Last weekend I had a presentation called Even you can fix your favorite bug in OOo! (Czech only) at Linux Weekend (Czech only). Not that it was a favor to Dan Ohnesorg who kindly provided the bandwith and service for the video streaming from the GoOOCon 2008, it was also a good opportunity to sort the stuff that one needs to get started fixing a bug in OOo. In the end, I was talking the entire hour more or less just about how to get a build, and nearly no time was left to talk about the actual debugging.
The situation would be a lot simpler if we used more standard tools - but due to the OOo roots, all of them are self-baked. Starting with configure located inside a directory, through self-patched dmake, across build.pl and deliver, to gsi files etc. And all this so monolithic that any bigger change has to touch everything, or the change was not big enough ;-)
For quite some time, I think of splitting the OOo compilation into smaller parts. Yes, the 'divide et impera', so that the changes are smaller, easier to achieve, faster to build. It would also alow nicer -devel packages in the Linux distros. Now when I see its importance again, and more brightly, Petr or me will try to achieve it in Go-oo - I had a proof-of-concept once, hopefully getting it to a usable shape will be not that much more effort.
A propos, the videos from GoOOCon 2008... Friday was lost due to a technical problem :-( It is still not hopeless - a backup exists, unfortunately a bit malformed, so some more processing is necessary.