OpenOffice.org forsakes Oracle, forms new foundation and fork

OpenOffice.org forsakes Oracle, forms new foundation and fork

Summary: It comes as no surprise that longtime backers of OpenOffice.org are taking control over the open source project from Oracle, its new owner.

SHARE:

It comes as no surprise that longtime backers of OpenOffice.org are taking control over the open source project from Oracle, its new owner.

On Tuesday, the OpenOffice.org community announced the formation of the Document Foundation and the re-release of OpenOffice code under a new brand name -- LibreOffice.

OpenOffice was originally founded and sponsored by Sun. Oracle acquired Sun and its OpenOffice assets earlier this year.

The creation of the Document Foundation is backed by leading Linux distributors Red Hat, Novell, Google (Android) and Canonical as well as many international concerns and nations, including Germany, Italy, Brazil and France -- hence the name LibreOffice.

The move comes just weeks after Oracle announced it would stop development on another open source project it acquired as part of Sun -- OpenSolaris. (a new entity known as Illumos has assumed control of the open source project).

At the time, I asked Oracle if it also intended to scrap OpenOffice development but the official response was 'No Comment."

Michael Meeks, a distinguished engineer at Novell who is very active with OpenOffice.org, said he was initially lulled into the view that Oracle would become a strong force in open source development following its purchase of Sun but said that hasn't panned out. "

His views weren't all that different when Sun had control over OpenOffice. Still, the new ownership exacerbates his concerns. "Copyright assignment discourages external contributions, and that current control of the project inhibits developer initiative," Meeks said in a recent press release.

He noted that Oracle may own rights to the OpenOffice trademark but the code is released under a free and open license. In the press release issued today, the Document Foundation urged Oracle to join the foundation and donate the 10-year-old OpenOffice brand name and trademark to the organization.

The Document Foundation will be led in initially by a steering committee of OpenOffice developers. The LibreOffice software is available in beta version at www.libreoffice.com.

Topics: Collaboration, Open Source, Oracle, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

104 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Good news

    I do not trust Oracle any more than I trust any other mega corp. They will do whatever they can to regain control and squeeze revenue out of it. This may be their right and duty to the shareholders, but the world's open SW community does not need to sit idly by and let it happen unchallenged.

    I am still running an old version of MS Office, which is still supported and meets my needs. When that changes I would like to have other options available to me.
    Economister
    • RE: OpenOffice.org forsakes Oracle, forms new foundation and fork

      @Economister Lol... Mega corp? Jack-out for a minute, buddy. The word you're looking for is Corporation. Sure, they're big, they bought Sun, but they don't really figure on the scale of megacorp.
      Li1t
      • What would you call a megacorp, then?

        @Li1t - Oracle is more than just "Big". Best Buy is "Big", Safeway is "Big". Oracle is pretty friggin' huge.

        By your reasoning, the only thing that counts as a "mega corp" would be Microsoft and Exxon.
        daftkey
      • RE: OpenOffice.org forsakes Oracle, forms new foundation and fork

        @Li1t
        Mega means Micro(soft) as well?
        danishvet
    • Then OpenOffice would be like a Time Machine for You!

      @Economister Open..... er LibreOffice until Oracle decides to get with the program and donate the Trademark, is not only faster but more robust and usable than even an old version of MS Office. I converted years ago and have never looked back. Boots of quick and only runs processes when you need it. It's very slick and fast along with being able to use any format you want. In fact I don't know anyone that has switched, that doesn't love it on whatever platform you're using from Macs, Linux to Windows!<br><br>Mega Corp.. haha..... there is only a few Mega Corps in Mobile Electronics at the moment either on the software side or the hardware side. The only one that deserves that title is Samsung Group. They are bigger than most countries and their Electronics Division alone.... is the largest in the World. Along with being #20 Top 100 Brands compared to #40 Apple. Which unlike Samsung relies on Samsung to make most of it's parts for it's devices. It's a full monopoly top to bottom dominating the chip market over even Intel. They also makes Software Products on top of it all and that's what completes the MONOPOLY scale of their size.<br><br>Supply side Market Dynamics Favor those that can compete end to end from design to parts and device production as well as marketing and distributing those devices with Mega Corp Authority and that describes Samsung to a "T"!<br><br>btw.. like your old version of MS Office? Yozo Office is like MS Office reborn.... it's one Sweet Office Suite. But it's pay for like MS Office!
      i2fun@...
      • RE: OpenOffice.org forsakes Oracle, forms new foundation and fork

        @i2fun@...

        Nice parallel universe you seem to live in. In the real world OO is slow and clunky, has trouble formatting the new Word formats and generally performs like a slightly shaky clone of Office 97. If that's all you need then fine, but no need to try and put lipstick on a pig.
        tonymcs@...
      • OpenOffice would be like a Time Machine

        @i2fun@...
        I used MS Office Professional versions 2000 through 2003, I still have 2003 installed. I have used OpenOffice.org versions 1.1 through 3.2.1, which is the current version, OO.o and MS office on the same hardware. I assure you it is faster and easier to use for letters, documents, and newsletters than any version of MS Office I have used. If this is using a "Time Machine" bring it on. I have saved many thousands of dollars and have software that works faster and easier.
        DavidBassPlayer
      • OpenOffice

        @i2fun@...
        Open Office is slow and doesn't catch all of MS new formats. But MS has issues with different versions of it's own software. I have had formatting issues with various versions of Word and have had ppt files from 2007 version that will not open at all in PPT 2010.
        aeriform
    • RE: OpenOffice.org forsakes Oracle, forms new foundation and fork

      @Economister

      And just why should anyone trust this Libreoffice? We all know about Oracle but the only thing this has proven is that they can copy a program well.
      Stan57
      • Key Members Are Former OpenOffice.org Developers

        @Stan57
        The key members of the LibreOffice development team are from the OpenOffice.org development team. It's basically the same people behind LibreOffice, except for the ones that are still employed by Oracle. Most of the support besides Sun/Oracle for OpenOffice.org is now behind LibreOffice instead.

