by Kaj Kandler
Sun Microsystems wants to encourage more participation in the Open Office community. For that purpose Sun sponsors a contest for contributions to OpenOffice.org offering $175,000 in price money and public acknowledgment of achievement.
The contest asks not just for development contributions, such as source code or extensions. The contest also solicits documentation, artwork, marketing materials and methods, tools to improve the community in areas such as distribution, translation, etc. It even accepts improvements to OpenDocument Format (ODF) and other creative ideas.
There are a few conditions for entry: You must create original work free of other people’s rights and be of legal age. You also must be a member of the OpenOffice.org community (registered at OpenOffice.org). For the cash prizes you need to live or be a legal resident of certain countries and territories. You can enter the contest as an individual or a group.
If you are interested, read the rules carefully. Determine if you are eligible for cash prizes. If you live in Austria or the Philippines, you are out of luck in this category. Also make sure that what you produce does comply with the licenses of OpenOffice.org and can be contributed to the OpenOffice.org project under the Contributer Agreement (different from the licenses). You should also be willing to have Sun Microsystems use your work for publicizing the Contest and the OpenOffice.org software.
by Kaj Kandler
Today I visited the Sun Tech Days Boston for day number one. Sun Microsystems put on a big program at the downtown Sheraton hotel with three major tracks:
- NetBeans and various Java related technologies
- OpenSolaris and its community
- University a cross section for students, introductions to almost every Sun developer technology
I peaked in to the introductions for OpenSolaris. What I and a moderate crowd listened too was core developers who focused on the developing community of OpenSolaris and how it becomes more than Sun employees developing with everybody else watching. In many ways OpenSolaris does catch up with many other *nix like OS distribution. The word “modernize” was used often in describing the efforts to create new installers,
updated shells, new packaging system, more drivers, etc. OpenSolaris really seams to be a train picking up steam.
I was surprised, how undecided the road map was for the various projects and initiatives. It often was unclear when a certain feature would arrive in which release of OpenSolaris or Solaris the commercial distribution of Sun Microsystems. As an engineer I like things to be finished and done right, instead of rushed to meet a deadline. But from the business perspective, it is not a good thing, that many processes, and I mean decision processes, are not yet decided on. I’m well familiar with such mixed messages from the OpenOffice/StarOffice project, I’m more involved with. If I would meet Jonathan Schwartz, the CEO of Sun Microsystems, I’d let him know that Sun’s positioning of the commercial Sun products versus the open source products is not clear and that it is hurting Sun.
Back to the Java track, where I peaked into sessions about Ajax frameworks and upcoming Swing technologies. It appears Sun does not take sides with the various Ajax frameworks, other than trying to support them all in NetBeans. NetBeans 6.0 impressed me with its ability to not just syntax color and code assist but also to have many wizards that generate code for your from a few questions. This was especially apparent in the session about Swing Application Framework and Java Beans Binding. NetBeans supports these brand new frameworks with code generation that can rival Ruby on Rails scaffolding, although for pure Java apps.
Speaking of Ruby on Rails, or better Jruby on Rails. This session was rather disappointing, as the speaker was jsut a few days into Ruby and Rails and basically did talk about her own excitement about a dynamic language and the impressive meta programming Rails style. I would have hoped for more hard facts on how JRuby does vs native Ruby and what the challenges are and how they are overcome.
As you can see it was a busy day, and the program only started in the afternoon. I look forward to tomorrow.
by Kaj Kandler
Most users know that Sun Microsystems is the main force behind OpenOffice.org and its development community. Historically they did buy StarDivision and release Open Office as open source. Today, IBM announced to commit to the OpenOffice.org development community with a team of 35 developers in China working full time on the project. IBM also contributed today a chunk of code making the open source office suite more accessible for users with disabilities.
While IBM has developed the accessibility interface called iAccessible2 for a while and also supported ODF (ISO 26300) in its Lotus Notes products, this announcement is a long term commitment to develop OpenOffice.org as a competitive suite.
by Kaj Kandler
On the GullFoss blog, Matthias Mueller-Prove has bravely assembled a nice graphic of users in the various OpenOffice.org sub projects. Makes for a great graphic and on first blush one does think it does tell you something.
However, Matthias immediately came under critic that the number of members signed up in the OpenOffice.org project website tells little about involvement and most likely contains a load of “dead” members. and Matthias readily admitted that this might be so. He volunteered to assemble a similar graphic with better data if someone could point to a better metric. If you have an idea, please help him out.