Documenting the OpenDocument Format

An Interview with Jean Hollis Weber

Article from Issue 150/2013
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We talk with Jean Hollis Weber, a volunteer with ODFAuthors, the LibreOffice Documentation team, and the Friends of OpenDocument Inc.

In many ways, ODFAuthors is an exception among free software projects. Its purpose is not to produce code but documentation – chiefly user guides – for office programs that use the OpenDocument Format (ODF), such as LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice. Moreover, instead of using version control, contributors mainly operate by the old-fashioned means of exchanging drafts. Yet, under the leadership of Jean Hollis Weber, a retired technical editor and consultant, ODFAuthors has become one of the few ongoing documentation projects in a community that has a history of neglecting help and user support.

Weber discovered OpenOffice.org, the first ODF office suite, in 2003. “At the time, I wasn’t really part of the OpenOffice. org project,” she says. “I was just fiddling around learning how to use the software. But there weren’t any books, and the help was kind of hopeless.”

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