Introducing LibreOffice, A New Branch Off Of OpenOffice

Wednesday, 2010-September-29 at 02:47

The Document Foundation – The Document Foundation

Our mission is to facilitate the evolution of the OpenOffice.org Community into a new open, independent, and meritocratic organizational structure within the next few months. An independent Foundation is a better match to the values of our contributors, users, and supporters, and will enable a more effective, efficient, transparent, and inclusive Community. We will protect past investments by building on the solid achievements of our first decade, encourage wide participation in the Community, and co-ordinate activity across the Community.

The Document Foundation is producing LibreOffice as the next evolution in the OpenOffice.org story. There have been some rumblings for quite a while about Sun’s (now Oracle’s) outsize role in OpenOffice. Oracle, of course, is more energetic about its pursuit of higher earnings than Sun was. Some would argue that Oracle is less friendly toward freedom-preserving software (“free / open source software”), and point to its activities around OpenSolaris and Java as examples of this.

I don’t see LibreOffice as a backlash against Oracle, and I wouldn’t want it to be spun that way. It is time for such an important FPS (freedom-preserving software) application as OpenOffice to have a vendor-independent foundation at the helm. Whether Oracle, Sun, IBM, or even Microsoft was the vendor, I’d still believe this is a timely thing.

The current version of LibreOffice is marked as beta, not for daily, real-world use. Being that it is primarily just the most-current version of OpenOffice code with some changes to remove names and trademarks, it should be okay. Still, I don’t generally run beta software, and I’m not advising that anyone else does either.

This is an opportunity for a big forward step. I hope that Oracle will recognize this and that it will assist The Document Foundation with this project–in particular, by transferring any needed “IP” to the foundation and by committing OpenOffice.org to follow the lead of LibreOffice–so that both they and everyone else can share in the rewards of having an independent foundation in control.

In the meantime, let us continue to find those few use cases where OpenOffice is less suited for the task at hand than the leading proprietary office applications suite. We can then help the Document Foundation to prioritize those areas. The important thing about non-profit community foundations is that they require active participation by members of the community. I intend to be there. How about you?

Hat tip: Roy Schestowitz’ Techrights.org blog.


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