☝ OpenOffice.Org and the LibreOffice Imperative

As expected, the Apache Software Foundation took the first steps to admitting the OpenOffice.org project to the Apache community, following Oracle’s IBM-designed proposal. It now faces a time of maturing and proving in Apache’s Incubator.

I’ve avoided publishing articles here during the Apache discussion as I have both a history and strong views. But with the end of voting, it’s time to document the story so far. You can read my views over on ComputerWorldUK.

If that’s TL;DR, here’s a summary:  The best thing end-users can do is ignore OpenOffice.org at Apache, and switch to LibreOffice instead until the dust settles and we can all see a better path forward.

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8 Responses

  1. There will not be anything for end-users in the Apache Incubator for quite a few months (if not years).

    • I’m not so sure. I think the Sun Hamburg developers will quite possibly help get the repository bootstrapped and there will be at very least progress that the project’s advocates can point to.

  2. re: “best thing end-users can do is ignore OpenOffice.org at Apache, and switch to LibreOffice instead until the dust settles”

    This doesn’t work well for Solaris users since LibreOffice only runs on Windows/Linux. Given the antipathy between the Apache/TDF which seems (as usual) to be based on a religious war over licensing, I don’t see this changing any time soon 😦

    • I checked with the LibreOffice developers just now and they would be delighted for there to be an Illumos or Solaris version maintained there. Do you know anyone who’d want to work on it?

      • No. We previously provided support to Openoffice by purchasing Staroffice licenses and paying maintenance fees on them through Sun and and then Oracle. Oracle has now left us in the lurch (again) with another of their imperious product desupport decisions similar to the way they did with their proprietary client-server Forms product. Lesson learned.

        At least with an open-source project like Openoffice there is the potential for another group to continue development (the up-side). Unfortunately, in a corporate environment we can’t support such an entity until it provides a deliverable product, takes purchase orders, can enter into legally binding agreements, etc. As usual with open-source (the down-side), egos and dogma have resulted in confusion over Openofffice’s future – they must be breaking out the champagne in Redmond.

        Maybe IBM will release a version of Openoffice that we can purchase/use in future (can’t believe I’m saying this!).

        • If you could persuade anyone to work on a Solaris version at LibreOffice, paying Red Hat or SUSE for support on LibreOffice would achieve essentially the same magic you describe with StarOffice. Over time, I also suspect that we’ll see The Document Foundation enabling paths for this sort of thing.

  3. Hmm, after a bit of searching regarding the likelihood of compiling LO on Solaris, I came across the following post from one of the project leaders (and also one of the main proponents of GoOO I believe):

    http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/libreoffice/2011-April/010254.html

    “We’re not worried about the Solaris build – we don’t ship on that platform, so feel free to ignore that.”

    I know that one of the Libreoffice project’s main focuses has been on “code cleanup”, and if this kind of attitude has prevailed during this process then I don’t hold out much hope for LO on Solaris in the future.

    • I’ve checked with some of those developers and they are more than happy to accommodate Illumos developers. But yes, if none show up then it makes sense to cut out redundant code that’s not used by any build…

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