back to article Hard-up OpenOffice whips out begging-cap website

Hamburg-based open-source project OpenOffice will embark upon a major fundraising campaign this week to defend itself against a looming shutdown. On Wednesday a new website will be launched with many donation options, spokesperson Andreas Jäger told The Register: "The organisation will also look for a major investor, but one …


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  1. Sam Liddicott


    All the open office developers who didn't want to be with Oracle, left to form Libre Office.

    The thing that distinguishes those still with Open Office is that they wanted to stay with Oracle.

    Now Oracle don't want them... what distinguishes them? That they still don't want to join with Libre Office even though they were right?

  2. dotdavid


    They should remerge with LibreOffice now that Orable (spelling intentional) have stomped off to more profitable climes.

    I thought the whole reason for the split was Oracle? LibreOffice have the devs, and OpenOffice have the better name, so I would have thought a remerge would be a no-brainer.

  3. petur

    OpenOffice is dead

    World+dog moved to LibreOffice, so OpenOffice can maybe merge into LibreOffice and donate their name to them? Or just shut it down.

    Nice fail from Oracle (again)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Does LibreOffice even want the OpenOffice name?

      With the compulsory .org suffix, was never exactly the world's greatest trademark.

    2. sisk Silver badge

      "Nice fail from Oracle (again)"

      I disagree. The only fail I see here on Oracle's part is waiting as long as they did to let go of OpenOffice. Hold those downvotes a minute and hear me out.

      Oracle deals in enterprise level databases and other such beasts rarely seen outside of a server room. Their customers are either part of or make decisions for corporate IT departments. They have a history of being somewhat hostile towards FOSS.

      OpenOffice, on the other hand, is an office suite. It's target audience are mostly non-technical minded users (yes geeks use it, but geeks are the minority of users with any office suite). And it is FOSS.

      In short, OpenOffice and Oracle were never a good match. I honestly expected Oracle to lock it up and try to charge for it or dump it into the community's hands within a couple months of their aquisition of Sun.

      1. Goat Jam

        Not going to downvote you but

        "I honestly expected Oracle to lock it up and try to charge for it or dump it into the community's hands within a couple months of their aquisition of Sun"

        If they had tried the first option it would have been a fail. If they went for the second option then they would have come out smelling of roses.

        But they didn't did they?

        They went for option three, act like a bunch of control freak arsewipes and try and browbeat the community into line.

        Of course that strategy blew right up Larry's face which is what makes it a massive fail.

        1. sisk Silver badge

          @Goat Jam

          Yeah, that's why waiting as long as they did was a fail.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think that LibreOffice is a very nice name. The LibreOffice folks forked the project for a very good reason, would they even want to absorb the developers who stayed with Oracle and the OpenOffice project?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I can't quite figure this out, hopefully someone else has been paying better attention than me. When Oracle "gave" OO.o to the Apache foundation, did they also transfer the trademark? The website still seems to indicate [] that Oracle own the name.

    Can you really trust them not to force another split somewhere down the line by exercising legal control over the use of the name? The development community itself spoke pretty clearly when LibreOffice became the preferred branch of the project, and the decimated carcass of OO.o still appears to have Oracle's claws hanging onto it. Is it time for to die?

  5. BenDwire

    My winging users hated OpenOffice ...

    .... 'cos it wasn't MS Office. Now that the wingers have decided they don't like the ribbon either, they've been really happy with this LibreOffice I've given them - "it's so much better than that awful OpenOffice". (*cough*)

    We know it's the same thing, but the users don't know that. OOo has taken the flack for being a poor rip-off, but now that LibreOffice is actually *good enough* for most people let the name stay, and let OOo die. It's no different to the rest of the software industry: Killing off Vista when the "All New" (*cough*) Windows 7 came out. Or the iPhoneN when the iPhoneN+1 came out.

    I do think the developers should re-merge and make an even better product, but don't give Oracle any change to mess about with the name. Just leave it be.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Your users can fly? Amazing!

      1. fch

        given sufficient thrust, users will fly just fine

        ... time for another BOfH episode !

      2. BenDwire

        No, they don't fly, they want to be ginger .....

        5. wannabe ginger. person who dyes their hair ginger and calls themselves ginger, but they aren't a natural ginge.

      3. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

        Given the right motivation...

        ... they don't exactly fly but with a good impulse some of them make it past the broken glass skip...

      4. Steen Hive
        Thumb Up

        Our users manage to fly in the face of logic almost constantly.

    2. Goat Jam


      Does the leader of your winging users look like Brian Blessed and have a booming voice?

  6. Don Mitchell

    Something New Now?

    Maybe instead of reverse engineering Microsoft Office, someone will actually create something original that deserves to survive in the market place.

    1. Marvin the Martian


      People need something that can make head & tails of unstable .doc and .docx files, so that basically fills the work schedule up with reverse-engineering. For a lot of people, the only time they need Word is to fill in .doc job application forms or periodic report forms; say a science student will be using LaTeX for their actual work.

