Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache

Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache

Summary: Oracle has given the OpenOffice office suite to Apache, with IBM's blessing. The Document Foundation, creators of the LibreOffice, an OpenOffice fork, can live with this move.


As I reported on May 31st, 2011, Oracle has, with IBM's encouragement, given the open-source OpenOffice office suite to The Apache Software Foundation (ASF).

In a statement issued this morning, June 1st, Oracle's Luke Kowalski, VP of Oracle Corporate Architecture Group, stated that the company was going to "contribute the code to The Apache Software Foundation's Incubator. The company then claims that Oracle is doing this to "demonstrate its commitment to the developer and open source communities. [By] Donating to Apache gives this popular consumer software a mature, open, and well established infrastructure to continue well into the future. The Apache Software Foundation's model makes it possible for commercial and individual volunteer contributors to collaborate on open source product development."

IBM's Kevin Cavanaugh, VP of Collaboration Solutions., which lobbied for Oracle to spin OpenOffice off after it became clear that Oracle wasn't going to put much, if any, resources into OpenOffice, said in a statement, "IBM welcomes Oracle's contribution of OpenOffice software to the Apache Software Foundation. We look forward to engaging with other community members to advance the technology beginning with our strong support of the incubation process for OpenOffice at Apache."

As well IBM should. IBM needs OpenOffice to move forward for the sake of its OpenOffice-based Lotus Symphony office suite.

On the Apache side, Jim Jagielski, president of the Apache Software Foundation, and proposed mentor for Apache OpenOffice, said, "We welcome highly-focused, emerging projects from individual contributors, as well as those with robust developer communities, global user bases, and strong corporate backing."

At first, Apache tells me, OpenOffice will be an "incubating project" or "podling." According to Jagielski, "Podlings that demonstrate that their community and products have been well-governed under the ASF's consensus-driven process, release all code under the Apache License v2.0 , and fulfill the responsibilities of an Incubating project move one step closer to graduation to a TLP. Upon a Project's maturation to a Top-Level Projects (TLP), a Project Management Committee (PMC) is formed to guide its day-to-day operations, including community development and product releases."

That's licensing part could be be a bit of a problem. OpenOffice is currently licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 3.0. It's not entirely compatible with the Apache License 2.0.

Jagielski tells me though that there shouldn't be any intellectual property (IP) problems. "Oracle is using our standard Software Grant for the code donation. All code copyrighted by Oracle is now relicensed under AL2.0. The ASF has never required copyright assignment." Thus, "The re-licensing of all Oracle code is pretty much done."

He continued, "As you may know, Oracle only has copyright on and not OpenOffice itself, so we are looking at whether the ASF owning the trademark even makes sense." In any case, "Oracle has assigned the trademark 'and any associated goodwill' to the ASF."

But what about The Document Foundation (TDF), which forked OpenOffice to speed up OpenOffice development, to create LibreOffice?

In a statement, Italio Vignoli, a member of the Document Foundation's steering committee, told me, from a statement that will be issued publicly shortly, that "By donating (OOo) assets to the Apache Foundation, Oracle is missing the opportunity to re-unite the OOo community governance. This is unfortunate, since the differences between the Apache License and the LGPLv3+/MPL do not allow to include in OOo the last eight months of rich innovation from LibreOffice's volunteers and contributors. In addition, OOo is also requiring many pieces of code to function that are not compatible with Apache's licensing philosophy, and will have to be dropped or rewritten."

Nevertheless, The Document Foundation is willing to talk with the Apache Foundation in order to offer to corporate and individual users worldwide the best free office suite for enterprise and personal productivity."

Vignoli added, "On the bright side, an advantage of this arrangement is the potential for future-proof licensing. The Apache License is compatible with both the LGPLv3+ and MPL (Mozilla Public License) licenses, allowing TDF future flexibility to move the entire codebase, to MPLv2 or future LGPL license versions. The Document Foundation believes that commercially-friendly, copy-left licensing provides the best path to constructive participation in, and growth of the project."

Related Stories:

What the heck is happening with OpenOffice?

