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Hi Greg, all,

a lot has been said on this topic and as I don't like to write lengthy mails, 
I just want to shortly point one thought that I think is missing in the 
discussion so far: 

People care neither about applications nor about objects. They care about 
tasks (or workflows, as you like). And this is a topic we - as an application 
provider - probably cannot solve. But we need to be aware of it. I think on 
the long run, all we can do is to provide a solid technology base, that can be 
used by operating systems to help users to manage their tasks. Writing a 
personal letter to Greg is something totally different than writing a book 
about the future of user-interfaces. Atm I use writer for both of it. Very 
unsatisfying :)


Am Freitag, 28. Januar 2011, 00:44:46 schrieb noh.way.jose:
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 formats.

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 ;o)

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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