        Basically, unless Oracle decides to lend their support to the Document Foundation and the two projects become one again, then OpenOffice.org will be left to stagnate while LibreOffice becomes the main project.
        CFWhitman
    • Try OOo alongside MS Office to compare?

      @Economister

      I recommend trying OpenOffice, or if you only use Word then switch to any of the many other alternatives such as the very very much lighter AbiWord or the heavier KOffice.

      M$ Office is very heavy and quirky. Having taught it and dealt with things other people have produced in it i find that people's work often swtches into different dictionaries (usually en-us) or fonts and tab-stops keep changing randomly without the user really being in control. Nowadays people are used to reading documents with bullet-points that keep changing size and not lining up and numbered lists where numbers get repeated or missed out in the middle of lists. In excel formulas often miss numbers in rows or columns that were inserted late at the beginning or end of sums.

      With MicroSquish Office there is a whole range of quirky behaviour that people just accept or have learned to work-around or just "put up with" poor results or blame the user.

      By comparison OpenOffice and others produce a very much higher quality result with much less effort. If you really want to make it look like a Word document you can add the mis-alignments yourself.

      Surely it is possible to install OpenOffice and try it out without getting rid of your existing MS Office? Why wait until some crunch date when you may well be up against deadlines. The trick is "Save As ..." "unsafe MS .doc format" or
      Tools - Options - Load/Save
      and roll 1 or 2 back to keep using the unsafe MS formats.

      Regards from
      Tom :)
      Tom6
      • RE: OpenOffice.org forsakes Oracle, forms new foundation and fork

        @Tom6

        Taught Office lately Tom? Office 2010 is so far ahead of any other office suite, it's hard to take you seriously, especially since I've actually used OO.
        tonymcs@...
      • RE: OpenOffice.org forsakes Oracle, forms new foundation and fork

        @Tom6 you're right, MSOffice is mediocre, inconsistent, you never know what stupid formatting bring it from nowhere, it keep changing for not reason or not accepting your input.
        with OO you make a tab & it lands where is expected, another & again, IT WORKS the way it should, isn't amazing, MS for 20 years were building that function -tabs & indents and never got it right.
        And that is just scratching the surface of how bad MSOffice performs in very simple tasks, take for ex insert image in PPT, you need to make around 8 cliks & selections, just compare to QuarkXPress (a very good & solid program), the routine is shortened to the minimum, just the way it should be. OOffice is way better (at least it was before Oracle acquisition, I installed the last version & didnt like it).
        theo_durcan
      • RE: OpenOffice.org forsakes Oracle, forms new foundation and fork

        @Tom6
        Right on Tom. Glad you mentioned the misalignment problems with MS Office. I thought it was just me.
        MS Office is like Windows 7, has lots of small bugs that need to be fixed. Windows 7 Pro 64 has some serious USB conflicts.
        ITOdeed
      • QuarkXpress vs. PowerPoint

        @theo_durcan -

        Totally agree with the PowerPoint vs. QuarkXpress comparison! The last time I tried building a newspaper using PowerPoint, I had a heck of a time getting images to work, and when I could, the resolution wasn't right, I couldn't position it accurately enough, and the columns of my articles didn't line up properly.

        I converted to QuarkXpress years ago and didn't look back! Now if only they could get the Slide Show feature to work properly, I'd never need PowerPoint again!
        daftkey
    • You're joking.

      @All
      Yeah... fighting over which office suit is better then the other. Really productive.
      ZackCDLVI
  • Awesome Move

    I think this is great, and it should show the open source world that Ellison is not to be trusted.

    Kudos to Open Office!!!
    cyberslammer
    • Actually, you're confusing cause with effect.

      <p style="text-align: justify;">@cyberslammer I believe this came about because Ellison had already "show[n] the open source world" that his/Oracle's motives and interests are orthogonal to theirs. He and Oracle have their reasons for doing things their way, and the rules of the system they live in require them to do things that way.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Sun had the same problem, really; they just sucked up "the open source Kool-Aid" (as one analyst put it) in the belief that increased demand for software would sell more hardware. But they never (should have) let altruism get in the way of profits. Ellison and Oracle have made crystal clear that they're not even going to go through the motions. Sun having MySQL, OpenOffice and OpenSolaris was a well-intentioned mistake. Oracle buying Sun, without stipulating that the OSS bits be spun off first, was at best a disaster, if not malice aforethought.</p>
      Jeff Dickey
      • RE: OpenOffice.org forsakes Oracle, forms new foundation and fork

        @Jeff Dickey

        "But they never (should have) let altruism get in the way of profits. "

        Sun didn't do that, you are really trying to rewrite history here. Sun was opensourcing their software because it didn't make any money when was proprietary. Open sourcing increased software revenue and stopped decline of hardware revenues. It worked good, but not as good as it could if they were more open and less control freaky.

        Then economic crisis hit and banks stopped buying SPARCs. Growing revenues from open source software and ZFS storage couldn't supplant decline of tape storage and SPARC servers. Sellout to highest bidder. That turned out to be Oracle.
        gnufreex
      • This just doesn't make a lot of sense..

        @gnufreex

        Where exactly do you get that Sun's software revenues increased when they open sourced everything. The only success stories of commercial projects going open source revolve around somewhat increased market share of otherwise declining software offerings (see Netscape) and seldom translated to increased revenues. I highly doubt Sun really profited all that much from open sourcing anything, other than hardware.
        daftkey