Apache OpenOffice

Friday November 18, 2011

OpenOffice.org Migration -- The Community Forums

The OpenOffice.org Community Forums have been successfully migrated to operation under the Apache OpenOffice.org podling.  Forum operation, location, and resources are intact.  For users and the community that has grown the Forums into a valuable resource, it seems nothing changed.  It wasn’t so simple.  Here’s what it took and what was gained.

Community Forums on the move

Cut-over of the Community Forums completed on Friday morning, October 28.  There were few disruptions during Internet propagation of the new hosting-site location.  The migrated site is now accessed by the original web addresses.  A staging server holding the necessary software was tested using backups of the data from the Oracle-hosted Forum services.  Staging preparations started in July.  It was the first-ever introduction of a Forum system at Apache. The last backup of the “live Forums” happened on October 27.  The Forums backup was restored to the Apache staging system.  The new “live Forums” stepped in, just like the old Forums.  The transplant succeeded.

Adjustments will continue.  There will be alignment with remaining migrations of OpenOffice.org web properties.  There will be further  integration into the Apache OpenOffice.org podling operation.  Throughout remodeling, the Forums will be alive and well.

Community Forums legacy

The OpenOffice.org Community Forums originally went live on November 28, 2007.  By September 20, 2011, the English-language Forums have accumulated 200,000 posts, contributed by 45,000 Forum registrants, on 40,000 topics (threads).   At any point in time there appear to be 10-20 times as many unregistered users browsing the Forum as registered users.  The thrust is having a setting where users with questions find users with answers.  Experienced users also provide guidance to where the questions are already asked and either answered or under discussion.  The Forums are a customization of the phpBB software that is a prevalent implementation of Internet forums.

The Spanish and French forums are next in size and activity, with most other forums of intermediate size. The entire Forum base is preserved on-line.  Forum content is indexed by the major web search services. 

Always open, browsing welcome

Visiting any of the Forum entry pages and exploring any topic of interest reveals characteristic Forum features:

  • It is easy to see what the variety of topics and degree of activity has been in each subject area. 
  • Threads are organized and presented with recent, active topics located quickly; other viewing options, including of one's own posts, are selected with a single click.
  • There is integrated search for any topic and content.
  • Images and code samples can be included in posts and all can be quoted, cross-referenced, and reached via web locations.
  • The Forums provide links to extended topics on the Community Wiki, another migrated service.
  • There are tutorials on all components of the OpenOffice.org suite. 
  • Special topics include the programmability features of OpenOffice.org, including writing macros and using/creating extensions. 
  • The Forums embrace all of the descendants of the original StarOffice/OpenOffice.org that have become siblings in the OpenOffice.org galaxy.  Tips and solutions in the use of one release are often useful to users of a peer product having the same feature. 

Supporting global community

The forums were originated by a group of independent volunteers.  The entire content of the Forums is created and curated by individual users and volunteers.   With migration, the volunteer structure is supplemented by arrangements for oversight as required by policies concerning properties in ASF custodianship.  Day-to-day operations and volunteer activities are unchanged..

User peer-support grows by inviting frequent contributors to serve as volunteers.  Volunteers review Forum activity, point out where moderation is required, and participate in privacy-sensitive discussions about Forum operation.  More-experienced volunteer Moderators intervene where appropriate to provide special assistance or curate threads and subscriptions.

The OpenOffice.org Community Forums are one way that the Web connects users of OpenOffice.org-related products.  There are additional communities across the Internet with similar concerns as well as different specialties.  These can employ mailing lists, Internet news groups, and other web-based forums.  The Web and search engines bring the different resources of these communities into the reach of each other and users everywhere.   The OpenOffice.org Community Forums are now continuing as a substantial resource of that extended community.

Moving complex web properties

The OpenOffice.org web site is a complex structure of services, web pages, and downloadable content. The openoffice.org Internet domain lease is moving as part of the grant from Oracle Corporation to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). Migrating the various properties that constitute the web site is complicated. Considerable effort is required to have migration appear effortless and smooth.

Some services housed under the OpenOffice.org web locations are rather independent. Apparent integration as an OpenOffice.org web location is accomplished by splicing the service into an openoffice.org sub-domain. That is the case with http://user.services.openoffice.org/ and its ten native-language Community Forums. The English-language Forum location, http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/, illustrates the pattern for individual languages. There is also consistent appearance and other features that blend the forums into the overall OpenOffice.org site.  Maintaining this structure is important so that users can find materials where they recall them, including in bookmarks and links from other materials (including other forum posts).  Search services that have already indexed the forum pages will continue to refer seekers to those same still-correct locations.


developed in Forum Discussion collaboration among acknack, FJCC, floris v, Hagar Delest, kingfisher, mriisv, MrProgrammer, orcmid, RGB, RoryOF, and vasa1 on behalf of the Community Forum Volunteers, additional ooo-dev suggestions by Donald Whytock and Dave Fisher.

Tuesday October 18, 2011

Incubation, podling, IP Clearance, oh my!