      What original thing you need in what is essentially a runaway typewriter? Integration with another program in the suite -- ah no that's the same as Office.

  7. E 2

    "We have been going after the competitors for too long, instead of really focusing on the needs of the user. Now that we are free we can change that."

    Glad to hear that the focus is going to change. M$' UI ideas these past several years are stupid and difficult to use. The FOSS people should not emulate them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      When it comes to UI's then its kinda hard to discuss IMO since much of that is based on personal preferences. I've been working with MS Office 2010 for a while now and can't say I really dislike the Ribbon interface. Its more of a pull down menu put horizontal.

      However, I do think that LibeOffice has some catching up to do when it comes to functionality. In its basic form L.O. is perfectly usable for common issues; word processing, spreadsheets; no question about it that it can easily cope.

      But when it comes to some of the extra's then I think its lacking a bit. For example; I'm working on a study and I'm collecting information from different sources on the Net. MS Office doesn't only provides plenty of means to collect all this pieces of information, you can also easily link those to your other office documents for quick reference. OpenOffice never had something like that, while it can actually be very useful.

      And although LibreOffice has a decent macro editor, its not very fun to use if you want to create custom dialogs. Its doable, but... ugh.

      So in that aspect I'm not too sure about not going after the competitors any longer. There's much more besides a UI to cope with.

      1. Goat Jam

        You can also easily link those to your other office documents

        That is a double edged sword.

        Because users fail to grasp the concept of linking they often get tripped up by send other people copies of their documents that are full of broken links.

        For christ sake, users have still not come to terms with the whole ridiculous "drive letter" bullshit that MS are YET to divest themselves off.

        I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen idiot users send out emails with "links" to h:\My Documents\some_file_in_comic_sans_font.docx and then wonder why nobody else can read it.

        Here's a question. Does anyone here think that Microsoft will *ever* get past that drive letter idiocy?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lotus Symphony

    Seems to be a hacked down version of Open Office. Or maybe an unnatural merging of Open Office and *gasp* Lotus Word Pro. Whatever it is, it is slower than a Eurocrat on summer vacation.

    I use OO for personal use (because it is free) but head for the Dark Side and use Word for business since the powers won't give me a real word processor using Dog's Language-- SGML (for the unwashed masses, SGML is to word processing like assembler is to writing code).

    1. petur

      Lotus Word Pro

      The crap that Lotus managed to make from Ami Pro, a beautiful and very effective word prpcessor, first WYSIWYG one too IIRC.

      1. A.A.Hamilton

        @petur: " ...crap...from...Ami Pro"

        Ami Pro, while being a pretty good product, was, at first, a WSINWYW product. I was going to say that Easy Writer was the first WYSWIG product, but in a bout of honesty and painful recollection, I have to say, with all due respect to past friends on the west coast, it was much more of WYSINFG.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Hopefully they can make a redirect page to LibreOffice or the Document Foundation

    Personally I find LibreOffice to be a nice and suiting name, and with it as pointed out you just make sure to never get into any legal issues.

    It's really hard to understand the motivations of such people to continue with Oo now that Oracle has dumped them. Why can't they just join in the LibreOffice effort? Because they want to lead or be chairmen or such or what??? Because they like Java or are attached to the Oo name? There is an opportunity here to make LibreOffice happen really, and it is, as I'm seeding the latest release and the tracker shows 18 000 downloads which is great, not counting all the downloads from their d/l page. Yet so many people just don't know what has happened and continue to use Oo out of habit...

    You can only wish those developers will come to their senses and make their Oo website redirect to LibreOffice and give Oo a rest once and for all. Move on.

  10. tom t

    Help your users, IF that is your intentions...

    Offer a "one-click" migration path to your users to move from Open to Libre, say thank you to Larry for his support, "donate" the name to Oracle, have a keg party...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ditch the OpenOffice brand, it wasn't a great brand and its been poisoned by Larry

  12. Framitz

    Reminder to self

    Uninstall openoffice (LibreOffice). It is bloated, slow, and of no value to me as I never use it.

    Thanks for reminding me about that Reg.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not going to work I think...

    Not to generalize but apart from the people who really went for the freedom part of the deal there are also plenty of OpenOffice users who simply picked it up because they didn't want to pay for an Office suite which they hardly used. An occasional letter is also easily made with OpenOffice.

    So I'm not too sure that this will catch on. I have to agree with some of the other posts; most OpenOffice users have most likely already bailed. Either to MS Office or LibreOffice.

    Or maybe KOffice ;-)

  14. Cyfaill

    LibreOffice is a tremendous product

    We have a great deal of experience with it since we dumped Microsoft's products 15 years ago. used Star Office and it was pretty rough but we stuck it out and when Open Office started out we switched. We became members of the now defunct ODF. The fork of OO.o to libreOffice was the best thing to happen to it. Currently we are running LibreOffice 3.4.3 - OOO340m1 (Build:302) in aptosid 64bit Linux with the KDE GUI. We never did like Oracle or its attempt to dominate the world. So for us its LibreOffice all the way. It helps to actually learn something about a product before panning it. Like all software... it will be strange and difficult if you are use to something different.

