scotthanselmanWorried about the Live Writer blog editor not getting open sourced? Well, Microsoft developer Scott Hanselman tells TeleRead he’s “100%” certain it’ll happen.

Others have raised questions, and Scott still isn’t giving us an ETA. But my bet is still on open sourcing occurring at some point, perhaps in months.

“Ah,” Scott e-mailed me last week, “we have 20 coders signed up and 3 from the original team.”

So now let’s move on to a different issue. What are your suggestions for the new Live Writer team? At the top of my list I would ask for a way to stop LW from posting duplicate images to WordPress, when people tweak entries.

Here at TeleRead we’ve got the LW faction and the post-directly-to-WP faction, which complains that the dupes clutter up the media library.

Right now the LW faction is winning. You see, LW booster #1 at TeleRead is the owner—me. But I would like to make life easier for the “direct” folks and save space on the server.

For me, another issue is cursor movement. Perhaps the fault is at my end, a memory issue in my desktop or whatever. But sometimes the cursor gets stuck in a certain place, and I must try little tricks like going into the “Source” mode and then moving the cursor around before returning to “Edit.” Smoother movements, in general, would help.

Asked about money for the open sourcing, Scott isn’t worried about that. I am. I’d love to see LW tailor-made for K-12- and library-related applications, and I suspect that could require cash if volunteers aren’t interested. At any rate, this would be a great time for library organizations such as the Digital Public Library of America to speak up about, say, a version of LW that would do guided tagging. Or maybe even work with an automated system of the kind that the New York Times has developed.

What a great tool for, say, local historians who want to post born-digital information for both hometown and national use!

Or how about academics who need to write in a certain format? DPLA Executive Director Dan Cohen has called for a good creation tool for scholarly communications, and LW could at least be one of them.

Live Writer is significant in that it has a what-you-see-is-what-you-get interface that is good for nontechnical people and allows everyone to focus more on writing and less on the tech end. Other products are in similar territory. But the rivals just don’t come close to Live Writer’s mix of power and general ease of use.

Not everything about LW is easy. But it is still very teachable to young people. Either LW or future equivalents could be of great help to them on the job—in an era when even tiny businesses are on the Web.

Simply put, LW could be a life-changer, not just another piece of software, particularly for people with slow Net connections who must struggle with online composition.

All kinds of possibilities in this regard will emerge if LW indeed goes the open source route. Come on, Microsoft. Speed up the open-sourcing! Lots of smart librarians, teachers and academics will thank you.

Related: Live Writer blogging editor may be open-sourced: What a great writing tool for the masses—IF libraries and others will act!


  1. At the moment, whenever I post articles for someone else (like Joanna), when I go to select the author’s name, I have to scroll through what is apparently the names of every person ever to post a comment to Teleread, and there is no way that I can find to pare that down. I would like one.

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