John Naughton writes, apropos the latest version of Adobe Acrobat, which makes commenting easier, that “Those of us who work in the Open Source world know that one of the factors which makes companies wary of moving to Open Office is that they have built their corporate working procedures around the commenting tools in Microsoft Word.”
But not everyone who works in open source knows this. In particular, the Sun developers in Hamburg, who actually write about 92% of OpenOffice, don’t know, and don’t care, despite being repeatedly told. The annotations in OOo are dreadful. They don’t even word wrap. An issue asking for them to be improved was opened on June 27, 2002; I still get messages every month from people wating to be notified of progress. There is no progress. There has never been any progress. It is not even scheduled to be fixed.
Fifteen Eighteen other bugs in the database have been marked as duplicates of this one in the four and a half years since this one was opened.
This seems to me a perfect example of the ways in which OpenOffice can combine all the disadvantages of open source software with those of closed source, commercial software. Because there is no financial penalty for ignoring what users want or need they are ignored. Because it is so immensely complicated to hack on or even compile, the users have no chance of fixing things themselves even if they are motivated and capable amateurs.