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OpenOffice.org splits from Oracle

OpenOffice.org splits from Oracle

OpenOffice.org has forked into the LibreOffice project, under The Document Foundation's auspices.

Oracle appears to have scared another open-source project away, with the team behind popular office suite OpenOffice.org forking the project under a new name: LibreOffice.

The project fork comes as the team behind OpenOffice.org, which grew out of the Sun Microsystems StarOffice project before Sun was acquired by Oracle, set up an umbrella group called The Document Foundation to oversee development of the newly-branded software package.

The group, which a press statement claims consists of "leading independent members of the former OpenOffice.org community, including several project leads and key members of the Community Council," hasn't given up on the goodwill associated with the OpenOffice.org brand just yet, however. While LibreOffice has been chosen as an interim title, The Document Foundation is asking Oracle to donate the rights to the OpenOffice.org name to the project and become a member - though no longer a leader.

Sophie Gautier, long-time OpenOffice.org volunteer and former maintainer of the the French-speaking arm of the project, spoke for the volunteers and stated that "we believe that the Foundation is a key step for the evolution of the free office suite, as it liberates the development of the code and the evolution of the project from the constraints represented by the commercial interests of a single company".

Richard Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation, saw the move as a positive one that could help to make the office suite easier to recommend with a clean conscience, saying, "I'm very pleased that the Document Foundation will not recommend nonfree add-ons, since they are the main freedom problem of the current OpenOffice.org."

Although the Foundation has already gained a lot of admiration and support from the industry, with Google, Novell, Canonical, Red Hat, and the Open Source Initiative all adding soundbites to the announcement, so far Oracle hasn't hinted as to whether it will be willing to cede control and cooperate on the project.

Do you think that Oracle should give up control of the project and offer the OpenOffice.org name to The Document Foundation, or is it right to hang on to the brand it has bought from Sun and let LibreOffice live or die on its own merits? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

30 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Grape Flavor 29th September 2010, 10:01 Quote
Great, now we have two competing versions of OO and development resources split between the two. How is this a good thing again? If Oracle was actually harming or constraining them in any meaningful way, I could see this being necessary, but it sounds like they're forking the project just to make some kind of stupid point. Sounds dumb to me.
mi1ez 29th September 2010, 10:08 Quote
Sounds like they have the right idea, but potentially haven't gone about it in the right way. There should have been more discussion before the fork to sort out all the legal side of things.
impar 29th September 2010, 10:42 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grape Flavor
Great, now we have two competing versions of OO and development resources split between the two. How is this a good thing again?
Competition improves products.
scawp 29th September 2010, 10:55 Quote
OpenOffice is ****, just saying.

You get what you pay for!
docodine 29th September 2010, 11:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by scawp
OpenOffice is ****, just saying.

You get what you pay for!

It does everything I need from MS Office, but it doesn't cost anything. What's wrong with it?
Grape Flavor 29th September 2010, 11:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Competition improves products.

But does that apply even if those products are free and open source? Hmm.
Er-El 29th September 2010, 11:38 Quote
Except it still uses shi*** Java... lame.
tristanperry 29th September 2010, 12:02 Quote
There things happen I guess. Will be interesting to see whether LibreOffice builds its brand name quickly and becomes the most popular of the two (like Football Manager and Championship Manager I guess)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grape Flavor
But does that apply even if those products are free and open source? Hmm.
I guess it does. Even in such environments, knowing that someone else has a better product would probably still drive you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Er-El
Except it still uses shi*** Java... lame.
Java FT-W. ;)
impar 29th September 2010, 12:06 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grape Flavor
But does that apply even if those products are free and open source? Hmm.
Current Browser War, how much costs your browser of choice?
aussiebear 29th September 2010, 12:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grape Flavor
Great, now we have two competing versions of OO and development resources split between the two. How is this a good thing again? If Oracle was actually harming or constraining them in any meaningful way, I could see this being necessary, but it sounds like they're forking the project just to make some kind of stupid point. Sounds dumb to me.

