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1 fcassia commented Permalink

"In fact, I think it's a demonstration that no one company can control and distort an established open project that is correctly formed and supported. " <div>&nbsp;</div> Control and distort? What are you talking about?. With all due respect, you´re re-writing history here. <div>&nbsp;</div> What Oracle has announced is the end of the *COMMERCIAL* builds of, namely the product formerly known as STAROFFICE, which Oracle had renamed "Oracle Open Office" (notice the lack of ".org" in that name). <div>&nbsp;</div>, under Oracle has been, and will continue to be, both FREE as in free beer and FREE as in OPEN SOURCE (LGPL license). <div>&nbsp;</div> The rest of the story you tell is simply history re-writing, there´s no brave "freedom fighters" vs evil corporations here. IBM AFAIK, like RedHat or Microsoft associate Novell are not non-profit NGOs, they are corporations. <div>&nbsp;</div> The first fork wasn´t LibreOffice, it was Novell´s "Go-OO". Novell and others have wanted to influence the direction of since the Sun Microsystem days. Let´s see how little it takes for Novell to pollute "Libre" Office with Mono (Novell´s .Net clone) hooks, for instance. <div>&nbsp;</div> Sun resisted to add Nvell-developed patches to support Microsoft OO-XML for good reason, to promote OpenDocument (ODF). <div>&nbsp;</div> Likewise, the move to charge for the plug-in just makes sense: it makes the proposition to keep using Microsoft´s file formats more expensive, and migrating to ODF less costly by comparison. <div>&nbsp;</div> "From a branding perspective that would be good because normal humans get to glassy-eyed about software forks that are a little more tolerated by dedicated open-sourcers." <div>&nbsp;</div> Getting everything under a single brand was Oracle´s original plan (which Sun Micro should have done a long time ago), namely for the free software version, and "Oracle Open Office" for the commercial build (formerly StarOffice). Sadly the latter is gone. <div>&nbsp;</div> FC <br />

2 cmw.osdude commented Permalink

I'm not sure about the rewriting of history. I did provide links for everything that I mentioned and I tried to keep to news resources rather than blog entries for all of them. <div>&nbsp;</div> My comments about "controlling and distorting" are aimed more at the discussion that seems to come up whenever a corporation gets prominently involved in an open-source project like this. I heard cries of concern when IBM took a serious interest in Linux. I heard the same sort of thing when SUN got involved with the projects that Oracle inherited. It is true that companies have been known to "buy out the competition" in order to remove them from the field. However, the nature of open source tends to leave the project open. It can be built up, perhaps, but the GPL and similar licensing protects project from being removed from the public. Open source enthusiasts should not fear that a company will control and distort because they really can't. <div>&nbsp;</div> You are correct that the first fork of was from Novell. I don't believe that I said LibreOffice was the first fork, but I think it was the most significant one. My observation here is the actions and reactions between Oracle and the people who had been involved in the project for a long time. A look at the Document Foundation Team ( shows a pretty diverse set of participants. True, some are with companies like Red Hat, but many other views are represented. <div>&nbsp;</div> I see charging for the ODF plugin as a complete reversal of the logic that created it. The original purpose, as I understood it and used it with people, was to provide a free way for MS Office users who were squeamish about trying a different application to interact easily with Open Documents. It helped promote ODF by providing more ways to interact with it. Charging like they did, especially with the 100-seat minimum completely changed that model and effectively removed the plugin as a useful way to promote ODF. <div>&nbsp;</div> I guess what I don't understand, is if Oracle's goals were for openness and they were not trying to fight the existing community, then why did all of this happen? Why did the Document Foundation founders and the Oracle developers behave in the way that they did? If Oracle was cooperating well with the community, then why let the project go? If there was not a conflict between their business interests and the community goals then they should have just ridden it out a little and the community would see that Oracle was doing it right. <div>&nbsp;</div> I suppose time will tell on this. I still think this is a demonstration of how the community can and will keep control of a project no matter what corporations get involved, so the open-source community should not be afraid of corporate involvement.