Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Interview with Michael Meeks of OpenOffice.org

Filed under
Interviews
OOo

On the Novell website, there is a page dedicated to the company's Distinguished Engineers. One of these is Michael Meeks, a Cambridge graduate who began his Linux career at GNOME desktop start-up Ximian, and now works as part of Novell's OpenOffice.org team. Daniel James met him just prior to the announcement of the Novell/Microsoft agreement, and opened the interview with his favourite opening question to any free software hacker...

DJ: What was your first computer?

MM: I was encouraged to program by my mother, because she was a Head of Maths, so I had a BBC Micro and was doing simple BASIC programming. Then came the era of type-in games, so you could learn programming syntax. As my typing was not very quick, I had time to consider the constructs. Eventually I was writing assembler, and this led to x86; but all this was with proprietary software, really. Just on top of Windows, or DOS - a little bit of the Novell technologies crept in there, but only briefly. I left school and went to work doing PASCAL programming, on VT420's, VMS on Alpha machines, cross-compiling to 68000 embedded systems, real-time, the lot. Lot's of good stuff there, and quite interesting in many ways.

During my gap year I became a Christian, and at that point I realised my computer was riddled with non-free software, most of it stolen. So we had a big fight about this, me and God, and the voice of conscience was quite clear that this was not what should go on. So eventually, I ditched it to run Linux instead, which at the time was not good news. The hardware support, and anything graphical or visual, was just hopeless.

DJ: So it was a sort of 'forty days in the wilderness'?

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Today in Techrights

Today's articles: Links outline:

KDE With Theoretical Client-Side Decorations, Windows 10 Influence

KDE contributor and graphics designer Ken Vermette has penned an interesting series of KDE "What if..." articles where he talks about (and has some visual mock-ups) about what KDE might look like with client-side decorations along and separately if KDE were to use Windows 10 design components. Read more Also: What if… Plasma Used Launchers from Other Systems & Enviornments? (Part 1) What if… KDE Used Windows 10 Design Components?

Pondering FOSS foundations

In the case of the Document Foundation, the LibreOffice project needed an independent, solid and meritocratic entity dedicated to support it. In other terms, the OpenOffice.org community wanted to be its own boss and stop relying on corporate – or even third party – good will. If you attend the Community Track on the 31st you will be able to learn more about the Document Foundation and the other entities, but my message here is that while there is no silver bullet in these matters, forcing a community be hosted or to bend to a software vendor never works. It bends if it wants to; it goes whereever it wishes to go. In the case of the Document Foundation, independence and community rule prevailed over convenience; today the results do not need to be proven anymore. But it does not mean we hold the truth more than anybody else: we just ensured the community was in charge. Read more

10+ Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn

There is some discussion of whether or not you should upgraded to 14.10 here, but the short version is, for most people an upgrade from 14.04 is not necessary but not a bad idea, and an upgrade from any earlier version is a very good idea. Mostly, though, you should just upgrade. One could ask the question, should you be installing Ubuntu with Unity. You have to like Unity. I personally like to have a wider range of desktop options than Ubuntu with Unity allows, but for a notebook or laptop where you are going to be using one application at a time, usually use GUI apps, and like to have your computer integrated fairly seamlessly to social networking services, etc., it is a good option. Read more