Okay, so I ran across this (via Slashdot) yesterday and I was, well, shocked to say the least.
That’s right. The developers of the beloved OpenOffice.org office suite are giving serious development time to the despised and reviled ribbon interface of Microsoft Office 2007.
I swear, with the idiots over at Mozilla contemplating copying IE7 for the next version of Firefox and now the idiots at OpenOffice.org actually copying Microsoft’s failed attempt at a UI redesign in Office 2007, I’m positively baffled here. WHY on earth would anyone WANT to copy failure? Why would they want to ELIMINATE one of the biggest advantages they have over the steaming pile called Microsoft Office 2007? Why?
Let me make one thing clear here. I am not posting this to foster a debate on the merits or disadvantages of the ribbon interface, nor am I doing this to bash Microsoft, or anyone who likes them, or inexplicably likes their retarded ribbon interface that was designed for use by those with severe brain damage.
I am posting this for one primary purpose. To tell the developers of OpenOffice.org TO STOP DOING THAT.
That’s right, guys. You heard me. STOP. Take whatever you have developed of a ribbon interface for ANY AND ALL OpenOffice.org applications, and DELETE IT.
Remember, back when Microsoft Office 2007 came out, there was a sudden surge of downloads of OpenOffice.org? That was because of the godawful interface Microsoft thrust upon its users, and it was a direct response to me (and IT people like me) directing lamenting users to OpenOffice.org to download a GOOD office productivity software suite, with a GOOD interface.
People started using OO.o more because it was a sane alternative to Microsoft going off the deep end.
Please, please, PLEASE do not remove that incentive by copying what could possibly be one of Microsoft’s biggest design faults ever. If you’re looking at this as a “missing feature” or some such nonsense, let me remind you again. The fact that OpenOffice.org has been “missing” this “feature” IS A GOOD THING.
I’m saying this not only as an advocate of Free and Open Source Software — because I think this is a massive mistake that will negatively affect that movement — but as a USER of said software.
At the point OpenOffice.org has the ribbon UI as the default, I will cease directing people to download your product. Period. I will instead be directing people to MY OWN SITE, where I will host, in perpetuity, installers for the last version that has the correct interface for OpenOffice.org, and having them install that. Because at that point, OpenOffice.org’s newer product will have become dead to me.
I know I’m not alone in this. So please. We’re begging you. Stop development on this stupid ribbon UI. If you really feel like doing lots of sweeping code writing, maybe you should instead focus on fixing some of the bugs. Okay?