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I'm new to this community, so please forgive me if the topic I'd like to 
discuss has already been aired.

To set the scene, first a bit of summarised, probably partisan and probably 
only partially accurate context. I point this out because I wouldn't want the 
thread to spin off into pedantic historic details and corrections.

Having been around the computer industry for many years now, I have kept 
abreast of computing advancements by reading the industry news, developing 
products and using them. A pattern of acquisitions, mergers,aggregations, best 
practice, standards and plain copying has been going on so relentlessly that I 
believe that the fruits of these enterprises no longer adequately meet users 
needs as well as can be. 

The original modern interface (Xerox Star) didn't differentiate by application 
but by  objects familiar to users. The application rot started with the 
commercial versions of this approach but really got application centric with 
Windows '95. My rough recollection is that MS Office started as a bunch of 
acquisitions that map pretty much to the applications we see now, whether MS, 
OOO or LO. That is; a word processor, a presentation manager, a spreadsheet 
and a database. Leaving the DB out of the argument for the moment, as a non 
presentation centric technology, I'd like to propose Libre Office consider a 
mid to long term strategy to ditch the artificial boundaries between 
applications. Let us return to the idea of supporting users' needs without 
filtering them through artificial application capabilities!

Instead of applications, let's have a document, a variety of choices of 
rendering the document (print, screen, presentation, web, edit, collaborative 
edit, &c.) and tools. The tools can still be categorised, but not as they are 
in applications, where the application is a hard boundary. The tools here 
could all be used, irrespective of the presentation mechanism. Categorisation 
of the tools need only be done as a means to support user tasks, perhaps along 
multiple dimensions, using tags. This proposal means only having to develop a 
tool once and allowing the concurrent availability of tools that the 
artificial applications boundaries would normally exclude. For example, DTP 
tools, such as layout grids and text flow, which could be used alongside more 
traditional word processing tools in documents, presentations and other 

Of course, the toolset and the rendering mechanisms could be extended in a 
modular way, making the development time-line much more appropriate to an open 
source community, with competition for tool developers to build a better tool. 
If the core design team act in an editorial and standards capacity, then the 
result can hang together seamlessly. (Apple seems to have cracked this a bit 

Enough rambling from me. I'd be really interested to see if there's anyone 
else who gets what I'm on about and whether there's enough interest to start 
investigating in more detail. If on the other hand you think I've got it all 
wrong, I'm happy to defend my views or admit defeat, depending on the 

If you read this far, well done :o)



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