How to proceed with the development of the Docear4LibreOffice add-on?
More than half a year ago, we started a call for donation to pay a freelancer who wanted to develop an add-on for LibreOffice and OpenOffice, comparable to Docear4Word. Originally, we estimated that it would take about 2 months before the work was completed, or at least a decent demo version was ready to released. Well, that estimate wasn’t quite precise – the developer hasn’t finished even an alpha version yet. In addition, we are still missing a significant amount of donations to fully pay the developer ($1,000 are missing).
The question arises, how to proceed? We see the following options:
1. Just wait
The freelancer is still working on the add-on. So, most likely he will finish the add-on some day – maybe in 2 months, maybe in 6 months, maybe in a year. However, I have to point out that my satisfaction with the current progress and outcomes are not overwhelming. Personally, I have some doubts that the final add-on will meet the quality expectations I have, and that probably most Docear users have. However, I suggest you get an idea of the add-on yourself. The freelancer sent me a demo version that you can try out. To do so, download the add-on, store it on your hard drive, and open the downloaded file with LibreOffice or OpenOffice. This should open an installation dialog, and you need to confirm all messages in the dialog. After the installation, you should restart Libre/OpenOffice. If you are using OpenOffice, you will have a Docear entry in the menu and in the tool bar (see screenshot below). If you are using LibreOffice, you will only have an entry in the menu.
To being able to use the add-on, you need to specify where you store your citation styles (click “Citation Styler” in the menu). If you are already using Docear4Word, specify the Style folder of Docear4Word. Otherwise, download some example styles, extract the styles in the ZIP file somewhere on your hard drive, and specify that path in Open/LibreOffice (see screenshot below).
Then you need to specify your BibTeX file (click “Settings” in the menu):
Now the add-on should work. Feel free to “Add References” and a Bibliography. However, please note that there are many open issues and the add-on is not ready for productive use.
If you try the add-on, and if you are happy with what you see (considering that this is the result of more than half a year work), please let us know in the comments. If you are not happy, please read on…
2. Seek another freelancer
If you feel that the current achievements do not meet your expectations, we might look for another freelancer. The current freelancer will not receive any reimbursement in this case (unless the next freelancer uses some of the original source code). Please note that we currently have no other freelancer at hand. Finding one might take some time, and there is no guarantee that the new freelancer will do the work for $2,500 (chances are, other freelancers will ask for more money).
3. Cancel the project
If you believe that it’s not possible to develop the add-on in a reasonable amount of time, or in a satisfactory quality, please let us know. In this case you will get back the money you donated. If you donated via PayPal more than six weeks ago, PayPal will keep a small fee (between 1% and 3% I believe). Otherwise, you will get back the full amount.
Finally, a few words about how to handle the problem that we probably will not be able to collect enough money to pay the freelancer in full (be it the current freelancer or a new one): Our suggestion is that we – Docear – pay the missing money. However, we will release the add-on as closed-source shareware. This means, there will either be a free “light” version (e.g. for managing up to 50 references), or a free trial version (e.g. for 30 days). To use the unlimited full version, a fee of e.g. $5 is to be paid. Of course, anybody who contributed with a donation during the development will receive the add-on for free. Once, we “sold” as many full versions to cover our expenses, we will release the add-on as open source. Of course, if you wanted the same (get your donation back as soon as enough users paid), you are welcome. Please note that this is only a suggestion. If you have a better idea how to collect more donations, or how to get the required money otherwise, let us know.
So, what do you think?
Let us know your suggestions and comments, either here in the Blog, or by email.
Many of the commenters ‘voted’ to wait and see what the freelancer will come up with eventually. However, I have the impression that most users did not try the current demo version of the add-on. Therefore, please download the add-on, and have a look it to find out if it fits your expectations. For instance, you might find out that the add-on is quite slow (and there is no guarantee that the freelancer will be able to improve the performance). If we all agree that the freelancer should go on, then we will have to pay him the money ($500 for the first Alpha, another $500 for the second version, and so on), and we cannot complain later that the add-on is too slow etc. Personally, we (the Docear team) don’t mind because we won’t use the add-on anyway (we all use Microsoft Word). So, if you donated because you need the add-on, then you need to decide if work done so far meets your expectations.
## Update 2014-10-29 ##
Thank you for all your feedback. We decided to stop the current project, and to look for another freelancer. Since we collected only $1,405 of donations so far, and probably no freelancer will develop the required add-on for that amount of money, we, the Docear team, probably will pay the missing money (as long as it’s not $10,000). However, we will release the add-on with some restrictions (see above for details), and as closed source until we got our money back. Of course, anybody who donated at least $1, will get the add-on for free with full functionality right away. If you already donated money, and the proposed solution is not acceptable, please let us know, and you will get back your donation.
## Update 2015-02-26 ##
Unfortunately, we were not able to find any freelancer who could deliver the add-on. They either didn’t make a competent impression, or wanted to have ~20.000 Dollars and more to develop the add-on. Hence, we will pause our efforts on this project, until we stumble upon a capable freelancer who meets our price expectations (<10.000$). If you want your donation back, let us know your PayPal transaction ID and day of payment.