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NeoOffice :: View topic - Same old rant
Same old rant
 
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pluby
The Architect
The Architect


Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 11883
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:49 am    Post subject: Same old rant Reply with quote

I really hate to rant and it seems that I post this rant every 6 months, but an old problem has been resurfacing: the number of users and the user requests are increasing but donation revenues are as flat as they ever were.

This trend doesn't surprise me, but what really concerns me is that many users (and several long-time posters on our forums) are now bypassing the normal processes that I put in place and are, in essence, treating me like I am their personal support provider. Even worse is when people reopen bugs that I have closed because they are OpenOffice.org bugs.

This concerns me because they are basically attempts by individuals to expand the scope of the NeoOffice project without providing any funding or other means to fulfill that scope. While each person may think their particular support issue is of cricital importance, there is only so much available time that past EAP and donations have paid for. Accordingly, Ed and I make decisions as to scope to ensure that we can provide a reasonably functional office suite and fixing of crashing bugs within a reasonable period of time for free for the hundreds of thousands of people that use NeoOffice.

Unfortunately, flooding my e-mail inbox or filing a large number of bugs without reproducible test cases actually has the opposite effect than intended. People often complain to me that they are "too busy" to file a bug, respond to our request for a reproducible test case, etc. Well, I work on NeoOffice 7 days a week all year for minimal pay so I am busy too and subverting or bypassing my process just causes me more work and I get less bugs fixed within a given time.

Sadly, these developments have already overwhelmed me and I have largely stopped responding to most e-mail and most of the unconfirmed bugs I am unable to look at. The bad news is that this will not change until community members consistently look at and either work with the bug filer to get the bug to an easily reproducible state or close the bug.

Now the worse news. I have said that with the NeoOffice Aqua Beta EAP, we have funding to support me full time through the end of 2006. This is still true. However, since the donations after EAP have been very small even though downloads doubled over all previous releases, I have been thinking about how best to conserve the available funds.

Given that OOo 2.0.4 is now out and has significant changes in areas that have proven very fragile in past releases (read: lots of new bugs that we will need to spend lots of time fixing) and adding Novell's VBA support will require effort, I expect that releasing a new NeoOffice release based on OOo 2.0.4 with VBA support will, at the very least, be as costly as releasing NeoOffice Aqua Beta has been.

Since I don't expect the next EAP to generate significantly less revenue than the Aqua Beta EAP, I do not feel that I can support a full new release at this time. We have enough money to do the initial coding, but I am not confident that there will be enough EAP revenue to pay for all the inevitable bug fixing that will be required.

So what does this mean? It means that I am going to do the following:

1. Defer starting of the OOo 2.0.4 upgrade to allow more donations to slowly accumulate to replace the lower expected EAP revenues.

2. Reduce my time spent on bug fixing and support to make room for other product development work that may potentially generate revenue.

OK, so maybe this isn't really a rant, but my point is that NeoOffice community memers as well as users have a direct impact on NeoOffice. Without consistent volunteer time and funding, the NeoOffice model does not work. Yes, I know that many of you are big NeoOffice boosters, but being a booster isn't what NeoOffice needs. It needs people's time and/or money. Neither is particular fun or sexy, but it is still critical.

Patrick
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amayze
The Merovingian


Joined: Oct 24, 2005
Posts: 561
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 2:56 am    Post subject: Re: Same old rant Reply with quote

pluby wrote:
Even worse is when people reopen bugs that I have closed because they are OpenOffice.org bugs.


I put my hands up! One of these was me.

Patrick, sorry if this caused you great anguish. In this particular case I don't agree with you that it is an OpenOffice.org bug, however since you do the hard work, not me, I should respect you decision - which perhaps I hadn't done. Sorry.

As it happens I have now found an alternative solution to the problem, and documented it in the wiki.

Please keep up the hard work, it is very much appreciated.

Andy.
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pluby
The Architect
The Architect


Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 11883
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 7:07 am    Post subject: Re: Same old rant Reply with quote

amayze wrote:
Patrick, sorry if this caused you great anguish. In this particular case I don't agree with you that it is an OpenOffice.org bug, however since you do the hard work, not me, I should respect you decision - which perhaps I hadn't done. Sorry.


