announced new effort to build a Cocoa version.

Oh well. Pages is nicer anyway than OpenOffice, even if I do have to pay for it. It's a shame that the businesses and governments that would be willing to consider OpenOffice want it to have every ounce of the feature bloat that MS Office has.

Re:So much for Mac support (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918464)

Perhaps if you weren't a fag using a fag computer this wouldn't be a problem. Studies show that Mac users are fucking retards who should be beaten and laughed at, and sent to live in Mac ghettoes where they get to pound their nobby, worthless, Apple hands on a single button mouse.

Oh why do I get the flack,
I like to use my Mac,
It don't work very good,
But I'm fag, and I should!

Oh I like to pack the fudge,
And I'm gonna hold a grudge.
You all better fade to black,
As I rub my nards on my Mac!

Re:So much for Mac support (0, Flamebait)

illtron (722358) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918496)

So they still do exist! I didn't think that little pussy trolls like you were still around.

Re:So much for Mac support (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918593)

Hey pansy Mac boy, don't get mad at me. It's not my fault that you bought the womens panties of the computer world. Just because you're the type to enjoy twelve inch dongs up the bum-hole is no reason to get pissed because real software groups have better things to do than to "integrate" (read mutilate) their software to work with your homo GUI.

MOD DOWN - Troll (0, Offtopic)

thedogcow (694111) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918497)

Grow up.

Re:MOD DOWN - Troll (0, Offtopic)

illtron (722358) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918534)

WTF? Why am I getting modded as a troll on this?

Well... (2, Interesting)

Solr_Flare (844465) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918524)

I will agree that Google and Mac support just don't seem to mix well sadly. But, the "bloat" in OpenOffice is probably one of the things google is best suited to streamline. Lots of features does not have to mean lots of bloat if properly designed and implemented. That, imho, has been Microsoft's biggest failing over the years, and is largely responsible for the countless lurking bugs and security flaws.

Okay, under one condition (5, Funny)

katana (122232) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918391)

They have to make a nifty "GOO.ogle" logo.

Mammoth? (2, Informative)

75th Trombone (581309) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918397)

I mean, yeah, I wouldn't fancy downloading 80 MB over a dial-up connection. But this IS an entire office suite we're talking about.

"mammoth 80MB download size" (5, Interesting)

dextromulous (627459) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918399)

Maybe it's just me, or does 80MB not seem like that much when you're downloading an office suite? It's been a while since I've download^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hseen people download MS office, but isn't it in the 1+GB range? Granted, it has more features/programs, but in my books, 80MB isn't enough to complain about these days.

Re:"mammoth 80MB download size" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918537)

> ... download^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hseen ....

Amateur! Real hackers would have used ^W. :o)

Re:"mammoth 80MB download size" (1)

thammoud (193905) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918539)

It's certainly less than the 571 meg download of the Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee movie. Which one is more 'useful' is up for debate.

Re:"mammoth 80MB download size" (1)

MrKibkibs (898100) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918632)

Yeah, generally, those people who are into open source software would have fast connections. It simply wouldn't make sense to like free, online software if, say, MS Office 2004 is released free to the public by the time you finish downloading those 80MB.

Then again people who have fast connections would also be more likely to download MS Office- 80MB, 700MB, what's the difference?

the industry? whoever could they mean? (5, Interesting)

mrn121 (673604) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918401)

"And we want to make sure open source preserves competitiveness within the industry."

should read:

"And we want to make sure open source preserves competitiveness against Microsoft."

Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just find it funny that they don't just come out and say what we all know they are thinking.

Kill Windows (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918406)

Could Eric's attempts to kill MS be anymore obvious? IIRC 40% of MS' profits are from Office. If people (read: companies) realize that free (and higher quality) is better than $300-600 / license (and lower quality) the open source world could start to get the penetration it needs to hit a tipping point.

Size? (0, Redundant)

BladeMelbourne (518866) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918407)

80 MB size is mammoth? MS Office is much larger (1-2 CDs) - is the winner here.

I can understand about the speed issue though. Wasn't it written in Java at some point?
NeoOffice runs fairly quickly on my G4.

Mammoth size? (3, Insightful)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918410)

or its mammoth 80MB download size.

Sure, its memory usage is a bit heavy (though it's worked fine for me), but 80 MB doesn't seem like such a big download, considering what you get. Microsoft Office now spans more than one CD. Even when you omit the media (images, clipart, etc.) that come with MS Office, OOo must still be considerably smaller.

Not that I'm criticising their intentions - if they make it even smaller than 80 MB I won't complain.

Re:Mammoth size? (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918588)

I was thinking the same thing. 80MB is really nothing these days.

Good (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918413)

Google has the right idea. Their superior backend software and architecture might could allow them to extend their email service to other applications. Gmail offers better email than most large commercial clients, yet it takes up no footprint on the host machine and can be accessed from any browser. A pared down version of open office, that had almost all the features but a 90% reduction in size seems like a worthy project. It would be 10 megs, with procedural graphics and very efficient code so it would load instantly, have all the important features, and would be capable of all sorts of interesting functions via network access to google. It would work without a network connection.