Novell will continue to support LibreOffice

First LibreOffice Release arrives

Oracle, LibreOffice: ideally a co-opetition, not competition

Ubuntu opts for LibreOffice over Oracle's OpenOffice

Topics: Open Source, Collaboration, Oracle, Software

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  • RE: Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache

    I just hope they can merge and go back to the open office name, since libre office is an awkward name. I call it "leeber" office.
    • Be thankful for small mercies

      They could have called it Bieber-Office :P
    • RE: Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache

      <strong> /</strong>

      <h1><strong><a href="">Free Puzzle Games</a></strong></h1>
      <h1><strong><a href="">House Design</a></strong></h1>
  • RE: Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache

    Oracle is only doing this because the world turned it's back on OpenOffice...due to Oracle being involved. Everything Oracle touches is tainted and I won't use. LibreOffice IS the only open office suite I'll ever use. Goodbye Oracle and everything you corrupt.
    • Oracle is abandoning non-value added software


      Oracle is dropping OpenOffice because it is an non-performing asset in its portfolio. How many sales of Oracle E-Business Suite do you think it will lose if it does not also own OpenOffice? 0? 1?

      And, how many lines of code went into OpenOffice in the fleeting amount of time Oracle owned OpenOffice? How is OpenOffice tained? The world turned its back on OpenOffice for the same reason that it turned its back on LibreOffice --- Because it is a productivity suite that was effective for businesses in the 20th century, not the 21st.
      Your Non Advocate
      • RE: Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache

        @facebook@... finally a voice of reason...
        Profits - OpenOffice ain't makin'... so they said, "we gotta shake'em"
    • Nobody cares about OO anyways

      @timspublic1@... The community is wasting their time trying to compete with MS Office.

      Likewise, your juvenile comment about not using anything Oracle means nothing to all of the people doing real work with Oracle's database products.
      • RE: Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache


        Yeah, it's truly difficult to compete with utter cr*p. You have to lower your standards *SO* much to compete with (or even use, for that matter) MSAwful.
      • MS biggest problem

        has been to get the courts to believe that Open Source products actually compete. It's that Antitrust thing. If MS can convince that Open Source competes, they avoid sanctions. MS is trying soooooo hard to make Open Source look half way decent, it's amazing.
      • Sorry but MS Office is the best in its class

        @jelabarre Maybe the other MS products aren't but anyone who says Office is utter crap has their head buried deep in the sand.

        And if MS Office is so bad, how come people aren't flocking to Libre or OO? Is everybody stupid except for you?
    • RE: Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache

      @timspublic1 At first I felt uneasy about Oracle's acquisition of Sun, being an OpenSolaris user and a free and open source supporter/user in general, but I must say (far as looking at the bright side goes) that things have have turned out better than I ever could have imagined. I don't know about the world turning it's back on either. Never thought I would say this, but Oracle has done wonders with Virtualbox, and managed to keep it Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Mind you it may have been better if nothing ever changed, but then again, you never know.
  • RE: Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache

    ASF should "donate" the code to TDF and just let them drive the single Open/Libre Office code base to success, IMO.

    All this monkeying around with licenses and forks and such has just made the community weary about pledging full support in either way until things get settled again.
    • I would agree ... except ...

      @Linville79 TDF has barely any members and the few have their own personal agendas. I don't see the TDF surviving for long.

      On the other side ASF has a HUGE number of very talented team members that already know how to work as a collaborate team. Sure they may have a member or two with agendas, but over all the ASF is know for having the best collaboration in the OSS world.
    • RE: Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache

      @Linville79 ... This looks like a great opportunity for one or the other to be able more non-MS themselves and imiplement in more sensible ways where it's useful. I'll use the one that's the most stable, reliable and provides the most of what I want and need.
      • RE: Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache


        Word's spell checker would have caught that.
  • RE: Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache

    All this monkeying-around with background issues is tiring. What I want to know is when FOSS organizations - okay, I'll compromise - just ONE FOSS organization will start actually listening to its users. Honestly, the fundamental principle of successful software is that the developers listen to the users. With OO/LO, we're still waiting. RegEx for find/replace? Track Changes that remains crippled and severely buggy and broken, release after release? Sheesh!
    • I want to know why any developer would work on OO

      @runbei Developing an office suite is hard work that can be tedious at times. If you dont pay developers, then who is going to do all of this grunt work to make a product that is appealing to users? As we have seen, it won't happen.
      • Devs paid by companies that would benefit from OOo

        @otaddy Contrary to popular believe, most of the development for opens source projects is done by paid developers. Companies like Red Hat, Novel, IBM and Intel (to name a few) have many devs on the payroll working on many different open source projects.
      • RE: Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache

        @otaddy ... 'sokay; I don't care about pretty; I want functional and relable apps. Instead of "pretty" I'd make it user friendliness.
      • thanks for proving my point wackoe!

        @wackoe And where does this money come from? Red Hat is the exception but the others have to steal time and money away from profitable products to support the open source projects.

        OO makes no profit and there is very little chance anyone will beat MS Office so its a waste of resources and I dont blame Oracle for not wanting any part of it..