    No surprise there... People who are use to MS office are going to find it alien. but all I am saying from using it for a long time... it actually has legs and we think it is going to win in the end... it is a world standard now..

    ISO/IEC 26300:2006

  15. Maryland, USA

    I'll take none of the above

    It's SoftMaker Office 2012 for me. MS, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice should ask themselves how a small team of 20 Germans could quietly create the best office suite in existence.

  16. admiraljkb
    Pint is already dead

    I'll raise my glass to the team, great work guys, but putting more money into is now a waste of time. Let it RIP. With a year of success under it, LibreOffice has assumed the mantle now, and has the proper international support that never had due to it being owned by Sun which held back development. LibreOffice at this point is massively accelerating now that it is independent. In contrast, has only had confusion and doubt behind it the previous year. is now the equivalent of "Vista" as a brandname.

    To top that off, MS has begun to surrender to open standards as well and natively supports OpenDocument format anyway, so it's probably a matter of time until they ditch OOXML, since it's expensive to maintain a semi-ISO/semi-proprietary format on your own, and stockholders don't like wasted money. They should dedicate a employee or two to the OpenDocument committee, and then reallocate the other employees currently assigned to OOXML to something more productive. It is already shaping up that going forward, there will be a choice of MS Office or LibreOffice (or KOffice, or the others) for the front end, but the underlying documents will all be OpenDocument. (except possibly in the US)

    1. redxine

      The day Microsoft uses ODF exclusively

      is the same day they ditch the DOS drive letter convention, and switch completely to a *NIX-like kernel. I just don't see it happening. After all, they have a 90%+ market share to maintain, and giving people the option to switch to another office suite just isn't in their shareholder's interests.

      1. admiraljkb

        Well MS already supports ODF (required for international contracts) and corporations are always looking to reduce resources (read headcount). If they have to support ODF anyway to get international sales, and if they can layoff/reallocate resources, then they'll do it to keep stockholders happy. It ain't religion, it's simply business. Theoretically, people are already free to switch office suites, since there no longer is a proprietary format either. OOXML (if MS complies with it's ISO spec) is basically open as well. Better to position your product as the high end and still get sales, then to get it ultimately whacked on ISO technicalities. MS is nothing if not pragmatic long term.

        Trivia fact (good for a pint, it's Friday after all)- MS is already on a semi-Nix kernel since NT3.1 20 years ago. It's partly based on Mach Microkernel. One distant cousin is another famous OS - Apple's OSX. :)

  17. DougH@IBM

    OpenOffice is alive and well and living at Apache

    Unfortunately this article was very poorly researched and is completely misleading and many of the comments listed here are lacking in the understanding of some important nuance.

    The Project formally known as is a combination of community members/developers. a copyrighted codebase, a group of related trademarks and some infrastructure to facilitate community interaction and code download (and a few other bits and pieces). Oracle donated the code and trademark and websites et al to the Apache foundation where it is now incarnated as Apache OpenOffice. It is what is referred to as a podling for the time being and a community of developers which includes some significant corporate support (which will be growing in numbers and diversity), are hard at work on doing a lot of code clean up, adding new features, and will soon be integrating the very large code donation from IBM's Symphony project.

    TeamOpenOffice, the Hamburg group referred to in the article, was originally set up as a means of collecting donations to support things like conferences. Much of these donations came in from a "donate here" button which encourages paypall donations. Because of circumstances this group has been cut off from that source of funding. Furthermore members of that group wish to do active programing in support of the OpenOffice project, which is a great thing that I support enthusiastically. However, they do not represent the OpenOffice project at Apache, Their financial situation and plaintive request does not reflect on the health of the Apache project, and they do not have rights to use the trademark and their use of it, and the resulting confusion, is completely inappropriate.

    I attended the Libre Office conference in Paris last week. There is a great group of people there doing some great work. They have a slightly different focus than the Apache OpenOffice project has. This is fine, and in many ways healthy. At the conference we had many very constructive discussion about how to cooperate and compliment our respective initiatives. There will be a lot of new technology going into Apache OpenOffice over the next 6 months and we very much encourage the Libre Office community to leverage it as much as possible.

    There are some very exciting things going on at Apache OpenOffice. After we get through some rather tedious legal reviews, license and code realignment and remediation etc...Lots of really exciting innovation is planned and the project will continue to deliver new value to the market. We are hopeful that Libre Office, Team OpenOffice (or what ever they end up calling themselves) and anyone else will be able to take advantage of the technology and package it for businesses and consumers alike.

    Open Office is alive and well and living at Apache. We are doing some very interesting, exciting and innovative work. All are welcome to join in and help.

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