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ASF Lays Out Its Plan For OpenOffice.org 129

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the not-quite-dead-yet dept.
Thinkcloud writes "In an open letter, the Apache Software Foundation has made its plans for OpenOffice clear, including an Apache-branded OpenOffice suite targeted at developers coming next year." From The H: "The ASF says it does not want to force any vision on the ODF community noting that 'it is impossible to agree upon a single vision for all participants, Apache OpenOffice does not seek to define a single vision, nor does it seek to be the only player' in the large ODF ecosystem. Instead, it wishes to offer a neutral 'collaboration opportunity' and notes that its permissive licensing and development model are 'widely recognised as one of the best ways to ensure open standards, such as ODF, gain traction and adoption.'"
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ASF Lays Out Its Plan For OpenOffice.org

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  • by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @11:54AM (#38450078)

    At this point is there really any reason why we need OpenOffice? Libreoffice, stupid name aside, seems to do everything that people want and more or less all the developers jumped ship for it a long time ago.

    • There's nothing wrong with the name Libreoffice. OpenOffice dot org; now there's a ridiculous name.

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by Anrego (830717) *

        They are both stupid names!

        In addition to just sounding wrong, the word "Libre" is synonymous with the growingly more annoying RMS high horse crowd.. which has become more and more of a turnoff to many (there was an article the other day about how people are migrating away from GPL in general).

        OpenOffice was fine if you dropped the "dot org" part, which most people did.

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          The article about people migrating away from the GPL was false, because it was based on bad statistics (there's lies, damned lies, and statistics...). In fact, the movement of OOo to the Apache Foundation was one of the main reasons for the article: their bad statistics were based on how much "new" code was being "created" in GPL vs. permissive licenses. Well, their idea of "new" is Oracle gifting OOo to Apache.

          GPL fans can easily do the same: all they have to do is fork a bunch of giant GPL projects like

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anrego (830717) *

            I actually didn't read the article, but when I saw the title, my gut said "yup".

            Maybe it's just the circle I hang with, but I've personally felt a shift away from the GPL over the last several years, with v3 being for many the stray that broke the back.

            I've largely attributed it to people my age who are now out in the work force and are running up against the restrictive elements of GPL when trying to bring open source into the work place. The realistic choice isn't creating a cool derived work and not rele

            • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @02:25PM (#38451816)

              Your "vibe" means nothing. There's tons of highly-active open-source projects under the GPL that are doing just fine: Linux kernel, KDE, Gnome (crappy new dumbed-down UI notwithstanding), busybox, and countless smaller projects. If GPL "prevents" open source, then why is the Linux kernel the most successful open-source project in history, while the *BSD projects languish in obscurity?

              As for GPLv3, there's no requirement for anyone to use it, it's just an option. Lots of projects are sticking with v2, including the Linux kernel. In fact, I can't think of any big GPLv3 projects offhand. It's really quite irrelevant.

              • by xtracto (837672)

                while the *BSD projects languish in obscurity?

                Hello, you are full of shit [sourceforge.net]

                • by Grishnakh (216268)

                  You have a link here with a bunch of Linux applications that happen to have the BSD license. What exactly is your point? My point before was that the Linux kernel, which is under the GPLv2 license, is wildly popular, while the BSD kernels languish in obscurity, which is true.

                  • by WorBlux (1751716)
                    Not just linux application, but vast parts of it's kernel are available under BSD licences. GEM, KMS, DRM and many of the drivers are availible under extremely permissive licences. The slower development of the BSD's is not I think due to the licence (as there are parts of the kernel that have quickly developed under that licence or similar ones) but that they are more closed in who they allow to contribute to the kernel and more cautious in what contributions they accept, and the fact that the development
            • by dudpixel (1429789)

              To paraphrase, you feel that the copyright owner should _not_ get a say in what you do with _their_ code?

              If you didn't write it, why do you feel entitled to distribute it under your own terms?

              (btw, you can do what you like with GPL code, as the restrictions only apply when you want to distribute it, not simply use it).

              So I'm not following your argument. For code you write, you can choose whatever license you want. And for code other people write, they can do the same.

              If the copyright owner was really "happy

              • by Anrego (830717) *

                I never said that at all...

                I fully respect peoples right to choose whatever license they want.

