OpenOffice.org Inspired by Office -- Why?

Project Renaissance aims to deliver a new user interface for OpenOffice.org. The team recently completed the prototyping phase and is asking users to provide feedback on the eight UI options, which strongly resemble Microsoft Office 2007's ribbon UI.

openoffice.org
Response to the ribbon-based UI options has been, well, one-sided:

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  • e7: "This would be a killer feature for not using OpenOffice.org. Don't implement this, do other things -- like live editing in presentation, a correct ttf/otf [TrueType or OpenType] export or such things."
  • Andis: "I would like to see list of problems in previous interface of Impress and how these problems are addressed in the new interface. Because now I see only problems (at least for me) with that new interface."
  • .wu: "That's brilliant! add even more to the top part of the UI because, you know -- the screens aren't getting wider."

The three comments are fairly representative of the comments as of Aug. 5. The concerns boil down to three points: Why work on a new UI when there are other higher-priority items for the OpenOffice.org to tackle, why introduce such a significant change to users, and why waste vertical screen space?

I can't speak for the OpenOffice.org community as to why it's working on this versus some other requirements.

The second concern raised is interesting. Because many Office users are still using Office 2003, with some resisting the shift to Office 2007 because of the ribbon UI, why would OpenOffice.org follow suit with a ribbon-like UI? A UI that more closely resembles Office 2003 will make it easier to adopt OpenOffice.org versus training 500 or 20,000 or 300,000 employees on the new UI in Office 2007.

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