It sounds dumb to you because you're ignorant of what's going on.

The current way with OO being managed already results in multiple versions of OO!

(a) Official one;
(b) Another is by a guy from Novell called Go-OO;
(c) A third version for Apple Macs called NeoOffice.
(d) Another is called OxygenOffice Professional.
...and so on.

This fork is necessary for two reasons.

(1) Current management of the project automatically rejects community contributions. Hence the reason for Go-OO, NeoOffice for Mac, etc. (This is because Sun...Now Oracle, wants to preserve the code for their commercial variant: Oracle Open Office...Formerly StarOffice.)

With this community fork, we can now unify code contributions from projects like Go-OO and NeoOffice under one major project. (Notice the irony in your whiny post? You complain about another version, yet this project will unify/consolidate.)

(2) Oracle has clearly demonstrated it isn't all that open source friendly by taking legal action with Google and killing the OpenSolaris project. This fork is a pre-emptive move, so the community can continue to progress with the code regardless of what Oracle does. I thought independence and freedom were valued in Western society? But the way some people behave in this day and age; its like they want to be tied up and bent over regularly, so they have something to complain about!
Quote:
Originally Posted by scawp
OpenOffice is ****, just saying.

You get what you pay for!

I hear this phrase all the time from people who continue to pay for Microsoft products. Its like they need to belittle any alternative to justify to themselves in forking out cash for every new release of MS Office.

OpenOffice does what I need.

(1) It is legal and free. (Saved me lots of money!)
(2) It supports more platforms than MS Office.
(3) It does NOT have "Genuine Advantage" nonsense.
(4) I can install as many copies as I want.

Interestingly, it also satisfies the following organisations:
* Singapore’s Ministry of Defence
* Bristol City Council (UK)
* Banco do Brasil
* French Gendarmerie
* Various Indian Govt branches like the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Supreme Court of India.
* Grafton-Fraser (Canadian mens wear company)

It must be doing something right.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grape Flavor
But does that apply even if those products are free and open source? Hmm.

In FOSS, multiple solutions promote natural competition such that one can explore the variety of options, while at the same time working like Nature. (Survival of the fittest...Crappy implementations aren't adopted, and thus, are archived and never used again.)

Or would you prefer bumbling around with one solution that attempts to explore one option at a time in a linear manner with each new release?

Firefox motivated Microsoft to get off their butts and work on IE. (Did you conveniently forget IE6 was left stagnant for so long? It has now resulted in a problem where businesses are stuck with it because their in-house developed software was developed in that era! This means businesses are sticking to Windows XP until they can re-do their in-house software!).

Google's Chromium, which is the basis for their Chrome browser; motivates Mozilla to do better.(Firefox 4 has improved JavaScript performance.)
Fabou 29th September 2010, 13:38 Quote
At least OpenOffice doesn't get f***** by MS changing from .doc to .docx
Booga 29th September 2010, 13:44 Quote
Isn't OO better at opening old word docs than M$ Word?

I like it and it is free, I hated the new office 2007 version of word, that really was s***.
Redbeaver 29th September 2010, 14:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga
Isn't OO better at opening old word docs than M$ Word?

I like it and it is free, I hated the new office 2007 version of word, that really was s***.

wait till u try 2010 lol.... took a while for me to migrate peeps in the office from 03 to 07... now im tryin 2010 and... well.....



those *******s.

lol
GregTheRotter 29th September 2010, 14:31 Quote
OO ftw. If it keeps coming out I'll keep using it.
War-Rasta 29th September 2010, 14:43 Quote
I love OO but i do have to admit that it hasn't been keeping up with MS Office in the last few releases. I don't like Office 2007 but I like 2010 for some of the new features. OO needs to step up it's game just a notch if it wants to become more widely used and i think this move will help with that.