No problem. Individually, you did not cause me much anguish. The problem is when several other people have are leaning on me to fix their "urgent" problem at the same time as you. Wink

As for it being an OpenOffice.org bug, it seems pretty clear cut to me. I opened your sample document in OOo 2.0.3 X11, selected File -> Print, and in the print dialog, selected Save to File and selected the Options button. In the Options pane, I checked Brochure and printed. I then opened the PostScript file and, like in NeoOffice, two pages are properly shrunk to fit but they are not rotated to landscape. With a quick Google search I found the following OOo bug that is still in a "discussion" state:

http://qa.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=14036

Patrick
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fabriziovenerandi
Keymaker


Joined: Oct 12, 2004
Posts: 77
Location: italia

PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ranting for ranting. my user point of view: I opened around 120 bug (more or less) in bugzilla (other in issuezilla) often with sample document or screenshoot, I paied a 25$ as donation, after I paied 10$ every month for a year, and after I paied again 25$ for eary access program.
Onestly I can not pay anymore for neooffice, and the time I spend trying to catch the bug in a repetible way, is not so short. If neooffice fails to integrate 2.0.4 (or 2.1 when it will be relased) this mean I'll be forced to use the x11 version or to install a distro to use openoffice.org
I suggest ed and patrick to find other way to promote neooffice, instead hit the work of people that are supporting and using neooffice by years.

f.

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eadem sed non eodem modo facere
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pluby
The Architect
The Architect


Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 11883
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fabriziovenerandi wrote:
ranting for ranting. my user point of view: I opened around 120 bug (more or less) in bugzilla (other in issuezilla) often with sample document or screenshoot, I paied a 25$ as donation, after I paied 10$ every month for a year, and after I paied again 25$ for eary access program.


Although you didn't intend to, you have actually supported my point. While you have given quite a bit of donations, people like you are very rare. If I include Early Access members, only a couple thousand people donate or buy and early access membership whereas nearly 2,000,000 per year download it and some percent of that ever increasing number end up looking for some support. The number of people who have paid as much as you is less than a few hundred and the number who have paid more than the $400 MS Office retail price is much less than that.

Ed and I still top the list by a wide margin since we have spent about $250,000 so far to make NeoOffice work. I don't regret that we spent that money but since that was a good chunk of my life savings, I don't think that it is unreasonable that NeoOffice to pull its own weight in the future.

Patrick
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jgd
Agent Smith


Joined: Feb 27, 2005
Posts: 1531
Location: France

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just want to put something forward: I believe that it would be more effective in getting donations, if you more often remind users that it's important to donate. Just from time to time, when one launches Neo, a Safari window opens. And it's not the best moment because when you launch Neo you are getting down to work. And the user thinks "Oh yes, but not now, later…" And later he (/she) has forgotten.
Maybe a mail from time to time would help to wake up the users. A reminder on the homepage, on the header of the forum. I am a teacher and I know that you have to repeat and repeat and repeat again if you want to be heard.
It's not a critique, I just wish to help.

Jacqueline
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OPENSTEP
The One
The One


Joined: May 25, 2003
Posts: 4752
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(note this is in *ranting* so I am doing exactly that)

I again need to support Patrick on his point. Here's the problem.

Stuff doesn't come for free. Casting personal belief in miracles aside, some human being on the other end has to do the work to make something possible.

Here's the problem...

From the download stats, we have estimated we have approximately 500,000 unique users.

This is about 2-3% of the entire Mac OS X user community.

There are a very small number of people who respond to e-mails and bugzilla reports, Patrick, myself, sardisson, a few others. Let's say 10 at most.

That is a ratio of 50,000 users for a single "responder" to bug reports.

Um...and we're volunteers? And under this workload we still manage to all respond as fast as we do for *free*?

Really, that to me is amazing. And yet there are people that want to deny the work we do?

Go OpenOffice.org! Continue to fight the good fight against such monopolist "corporate" entities like us who still struggle to afford a single full time engineer to deal with support of users who try to intregrate open source software into their daily user lives without the need of a shell.

One evening after a day of martial arts training, the Master and his students started drinking. The Master was questioned: which one of these bottles is the best? His reply: it does not matter; all bottles are good.

