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Re: (Slightly Off-Topic) Emacs-like Office App

From: Richard V. Molen
Subject: Re: (Slightly Off-Topic) Emacs-like Office App
Date: 31 Oct 2002 14:16:24 -0800
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.2 writes:

> This isn't really a request for help with Emacs but a request for knowledge
> on Applications inspired by Emacs, specifically office type Applications.
> I love how Emacs is so extensible and provides so many features due to its
> use of modes and elisp. So what I'm (very idly at this stage) considering
> is the idea of an office kinda suite (yeah, like M$) all within the one
> program through the use of emacs style modes and retaining a lot of
> extensibility through a lisp dialect (probably guile).

Sounds great, when can I get one.

> Emacs can probably do something similar to what I'm thinking already if 
> support was written for it, but I'm thinking Emacs would probably remain,
> well, ugly in the eyes of typical office workers and it would thus
> be unappealing.

Wait, who are the target users, software developers or typical office
workers?  :-|

> Instead I'm envisioning something that looks a lot like current gnome
> office products... only it's capable of doing all of them simply by loading
> the appropriate modes (perhaps after first writing them ;).

If the target users are typical office workers then why not help
improve the OpenOffice offering.  It would probably be much less work.

> Gnome office is a great idea and I think it's a great alternative to M$
> office but I think the idea of having separate programs attempting to 
> integrate through some additional system like bonobo or OLE will still
> remain somewhat unintegrated and perhaps not as consistent in its interface
> as what I'm suggesting would be. I imagine typical office users would be
> much more satisfied if they only needed the one app that could do everything
> and I imagine advanced office users and programmers would be much more
> satisfied if they can extend that app to do almost anything they please.

So the target users would be _advanced_ office users and programmers?
Certainly programmers using Emacs would benefit.  What incentive would
advanced office users have to make the switch and undergo a learning
curve? :-?

> So if something *better* (rather than just equivalent) than M$ office is
> written as part of the GNU/Linux project then we have much more clout for
> winning the average user over. I imagine for this sort of goal the app
> would almost certainly have to have a fully featured M$ Windows port so
> it can first appeal to all these M$ windows users, and once they're won
> over it's a small step to realising that if everything they need for
> office work is in that app, and that app is available on GNU why not just
> use GNU?

Yow! Sounds ambitious.  But wait, who is the target user?  Uncle
Bill's M$ success was by appealing to the lowest common comuter-user
demoninator and releasing not-so-thoroughly tested software early in
order to beat others to market.  What features will this project
provide that will attract these folks in herds and send them
stampeding to GNU/Linux boxes? Answering that question, what would be
the quickest route to providing these features and advertising that
fact? :-/

> So, with that description of my infant idea in mind, I have a couple of
> questions:
> Does anyone know if something like what I'm describing already exists
> or is in the process of being written etc?
> and of course:
> Is my idea stupid, infeasible, lacking in some major consideration, too
> damned hard etc or is it actually a good idea?

I like the idea, but it sounds like a lot of work.  Would it be worth
it?  Eventually, of course, the best features of Emacs will creep into
other applications and visa versa.

> I'm looking forward to any kinds of comments/suggestions. Thanks!

Richard V. Molen

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