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