KOffice predates OpenOffice (maybe not Star Office). It quite refreshingly isn't trying to be a clone of MS Office. Unfortunately it really doesn't have the level of polish that it should and has been somewhat in the wilderness with the 2.0+ versions. Calligra is more or less the same code-base under a new name.
The other practical advantage is that having a seperate code base helps test OpenOffice adherance to the ODF specifications.
Calligra isn't going to compete with much of anything if it maintains its dependance on KDE libraries. Unless it can isolate those dependencies to a kde integration plugin or library, we can't port koffice anyware and have it stick.
This doesn't make any sense.
KDE libraries provide lots of important functionality. Should they rewrite all of this just so they can claim they are not using KDE?
The dependence on KDE is exactly a library dependence. It links against kdelibs (which has been ported to most relevant architectures) and that's it. You don't need KDE to run any of it, just kdelibs.
If I understand correctly, this will further focus the development on small devices (palmtops, tablets, netbooks), which is a market niche. Competing with LibreOffice on the desktop has not been very successful due to a lack of developers, and LibreOffice provides both GTK and Qt frontends nowadays and has GNOME and KDE integration and lots of corporate backing.
But putting out a good cross-platform, standards-compliant office suite (it uses ODF as its native format) which can run without being resource-hungry (5433 terrabytes of RAM + Java runtime + 2 gigabytes of source code, yes LibreOffice, I'm looking at you!) -- this is a really good idea.
Nokia has put in a lot of work into MS Office compatibility recently, mostly because they wanted a reader for Maemo. With very little work, KOffice/Calligra could become a very important player in this market, without having to compete head-to-head with LibreOffice on the desktop.
And since both suites use ODF, they can interoperate.
You don't need KDE to run any of it, just kdelibs.
For sure? If I select koffice on my pure Gnome Ubuntu, it pulls in a heck of a lot (117 to be exact) of packages. Most likely not all of them will be strictly needed, but I bet at least the core ones will have to be there:
kdebase-*, kdegraphics-libs, maybe kdepim-*, ...?
If I just select kwrite, aptitude will still want to install 58 packages...
I don't know how Gnome Ubuntu packages it, as it probably does not install any KDE libs by default, just because they have kde in the name.
There's nothing stopping you from packaging all these libs with the program. You don't need to be running KDE to run KOffice. You don't need plasma desktop, you don't need the panel, you don't need KWin. You can run it like any other program.
You might need dbus running, but this is used by GNOME too, and is a free desktop standard.
At least it's not called Kalligra. Thank the gods.
That also surprised me a bit. Imagine that... a few more of those rare apps for KDE that don't have a K in the name. I also like the new names they have, except for kexi which is unchanged. They could have called it Data (considering Base is alerady taken).