It's been a while since I posted the last entry on this blog, but that doesn't mean that we've been quiet during this period: actually we're actively preparing the so called "0.2-final" release, which will be made public on october 30th (next monday). In the initial roadmap, this release was planned to cover the whole direct conversion (transforming ODF documents into DOCX). But due to difficulties we met during the implementation (I explained some of them on this blog), we could not achieve this result. We therefore decided to postpone several features (like drop caps, password protection or digital signature) to a later release (hopefully the 0.3-M1), so that we can make a new version with quite a lot of improvements compared to the previous one (0.2-M3) available.

That's a project management model we usually call the "train model" (and which is typical of Open Source project management): instead of being driven by the features and adjusting the release dates accordingly to the development speed, the idea is to keep fixed release dates and remove or add features depending on which are available at the time of the release. In that way, users can test the product on a regular basis, and we avoid the well-known "tunnel effect". The analogy with a train is the following: features are like coaches in a train, and release dates are like train stations: the latter are fixed, and we keep the possibility to remove coaches from the train when needed in order to always arrive on time to the next station.

So please don't misunderstand: the "final" label does not mean that the development on the direct conversion will stop after this release. The good news is that we put a prototype version of the reverse conversion (transforming DOCX files into ODF) into this release, so that you'll be able to start to test the whole process: open and save ODF documents in Word! This reverse conversion will be availabe on the three targetted platforms: Word 2007, Word 2003 and Word XP. When coaches are ready before time, why should we remove them from the train? ;-)