From the first time I tried it i thought it was awesome to have a free office suite that could deliver such quality and I never went to MS Office again. That was way back when I was still running windows so by the time I made the jump to Ubuntu there was no change for me in that aspect.
impar 29th September 2010, 15:10 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redbeaver
wait till u try 2010 lol.... took a while for me to migrate peeps in the office from 03 to 07... now im tryin 2010 and... well.....l
I migrated them to OpenOffice. :D
eddtox 29th September 2010, 16:36 Quote
OpenOffice rules. I was talking about this yesterday, and I just cannot believe how full-featured it is. Yes, it's not as shiny as MSO 2010, but that's not necessarily a bad point. And OMFG, MSO costs HOW MUCH?

I wonder how much of the code the new branch is going to be able to use? Will Oracle want to hold on the the entire OOo code base and make them start from scratch? Can they even do that?
javaman 29th September 2010, 18:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Er-El
Except it still uses shi*** Java... lame.

Do you have a problem with java?? =p

Personally the problem I have with it was slower than office. I used it from back when it was staroffice and microsofts offering couldn't hold a candle to it in terms of features. Now I use it just because can't be afford/ be annoyed forking out on a "student pack" for every pc I own especially when there's an offering that is just as good for free. After all I typing reports not producing a magazine on it! Not to mention it also has a pdf creator built in which is handy.
Er-El 29th September 2010, 18:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tristanperry
Java FT-W. ;)
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
Do you have a problem with java?? =p

Personally the problem I have with it was slower than office. I used it from back when it was staroffice and microsofts offering couldn't hold a candle to it in terms of features. Now I use it just because can't be afford/ be annoyed forking out on a "student pack" for every pc I own especially when there's an offering that is just as good for free. After all I typing reports not producing a magazine on it! Not to mention it also has a pdf creator built in which is handy.
Yes, it's a terrible programming language. I would rather people supported Mono or something, because it supports many different languages and C# is much better.
tristanperry 29th September 2010, 21:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Er-El
Yes, it's a terrible programming language. I would rather people supported Mono or something, because it supports many different languages and C# is much better.
Out of interest, why do you think it's "terrible"? :) I realise that it's sometimes 'too easy' (?) and thus things like manual garbage collection and memory allocation/support aren't available, but at the same time making good and solid multi-OS programs are relatively easy with Java.
Yoy0YO 30th September 2010, 00:02 Quote
I don't use it because I'm so used to MSO. My university uses MS on all of their computers (albeit macs, they have MSWord) and I just find it easier to stick to whats common. On my Linux Laptop I've got the freedom to use OO however its quite limited when transferring files between MSWord/OO

I like the .doc format but MS changes it to .docx leaving OO very upset
OO likes to save in .odt however the Mac MSWord doesn't see it on my flashdrive as 'readable.'

If everything could support other stuff.. perhaps life would be a bit easier.
I must say, I really do like the ribbon thing that MSO2007 put out, and in 2010, the interface is quite easy to use.
MSO2003's excel was one of the best though, although I was quite young, the shortcuts were the best thing you could ever memorize.
Volund 30th September 2010, 00:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoy0YO
I don't use it because I'm so used to MSO. My university uses MS on all of their computers (albeit macs, they have MSWord) and I just find it easier to stick to whats common. On my Linux Laptop I've got the freedom to use OO however its quite limited when transferring files between MSWord/OO

I like the .doc format but MS changes it to .docx leaving OO very upset
OO likes to save in .odt however the Mac MSWord doesn't see it on my flashdrive as 'readable.'

If everything could support other stuff.. perhaps life would be a bit easier.
I must say, I really do like the ribbon thing that MSO2007 put out, and in 2010, the interface is quite easy to use.
MSO2003's excel was one of the best though, although I was quite young, the shortcuts were the best thing you could ever memorize.

you do realize that OO will open and save as .docx, and that you can set it to save .doc and .docx as default instead of .odt correct?

also, julieb, your title has a typo, "Oracl" needs a "e"
Grape Flavor 30th September 2010, 10:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiebear
It sounds dumb to you because you're ignorant of what's going on.

