Calligra, past, present, future, a few answers

This represent my view of the events, and of what I expect will happen. And not in any case, the KDE community or Calligra project views. I also hope it gives some answers to a few questions and comments.

A reset

The triggering reason of the new name is indeed the consequence long time disputes in the community. We tried hard to solve them. But it was two visions of how the project should be conducted, and of its aims, that could not be conciliated, so at the end we concluded that it would be best to part and follow different paths. Unlike what I have seen on, it is not exactly true that we hide that in last night announcement. It might have been the trigger but it is not the driving reason. I think that when the discussions around the split started, the majority was in favor of keeping the KOffice name, but slowly, the idea of changing took over in our mind.

First of all, the KOffice name itself has a lower value that it might seems, it is often associated to the office suite that has potential but does not deliver, it is hardly known outside the KDE world, it is not such a good name, and above all, KOffice includes applications that are not traditionally associated with office applications. Also a new name is a good opportunity to get a new start, and from what I have seen, it has boost energy inside the project, and it is fueling the enthusiasm of many people, and I am confident that it has helped us to leave the past behind, and focusing on making the future of Calligra. And I am thankful to Jos Poortvliet for advising us for a new name.

After long discussions, we have settled for a new name, Calligra, based on the word Calligraphy. It might not be my favorite of our choices, but I think it is a good name, it refers to “Writing” and “Beauty”, which are two main aspects of our suite of applications, meaning that it makes all our applications feel at home.


Actually our present is to work on the release of the version 2.3 of KOffice. In my view, the renaming was poorly timed, since it happens slightly before a new release, and quiet far away from our first release. But we did not have full control of the agenda either, especially since last week-end the project moved to git, and it is simply more convenient to point people to a repository that will stay for a long time than to ask everybody to switch in six months. And also the split precipitated the events.

The future

There is a lot of speculation about the future, between Mobile and Desktop. Several person have presented Calligra as being mobile oriented. Lets be clear, it is not true. Calligra is focused on developing technologies related to office and creativity applications, on top of those technologies, the Calligra project is delivering a set of desktop applications and mobile applications (and maybe tablet, in the future). All of it is build over the KDE technologies, using the Qt toolkit, which makes it potentially available to an incredible range of devices and operating system: Linux, Windows (desktop and mobile), Mac OSX, Symbian, Meego, Haiku (and maybe Android, iPhone, WebOS…), using a desktop computer, a laptop, a mobile phone, a tablet, your TV… And all with an user interface that is most suitable for your form factor.

Well of course, Qt and KDE being available on a platform is not sufficient to make Calligra available, it needs more work. The majority of the volunteers are working on linux and targeting the desktop, Nokia is supporting the mobile phone and Meego efforts. And anyone is welcome to come and give us a hand with their favorite platform and form factor.

Personally, I find those goals very exciting. Since it pretty much in line with my vision of where computing should be in 10 years, I do not believe in web applications, or thin clients, I believe in web servers as a storage space, while the intelligence remains on the actual device, and collaborations goes through peer-to-peer solutions, using open standards such as ODF.

On the organization level, we want to build a community where every contribution is regarded equally, where people’s work is properly acknowledge, where discussions remains friendly. Where maintainers are facilitators.

I hope this answer a few question, we are also preparing a FAQ, so if you have more questions, you can ask them on this blog, on our irc channel (#calligra on freenode), on the calligra-devel mailing list or in the calligra forum.

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26 Responses to Calligra, past, present, future, a few answers

  1. Freddie says:

    Just curious why the name of some apps is plural (Words, Tables) and for some is singular (Stage, Flow, Plan)?

    Makes it a little awkward to say. Wouldn’t it be better to use the plural form for all of them? Words, Tables, Stages, Flows, Plans, etc.

    That way, when you add the suite name, it flows better:
    – Calligra Words
    – Calligra Tables
    – Calligra Flows
    – Calligra Stages
    – Calligra Plans

    Unfortunately, it all fall apart with Kexi and Krita. Perhaps rebrand them as Bases and Easels? Or Reports and Drawings? Or something similar?

