There is a time honored statement that “those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” Some people must have never heard that, or taken it to heart.

The people who write the Open Office software are generally  smart people, and do what it needed to make their product better, and leave things that don’t make it better out. The streak seems to have stopped, as a collaboration with a company called WarMouse, is about to yield another multibutton mouse, one that mimics the massive number of buttons found on some mice from the late ’80s and early ’90s, which were found too ungainly to use effectively, and flopped spectacularly.

The story in PC World adds:

OpenOfficeWarMouse, in collaboration with the OpenOffice.org community, revealed on Friday a new open-source mouse developed specifically for users of the OpenOffice suite.

The corded pointing device, memorably dubbed the OpenOfficeMouse, features an unconventional amount of buttons, and will undoubtedly be more than welcome in the lineup of the world’s weirdest mice. The OpenOfficeMouse packs in a massive 18 programmable buttons, all of which can be double-clicked, in addition to a scrollwheel, 512KB of built-in flash memory, and support for over 60 separate configurations. With that many buttons, let’s just hope the OpenOfficeMouse’s target users are incredibly dexterous.

In addition to its OpenOffice uses, the mouse can may draw the interest of the gaming crowd. The OpenOfficeMouse can make light work of various gaming hits, including popular titles like World Of Warcraft and Call Of Duty. Mouse designer Theodore Beale said that “you can do far more with this mouse than most people are likely to realize at first”.

This is the sort of thing that is going to require a few hours of use to get used to the programming, and though it might work well after that, the slightest change will make the learning a needed process again.

That does not begin to address the possible problems over time with a mouse with so many buttons. A mouse is something that gets a great deal of abuse, and can’t be too easily damaged, or it will be avoided like the plague. (Think about the mouse you now have. How many buttons doers it have, and of those buttons higher than 2, how wonky are they after time?)

By the way, the cost is slated to be $75. That in itself will make it somewhat less popular than the average two or three button mouse.

Logitech currently offers mice with up to 7 buttons, I think the limit for Microsoft is 5. I would like to see the statistics of how many mice, as a percentage, of the total sold have more than three buttons (two buttons with a scroll wheel, that may or may not function as a clickable third button).

I’m betting that number is less than 30%.