Chicken eggs inside a chicken hatchery: Jacksonville Region, Florida


The Apache OpenOffice.org project is currently in the incubation phase. We're a 'podling'. It's where all new Apache projects begin, regardless of how mature your source code base is. In this post I'll attempt to explain a bit about incubation, and a bit about the 'Apache Way', and our current effort to meet the requirements for 3rd party code review and clearance. In future posts, I'll attempt to tackle other aspects of the project. If we all have a better understanding of how the work is becoming organized, those of you interested to volunteer will have a better idea of where to start, and those who are interested to follow our progress will have an easier way to check up on things. 

First off, a podling is not from 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' – a human being wrapped up to look like a large vegetable, or furry cute puppets from the Dark Crystal Cave of Jim Henson's imagination. It's the term we use here at Apache to describe the first phase of a prospective project; a podling is a project that is 'incubating'. Egg, podling, new thing with promise needing special care and attention. I think you get the idea.

It's that special care and attention part that is consuming the efforts of the PPMC or "Podling Project Management Committee" at the moment. If we are going to hatch, 'graduate' to a TLP or "Top Level Project" in Apache-speak, we are required to meet certain criteria evolved out of deep experience accumulated through Apache's 12 year history and its involvement with many other successful projects.

Apache defines a podling as “A codebase and its community while in the process of being incubated.” You can find the details on the complete Apache Incubation Policy here.

OK, so we have the code base, thanks to Oracle's decision, and we have a community signed in to the project already, 75 committers and growing. So where are we with the process?

When do podlings hatch, and become Apache TLP or Top Level Projects?

The abbreviated answer requires the podling to:

  • Deliver an official Apache release
  • Demonstrate you have successfully created an open and diverse community
  • Follow the 'Apache Way' through the process, documenting status, conducting ballots, maintaining a fully open and transparent process, etc.

OpenOffice is a very large chunk of code, many millions of lines of code. The PPMC has now successfully migrated all the source files into the Apache infrastructure nestled into its new nest within the Apache Subversion repository environment. We've run a build test on Linux and we know we've got the code we need to begin to build a release.

But wait, before we can meet the requirement of producing an official release, Apache requires that we conduct a thorough IP or Intellectual Property review and clearance process. This means that the resulting Apache release may be licensed under the Apache License 2. It requires that all...

“incoming code is fully signed off before any release. This simply reinforces the Apache requirements: all code must have appropriate licenses....The process of preparing an Apache release should include an audit of the code to ensure that all files have appropriate headers and that all dependencies complies with Apache policy.

This means that the resulting Apache OpenOffice release(s) will provide the maximum opportunity for the development of a broader spectrum of OpenOffice derivatives than we see today. The OpenOffice of the past, will look very different in the future as more developers become familiar with the code, and see new opportunities not previously available. 

Right now, our immediate task is to resolve the licensing incompatibilities for 3rd party code modules used by OpenOffice. Since Oracle did not possess the copyright for these modules, they were not included in the original Oracle Software Grant Agreement, and therefore we are working to either deprecate, or find a replacement that may be used either as a binary file or an alternative source file that fills the function needed. We're confident that the process will be concluded in the next weeks, but it is detail-oriented work, and must be done thoroughly and correctly in order to clear the path for an official podling release of Apache OpenOffice.

Before we can produce an Apache release, we must complete the code clearance step, ensuring that the license headers include License and Notification files for all artifacts in the build be done to the satisfaction of the PPMC and the Incubator PMC which governs the Apache OpenOffice podling. This will clear the way forward to develop a realistic target date for issuing our first 'Apache OpenOffice.org' release 

In future posts, I'll sketch out how the project is being organized, mapping out the areas that offer interesting and exciting opportunities needing new volunteers to step up and take on.  

- Don Harbison, PPMC Member, Apache OpenOffice.org

Friday October 14, 2011

「日本語メーリングリスト」 means "Japanese Mailing List"

I am testing if Japanese language can be shown up beautifully on Title and Content of this Apache Weblog.

I am a moderator for the ooo-general-ja mailing list.  The day before yesterday I found that a moderator can remotely edit the text files that make up the responses the list sends out.  Then I started translating and editing them.  I have translated "top" and "bottom" messages.

You know the "top" message.  It goes like:

"Hi! This is the ezmlm program.
I'm managing the ooo-o-ooo-AT-i.a-DOT-o mailing list.
I'm working for my owner, who can be reached
at ooo-o-ooo-owner-AT-i.a-DOT-o."

In Japanese it goes:

「こんにちは。私は ezmlm というプログラムです。
私は ooo-o-ooo-AT-i.a-DOT-o を管理しています。
私はこのメーリングリストのオーナーのために
働いています。オーナーの連絡先は次のとおりです。
 ooo-o-ooo-owner-AT-i.a-DOT-o.」

I like the following part of the "bottom" message:

"If despite following these instructions, you do not get the desired results, please contact my owner at ooo-general-ja-owner-AT-incubator.apache-DOT-org. Please be patient, my owner is a lot slower than I am ;-)

In Japanese:
「ここに書かれた指示に従ったのにもかかわらず、望む結果が得られなかった場合は、ooo-general-ja-owner-AT-incubator.apache-DOT-org にメールを送り、このメーリングリストのオーナーと連絡を取ってください。このメーリングリストのオーナーは人間なので私より反応に時間がかかると思いますが辛抱強くお待ちください ;-)

We know ;-)  We have to be patient with human beings ;-)

Wednesday October 05, 2011

The second Japanese language mailing list on Apache

I am a moderator for ooo-general-ja/AT/incubator.apache.org.

