In this interview, Jan Holesovsky, author and leader of the
KDE.OpenOffice.org project, now employed by SUSE, gives us a glimpse of what to expect in terms of OpenOffice.org integration
on your KDE desktop. The future sure looks bright!
I am 27 years old, living in Prague, the Czech Republic, graduated from
also in Prague.
When not sitting in front of the computer keyboard, I am usually in hills or
mountains with my friends---trekking, climbing, mountain biking or
cross-country skiing depending on the season.
What's the focus of this project and how did it start?
It began in July 2003 when I read an article
about Ximian's work on
improving OpenOffice.org. There was also a note about a (now unmaintained)
Bonobo OOo integration project, and I was wondering, whether anybody
had started a similar project for KDE.
I had just graduated, and I wanted to travel in October, so instead of
searching for a job I was reading the OOo documentation and programming
cuckooo . The initial version
was available in the middle of August, so I still had some time left before
the travelling. I started the "OpenOffice.org Qt port",
now "KDE vclplug", because I wanted to replace all the OOo GUI toolkit "VCL" with its Qt implementation. I
finished a proof of concept a few days before I left. When I returned, I wanted
to continue my OOo work as an employee.
How many people are working on this?
Currently, I am the only developer. Lukas Tinkl sent me a patch to NWF that
corrected behavior of combo boxes and introduced tab bars.
Are you paid to work on this project?
The search for work resulted in a contract with SUSE.
I became their employee the last week, and now I am paid to continue the KDE OpenOffice.org
integration. Here I want to thank Holger Schroeder once more. He donated the money that
covered the first part of my Native Widget Framework development.
All the work on cuckooo and KDE vclplug (OOo Qt port) I did as a volunteer.
Is there a website? Is there a CVS repository somewhere?
There is no separate CVS repository for the project. KDE Native Widget
Framework is already in the OOo CVS repository
KDE vclplug (OpenOffice.org Qt port) will hopefully appear in the OOo CVS
repository as well.
When looking at the website it seems that there are 3 subprojects:
OpenOffice.org Qt port
and KDE NWF.
Can you describe the technical differences between the three projects
that are part of kde.openoffice.org
The idea of cuckooo is to use the UNO API
of the OpenOffice.org to access its
functionality from Konqueror so that people could
browse to MS Office documents which would
open directly in the browser's
window. Cuckooo itself is a KPart which controls an instance of OpenOffice.org
running in the background and displaying to the KPart's window.
KDE vclplug, formerly known as OOo Qt port, has the goal to get OOo controlled by Qt events and drawn by Qt
painting methods instead of pure X calls. It is developed for
OOo 2.0 and it is still
quite experimental stuff. It does not support KDE styles, but once the
Qt events are working, it will be possible to use standard KDE dialogs (e.g.
the file dialog).
OOo NWF uses the Native Widget Framework
to provide OOo with the
that the user chose for his KDE desktop. The framework uses the QStyle API to draw its widgets the same way
KDE/Qt would. OOo with NWF does not have a Qt event loop. It is developed for
OOo 1.1, but it will be used in 2.0 as well; then it becomes part of the KDE
Is there any other work being done besides these three subprojects?
You might be interested in
1.1 toolbar icon themes",
a script and a set of KDE icons
for OpenOffice.org by Rohit Kaul. There is also "OOo kfile-plugin"
by Pierre Souchay (screenshots 1,
What is the current state of KDE integration?
The current version of cuckooo (0.3) seems to be stable and I am not going to add
new functionality in the near future. KDE NWF is nearing completion. I expect a fully usable version in February.
KDE vclplug is a long term solution, but it will take quite a lot of time to
finish. I would like it to be a part of OOo 2.0 which is estimated in Q4 of
2004 or in the beginning of 2005.
Does it seem feasible to ditch the abstract GUI of OOo and work directly
No, OOo will still have to have its own GUI layer. However there are plans to
define a more abstract OOo GUI toolkit "Toolkit2"
based on UNO calls. Services of "Toolkit2" would be implemented in toolkit which is native
for given platform (e.g. Qt for KDE). Unfortunately, due to the complexity of
the rewrite it is planned as an "after 2.0" work.
See these two
messages for more information.
Will "integration" include support for important low level KDE features like
the Kiosk framework sometime?
First of all, the KDE NWF and KDE vclplug have to be stabilized. Then I can
integrate KIO and KDE dialogs to OOo and continue with further efforts, be it
KParts, Kiosk or other KDE features. I am afraid it won't happen before 2005.
Will there be a KDE "version" of OOo in such that it looks and ACTS like a
That is my intention. :) But it will take a lot of time. NWF is the first
iteration, and vclplug will help; Toolkit2 is hopefully the definitive
A lot of people that have looked into developing OpenOffice.org found it very complicated,
what is your experience?
It is really a huge amount of code. Luckily it is quite well modulized, so
once you get used to it, you do not encounter big problems. And if you do, you
still have OpenOffice.org Cross-Reference handy.
If you want to know more about OOo development, try
CPH's excellent CVS digest,
mainly the first one with the introduction.
How is it to work with OpenOffice.org people? Does Sun have a big influence
over the development?
I like the way the OOo people cooperate very much. They are very supportive
and every volunteer is welcome. KDE.OpenOffice.org couldn't have happened without
the support from the OOo side. I can't really say anything about Sun's influence over the development,
as my only contact with Sun on an official level was when I signed the
(a copyright assignment system).
Where do you see KDE.OpenOffice.org going and what are your plans for it?
The mission statement of KDE.OpenOffice.org says "The goal is to provide tight
(but optional) integration of the OpenOffice.org to the KDE environment
beginning with KDE look and feel and ending with KDE data sources." I believe it can be achieved.
What is the project most in need of now?
Time. It is the only limiting factor at the moment. :)