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From Rory O'Farrell <>
Subject Re: [QUESTION] Usability of Non-Optional Java Dependencies
Date Thu, 29 Oct 2015 18:13:21 GMT
On Thu, 29 Oct 2015 10:44:52 -0700
"Dennis E. Hamilton" <> wrote:

> The Java dependency problem keeps coming up buried in other threads.  I am redirecting
the most recent case so we can put light on this situation.
> Before the dependencies on Java are increased/improved, I think there is a crucial usability
>  1. Currently users are trap-doored by exercising a feature or dialog that suddenly raises
a Java dependency, sometimes for which there is no escape other than finding a way to shut
down AOO that is not a normally-required skill.
>  2. The fact that full functioning of AOO is buried in the system requirements in a way
that users can easily overlook (or never examine) is a problem.  We can fix that page, even
providing (or linking to) specific details of what the dependencies are. That would be useful
so developers and power-users have the details.  However, the system requirements are probably
not read by most who download the software (based on over 40 million downloads of 4.1.1, overwhelmingly
on systems designed for casual users).
>  3. If the installer required presence of Java, that would be a clear indication that
it is required for operation.  It would also be helpful if the installer provided an usable
link for installing a workable Java if one is not present.
>  4. If the presence of Java is indeed optional, and the user does not have it or elects
not to use it, AOO should not even offer functions for which Java is required.  That is another
way to improve the usability and at least avoid users falling through trap-doors.
>  5. Shouldn't we do this better?  Or are we to decree that AOO is only intended for power-users
who have strong skills with regard to managing their configurations, managing the install
of dependencies, trouble-shooting and being able to work around the not-dependable way things
work now?  
> Three paths come to mind.
>  A. Remove the Java dependencies.
>  B. Adjust the Java dependencies,
>     1. So that the dependencies are clear and the situation around failures to find a
suitable JRE is made workable for casual users.  This could involve the above (2-4) remedies.
>     2. Only then consider increasing the dependencies on Java for full-function operation
in some controllable way.  
>  C. Make AOO a Java application that has C++ components, rather than the reverse.
> These are all serious.  Probably on the way to either A or C, one must address B.
> We also need to consider what the project's capacity for any of these cases happens to
> Thoughts?
>  - Dennis
> PS: There is a bigger question about platform presence in here.  There are distributions
for which Java dependency is not particularly attractive and we may be cutting ourselves off
from those.  That might not matter if we are talking about the small percentage of the downloads
that are for neither Windows nor Macintosh desktop PCs.

I am aware that there is an undercurrent among computer users against Java because of various
security holes - whether real or generated by media paranoia.  My reaction would be that the
basic (i.e., unextended program) should be written in as secure a language as possible and
extensions (which are an optional install) written as suits their author. 

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Pedro Giffuni []
> > Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2015 08:07
> > To: Apache OO <>
> > Subject: Re: Thinking of joining OpenOffice as a developer
> > 
> > Hello;
> > 
> > First of all, a warm welcome to Patricia. Java developers are
> > particularly welcome at this stage!
> > 
> > Just IMHO, the C++ side of AOO is either under-control or
> > too-ugly-to care-about, so we would do good focus more on the
> > Java parts, which are also somewhat ugly but still promising.
> [ ... ]
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Rory O'Farrell <>

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