Re:Good (1)

Thai-Pan (414112) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918503)

Does it also do your homework, peel potatoes, and satisfy all your deepest sexual desires?

Please tell me I missed the sarcasm. A full blown cross platform Java office package with high performance in under 10 megs? I have no doubts that OO could be a very potent solution, but you've specced out something which isn't feasible in the least.

Mammoth? (3, Insightful)

imemyself (757318) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918432)

Now, I'm all for making things smaller if they can be, but how exactly is 80 megs a mammoth download? I mean the pre-beta of MS Office 12(really different interface btw, not sure that I like it), is like 1.2 GIGS. If anything I think OOo needs to start including clipart/multimedia/etc. Screw file size, features will be more important than that to most people. And if there's actually some poor guy out there will dial up he can just ask a friend for it.

Usability? (3, Interesting)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918434)

The two things Google is known for are sophisticated algorithms and usability. The article (acording to the summary) touches on algorithm improvements. I just hope Google can also bring clean looks, platform GUI integration, user testing, and usability to OpenOffice. They need it. I don't like the current Office, but I like OpenOffice a lot less. Further Office 12 looks like it could really bring a lot of innovation to interface design, open source will need to follow suite to be competitive. Often techies forget that user experience is the biggest user-measurable quality.

Is Slashdot getting Slower (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918435)

This was reported last week in,1895,1877924, p []

More to the point, it seems to me that instead of catching news as it breaks, anymore Slashdot is days behind breaking news.

I won't even mention dupes. ;-)

Could folks be... I don't know, a little more proactive about what they turn in to Slashdot?

It's getting to be 'Old News for Nerds,' and that doesn't help anyone.


This sounds like a good idea to me. (4, Interesting)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918441)

Google believes it can help OpenOffice--perhaps working to pare down the software's memory requirements or its mammoth 80MB download size.

First off, kudos to anybody who steps in and gives the Open Source movement a monetary hand -- and I gotta figure they're one of the top contributors at this point.

This is absolutely the right move. Word processing software has probably the most unnecessary bulk of any class of software on your operating system (the e-mail client placing a close second.) There was a day these things could fit in 640K, and while there are certain advantageous features such as spell check we would all be benefited by a more modular approach to installation that asks you what you need and what you don't.

Really, this seems to be the tip of the iceburg. With the increasing price of oil, I can't help wondering what the face of computing is going to look like five or ten years down the line. The average computer uses as much as 140 jack-o-lanterns worth of coal to run on any given day. Much of this is spent on wasteful peripherals we could do without, such as fancy 3D graphics cards or optical mice, but even more is being spent on processing power well beyond the needs of the average user.

Inefficiencies in microcomponent fabrication mean that a great deal of the electricity that goes into your computer is given off as heat. Techniques such as reversible or quantum computing hold much promise in the future for putting more energy into computation but today it is up to the consumer to safeguard the environment.

In a way, the argument is the same as with vehicles -- most people don't need a SUV or a top-of-the-line system but many choose to get them to compensate for inadequacies or because of marketing -- but with computers at least it is impossible to argue you are "safer" for having a faster system. Indeed, you are more likely to run viruses or worms without realizing it because you don't notice the hit in operating performance.

I've noticed that I've been holding on to computer equipment longer and longer these days. Oh sure, I have to fix a power supply here and a fan there, but besides slack engineering standards from software companies there is little reason to keep up with the hardware treadmill... and at least one compelling reason not to.

But much of the responsibility falls on the software developers to design for efficiency. That's not to say that they don't, but I think that as a priority in particular for software deployment to third-world nations operating efficiency will only rise as part of the software design philosophy.

Re:This sounds like a good idea to me. (1)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918517)

it's how i heat my house you incensitive clod!!

Pare it down? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13918450)

Improve OO.o? But that memory bloat and slow loading time is what gives OpenOffice character! Don't take that away from us, Google!

Sizes - Memory, Download (5, Interesting)

karearea (234997) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918451)

Getting the memory usage down would be a godsend. It seems that 'big' OOS projects seem to have tendancies to hog memory - Firefox, - what causes that?

The download is not that bad (how big is MS Office?). What is bad is that the update requires a new download rather than an update/service pack type thing.

Can 2.01 be a smaller download to update a 2.0 install, rather than a complete download that'll try to install itself to OpenOffice.org2.01?

Just my list of demands, feel free to ignore :-)

Re:Sizes - Memory, Download (2, Informative)

GenKreton (884088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918523)

Deer park firefox (1.5) includes incremental patching instead of re-downloading the entire application again. For openoffice: wait, search for an improvement request report, or get working.

Maybe File Sharing (5, Interesting)

baggins2002 (654972) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918467)

Maybe they'll add some of the file sharing features that are in MS Office. This has been a major stumbling block to bringing OO into small to medium size businesses.