  2. teho says:

    About web applications, could Calligra (or parts of it) still have a web frontend that could be used with ownCloud or something similar?

  3. damian says:

    It seems a good idea from here, but could you point to what are exactly the two visions you are talking about?
    And if I’m didn’t understand you wrong Calligra suite is the new name for the office suite with apps from group B, isn’t it?.
    Also: Will kword manteiners make another whole suite? will they only keep up kword? if they do, would both apps share code/ideas/bugfixes?

  4. Cyrille Berger says:

    I don’t know anything about what will kword maintainer do, you would need to ask him. If his branch survive, it is unlikely to share much. Yes Calligra is the new name for Group B (aka everybody minus one person). The two visions, I would say is cathedral development vs bazar, and one UI vs multiple UI. We in Calligra believes that the person who does the work get to decide, and that other can advise and gives idea, not force their ideas on others, and we don’t believe it is possible to have a single UI that fits all form factors, we believe that each form factor needs a specific UI, while sharing most of the backend.

    How this will happen, is a work in progress. It is quiet a big challenge, since we obviously wants to minimize code duplication and the effort needed to develop new UI.

  5. Cyrille Berger says:

    Interracting with ownCloud is definitely a must. I am not sure what you mean by “web frontend”. But there is a project called odfkit ( that is bringing odf support to webkit, and could be used for viewing and editing documents in ownCloud (I think there are even collaborating on that).

  6. Cyrille Berger says:

    We didn’t want to rename Kexi and Krita since both are quiet well established brand on their own. While plural vs singular, well for stage, you are usually doing a presentation on a single stage, while documents countains many words and tables, and it is more common to work on one flow and one plan.

  7. tk says:

    I think this is good news. I hope Calligra will deliver what Koffice only promised. Let’s start with a “Open-from-template”-dialog at startup that is NOT filling up my 20″ screen. This odd behaviour is present from version 1.4 and still around. (SCNR)

    This being said: I wish you all the best! :-)

  8. SFC says:

    Why not Kalligra? ‘Calligra’ is a font.

  9. TheBlackCat says:

    “Just curious why the name of some apps is plural (Words, Tables) and for some is singular (Stage, Flow, Plan)?”

    Makes sense to me. You have multiple words, and can have multiple tables, in a single document, but you would only have one stage, flow, or plan in a single document.

  10. Amas says:

    Thanks for the very informative article. Together with Aaron’s blog I think I have an understanding of the need for a fork.

    Whilst I can see the need for the fork, the change in name seems like it is still unnecessary. You mentioned that the name has links to an office suite that does not deliver, but seeing as this name is not known outside the KDE world the image of the software can be changed easily without having to remove the name. I feel the name Calligra is a bad name in the sense that it really does not tell you anything about the underlying software.

    I urge you to please reconsider the renaming. The Koffice name has several things that make it a great name. Firstly it tells you straight away that this is an office suite Secondly the K at the start lets you know that it is part of KDE. Thirdly a large number of people have found a liking to Koffice and have grown to really like the name.

    Anyway, whatever you guys decide to do at the end, I thank you all for the great work you have done in creating such great software.

  11. CTown says:

    Just happy to see what this can bring to KDE. what I mean is programs to compete with Microsoft Word and in sheer number of users. I had nothing against Kword (which I used sometimes) and KOffice but was not as prominent as other KDE apps such as Amarok and Dolphin.

  12. cochise says:

    And the questions of release cycle?

    Will Caligra have a “base” lib/package and many programs arround with own release cycle or the actual system of release Krita (fast develop) in the same rithim of Plans (slow development)?

  13. Ike AhLoe says:

    I think the name of the suite is fine and original…. but it’s not too late to change the horrible application names.

    For instance, “words”, tihere is already “word” and “pages” (plural)… it just sounds like a rip and the problem is that everyone will think so regardless of whether you were trying to mimic it. it would make sense if you called the writing app “words” then to make the spreadsheet program, “numbers” to fit.. but wait, apple made number… and wait, everyone is instantly going to recognize that the names are a bad attempt to mimic the Numbers, and Pages names. Now i wouldn’t mind the copying so much if the names weren’t just awful as sin.

    since apple already did what you’re trying to do, you can’t do it successfully without making really obvious avoidances.

    you should make the names fit Calligra’s name better… lke Krita works…. but overall…. it just doesn’t work… i just hate to see such a plane crash and say nothing.

