KOffice 2 User Interface Design Competition

KOffice development is currently going on at a tremendous pace. Version 1.5, with Open Document as the default file format, will be released in March 2006, and it is time to start collecting ideas for version 2. KOffice has received a donation of $1000 to be used as the prize in a GUI and Functionality Design competition. So whip out the RAD tools and your imagination and design the next big thing in office automation!

An anonymous donor who cares a lot about KOffice has donated a sum of $1000 USD to be used as prize money in a design competition. The purpose of the competition is to generate new ideas for the user interface of the next generation of KOffice, which is expected to be released around the same time as KDE 4.0.

Submissions to the competition should be GUI mockups accompanied with a written description of the intended workflow with ideas for the design of KOffice 2. See the KOffice 2 competition page for an example of how this could be done.

In case the judges cannot find an entry that is truly best the prize money may be split between at most 3 entries. We do not expect this to happen, though.

There is no guarantee that any suggestion from the entries will actually be implemented in KOffice 2, but we will do our best not to waste good ideas. We also reserve the right to use any idea from any entry.

Our donor said "I believe in the potential of KOffice to become a better office suite than all the others in the market. It would be great for me and society to be able to buy KOffice which is better than Microsoft Office for the total price of 0 dollars."

Small Print:

The judges will be picked from the KOffice developers. Currently, Inge Wallin and Boudewijn Rempt are appointed, but there might be one more to make the number uneven. Those who enter the competition should be aware that there will be no other compensation paid ever, and that all ideas, graphical elements, workflows, etc, can be used in KOffice 2.0 and published under the GNU General Public License. The final decision of the judges cannot be overruled. Any taxes due will be paid by the winners.


Even though it is nice to get KWord, KSpread and KPresenter improved, I think we need to rethink the concept of an office suit. Today programs like MS-Office,, and KOffice are no more than glorified typewriters and adding machines.

They are a reminicence of the days when you put a piesce of paper in your typewriter, wrote a document and then stored it in a binder on a shelf or in a file cabinet. The only difference is that now the file cabinet is a digital artefact. A computer should be able to do a lot more than that.

For one thing, current office suites catches very little of the dynamics and business processes going on in an office. They are very poor at relating piesces of information to each other in a way that makes sense from a business perspective. We lack things like workflow handling, and collaborative tools.
They also doesn't describe the work process in business terms. E.g. projects, customers/clients, employees,...

In short, they are document creation suites, not office suits. What I would like to see are tools that make it simple to tie the various components together. E.g. if you create some type of document that needs to be approved before it is published, it should be possible to create a template for such behavior, so that when the worker selects "new publishable document" it should turn up in the managers todo list as soon as the employee signals that he thinks its ready, and if the manager approves it it should be published automagically and if he doesn't approve he should be able to send it back to the employee with a comment on why.

It should also be possible to let documents and workflows to be part of projects, and it should be possible to create project templates containing certain documents. If a users selects "create new project" he would perhaps get a gantt diagram, an empty or partly filled out project description, all depending on how the template project was defined. Such templates should also make it possible to ask for what human resources that should be part of the project and perhaps set up mailinglists and define calendar categories for the project. It should be possible to right click on a part of the gantt diagram to create new documents associated with a certain project part. Another possibility would be to drag documents, meeting and address book references to the gantt diagram to associate them with a project or a certain part of the project.

Another idea would be to make all of it more or less webbased, using serverside storage for easy backup, and cross platforms components tied together by web technologies like html/xml/xforms and cross platform browser plugins. That way deployment costs could be lowered.

By Uno Engborg at Mon, 2006/01/02 - 6:00am

Yes thats were the trend is going at least with MS Office (MSOffice 12 + sharepoint (with ITIL implementation)) for handling project and documents in groups/collaborations.

By Hans G. at Thu, 2006/01/05 - 6:00am

I believe starting with the 2000 version of Office, there has been an increasing level of integration via SharePoint and Exchange. I worked at a lawfirm where several people would be working on 200 - 300 plus page documents with graphics pros, Excel people, secretaries, the attorneys on both sides, etc. all collaborating all at the same time. The Word doc would be the master with several people working on the various sections in chapterized form according to their specializations with the graphics, spreadsheets, and merge data all dynamically flowing in from other departments. Sign-offs and edits went through to all the people they needed to through SharePoint and via Exchange for outside council. It all plugged into the document management system, iManage.

What I would be looking for is an entire enterprise level document system with per user controls, auditing, document management, compliance devices, access controls, edit routing, plugs into a robust messaging system, tight integration with several tools (think a stable API), etc. Most, if not all, of the editing abilities are there already. Of course, this would have to be Windows native. Sorry, but there are too many apps that are absolutely necessary for my company to switch.

So I am waiting for KOffice 2.

By Jason at Mon, 2006/03/06 - 6:00am