EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.30.10

LibreOffice Has the Potential to Altogether Replace Oracle OpenOffice.org (OOOo)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Mono, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle, SUN at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU in the wild

Summary: The FSF-endorsed, community-run office suite gains momentum and there are reasons to believe that it can make Oracle relinquish control at some stage

A COUPLE of days ago we helped introduce LibreOffice, which contrary to what some Mono/Novell trolls are saying, is not a rebranded Go-OO. The idea is similar in the sense that copyright assignment gets changed, but here there are a lot of vendors involved and the steering committee is diverse.

A lot has changed since Novell first tried to fork OpenOffice.org and take control away from its rightful owner. Besides, a lot has changed in the stewardship because Sun was a trustworthy steward whereas Oracle disregards freedom. Its CEO recently sent E-mail to a journalist calling him a scumbag. That’s not the type of person a community can look up to.

“Libre” appears to be a focus of the new office suite, whereas Go-OO added some Microsoft elements like Mono bindings and OOXML. Responding to the worries that there is too much overlap between what was once known as Go-OO and LibreOffice, Charles-H. Schultz clarifies as follows:

I had a chance to ask Charles-H. Schultz, on the steering committee of The Document Foundation some questions I had swirling in my mind after their announcement today of LibreOffice, and he was kind enough to take time on a really busy day to answer.

I wanted to know about Mono and OOXML and all the things you are wondering about too. I had become quite worried about OpenOffice.org and Go-OO, and naturally that was on my mind, given who is involved in LibreOffice. The answers are reassuring. The Document Foundation is serious about avoiding non-free elements, and they are on the same page about that. I guess that’s how they got Richard Stallman to bless the project, now that I think of it, along with so many others. And I wanted to ask him how we all can help out.

[...]

Question 2: What about Mono? What about OOXML?

Schultz: Well, that’s quite easy. Mono was never really inside OOo or Go-OO to start with. What was inside Go-OO was the possibility of Mono integration, and even that sort of exists inside the “vanilla OOo”. So we made sure that didn’t add to this.

As for OOXML, well, we didn’t take the Go-OO approach and did not include the patches developed with the “aid” of Microsoft. All in all, LibreOffice is clean, very clean, and we look forward stay that way. But enough talking on OOXML, a standard that does not exist. Let’s rather focus on ODF, an existing open standard we support and promote.

We discussed this in IRC last night. I said that I had gone to the IRC channel of LibreOffice only to find that at least half of the operators are Novell staff. “Meeks has been pushing for this for a long time,” wrote Saul, “and it seems like he found a way to get his way and fork it.” Well, Novell seems like it has just weeks/months left to exist (in its current form) and as for Meeks, “he might probably be ready to go elsewhere,” told us a source. There is a slight worry that if VMB_ware got hold of LibreOffice, then it would be like Microsoft executives controlling part of Microsoft’s opposition, like they do with Zimbra. But anyway, this is too speculative and even far fetched at this stage.

One of the forces behind LibreOffice, Leif Lodahl, is thrilled to see the good reception the project has gotten:

I saw discussions on freenode about how to compile localized version. I saw Twitter run more than 800 tweets per hour and I have heard about Catalan hackers talk with Spanish journalists. The last thing – I have heard – doasn’t happen every day.

Zonker wrote about it and so did Matt Asay who says that “LibreOffice [is] An Idea Whose Time Has Come (and Gone)”. Well, coming from the person who almost replaced that free/libre office suite with Fog Computing (Google) at Canonical, this is not too shocking, but regarding Apple and Oracle, Matt Asay has just posted the following decent article:

  • Apple and Oracle Must Let Developers Have Their Say

    It’s getting harder to be a monopoly these days. Microsoft owned the desktop for decades, milking its Windows platforms every step of the way. Apple, on the other hand, hadn’t even managed four years of iOS dominance before Google’s Android staked a serious claim to the mobile market.

    This isn’t because Microsoft is somehow smarter than Apple, but rather because the underlying dynamics of the technology industry have fundamentally changed. In brief, the technology world is increasingly embracing “write” communities, as Jono Bacon calls them, not simply “read” communities. Open source may have kickstarted this trend, but open APIs and open data are taking it to new heights.

