Oracle Donate’s OpenOffice.org to Apache Foundation, TDF Responds
Oracle has recently announced that they are donating OpenOffice.org‘s assets to the Apache Software Foundation.
Oracle continues to demonstrate its commitment to the developer and open source communities, said Luke Kowalski, vice president, Oracle Corporate Architecture Group, in the press release. He continues
The Apache Software Foundation’s model makes it possible for commercial and individual volunteer contributors to collaborate on open source product development.
Welcoming the move, Jim Jagielski, president, The Apache Software Foundation 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.
Everyone seems to be winning through this move but still there is one vital question. Why not The Document Foundation instead of The Apache Software Foundation?
After Oracle acquired OpenOffice.org, many of the leading OpenOffice.org contributors formed The Document Foundation. The Document Foundation requested Oracle to join them and donate the name “OpenOffice.org” to the community. But Oracle instead asked them to leave OpenOffice.org.
The developer’s then went on to fork OpenOffice.org to form LibreOffice. LibreOffice has been very successful and most of the major Linux distributions have switched over to LibreOffice as the default office application suite.
We have received an official statement in our email from Italo Vignoli, who is one of the co-founders and a member of the steering committee of The Document Foundation, in response to Oracle’s decision to ignore them and go to the Apache Foundation instead.
Below you can read the official statement:
The Document Foundation
Statement about Oracle’s move to donate OpenOffice.org assets to the Apache Foundation
The Internet, June 1st, 2011 – The Document Foundation constitutes a global team of hundreds of developers working together to improve the LibreOffice product for the benefit of all users. We are governed by an open, and meritocratic community headed by a diverse interim Steering Committee, and a vendor neutral Engineering Steering Committee overseeing development.
Today we welcome Oracle’s donation of code that has previously been proprietary to the Apache Software Foundation. It is great to see key user features released 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. 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.
On the bright side, one benefit of this arrangement is the 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 Document Foundation believes that commercially-friendly, copy-left licensing provides the best path to constructive participation in, and growth of the project.
Thus, the event is neutral for The Document Foundation, which – as always – remains open to every company, individual or foundation that wishes to participate in co-development. There has never been a better time to get involved and advance the state of the art in free software office suites.
TDF is therefore willing to start talking with Apache Software Foundation, following the email from ASF President Jim Jagielski, who is anticipating frequent contacts between the Apache Software Foundation and The Document Foundation over the next few months. We all want to offer corporate and individual users worldwide the best free office suite for enterprise and personal productivity.
Finally, TDF continue executing on a time-based release plan for LibreOffice 3.4.0, due out this week, while continuing work on the bug fix release train, with 3.4.1 due in a months time, as well as ongoing feature development for the 3.5 release.
If you go through the second last paragraph of the email, it is clear that The Document Foundation is willing to co-develop with the Apache Software Foundation. If this happens, it will be beneficial for OpenOffice.org’s future. After all, at this moment it is in the hand of completely new team of developers.