                I personally don't like GPL, and I'm glad others are coming around to more permissive licenses, but I didn't say anything against going against the wishes of people who do use the GPL or feeling that they shouldn't be allowed to use the GPL...

                I'd also note that I think many people choosing the GPL do so because it's the default go to license, or they are using a GPL'ed component in it (the viral nature of GPL also

                • by dudpixel (1429789)

                  I can only speak for myself but if I were to choose the GPL (and I haven't yet) for any of my projects, it would be intentional.

                  My default go to license is the BSD license...but I do have to say "each to their own".

                  If you really believe people only use the GPL as a default choice, then why not take up my suggestion and contact the copyright holders of whatever software you want to distribute a derivative of?...unless of course its the linux kernel and there are hundreds or even thousands of copyright holder

    • by CarsonChittom (2025388) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:16PM (#38450368) Homepage

      The name's not unimportant. My mom—and grandma—have heard of "that OpenOffice thing." They wouldn't know how to pronounce LibreOffice, much less know what it is. It might be worthwhile for the Apache Foundation to allow the Libre folks to use the OO name; but the Foundation apparently doesn't think so.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        So your relatives have no education? Did they drop out of school in 8th grade?

        • There's this thing called courtesy. Perhaps you've heard of it.

          And there's this other thing called hyperbole. Maybe you'll want to look it up.

          In any case, allow me to spell things out for you. The mere fact of it is that the correct pronunciation of "LibreOffice" doesn't match many native English speakers' expectations, unless they know in advance how it's supposed to be pronounced; in addition, LibreOffice does not yet have the name recognition amongst the general populace as OpenOffice (much less the m

          • by Bucky24 (1943328)

            that the correct pronunciation of "LibreOffice" doesn't match many native English speakers' expectations, unless they know in advance how it's supposed to be pronounced;

            I would expect it to be pronounced lee-bre. Is that wrong? (I haven't taken Spanish classes for almost 6 years)

            • by lennier (44736) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @03:41PM (#38452776) Homepage

              I would expect it to be pronounced lee-bre. Is that wrong?

              Quite possibly. But how do you pronounce "bre"? "Bree"? "Bray"? "Bruh"? "Bra"? "Ber"? In fact, how do you pronounce that "r"? Is it an English "r" or something closer to a rolled "lr"?

              All I know is I can't get my tongue in the right place to pronounce the French "bre" as I've heard other people pronounce it. It's no doubt doable with training, but both the vowel and consonant aren't native English and I never studied French in high school. So I end up calling it "Lee-bray Office" which I know is wrong, but seems better than saying "Libber Office".

              (I'm also trying to learn Chinese and am painfully aware of how hard it is to try to learn phonemes which are not-quite-like your native phoneme set; one naturally attempts to approximate with the closest native sound, which is probably exactly wrong but is the best a newbie can do.)

              "Libre" in a consumer product name also has awkward connotations of a popular female hygiene product called "Libra". Yes, I know that's silly, but it's there.

              End result is I avoid saying the product name whenever possible, and would prefer it was called something like "LibOffice" which has an unambiguous English letter-to-sound mapping. It's just a bad choice of words for an English-language product and could easily have been avoided. Not as offensive as "The Gimp", but still worse than "OpenOffice.org", which was also pretty bad.

              • by lennier (44736)

                Rereading the original poster it now strikes me that for an American speaker, "libre" could be Spanish, not French as I initially assumed. So as a non-American English speaker, now I have two incompatible non-English pronounciations with two incompatible phoneme sets to pick from. Great.

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward

                A Frenchman will actually pronounce it Libroffice, and bro exists in English (brother)

              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                That is what I don't get, is there like a rule that FOSS projects HAVE to have shitty names? We should probably have a little contest called "list every horrible FOSS project name" just to see how long it'll get, probably several pages if you use single spacing.

                What would have been wrong with simply calling it "Freedom Office"? Or doing something about its speed issues so you could call it Speedy Office or Zippy Office? Hell there has to be a thousand names they could have used that would have been better t

                • by Grishnakh (216268)

                  For one thing, FOSS projects don't have marketing teams full of overpaid people with marketing degrees to go do studies and focus groups or whatever and find the best names they can.