Interesting. Thank you for the insight. (Although you could tone down the confrontation a bit - I don't know all that much about OO and FOSS and was just posting my immediate impressions.)
sear 30th September 2010, 14:13 Quote
I used OpenOffice.org for years, but I could feel its development slowing down. I switched to Office 2007 because my university offered a version which apparently doesn't need any sort of key or authentication. It's better if only for compatibility purposes with everything else, as sometimes I'd run into issues using OpenOffice.org, especially with Apple users.
Yoy0YO 30th September 2010, 14:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Volund
you do realize that OO will open and save as .docx, and that you can set it to save .doc and .docx as default instead of .odt correct?

also, julieb, your title has a typo, "Oracl" needs a "e"

Interesting, I never knew this. I never spent much effort in OO because MSO was always blaring.
Er-El 30th September 2010, 16:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tristanperry
Out of interest, why do you think it's "terrible"? :) I realise that it's sometimes 'too easy' (?) and thus things like manual garbage collection and memory allocation/support aren't available, but at the same time making good and solid multi-OS programs are relatively easy with Java.
C# being a fairly new language, does those for you automatically as well (garbage collection, memory allocation). Also, it can be more platform agnostic as it can be compiled to machine code, whereas Java needs to run on the Java runtime environment; supports more data types, and is better designed for parallel programming.

I guess whichever language someone prefers to use is what matters though. My only gripe with Java is that I have to install that danm runtime environment for just one piece of software, because Open Office/Libre Office are the only good open source alternatives to MS Office but they both require JRE.
frenchscottie 30th September 2010, 19:40 Quote
Well it can only be better than OO or what's the point. And that can't be a bad thing.
CowBlazed 30th September 2010, 20:23 Quote
OO is great, how could anyone complain about a free alternative that can read and save in any of the most used formats?
Cthippo 2nd October 2010, 00:54 Quote
I love OO.o and I've used it for some pretty complex layout projects. I wish Writer had a few more of the functions of MS Publisher, but I make it work. It's been so long since I've used MSO that I honestly don't know the relative advantages and disadvantages of the two, but until there comes to be a point where I can't do something I need to in OO, I can't se using anything else.
si- 3rd October 2010, 11:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Er-El
C# being a fairly new language, does those for you automatically as well (garbage collection, memory allocation).

C# is a language, the .NET CLR (or the Mono runtime, etc.) executes CIL code (created by the C# compiler) and performs GC and other memory management tasks.
Quote:
Also, it can be more platform agnostic as it can be compiled to machine code, whereas Java needs to run on the Java runtime environment;

Both Java and C# need a runtime environment, since they are both compiled to bytecode and executed inside a virtual machine. Pre-JITting using ngen does not remove the need for a .NET runtime.
Quote:
supports more data types,

Only true for primitives types since Java doesn't support unsigned types and Java has non-object oriented primitive types, whereas C# has a unified type system.
Quote:
and is better designed for parallel programming.

Microsoft started working on parallel extensions in 2007, 5+ years after .NET was released. So can you say it was better designed? (maybe more easily extended?) I believe there are also similar extensions for Java, but I'm guessing without the nice syntactic sugar you get thanks to LINQ.
Quote:
I guess whichever language someone prefers to use is what matters though. My only gripe with Java is that I have to install that danm runtime environment for just one piece of software, because Open Office/Libre Office are the only good open source alternatives to MS Office but they both require JRE.

You have to install .NET CLR for .NET apps, even if you run ngen.

Hey, at least you didn't say Java is slow :D and FWIW I think C# is great (worked with it for the last 5 years), as is most of the BCL and .NET ecosystem ;)
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