Oracle 'donates' OpenOffice.org to Apache foundation

Oracle 'donates' OpenOffice.org to Apache foundation

Summary: Oracle has ceded control of the OpenOffice.org code base to the Apache Software Foundation Incubator project, it announced on Wednesday.

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TOPICS: Telcos
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Oracle has ceded control of the OpenOffice.org code base to the Apache Software Foundation Incubator project, it announced on Wednesday.

OpenOffice.org is the most popular free productivity suite, and a major rival to Microsoft Office. The software giant said it was 'donating' the open-source code so as to "demonstrate its commitment to the developer and open source communities".

"Donating OpenOffice.org to Apache gives this popular consumer software a mature, open, and well established infrastructure to continue well into the future," Oracle Corporate Architecture Group chief Luke Kowalski said in a statement. "The Apache Software Foundation's model makes it possible for commercial and individual volunteer contributors to collaborate on open source product development."

The ASF's president, Jim Jagielski, said the foundation welcomed "highly-focused, emerging projects from individual contributors, as well as those with robust developer communities, global user bases, and strong corporate backing". Jagielski is the proposed "podling mentor" for the OpenOffice.org community during the incubation process — despite Oracle's talk of 'donation', a lengthy process precedes the ASF's acceptance of candidates.

The Document Foundation (TDF) forked the OpenOffice.org project after Oracle took over Sun Microsystems, the project's proprietors, last year. Unlike the ASF, TDF — whose fork is called LibreOffice — reacted neutrally to the news, although it welcomed the release of "key user features... in a form that can be included into LibreOffice".

"The Document Foundation would welcome the reuniting of the OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice projects into a single community of equals in the wake of the departure of Oracle," TDF said in a statement. "The step Oracle has taken today was no doubt taken in good faith, but does not appear to directly achieve this goal.

"The Apache community, which we respect enormously, has very different expectations and norms — licensing, membership and more — to the existing OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice projects. We regret the missed opportunity but are committed to working with all active community members to devise the best possible future for LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org."

TDF noted in its statement that, "on the bright side", the new arrangement provided potential for "future-proof licensing".

"The Apache License is compatible with both the LGPLv3+ and MPL licenses, allowing TDF future flexibility to move the entire codebase, to MPLv2 or future LGPL license versions," the statement read. "The Document Foundation believes that commercially-friendly, copy-left licensing provides the best path to constructive participation in, and growth of the project."

Topic: Telcos

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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6 comments
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  • It is a welcome step. Oracle has destroyed Open Office over the period by preventing any good updates. I hope Apache does some good work with it.
    anonymous
  • >OpenOffice.org is the most popular free productivity suite, and a major rival to Microsoft Office.

    At this point, I started laughing
    Torquemada-14a52
  • >At this point, I started laughing

    Not sure what is funny about that statement. OpenOffice.org IS the most popular free productivity suite. Do you know of any other major rivals to Microsoft Office?
    nalbyuites
  • The OpenOffice.org Project is very important to me, I use it More Often then the Better Known Microsoft Suit Programs, Because it is a Lot easier to use for Many Tasks, the Draw Program is the Best for working with and importing graphics. I tried the LibreOffice, But Did not Trust that many of the Things I count on working will still work the way that OpenOffice.org already Does so Well. At this Time I Still am a OpenOffice.org Fan!!
    AlAdams12
  • My Other, Concern with a "Split" of OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice Fork may cause to Not Put the Best Ideas Into One Central Common Focus, I Do Not Feel the Need to Jump to a New Office Suite, Just Because a few Folks are Worried, about the Corporate Control Partner putting a Slow Down, on some small amount of software development, Does Not put a Big "Scare" into My Use of OpenOffice.org. Why Should it "Scare" Anybody?
    AlAdams12
  • It has been over ten years since I used a MS Windows machine. Open Office has been a godsend in allowing me to import and view documents from my peers in a heterogeneous work environment. I am happy to see it moving in a sound direction, guided by those who value it the most. If it is developed with the same care and quality of Apache, it bodes well for the project's future. Hopefully, with a stable home and small portion of corporate resources, it can be polished to a fully professional level and shake off what still remains of its youthful growing pains (like its awkward focus on Java). The world needs this product.
    squeen-ec969