                  For another thing, lots of proprietary software (that do have access to said marketing teams) also have shitty product names. Just look at most of the names for Microsoft products; they're terrible. They have a few winners like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Exchange, but IIRC 2 of those were acquisitions from other companies, s

                  • by hairyfeet (841228)

                    First of all there is no "Home ultimate" there is Home, there is Ultimate, but no Home Ultimate. And with MSFT OSes the standard convention is "Name Of OS/Name of version" so it would be Vista Home or Vista Ultimate. Funny thing is you screw yourself on support if you buy Ultimate as MSFT only gives 5 years for consumer OSes and 10 for Business so you'd be better off just getting pro and saving a hundred bucks.

                    Now as for Apple? Its not iCrap its iShiny which hilariously the Macs spellchecker sees NO problem

                    • by Grishnakh (216268)

                      And finally as to your list, Amarok is a shitty name (WTF is an Amarok? I bet if you asked a dozen people they'd have NO clue what that is),

                      Don't be stupid. Amarok is the Inuktitut word for "wolf", and the project was named after the "Amarok" album by Mike Oldfield. That's why the logo is a wolf. Just because you're ignorant of something doesn't mean it's a bad name. Only in the minds of asshole Americans does everything need to be in American English.

                      Firefox was a third choice they got stuck with

                      Firefo

              • by ak47wong (1006875)

                Look at the very first line of this article [wikipedia.org]. It tells you exactly how to pronounce it.

      • What, you can't pick up the phone? Are your arms broken? Mom and grandma would love to hear from you, even if you're just calling to say LibreOffice a few times.

        But more seriously, so what if people aren't sure how to pronounce the name without hearing it a few times? Will that stop them from using it? From typing its name in an email or search engine? How often did anyone really say OpenOffice besides those of us pushing its use? In my experience, when friends/family/coworkers needed help with Ope
      • The name's not unimportant. My mom—and grandma—have heard of "that OpenOffice thing." They wouldn't know how to pronounce LibreOffice, much less know what it is. It might be worthwhile for the Apache Foundation to allow the Libre folks to use the OO name; but the Foundation apparently doesn't think so.

        LibreOffice should only be allowed to use it if they are part of OpenOffice itself or only distribute a non-modified version that uses that name. However, the LibreOffice folks tend to think of themselves as a gift from God bestowed upon the world from which all things OpenOffice shall continue with, and have no interest in really mending the issues caused by Oracle's lack of communication with the OOo community. (Seriously, read their mailing lists!)

        And FYI - Apache has reached out to them at numerous p

      • by MattBD (1157291)
        I sometimes think it would do better if it had been named FreeOffice. OpenOffice was my induction into the world of FOSS when I didn't want to shell out for a copy of MS Office (I went on to discover Thunderbird and Firefox, before moving from Windows to Ubuntu), and for all we like to talk about the importance of free-as-in-free-speech, the free-as-in-free-beer angle is what gets a hell of a lot of people using FOSS in the first place, and the name FreeOffice would emphasise this.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Grishnakh (216268)

      There's nothing wrong with the name "LibreOffice". Anyone who has an education knows that "Libre" comes from the Latin root for "free" (as in liberty), is a word meaning exactly that in several Romance languages, and so its meaning is pretty obvious: a free (as in liberty) office suite.

      It only sounds "stupid" to uneducated hicks.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Libreoffice, stupid name aside, seems to do everything that people want and more or less all the developers jumped ship for it a long time ago.

      Calc needs some work. I was trying to think of an easy way to get all my music into a single playlist and came up with (on the Windows machine) dir /s > everything.m3u, then edit in a text editor. But there was way too much stuff in the file that needed to be deleted, so I thought "hmmm, I'll import it into a spreadsheet and I can simply delete columns.

      Calc won't

  • by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @11:56AM (#38450094)

    Does anyone still use OpenOffice.org? I was sure it imploded when LibreOffice was formed to get out from under Oracle's thumb? Plus, it doesn't have to have the stupid .org tacked onto it's name to avoid trademark issues.

    If Apache is doing this right, they had better court the LibreOffice devs back into the fold.

    • by PybusJ (30549)

      The tragedy is not that no-one is using OpenOffice, it's that millions of Windows and Mac users who downloaded it directly from the OOo website still are.