  14. Pingback: Calligra, l’evolució de KOffice |

  15. Cyrille Berger says:

    The question of release cycle remains open. My current vision is something in the line of one “LTS” release per-year, with bug fixes support for one year, security fixes for two years (by the community, anyone else is free to provide services for longer support), and three other features/bugs releases. The “LTS” would be recommended for entreprise setup and disitributions like RedHad, Debian, Ubuntu “LTS”. While the other three releases would be for bleeding edge distributions.

  16. peterix says:

    The name suggests a *serious* commitment to get the typography part fixed I think. This is my main gripe with the KOffice apps… the fonts are rendered terribly.

  17. Cyrille Berger says:

    All I can say is that the previous kword maintainer thought there was no problem with font rendering. All of others acknowledge the problem. That said it is a difficult problem, and the bug actually lies in Qt, it is tracked by two bug reports:

    10615 is the bug with the most votes on the bug tracker, while 12677 is a new ticket that replace QTBUG-205 that was the second highest bug in term of votes. More votes will put more pressure on Qt.

    An alternative solution would be for us to use cairo as a rendering engine.

  18. Cyrille Berger says:

    Also, Casper Boemann (one of the new Words maintainers) who do a lot of work on layouting and text engine told me on IRC that the Qt developer in charge of the issue is dedicated in coming with a fix. So there is a lot of hope :)

  19. Pingback: Naming concepts and a meaningful end « KDE Piauí

  20. Peace says:

    hi , first thank you for the software. Here is nowardev aka peace om irc but i have to say calligra doesn’t make sense to me. I will think somethink like Free-office-qt. No bad k before name..i mean damn stop naming software k+stuff,and it’s immediate. Anyway .. Good luck. Here there is one that loves krita :)

  21. Psychotron says:

    I think this is a good move for the project to gain fresh momentum! Also to me the term “KOffice” is somewhat connected to “has potential, but not really usable”. I really like the new name “Calligra”. IMO it’s creative and tells what scope the applications cover.

    But PLEEEEEAAASE take the chance to get rid of those name like Krita or, even worse, Kexi! While names like KWord or KPresenter may not be very creative, but at least are functional, Krita and Kexi are neither of both, to me they just sound ridiculous. More like kids toys, than serious office apps. I also don’t connect Karbon with drawing…

    IMHO the best is to combine the “Calligra” with some generic term like Writer, Tables etc. It lessens the chance to create weired names and gives the whole project more coherence. Atm. KOffice seems more like a collection of individual apps with entirely different names.

  22. Fri13 says:

    “Krita and Kexi are neither of both, to me they just sound ridiculous. More like kids toys, than serious office apps. I also don’t connect Karbon with drawing…”

    As does “Adobe Photoshop” and “Microsoft Office” sound like toys if we are going on that route as you want to go. WinAmp is cool, iTunes is cool and so on.

    It is so funny that people thinks that “K” in the application name is always a no go. Like some braindead guy just wanted the K there as it would be so kool. It was the old branding what separated very well the KDE and GTK+ applications from each others. And it still is totally valid point.

    Application name should always be unique and clever. It should never be something from dictionary. (like Photoshop or Office).
    Neither it should be something what is impossible to pronounce like KOffice, KWord, or KPresenter.
    The name should not be automatically English, as it is not a) most used language in the world b) it is not the best language in the world c) there is world around English.

    The KDE applications can have K in their names very well. It just need to be unique and possible pronounce well. Example Krita, Amarok, digiKam, K3b, Kdenlive, Konsolem Juk and so on.

    The application name should be such that when you type it to internet search engine you get the correct results. It should not be possible be like a synonym for specific task (Lightroom, Darkroom, Office, Word, Windows Media Player etc).

    Neither the name should be a acronym that you need to open it up to understand it (aka GIMP or YA*).

