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IBM Takes ODF to Another Level

Posted in IBM, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard at 11:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sam Palmisano
Photo by Dan Farber

Summary: OpenOffice.org is moving to Apache, which helps IBM after a short moment of uncertainty and doubt

PR blunders aside (IBM PR telling me, “if you blog about the end of this case, none of this information came from IBM, okay? Cheers…”), it has just been announced that, as SJVN told us all last night, OpenOffice.org is going to Apache and the IBM folks are quick to issue remarks about it, led by Brill, Weir, and Sutor. Weir says that:

Oracle has followed through with their earlier promise to “move OpenOffice.org to a purely community-based open source project.” OpenOffice is moving to Apache.

Prior to that Weir also said: “Disappointing to see so-called open source proponents desperately trying to squash an open source project. It must be Tuesday.” It is not clear if he was referring to the petition to Oracle. Perhaps he should clarify his statements, e.g. with a link.

Remember how IBM reacted after Oracle had sued Google. The issues of patents will be discussed here later. IBM almost bought Sun.

Sutor writes:

It’s been an interesting road to get to this point over the decades, with well and not-so-well publicized twists and turns, but I’m glad we got here.

We’ll have more about this shortly, hopefully something unique (although the Internet will be flooded by pundits). Let us remember that OpenOffice.org is Free software and so is LibreOffice. There is a lot to be said now which probably will be said by every FOSS/Linux site.

In defence of IBM, the company is bigger than Microsoft, but it is not fundamentally against Free software. Scale is not the problem (SCO, for example, was always quite small). Prepare for a lot of FUD from the Microsoft camp, which harbours the #1 cash cow.

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  1. twitter said,

    June 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm


    Does he mean “patch tuesday” and that all the fauxpen source people are bothered because Microsoft has sent their Windows desktops another round of useless pain and suffering? Now that would be funny.

    I like his conclusion:

    I have a vision of a free, high quality productivity suite, one based on open standards and open source, one that doesn’t treat the web and mobile and tablet form factors as a design afterthought, one that has a strong extensibility and programmability model that makes it the preferred platform for innovation, one that has a dedicated community of supporters. I’ll need your help to get there.

    Very promissing stuff, if Apache accepts it.

    Something that I noticed as a side effect of a conversation with Weir is that Abiword has OOXML. The source of that code deserves some investigation because Abiword sits in Debian and other repositories. Did the Novell people seak their work onto people without anyone noticing?

  2. twitter said,

    June 1, 2011 at 3:09 pm


    Abiword people were spammed with OOXML requests back in 2008 while polite free software people used Open Office, Kword and other applications instead of requesting that others reinvent wheels.

    we did receive quite a few applications about improving OOXML support, while we got zero OpenDocument related proposals. Apparently the support for the OpenDocument ISO standard isn’t strong enough in the F/OSS community to actually make an effort to improve support for it. Even when paid. Food for thought.

    From what I can see here, Abiword has been building OOXML up independently at Google Summer of code events. I’m glad that someone likes the self torture of Microsoft format rationalization but still worry about patent traps. Hopefully, Microsoft will implode before they get a chance to spring the traps.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Or a firm like i4i.

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