Revenge (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918477)

Sounds very much like a "Hey Bill, before you think you can take away our toy, make sure you don't lose yours" move.

The day Google starts to write their own Linux desktop is probably the one where you should really, really get rid of that M$ stock...

Imagine... (1)

sethadam1 (530629) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918516)

Imagine if OO had the feel and usability of Picasa. *THAT* would be a killer app. I know that Google bought it, but Google's apps all have that kind of look and feel - from Google Talk to the toolbar and Hello. It's all very friendly and modern feeling.

Hosted OOo with browser interface (4, Interesting)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918529)

My vote for the most likely development by Google is a version of Open Office based on storage of documents on their servers accessed via an AJAX type browser interface.

Before anyone starts screaming about privacy and Google becoming too powerful, let me say that I find such a prospect very attractive for individuals and for small and medium size businesses. Let Google handle the backup issues and provide appropriate conversion utilities when communicating with others. While I am quite competent to handle such issues myself, I would be tempted to use a Google service such as this myself. It is so convenient having documents stored on a globally accessible server and not having to maintain that server oneself.

Go Google! (5, Insightful)

openfrog (897716) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918530)

This is a powerfull message to anyone being involved in the decision process over the state of Massachusetts: "We do support the Open Document standard!". A welcome move at a critical time.

80 MB is the memory usage not the download! (0)

Gherikill (825515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918542)

I just downloaded OO.o yesterday and it was 240MB. I think that the 80MB refers to the RAM footprint - which is large compared to MS Office.

Commoditization (5, Insightful)

wolfemi1 (765089) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918545)

This is brilliant! If memory serves, the only two things Microsoft consistently makes money on are their OS and their office suite. Since MS has already "declared war" on Google, the smart thing to do might be to return fire, by commoditizing the operating system and office suite markets.

How do you commoditize an operating system? One way is to make web services that can be accessed by any standards-compliant browser. Check.

How do you commoditize an office suite? By backing and improving a free-of-charge office suite, and by providing coders, money, and publicity to the project. Check.

I wonder what MS will do now? I think that if they have to fight to maintain a monopoly against Google, IBM, Sun, and the entire F/OSS community, they may well have a losing battle.


A good idea, but... (1)

mrn121 (673604) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918558)

To start off, I should say that I like this plan by Google, but I just want to warn all of the slashdotters here who are jumping up to congratulate Google about what normally happens when a for-profit (and also, huge) company gets too involved in a small, free, open-source project:

Well, let's just say, it can be messy in the long run.

Part of me doesn't like the idea of getting Google's financial interests involved in something like this. The reason a project like OO.o can work is because there aren't any big companies trying to tell anyone working on it what to do. I am not saying for certain that Google is planning on stepping in and trying to take over -- not by a long shot at this point -- but you have to at least recognize that this is a step in that direction. needs... (0, Troll)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918562)

To be recoded in C/C++.


Doesn't this point to a weakness? (4, Interesting)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918575)

It seems to me that if companies like Google need to hire programmers to work on the "less glamorous" aspects of FOSS applications, that points out a significant weakness in the FOSS development model. This has always been a pet peeve of mine regarding FOSS ... the applications never seem *quite* finished, or *quite* up to real commercial standards. True, many are very good, and true, many "commercial" products are lacking. But when you compare the best commercial products with the best that FOSS has to offer, FOSS always seems to come up short.

Now please let me put on my flame-proof suit before I click "submit". ... OK, fire away!

Re:Doesn't this point to a weakness? (5, Insightful)

potpie (706881) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918633)

It seems to me that if companies like Google need to hire programmers to work on the "less glamorous" aspects of FOSS applications, that points out a significant weakness in the FOSS development model.

One may also say that if companies like Google are willing to hire programmers to work on those aspects, that points out a significant strength in the FOSS development model.

Memory Requirements (2, Insightful)

Mantrid Drone (699799) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918583)

...pare down the software's memory requirements or its mammoth 80MB download size...

Stripping all the Java crap out of there would be a good start.

Sun and Google working together... (2, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918586)

Of course, this is essentially the same thing as Google paying programmers to work for Sun, with control over what they work on.

Neat arrangement. Kinda like the USA offering financial aid to a poor country, but with control over what that aid gets spent on.

Whats really bad is... (2, Informative)

xquark (649804) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918595)

The amount of memory open office uses, yeah memory...
Oh thats right a hundred other people already made that
comment, must be open office hogging all my memory again,
damn you open-office damn yooooou! :)


You think that Steve Ballmer is mad now... (5, Funny)

RoadWarriorX (522317) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918615)

Just wait till he finds out that Google is hiring people that directly affects his bread and butter software -- Office. He'll throw a couch at the person who tells him the news...

...and in other news, (2, Funny)

bondjamesbond (99019) | more than 8 years ago | (#13918628)

Ballmer just shit his pants.
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