      The Linux users are fine, their distros will either transition them to LibreOffice or provide security patches to OpenOffice, but the vast majority of OOo users were not slashdot readers who follow the twists and turns of OpenSource politics, they're people who don't know that Oracle bought Sun (nor care about such details); they just downloaded a free off

  • I feel like I should know the answer to this, but what does Apache have to do with OOo? I thought Oracle owned OOo and ruled it with an iron fist.
  • by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:02PM (#38450176)
    Let it die.
    http://www.libreoffice.org/ [libreoffice.org]
    Is fantastic.
  • ... yields no result in the open letter (TFA does mention it but only about old news).
    Even if they don't merge back, I feel they should still work together (or did I miss something ?)
  • by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumay AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:12PM (#38450320) Homepage Journal

    They could quite well turn it into a library, and let people write their software with it. They are publishing it with the APL, if you redistribute it you must fork (because of trademark issues), and most people did already migrate to forks.

    It is a nice way to make everybody colaborate on making ODF better, put everybody in sync, and make more ODF editors available. You can't do that with GPLed software. For once Oracle created something good. Too bad they had to try to screw everybody before they give up and do the right thing.

    • Use Calligra instead (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ingwa (958475) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:30PM (#38450556)
      If you want to embed or reuse a library then I would suggest that you would be better off by using the Office Engine from the Calligra Suite (http//www.calligra.org/). It is already used in many mobile and embedded places, e.g. the office viewer in the Nokia N9 smartphone. The engine -- and the apps themselves -- are all under LGPL which makes it usable even with non-free apps.
  • I'm good with this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:16PM (#38450362)

    The Apache license isn't the perfect "open" license, (I preferred GPL2), but I'm still good with the Apache License. Since Apache is a neutral player, they won't be imposing 'will' or 'vision'. Still, its connections with Oracle presses me to use LibreOffice instead, at least for the immediate future. The hazards of forking any project is that a once viable branch inevitably falls behind. However, whenever I look at the demise of a branch, I look at the reasons surrounding the fork (usually greed, or some kind of restriction where the license or code base is used to beat contributors over the head), at which point, the fork occurs. Usually there is remorse afterward, but once a project forks, it never goes back. Its happened a lot. The 'open' version of Java is now the default version of Java. XFree86 is now X.org. Before GTK, the license restrictions around mosaic were incredible. The people who started Mambo tried to turn 'Free' into 'Mine'. The fork became Joomla. Backpeddling ensued, but stick a fork in it, it was done. Hello LibreOffice.

    • by chooks (71012)

      ...once a project forks, it never goes back...

      This happened to Christianity in 1054, with another major fork happening in the 16th century. I guess it had a lot to do with questions regarding the disagreements with management of the code base and who is best able to do that (or something like that).

      Now it seems like there is a fork every week or so. Who can keep up with the versions? No wonder we had to develop distributed version control, since everyone seems to want their own local branch to work w

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Don't forget that Christianity is just a fork from Judaism. And Islam is a fork also.

    • Before GTK, the license restrictions around mosaic were incredible.

      Did you mean Motif, rather than Mosaic?

  • It's actually been awhile since I've installed or used OpenOffice...I've been using Google Docs myself mostly and for family they've all been running old copies of OpenOffice forever. I'd originally dismissed LibreOffice as a cumbersome-named knockoff and OO was working for me so I just ignored it. My wife does have some complaints she's run into with OO; is LO more actively maintained, faster/more efficient, or have imrpoved features over OO now? Is it worth changing over or upgrading?

    Ya know what I'd r

    • From what I have seen: OpenOffice is faster, but LibreOffice has more features.

    • on my laptop, google docs on chromium or even microsoft live documents on chromium perform better than libreoffice native program. faster operations, auto-saving, much better ui (both google and ms), and documents are saved in standard formats that can be used everywhere else without headaches.

    • by udoschuermann (158146) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @04:44PM (#38453570) Homepage

      is LO more actively maintained, faster/more efficient, or have imrpoved features over OO now? Is it worth changing over or upgrading?

      Yes, yes, yes, yes, and again yes to all of your questions!

