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On Wed, 2011-06-29 at 11:23 -0700, Craig Olofson wrote:

Hello US Marketing;

I've been thinking for a long while about real-time collaboration and LibO.
I can't shake the idea that TDF should, at least, address this publicly.
The problem is, I still don't understand how to start a conversation like
this w/in a F/OSS organization like TDF.  So, I have two requests: Please,

- review and comment the following "feature request" for clarity & relevance
- give me an idea or two on how I can make a good-faith effort for this to
be widely considered w/in TDF (e.g. do I just post it to global marketing?)


==================== DRAFT=========================
Hello all;

I have been looking for pre-existing discussions of this issue
throughout TDF, the developer's mailing list and LibO's bug-reporting
system.  If I have overlooked a project already in progress, I apologize
and ask for the current references.  It is my belief that we need to
formulate and advertise an articulate, unified story on this.
Hopefully, this format isn't too formal or unfamiliar.  I chose it to
emphasize readability and comprehension.

*Feature Request: Real-time LibreOffice Collaboration*

*Synopsis*: Real-time collaboration for all LibreOffice modules, across all

*Date*: 2011-01-29

*Origin*: Requested by Tihomir[1]

*Status*: NEW, UNASSIGNED Bug 33704[2]

*What*: To enable editing, commenting & versioning of LibreOffice
documents, in real-time, among an ad-hoc collection of users. Across all
LibreOffice modules and all operating systems. Cloud-flavor agnostic as
possible (in other words; webdav, google docs, skydrive storage, iCloud

*Why*: By enabling this feature-set, TDF will guarantee LibO's relevance for
the next ten years.  More specifically:

   * Current users are clamoring for feature-set[3].  As a corollary,
     this also indicates that we are already losing current and
     prospective customers.
   * Education, governments and SME are accelerating adoption of this
   * Current solutions problematic vis-à-vis UI/UX, support[5]
   * Feature-parity w/SkyDrive & 365, Google Docs & Apple iCloud[6]
   * Comparative advantage: 1) Completely portable data, 2) Free as in
     free speech data mgmt, 3) Usability issues addressed[7]
   * Instant validation: TDF has an advisory board members who are
     fully vested in social-enabled, cloud-aware & collaboration-ready
     markets and technologies. They can easily validate (or invalidate)
     this feature-set request[8]
   * Small window of opportunity: Conservative analyst project 30% of
     SME will have deployed their Cloud strategies by 2012[9]
   * Balkanization of customer base: Assuming that real-time
     collaboration is a trend that is here to stay, we can see that
     organizations and individuals are currently adopting whatever
     makes sense.  What does it mean for LibO when individual members
     on a modern, ad-hoc, cross-divisional team each have different
     cloud accounts?


  1. tihokibertron AT gmail DOT com
  3. (Google Docs support forum)
  4. (Avanade Research FY11 download) &,2817,2387469,00.asp
  5. &
  6. e.g. (parity)
  7. e.g. & advantage)
  8. (TDF advisory announcement)
  9. e.g. (Gartner presentation download)

I think there are two separate issues raised, one is being able to
collaborate with the most users on a project in more or less real time
and the other is the hype about cloud computing in general. 

Collaboration will be an issue with most businesses the question is
whether it will be using a cloud service or by some other mechanism.
Basically collaboration requires we can open, edit, etc each other's
documents without any problems. If true real time collaboration is
required that requires a sophisticated document control scheme with the
ability to merge changes on the fly. I am not sure that is really
necessary in most cases, what I have seen is that people work on parts
and one person does the final edit of the pieces. Parts are sent to
others for review. Thus a common format is needed, not necessarily a
common software package. True collaboration requires the group has open
communications within itself. 

The part about the cloud strikes as a way for a lot people to make more
off the end user by charging a monthly fee. I am suspicious when
software vendors tell me this the best way for me to use their products;
the best way for whom - me or the vendors? "Cloud computing" has been
used in the form of timesharing and inhouse networks. The difference is
the "cloud" was not controlled internally not by a third party. Also,
cloud computing as it is presented can suffer badly from the last mile
problem; the cloud is only as good as the slowest segment in the link.

Jay Lozier

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