One must remember that Oracle and Apple think alike in many ways and their CEOs are good friends [1, 2, 3].

Here is some nice analysis from Matthew Aslett:

  • If you fork it, will they come?

    Which is not to say that LibreOffice will not be a success, but when it comes to forking, creating the fork is clearly just the start. It takes time, and a lot of effort, to generate the momentum for a fork to be truly successful. There is bound to be an initial spike in developer and user interest. Turning that into a meaningful and productive community will be the hard part.

There is a fundamental difference between OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice. It’s mostly to do with copyrights.

In quite a timely fashion, Richard Stallman warned about copyright assignment the Oracle way. From the FSF’s Web site:

Companies that develop free software and release it under the GNU GPL sometimes distribute some copies of the code in other ways. If they distribute the exact same code under a different license to certain users that pay for this, typically permitting including the code in proprietary programs, we call it “selling exceptions”. If they distribute some version of the code solely in a proprietary manner, we call that releasing a purely proprietary version of the program.

LibreOffice has a lot to offer to GNU/Linux users and with over 20% market share in some countries, as well as with major deployments all around the world, LibreOffice might soon be used by hundreds of millions of people, especially if Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) is right and Oracle is about the drop the ball on OpenOffice.org (which seems possible, unless it decides to sue instead):

What I mean by a fork, by the by, is an actual split in the code. For example, Ubuntu can be seen as a fork of Debian. No one doubts that Ubuntu is based on Debian Linux, but it’s also clearly a Linux distribution in its own right. Simply changing out some trademarks and product names, which, for example, is what Oracle did with Red Hat Enterprise Linux when it created Oracle Linux, isn’t the same thing. At this early point, that’s all the Document Foundation has done with OpenOffice.

My expectation is that Oracle will quietly let OpenOffice gather dust, and LibreOffice will become the new open-source office suite of choice. What do you think?

Development on LibreOffice is already active and although it’s not so different from OpenOffice.org (SJVN says it’s not a fork yet, but we disagree), it is quite unique. So give LibreOffice a go and download the latest build. It’s better to rely on GNU/Linux users and vendors than it is to rely on Oracle. Besides, even the FSF endorses LibreOffice.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 6/5/2015: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7 Enters Beta, Ubuntu Summit News

    Links for the day



  2. Links 4/5/2015: Many New Releases, Ubuntu Drone

    Links for the day



  3. Misplaced Focus on Patent Trolls and Patent Lawyers' Defence of Trolls

    Observations about media coverage and reactions to the focus on patent trolls, which distracts from desperately-needed reform around patent scope



  4. PATENT Act a 'Reform' for Big Corporations, Hence Does Not Address the Core Issues, Including Patent Scope and Massive Patent Aggressors

    Big corporations, including some of the biggest patent aggressors out there, successfully lobbied for what has essentially become a bipartisan bill to eliminate the thorn in their side



  5. Openwashing of Binary Blobs That Microsoft Uses to Attack Free Software and GNU/Linux From the Inside

    Media which is either willfully ignorant or complicit has successfully, based on volume of coverage, framed Microsoft's proprietary software as openness and nicety



  6. Microsoft Kills Netscape Again, This Time Removing It From the History Books

    Microsoft's embarrassing crimes against Netscape -- the ones that put Bill Gates on trial and nearly split Microsoft -- virtually forgotten as Netscape itself is made to 'disappear'



  7. Microsoft India's Unofficial 'Branch' Infosys is Torturing the Meaning of Open Source Software

    Infosys, which is best known for its promotion of Microsoft in India, is distorting the meaning of 'Open Source' and joins a non-profit that is supposed to promote programming, not binary blobs



  8. Microsoft Windows is Dying, British Government Should Spend No More Money on It

    Time for the Establishment in the UK to abandon the out-of-support Windows XP (from 2001) and join the next generation of computing, which increasingly revolves around GNU/Linux and Free/libre software, supported by truly British companies