I have checked the mail archives on mail-archives.apache.org and found that there are 3 non-English language mailing list on mail-archives.apache.org such as dev-br/AT/spamassassin.apache.org, dev-de/AT/spamassassin.apache.org and axis-user-ja/AT/ws.apache.org.

Maybe axis-user-ja/AT/ws.apache.org is the first Japanese language mailing list on Apache.  See one of posts from this archive.  It's in Japanese encoded ISO-2022-JP but parts of it is garbled. It was posted on Wed. 01 Dec 2004 06:18:12 GMT.

2 Japanese moderators and 2 Japanese volunteer testers are now testing ooo-general-ja/AT/incubator.apache.org.

I hope Japanese be no garbled :)

Thursday September 01, 2011

Apache OpenOffice.org (incubating) Developer Education: Building on Linux

Openluchtschool in de vrieskou / Open-air school in the freezing cold

 Developer Education

It is September.  In the northern hemisphere it is time for cooler weather and time to go back to school.  The Apache OpenOffice.org podling is ready for the season with events to help developers learn more about OpenOffice.org. 

Do you want to learn how to build Apache OpenOffice.org on Linux?  Do you want to take the first steps towards becoming an OpenOffice hacker?  Do you want to help test, review and improve our build instructions, on any one of a variety of Linux distros?  If so, you will not want to miss this event.

Next week, from Wed September 7th through Saturday September 10th we will be making a concerted effort to enable everyone who wants to be able to build OpenOffice. This will be the first of a series of Developer Education topics we hope to deliver.  Others may include how to build on Windows and Mac, and how to work on particular OpenOffice features.

This will be a virtual event, with collaboration on the ooo-dev mailing list and on IRC.  Members of the OpenOffice.org podling will be on hand to help anyone who wishes to get started with OpenOffice development on Linux.

 How to Get Involved

There are a few things you should do to prepare for this event:

  1. Find a Linux machine, at least 1GB RAM and 75 GB free disk space
  2. Run any updates needed to make your distro current
  3. Download the latest source code for OpenOffice.org via Subversion.
  4. Before Wednesday, sign up for the ooo-dev@incubator.apache.org  mailing list.
  5. Bookmark the OpenOffice.org Building Guide.  This is the documentation we'll be following, and correcting.
  6. Starting on Wednesday, follow the discussions on the ooo-dev mailing list.  We'll use a subject tag of [LINUX-BUILD] for threads related to this event.
  7. Also starting on Wednesday, join us on IRC: irc.freenode.net  on channel #dev.openoffice.org

Saturday July 09, 2011

OOo! There’s a New Podling in the Nursery Incubator

The Apache OpenOffice.org (incubator) project was born on Monday, June 13, 2011.  Delivery was complicated.  The baby’s doing fine.

Following the June 1, 2011 announcement of the license grant from Oracle to the Apache Software foundation, there was extensive discussion over the proposal for acceptance of OpenOffice.org as an Apache incubator project.  Before the June 10 voting began, 207 edits had been made to the proposal.  Discussion leading up to the vote swamped the public mailing list used for consideration and oversight of incubator projects.

We’re now taking the baby steps that will lead us to a healthy, thriving project:

  • The open, public developers list, ooo-dev, is operating and active.  Anyone can subscribe and post.  Anyone can access the archive.
  • There is a fledgling Community Wiki.  Anyone can subscribe and post.  Anyone can access the wiki.
  • There is also a Developer Wiki.  Contributions here are treated as deliverables of the project.  Anyone can access the wiki, but contributions to this wiki require submission of an Apache Contributor License Agreement.  Perhaps this wiki could have a better name?
  • There is a project web site.  The content is rather thin at the moment.  It is growing.
  • There’s also a place in the Apache Subversion repository for all of the source code.  At the moment that consists of tools and the project web site pages (created in Markdown).

The gathering of contributors for the project is continuing.  In the status of many of the incubating podlings, you’ll find the OpenOffice.org podling’s first check-up.  (Scroll down through the alphabetical list.) 

There is more to do, especially around migration of the sites and their artifacts from their OpenOffice.org homes to their Apache counterparts.  There are more tasks to accomplish than the number already completed.

Everyone wants to know how soon there will be another OpenOffice.org release and how rapidly everything can be up and running.  So do we.  Apache OpenOffice.org will be different.  The differences may be unrecognizable, but they will be there.  Establishing what it takes to reach a sustainable, supported release process as an Apache project is where we first begin by crawling, next to walk, and then to run

This blog is a place for listening to the heartbeat and taking the pulse of the effort as it unfolds.

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