July 23, 2005

Our new OpenOffice.org article automated response system

Author: Bruce Byfield

After writing articles about OpenOffice.org over the last few years, I've noticed that, no matter what the exact subject is, I get the same comments from readers. This situation strikes me as deeply unfortunate. NewsForge readers, I know, are busy people. They don't have time to write long comments, or engage in endless email discussions. To spare them, I have devised a series of generic comments for articles about OpenOffice.org -- not just mine, but anybody's.

To respond to an article with a generic comment, all readers need to do is post the number of the comment they wish to make. Eventually, we hope to automate the process using NewsForge's polling software.

  1. No office suite has ever surpassed that copy of WordPerfect 8.0 I bought seven years ago. Just last week, my hemorrhoids were cured by touching a computer on which it was running. WordPerfect also cures cancer and thwarts alien abductions.
    Besides, I love paying for my software. It gives me a warm feeling of belonging.
  2. Nobody should use OpenOffice.org when they could use LaTeX. There's never any excuse for using anything except the command line. I don't know LaTeX very well myself, but saying this makes me feel superior to a world in which I can't get regular dates. Next week, I'm introducing LaTeX into my office. I'm going to start with my boss -- the one who keeps forgetting how to turn his computer on.
  3. OpenOffice.org is bloatware, so who cares? My own preference is for using the kit I received from Popular Science in 1975 and writing my messages directly to the CPU in Morse code. Given a choice, I'd never use OpenOffice.org. Unfortunately, the OOo Community Council has kidnapped my aging mother, oxygen tent and all, and is starting to make hints about my little dog.
  4. I'll never, ever use OpenOffice.org because it forces me to use styles. This is a deep affront to my rights as an individual, and threatens my sexual identity as well. You can't make me get organized and save myself time. You can't, you can't, you can't!
  5. This article is useless because it omits my favorite feature. Only three people in the history of software have ever used this feature, and two of them have to take regular medication so that they stay in the corner giggling quietly, but I'm the third, and I know that it's essential. Obviously, the writer has no knowledge of the software and did a rush job on the article. I also have deep suspicions about
    his/her voting preferences and relations with farm animals.

As a result of this system, we anticipate a 75% reduction in our bandwidth needs, and are currently reselling the excess to a small but dedicated syndicate of spammers. For this reason, if anyone actually has something original to say, we suggest that you do so soon.

Bruce Byfield is a course designer and instructor, and a computer journalist who writes regularly for Newsforge and the Linux Journal Web site.


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