  9. IRC Proceedings: April 5th - May 2nd, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  10. Links 3/5/2015: Black Lab 6.5 RC2

    Links for the day



  11. Links 2/5/2015: Robolinux 7.9.1, LibreOffice Numbering

    Links for the day



  12. Links 1/5/2015: HP Ubuntu Laptops, Arch Linux 2015.05.01

    Links for the day



  13. Links 30/4/2015: Plasma 4.4 in the Making

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Embracing, Extending, Extinguishing the Linux-centric Arduino and Raspberry Pi, Making Them Windows Devices

    Raspberry Pi and Arduino carry water for Microsoft as part of the publicity stunts for Vista 10, the operating system which Microsoft tells investors is "marketing"



  15. Microsoft Uses Ubuntu to Demonstrate and Promote Microsoft Lock-in

    Canonical's Ubuntu is now used as the bait by which to seduce developers in the GNU/Linux world into Microsoft dependencies, surveillance, and software patents



  16. The EPO's Tyrant, Benoît Battistelli, is Probably on His Way Out, Threatens to Resign

    The Napoleonic self-acclaimed 'president' of the EPO, who surrounded himself with loyal thugs and crushed all opposition to him (assuring reign by fear), reportedly threatens to fall on his sword if an independent mediator gets appointed



  17. Links 30/4/2015: Debian GNU/Hurd 2015, Microsoft Copies Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  18. Windows Recipes for Disaster (Met Police and Fukushima)

    Microsoft Windows mentality and strong dependencies continue to cause immeasurable damage that costs people a lot in terms money and in terms of health



  19. ‘Visual Studio Code’: Not News, Not Free, Not Open Source

    Another publicity stunt from Microsoft, this time going under the name ‘Visual Studio Code’, which is basically proprietary lock-in



  20. Microsoft's Patent Attacks on Android Not Covered in the Corporate Media, Only Microsoft as the 'Victim'

    Omission of important developments around Microsoft's war on GNU/Linux and Free software, notably against Android and ChromeOS as of late



  21. As Core Issues Still Not Addressed, Another Protest Against EPO Management Scheduled for Tomorrow in Munich, Germany

    On Thursday (tomorrow) yet another demonstration is organised in Munich, less than a week ahead of the UPC decision (May 5th)



  22. Pharmaceutical Patents and Hedge Funds: Evil Fighting Evil

    Revisiting the subject of patents on life or life-saving processes, plus a hedge fund's extortion-type attack on such patents (for quick profit)



  23. UCLA Foolishly Grooms Microsoft's Patent Troll Nathan Myhrvold (Intellectual Ventures), Who is Busy Attacking Android and Linux These Days

    More news about Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft's and Bill Gates' anti-Linux tool, who lost a battle because of last year's SCOTUS ruling and is now groomed by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)



  24. Links 28/4/2015: Plasma 5.3, Cutelyst 0.8.0

    Links for the day



  25. Links 28/4/2015: More on Debian 8 “Jessie”, Fedora 22 Beta Walkthrough

    Links for the day



  26. Microsoft is Attacking Android Like Never Before, Qisda the Latest to Sign Patent Extortion Deal

    More blackmail and propaganda against Android, courtesy of the gentler, kinder, 'new' Microsoft



  27. Caution Needed When Microsoft Copywriters Flood the Media With Microsoft Propaganda

    Media actively subverted by Microsoft-sponsored agents of deception, whose goal is to change what people think of Microsoft and its software, even if by lying (they call it 'marketing')



  28. Gartner Staff That Worked for Microsoft and the Latest Nonsense from Gartner or 'Former' Staff

    Gartner waited until 2015 to declare FOSS fit for databases; another example spotted where Gartner staff comes from Microsoft or vice versa



  29. Links 27/4/2015: Debian 9 Named, Linux 4.1 Reaches RC

    Links for the day



  30. Microsoft is Interjecting Itself Into GNU/Linux and Free Software News, Even Events and Foundations

    Microsoft's entryism strategy is proving effective as Microsoft successfully embeds itself inside the idealogical competition, subverting the competition's overall message and diluting the competition's focus on Free software


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts