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NeoOffice :: View topic - NeoOffice development plans for second half of 2009
NeoOffice development plans for second half of 2009
 
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pluby
The Architect
The Architect


Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 11856
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:01 am    Post subject: NeoOffice development plans for second half of 2009 Reply with quote

Now that NeoOffice 3.0 has been out for two full months, we felt that it is a good time to give an overview of our the state of the NeoOffice project and lay out our plans for the rest of this year.

State of the NeoOffice project

Getting NeoOffice 3.0 up to the level of stability and speed that we had attained for NeoOffice 2.2.5 has consumed all of our time. Since September 2008, nearly all of my time has been spent upgrading NeoOffice to the OpenOffice.org 3.0.1 code and fixing the many new crashing and hanging bugs that our users have found in NeoOffice 3.0's underlying OpenOffice.org 3.0.1 code. Fortunately, donations from our users have enabled me to continue to work full time on NeoOffice and have allowed Fran (also known as "narf") to work half time to enable me to work almost exlusively on fixing issues that our users have found.

Unfortunately, the global economic problems have curtailed both the amount of time and money that users have donated in recent months. As a result, we have not been able to expand our scope despite the frequent requests for new features or improvements to NeoOffice's underlying OpenOffice.org features. Ed and I know that this is frustrating for our users but our primary task has been to preserve the our existing levels of user support and code development during a time of reduced donations. Nearly everyone is facing this same problem, but rest assured that we believe we are well prepared to survive these troubled times.

What we are most concerned with is making sure that, in these times of reduced donations, we are working on projects that benefit our donors. We would like to fix every problem that a user finds, but since that is not possible with only the one full time developer that our donations fund, we want to focus on the most ciritical needs of our donors. After all, the people that donate their time and money to NeoOffice are who make it possible to provide a free product to hundreds of thousands of Mac users.

Our plans for the rest of year are list below. We would appreciate any feedback from our donors especially if you believe that donations would be better used for a different set of tasks.

Plans for the rest of 2009

Given that the global economy is very bad, we assume that donations will continue to remain low for the rest of 2009. Although many organizations are reacting to this economic situation by trying to solicit more donations from their supporters, we think this is a bad idea.

Instead, we feel that this is the time for us to use donations saved from better times to preserve our existing levels of user support and bug fixing and, at the same time, devote a small portion of our development time to consulting work so that we need less donations to pay our bills.

In other words, we have no plans to add nag messages or require users to pay for NeoOffice. We will continue to operate as we have done for the last few years. The only change that our users should see is that we are going keep our limited developer time focussed on the following tasks in addition to our normal support work:

1. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard bug fixing - We plan to release NeoOffice 2.2.6 and 3.0.1 whenever Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6. While the latest NeoOffice 2.2.5 and 3.0 patches work on the Mac OS X 10.6 developer seeds, we expect that we will need to devote time to not only fixing any critical crashing or hanging bugs that users may find when running NeoOffice on Snow Leopard, but also any changes to the size and shape of buttons, checkboxes, etc. that Apple may make in the final Snow Leopard release.

2. NeoOffice Mobile - Ed and Tim have devoted many months to implementing this new secured file sharing feature and it is currently in the Preview phase. Since for NeoOffice users NeoOffice Mobile will really be a feature within NeoOffice, our plan is to give any NeoOffice user a trial account in NeoOffice Mobile for free. NeoOffice donors, in contrast, will be given access to the complete set of features as a thank you for supporting the NeoOffice project.

3. Integrate NeoOffice 2.2.5's native file locking - In NeoOffice 3.0, NeoOffice has OpenOffice.org's new method of locking files when multiple users or applications open the same file. Starting in OpenOffice.org 3.0, Sun Microsystems' OpenOffice.org engineers replaced the native file locking code that NeoOffice 2.2.5 used with a new code that is prone to problems and is not recognized by other applications like Microsoft Office. Due to many complaints by their users, OpenOffice.org switched back to native file locking in OpenOffice.org 3.1. However, that release is only a minor addition to their new method so we will attempt attempt to replace OpenOffice.org's new method and replace it with the native file locking in NeoOffice 2.2.5 so that NeoOffice file locking is compatible with Microsoft Office and other applications' file locking.

4. Integrating OpenOffice.org 3.1 speed improvements - While the general performance of the OpenOffice.org 3.1 code does not appear to be significantly different than the OpenOffice.org 3.0.1 that NeoOffice 3.0 is based on, our users have found that Sun Microsystems' OpenOffice.org engineers did make some significant speed improvements in certain specific areas like spreadsheet formula calculation. Where it is feasible to integrate these speed improvements in NeoOffice 3.0, we will do so.

Patrick
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Gust
Councilperson


Joined: Oct 09, 2007
Posts: 137

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:43 pm    Post subject: Re: NeoOffice development plans for second half of 2009 Reply with quote

pluby wrote:
Our plans for the rest of year are list below. We would appreciate any feedback from our donors especially if you believe that donations would be better used for a different set of tasks.