    Finding a good name is hard, it is very easy to be lazy and take a English dictionary and check the page of wanted app category name. It just is boring and stupid that app name should be something what tells app right away. No, thats why we do have even a descriptions in menus and we have docs to tell more accurately what it is about.

    Other great names are like “Gwenview” or “Okular” or “Skanlite” or “showFoto”.
    (Gwenview name has the problem that new people believe it belongs to GTK+ environments).

  23. Fri13 says:

    “since apple already did what you’re trying to do, you can’t do it successfully without making really obvious avoidances.”

    That is great point what many “K-haters/English lovers” does not understand.

    There can only be one “Word”. Only one “Office” and only one “Photoshop”.

    There is no room for similar names as they are found as ripoffs or stupid ones. The one who first gets the name and have good marketing, gets the points. And those names are already gone.

    Apple even got so well with the Internet branding that no one even notice the iTunes, iPhone, iPod, iTV, iPhoto, iMovie, iLife etc etc etc.
    Apple got the i* work exactly how the K was suppose to be with KDE (longer time ago) but problem came when the K was started to be hunted like witch hunt was going on or when the K naming was abused totally wrong, un-natural ways.

  24. damian says:

    I think a name should be
    1 Pronounceable (in any language)
    2 “Unique” : this means like Fri13 said that when looking for it on a search engine it should be the first result. This also includes not being named like another app
    3 And give an idea of what it does

    Words,Tables,Flows, Stages and Plans respect point 3, and even if it’s in english they respect point 1 , I speak spanish and they are not difficult to pronounce, as they are common words they can also be traducted(openoffice does this on the menus).
    About point 2 they might not be the first one on the list but I think the normal would be to look “calligra flow” or “calligra plans”. The only one with problems about this would be words, because of the obvious resemblance to ms word.
    Krita respects well points 1 and 2, but fails a bit at 3, It points to the proffesional/amateur artist, and as it usually won’t come installed by default, they would mostly discover Krita by searching for a drawing tool in the package manager. It’s not totally like the case of a new user looking in the menus for office(which he/she would suppose installed) to write a letter.
    Karbon is also like krita but with the advantage that karbon seems to remind charcoal pencils. It’s not pointing so much to the proffesional people, but it also won’t come installed I guess.
    And finally kexi, I think this is indeed a bad name, it respecs points 1 and 2, but who will be looking for a database manager app? It’s something which should be more discoverable, so it should have a name that reflects what it does more.
    Summary: All names are ok except kexi, which should be changed to something wich reflects what it does, and words which should be less generic.

  25. Ike AhLoe says:

    Fri13 said it better than me, and sounded less d-baggy as well.

    i was not meaning to be insulting… i just feel very strongly that it’s a mistake to make a names that will instantly be considered as bad mimics. I’m just trying to help. People WILL instantly compare the names to apple’s suite. We want something that’s proud to be KDE, Proud to support linux (as well as other), and more importantly, proud to be itself and different.

    These apps sounds afraid. It sounds like a project that feels inadequate and needs to cling to someone else’s reputation and achievements for people to believe in it. But people will believe in Calligra more if it shows the world it’s confident in it’s unique abilities.

    again, i’m not saying it’s intentional to mimic, it will be in everyone’s mind, and thats a bad place to start. I hope at least you all talk it over one more time and discuss people’s reactions, and i hope some of our concerns are discussed

  26. mythus says:


    I maybe a little late in the game, but I have some naming ideas you might would like to consider (assuming you are even still looking at this blog post).

    Calligra Scribe for the word processing/DTP app
    Calligra Tome or Tomes to replace Kexi
    Calligra Ledger for the spreadsheet program
    Calligra Brush or Essel instead of Krita
    Calligra Graphite instead of Karbon

    Instead of criticizing your name choices, figured it would be best to offer up some ideas. Up to you guys on what to name it, if it all works good I’ll use it regardless of the name. I mean heck, I like the music player deadbeef, despite its (IMO) horrible name lol. Being still early in the developement pahse though, hopefully you would be up to considering such new name ideas. If wanted or desired I would be happy to put my brain to work in coming up with other names. Writing and being creative is what I do after all.

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