The idealism of open source and open standards is that the playing field is level. Everyone, rich or poor, corporate or non-profit, aggregate developers or individual; everyone becomes equal.

But yet OOo refuses to acknowledge anything besides itself. OOo is a poisoned dragon.

OOo professes they are the only true way and will not even link to anyone else in a prominent fashion, even reneging on agreements to link to another GPL free software project such as NeoOffice. OOo indoctrinates each user and developer that only OOo can provide the "true" way. Other alternatives to the "official" OOo are mentioned only in passing, if at all. It is always a pleasure to see one community service expend conscious effort to attack other volunteer efforts.

I've always thought that in a fight to the death the Salvation Army would totally destroy the March of Dimes in hand to hand combat.

We prominently link to you, OOo. Stop your hissy fit and start doing the same as you once did and stop hurting users who stop using open source because they don't realize a field-tested native solution to meet their needs exists today.

ed
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aussie149
The Merovingian


Joined: Feb 12, 2005
Posts: 607
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 4:01 am    Post subject: here be dragons Reply with quote

good rant, ed Smile

one question: I may be betraying my complete lack of cool, but what the dickens is the March of Dimes?

P
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yoxi
Cipher


Joined: Sep 07, 2004
Posts: 1799
Location: Dawlish, Devon

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, here they are, but I'm none the wiser either... though for some reason, in my mind's eye the 'tambourine as incubator' coalition is a goer.
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LemonAid
The Anomaly


Joined: Nov 21, 2005
Posts: 1285
Location: Witless Protection Program

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good one Ed,

Philip ( Salvation Army ... will save us all?!? Wink
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OPENSTEP
The One
The One


Joined: May 25, 2003
Posts: 4752
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:36 pm    Post subject: Re: here be dragons Reply with quote

aussie149 wrote:
one question: I may be betraying my complete lack of cool, but what the dickens is the March of Dimes?


The March of Dimes was started by FDR (Franklin Roosevelt) as a charity to cure polio, a disease with which he was afflicted. While polio has not yet been eradicated in the world we're close to fulfilling FDR's dream.

Please, donate to the March of Dimes, donate to the Salvation Army, donate to the charitable organizations of your own religions, donate to anyone in need. Donate to any charity that helps others. Miracles do not happen every day; it is only through the generosity and through the physical presence of people that great things do happen.

Humans are self-centered beasts centered on self-preservation of themselves and those they love. One of the one true miracles is selflessness and helping each other.

And yet Patrick and I get personally attacked and repressed for doing just that. Strange world, eh?

No wonder we have to rant else we lose our own faith in humankind.

ed
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ovvldc
Captain Naiobi


Joined: Sep 13, 2004
Posts: 2352
Location: Zürich, CH

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The secret to true happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible."
- Bertrand Russell
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MacRat
Sake Horner
Sake Horner


Joined: Mar 02, 2006
Posts: 364
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ed is just grumpy because that spare room in his house doesn't make a good datacenter.

We need to ship one of these to Ed's back yard....


http://www.sun.com/blackbox/

Laughing
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ovvldc
Captain Naiobi


Joined: Sep 13, 2004
Posts: 2352
Location: Zürich, CH

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I personally feel that Ed would be better served by a container full of nice chilled Belgian beer, preferably delivered by some nice and pretty young ladies. AFAICT, he has more than enough silicon around him. And in any case, the law of dimishing returns is pretty strong on electronics.

As for Patrick, he sounds like he needs to take a step back, do a short gig elsewhere, have a week off, get comfortable in his situation and then look at things from a refreshed perspective. I very recently saw another open source coder burn out (Giles, maker of Oolite) and that is a very sad thing. Wouldn't want that to happen here!

Best wishes,
Oscar

_________________
"What do you think of Western Civilization?"
"I think it would be a good idea!"
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
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LemonAid
The Anomaly


Joined: Nov 21, 2005
Posts: 1285
Location: Witless Protection Program

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MacRat wrote:
Ed is just grumpy because that spare room in his house doesn't make a good datacenter.

We need to ship one of these to Ed's back yard....

http://www.sun.com/blackbox/ Laughing
Ooooooooooh Pretty Lites!! Shocked

Philip ( wonders if his wife will allow him to fillup the parking space?!? Cool )
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