Here are my thoughts just to provide some feedback.
pluby wrote:
In other words, we have no plans to add nag messages or require users to pay for NeoOffice.
This one's priority no. 1 for me.
pluby wrote:
We will continue to operate as we have done for the last few years. The only change that our users should see is that we are going keep our limited developer time focussed on the following tasks in addition to our normal support work:
I'm not sure if any ranking was intended in the listing of the additional tasks, but my preferences for prioritizing go to Snow Leopard support and the bloody file locking issue.
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netocp-1
Oracle


Joined: Sep 22, 2008
Posts: 225

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:31 pm    Post subject: Well... Reply with quote

Patrick, when you're talking about donors, are you refering to time donors, fund donors or both? Confused
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pluby
The Architect
The Architect


Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 11856
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Well... Reply with quote

netocp-1 wrote:
When you're talking about donors, are you refering to time donors, fund donors or both? Confused


Both. If you are answering support questions, translating our website or NeoWiki, those are donations of time and are as important as donating money.

Patrick
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netocp-1
Oracle


Joined: Sep 22, 2008
Posts: 225

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:36 pm    Post subject: Ok. Reply with quote

Oh, thanks Patrick for clearing my doubt Very Happy
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pluby
The Architect
The Architect


Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 11856
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:26 pm    Post subject: Re: NeoOffice development plans for second half of 2009 Reply with quote

Gust wrote:
I'm not sure if any ranking was intended in the listing of the additional tasks, but my preferences for prioritizing go to Snow Leopard support and the bloody file locking issue.


I listed this task last not because it was lower on the priority list. Instead, I only think that it is the hardest one to solve. The deeper that I did into OpenOffice.org's changes, the more I realize that they basically yanked out a lot of working code that, over the years, we had put enormous hours into fixing. Yet, the code that they replaced it with is quite error prone and, frankly, does not do any real locking. So, I have a feeling that I will be spending this summer adding the OpenOffice.org 2.4 file locking code back bit by bit. Sad

Patrick
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pluby
The Architect
The Architect


Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 11856
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I mentioned in my first post in this forum topic, NeoOffice 2.2.6 and NeoOffice 3.0.1 will have the following two features:

1. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard support
2. NeoOffice 2.2.5's native file locking

What I failed to mention was that these two releases will initially be Early Access Program releases. The reason is that these two features are very difficult to get working perfectly on the first try so by restricting the initial release to Early Access Members only, we can work focus our most of our support and bug fixing for this release on Early Access Members and fix any bugs that they find very quickly.

We have not yet set a start date for the next Early Access Program. But what we will likely do is start the program just before Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and end it within a month after Apple's release.

Patrick
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pluby
The Architect
The Architect


Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 11856
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since Apple has announced that they will be releasing Snow Leopard in September 2009, we have set 15 September 2009 as the estimated start date of the NeoOffice 3.0.1 Early Access Program. We estimate that it will last 6 weeks and end in the last week of October 2009.

While you may noticed our announcement earlier today that NeoOffice has been forced to significantly reduce support levels for non-donors, this cutback does not change our plans to release the following new features in September's NeoOffice 3.0.1 Early Access Program:

- Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard support
- NeoOffice Mobile
- NeoOffice 2.2.5's native file locking

The reason the cutback does not change our plans is that much of the work for the first two of these features has already been done and only the last feature needs to be implemented. Furthermore, we are committed to releasing these features as our large donors have essentially funded a large portion of the work and we feel that we have an obligation to complete the work that our donors have funded.

Patrick
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Wilf
Red Pill


Joined: May 05, 2009
Posts: 9
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:41 am    Post subject: Plans for 2009 Reply with quote

Idea I'm hoping to receive Snow Leopard for my MBP (currently Leopard 10.5.8 ) in the next few days (the release date seems to have shifted earlier), and at present run NeoOffice 3.0 patch 2. I would definitely vote for at least an initial push to ensure the Snow Leopard support etc. gets solidly in place. I love NeoOffice, and wouldn't go back to MS Office having experienced the responsiveness and excellence you guys show to getting the product just right.
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Samwise
Captain Naiobi


Joined: Apr 25, 2006
Posts: 2315
Location: Montpellier, France

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patch 2 is almost 4 months old. You should probably install the latest patch from the patch download page.
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narf
The Anomaly


Joined: Jan 21, 2007
Posts: 1075

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Samwise wrote:
You should probably install the latest patch from the patch download page.


We have confirmed that the latest patch, NeoOffice 3.0 Patch 7, does run on the last developer preview of Snow Leopard that Apple released and that patch also has a fix for the last NeoOffice bug reported on Snow Leopard.

Because this is a new Mac OS X release we expect that Snow Leopard will cause some new bugs in NeoOffice. During the NeoOffice 3.0.1 Early Access Program our first priority will be to fix any breakage caused by Snow Leopard that our Early Access members find.

--fran
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