Ubuntu explains OpenOffice.org 3.0 decision
The Ubuntu team has decided that instead of OpenOffice.org 3.0, released last week, the default version of the office suite in the Ubuntu 8.10 release will be OpenOffice.org 2.4.1. It’s not a decision that many Ubuntu fans are happy with and Launchpad is filled with discussion on the issue, with many users arguing that not including OpenOffice.org 3.0 undermines Ubuntu 8.10.
The Ubuntu developers, however, argue that delays in the OpenOffice.org 3.0 release and insufficient time forced them to exclude it.
Ubuntu’s Colin Watson is the man taking much of the flak for the decision. Tectonic asked him why this decision had been taken.
Will OpenOffice.org 3.0 not be included by default in Ubuntu Intrepid?
What will be the default OpenOffice.org application in Intrepid?
Could you explain briefly why the decision was taken to exclude OpenOffice.org 3.0 from the default Intrepid release?
We’d originally been hoping to include OpenOffice.org 3.0 in Ubuntu 8.10. Our original plan had been to provide packages that could be installed alongside 2.4.1 (rather than replacing it) once 3.0 reached the late beta or release candidate stage. However, a couple of factors made this much harder than we originally expected.
Firstly, the 3.0 release schedule has slipped quite a bit. At the beginning of May, the release candidate was due on 25 July with the gold release on 2 September. By the end of July, release candidate was due on 8 August and gold on 16 September. Throughout August the release candidate was gradually pushed back until it eventually landed on 5 September, a week after our feature freeze for 8.10. There were then a series of release candidates until the gold release finally came out on 13 October. If the original release schedule had held then including 3.0 wouldn’t have been a problem, but on a six-month release schedule with many other applications involved we have to place an absolute premium on predictability.
Secondly, parallel packages turned out to be infeasible due to a number of technical problems. (In any case, we had only ever intended this as a stopgap measure so that we could test out 3.0 in Intrepid without having to be completely committed to it.)
The bottom line is that we wanted to avoid shipping anything other than a gold release of OpenOffice.org, and by the time we had a reasonable assurance that we would be able to include a gold release of 3.0 in Ubuntu 8.10 and shake out any new bugs, we were already well past beta and beginning to prepare for our release candidate, so it was too late.
We’ve learned that sometimes it is better to wait and deliver a well-tested product rather than trying to cram everything in at the last minute. With a six-month release cycle, it is never all that long for users to wait until the next one along; we fully expect 3.0 to be part of Ubuntu 9.04. https://wiki.ubuntu.com/TimeBasedReleases answers a number of common questions about this practice.
Finally, one of the headline features of OpenOffice.org 3.0 that many people have asked about is support for Microsoft Office 2007 documents. Thanks to our use of the Go-oo patch set, we already support this important feature with 2.4.1.
- Ubuntu Intrepid release candidate out
- Install OpenOffice.org 3.0 on Ubuntu
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