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.comment: KOffice Is A Good Start - page 3

Who's It For?

  • October 30, 2000
  • By Dennis E. Powell

KOffice takes advantage of the KParts architecture, meaning that it can be extended and improved with relative ease. It is possible to develop not just for KDE2 but for KOffice itself, and there are several people and groups doing just that. This means that KOffice has the potential to become both powerful and easy to use.

What will make it so is the establishment of intelligent standards. KDE2 in general benefitted from the participation of someone at Corel Corporation who did little but find and holler about inconsistencies among applications. As a result, KDE2 has a consistent design. Because Corel also markets its own office suite for Linux, it did not provide this service to KOffice, and it shows.

What's necessary now is for the same kind of polish to be applied to KOffice that is evident in most of the rest of KDE2--making the applications behave in a consistent fashion that doesn't depart from de facto standards without there being a good reason to do so. The architecture of KOffice is just fine, but the gargoyles are here and there a little ghastly.

All that having been said, this is by no means a condemnation of KOffice, which is, after all, currently version 1.0. There is much to be praised in the sheer audacity of trying to produce an integrated office suite using the free software model.

The fact is, it will be extremely interesting to see what happens next, as the kinks get worked out and KOffice benefits from a little real world experience. Yes, there is another free office suite, but StarOffice was developed in a closed way, with a top-down design, just the opposite of KOffice.

I'm eager to see if the free, open source model will work on such a project, for this is one of the few areas where questions about the free/open system remain.

So yes, the framework is in place, the design intelligent and thoughtful. The applications are a little rough-edged and limited and it's not likely that this incarnation of KOffice will grace many offices. But what this version does demonstrate is the enormous potential of the KDE2 office suite. It's to be hoped that it's enough to bring many others onto the bandwagon, producing at last a good, fast, and free set of professional quality productivity applications for the Linux desktop.

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