Oracle has all but confirmed that it will not be joining the list of contributors for the new OpenOffice offshoot LibreOffice, established by the newly formed Document Foundation.
The formation of the LibreOffice fork on 28 September followed a decision to break away from the decade-long, Sun-led development of OpenOffice, now owned by Oracle since its acquisition of Sun in January. "The beauty of open source is that it can be forked by anyone who chooses," Oracle said late last week. "Our sincerest goal for OpenOffice is that it become more widely used so if this new foundation will help advance OpenOffice and the Open Document Format (ODF), we wish them the best."
Oracle had been invited to continue aiding the development of LibreOffice,
which has already garnered a number of high-profile supporters including
the Free Software Foundation, Canonical, Collabora, the Gnome
Foundation, the OSI, Oasis and members of regional OpenOffice
Rob Weir, ODF Architect for IBM, wrote on his personal blog that "if forced to take sides, then my loyalties are clearly going to fall to the ODF rather than to any one implementation".
"The Document Foundation has announced a more open community. This increased openness could enable great things — for example, a better product — but this is not guaranteed," Weir said, adding that the challenge for the Document Foundation will be to grow its membership and contributors and to distinguish itself from its competitors — both free and paid-for — on the market today.
"The key milestone, I think, will be if someday the Document Foundation can claim a headcount of developers that equals or exceeds that which Oracle has working on OpenOffice.org," Weir wrote. "In the end, code talks, and developers write code."