The Future Facelift of OpenOffice.org

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"The mission statement: Create a User Interface so that OpenOffice.org becomes the users' choice not only out of need, but also out of desire." With these words, the Renaissance project was launched last week with the goal of giving the popular free office suite a face lift.

It’ s about time. That is my first reaction, and one I suspect I share with many. My second: Which design philosophy will prevail?

So far, project members seem to have open minds, since they will spend the next three to six months in usability standards and competitive analyses before producing a first draft of the proposed changes. But, already, I am wondering -- and worrying, just a bit -- about whether it will eventually imitate Microsoft Office, and which level of user the interface changes will be aimed at. And considering how widely OpenOffice.org is used, perhaps other free and open source software users should be concerned as well.

Digging through the interface layers