      LibreOffice has not only merged countless improvements that OO.o cannot merge (because of license issues), but has cleaned up a lot of code, removed dead code, fixed known problems, improved work flow, removed limitations, improved compatibility with other software, upgraded to ODF 1.2, and made the program better in countless respects. They're also providing explicit release schedules for major and minor versions (e.g. 3.5.0 is due Feb 8, and 3.5.1 is due in the first week of March, then 3.5.2 is due in the first week of April, etc.), and are properly open about the coming features, the road map, funding, etc.

      Sure, you can certainly get plenty of mileage out of existing installations of OO.o today, but if you have no compelling reason to stay with OO.o you should definitely consider upgrading to LibreOffice. I'd wager that you'll be very glad to have done it.

      Bottom line, OO.o is dead and gone in all but name. I really don't see much point in continuing to spend energy on OO.o these days.

      instead of either of these packages chasing MS Office 2003, I'd like to see something like what Firefox (and now Chrome) did to the browser product space, but for office productivity suites

      The core difference between browsing the web and working with documents is the persistence of data and how predictable (consistent) your data is presented. Nobody in their right mind expects web pages to look the same, regardless whether you use Opera, Firefox, Chrome, MSIE, or Lynx. But when it comes to documents, people get upset if a word wraps earlier in one product than another, their carefully crafted one page document suddenly overflows by two words onto a second line, their embedded images aren't properly aligned, etc. Sometimes these are legitimate concerns, sometimes it's just a matter of mismatched expectations, but overall it's a different ball game.

      So if you want to play in the office/document playground, you can't afford to alienate too many people before you start stepping out of line, and improving on the old and trusted formula that so many people take for granted.

    • by jensend (71114)

      An office suite can't be "small" and "lightweight" and have all "the pro features I might need, too." You sound just like Agnes in Simpson Safari [snpp.com]: you want all your groceries in one bag, but you don't want the bag to be heavy.

      You can get lightweight, fast office software; for example, you can use AbiWord [abisource.com] for your word processing needs. But it doesn't have every feature under the sun, and if it did have every pro feature anybody "might need" it wouldn't be lightweight.

  • Changing a license means that you have to work with the Source owner. Now that Apache Foundation owns the OpenOffice.org codebase, does that mean that LibreOffice could change the license to ASF? Assuming the developers on LIbreOffice are ok with the move...
  • by jensend (71114) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @05:55PM (#38454372)

    Unless a lot of things about this project change it is pretty much doomed. (Well, doomed to be ignored by everybody outside of IBM; they can finance their own Symphony devs, but nothing else will come of this unless things change.)

    If you glance at the Apache openoffice mailing lists, a few things become clear:

    • Rob Weir, who is basically running the show and who seems like a perfectly reasonable person from his blog [robweir.com], acts like a caustic, sarcastic, and poorly socialized adolescent in communicating with other developers. He's alienating people right and left. People have tried to get him to stop, but he either ignores it or just acts like it's those he's offended who are to blame for any unpleasantness.
    • Due to Rob's attitude and other unfortunate factors, any chance of gaining cooperation from anyone who's been involved in LibreOffice has pretty much evaporated. If there'd been a little bit of diplomacy, I bet a lot of people would have been OK with dual-licensing their patches for Apache OO to use as well, and the two projects could have gotten a lot of mutually beneficial effort in support, security, localization, language tools, and extensions; AOO folks have instead opted to prioritize insulting LibreOffice folks over getting anything done.
    • They tore a lot of functionality [apache.org] out of OpenOffice for their license compliance crusade [apache.org]. I can understand that they can't ship copylefted code, but tearing out the use of LGPL'ed libraries seems kind of ridiculous. (For me personally, the loss of WordPerfect import is going to force me to LibreOffice.)
    • Apache OpenOffice 3.4 won't be released until the middle of next year-- the first OO release since this January, with relatively little improvement over OO 3.3 and a fair bit of missing functionality-- LibreOffice will have gone through three "major" releases and another dozen point releases, fixing a lot of bugs, refactoring a lot of code, and introducing a few new features. AOO will have taken roughly a full year (June 2011-2012) to make their first code shipment and people will have long since moved on.

    I really wanted to see Apache OpenOffice succeed and become the main branch; I think that for a project like OO, having either a permissive license or copyright assignment to a well-governed nonprofit (as with GNU software) is a really wise idea. But I can't see them making much progress as things stand.

  • So pretty much ASF is killing OpenOffice....

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