back to article Oracle drops OpenOffice on Apache, shuns forkers

Oracle is shunting OpenOffice onto the Apache Software Foundation, sidelining the original OpenOffice community that forked off the project as LibreOffice last year. On Wednesday, Oracle said that its contribution demonstrates Oracle's commitment to the developer and open source communities. "Donating to Apache …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. William Boyle


    I switched to LO early this year, and am very happy with it. OO has not kept up as far as I can tell. If Apache is smart, they will punt all the OOo stuff back over to The Document Foundation (TDF) as quickly as they can, so we have a unified open document environment. As for Oracle, the fact that they are keeping control of all the trademarks and copyrights is onerous. I say, fark them! Ellison is all about control, and keeping the copyrights and such is just an indicator of that.

    1. LaeMing Silver badge

      Fork them!

      Fork them all to hell!

  2. Paul Shirley

    Oracle still hoping to take, take, take

    One of the big problems before the split was Sun blocking many of the contributions that would undermine commercial sales of their own private versions. LibreOffice now has all those extras and that's a large part of why Oracle are wriggling so hard, they lost control and lost the commercial advantage.

    Shifting to ASF doesn't help knobble LibreOffice or finally allow those important features to be imported into OO. OO is playing catch up and just removed any chance of quickly doing that from Libre source.

    I'm inclined to think Oracle are just playing games here, saving face while giving away nothing useful. From Larry's POV the product is already dead, if they can con TDF into improving their product that's a pure win, if not there's no loss.

  3. mraak

    You'd think

    You'd think Oracle would have it figured by now how the OS movement works. They could've used this to appeal to the OS crowd, you'd think.

  4. nyelvmark

    BSD, OpenSource, etc - yawn...

    I'm sorry, but I've been watching this for 20 years and it's stupid.

    If you write some code that's actually really useful, it's worth money. It doesn't matter which religion or philosophy you subscribe to, it's worth money. Disclaiming all commercial rights to it doesn't stop it from being worth money. If you don't make money from it, somebody else will.

    When it comes to seriously important business software, the fact that the out-of-the-box product is free isn't a significant issue - support and maintenance is 99% of the cost.

    Because of this, the commercial software vendors love Open Source - it saves them a fortune in up-front development costs which can only be justified by finger-in-the-wind predictions. With Open Source, they can simply package up free stuff, offer it to their customers, and say "what do you think?". If the customer says yes, then they get a lucrative customisation and maintenance contract. Maybe they publish their customisation code, or maybe they don't - it's not really important, especially if they wait a year or two to do it.

    Sorry guys, altruism is a good idea in principle, but then so is communism. Unfortunately, the majority of human beings, when given a choice, tend to behave entirely selfishly. This is why the much-despised capitalist system works - because it has evolved around the way that people REALLY behave, rather than around the way that thinking people think it SHOULD evolve.

    Your downvotes are welcome - 8 is my record so far, I think. A long way short of the guy who had a go at our revered moderatrix and got +1, -46. I'd like to break that record. Hell, I'm a competitive capitalist.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The masochist said, "Beat me, beat me!" but the sadist just smiled and said, "No."

    2. Notas Badoff

      not competitive enough

      In addition to misreading things in general, you are woefully out of touch. Currently we're up to (down to?) -61 on another article just today. Guess you're not worth the effort.

      1. Marcus Aurelius

        To get to -21 I had to support Maggie Thatcher

        But I got +15 upvotes for an overall -6.

        Whatever do you have to do to get down to -60? is it legal? Does it involve any of our beloved Moderatrix Overlords?

        1. RegGuy

          Oracle's the best!

          I think Oracle and IBM are lurvely!

          They make so much money at everyone else's expense. Don't like it then change supplier. But change is both expensive and risky, so businesses don't like it.

          Oracle and IBM certainly know how to do business. Good luck to them!

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Very true I suppose but if we lived by pure instinct, which is basically what underlies capitalism's "greed for green", we'd still be living up trees hitting each other with our own 'doings'. Sometimes it's possible to stop and not say "F**k You, I'm in it for number one.", and when that happens you become a slightly better person and the species evolves just a tiny fraction.

      Now I'm not saying you do this for everything, simply isn't possible we all know that and being a bastard sometimes is as good for soul as being generous for no reward. Some get up and go clear rubbish from the local forest, some simply give some money to a charity, others write software to give away, something charitable and helpful to others in the hope that others will see a good thing and reciprocate.

      I don't think any of the FOSS crowd are under any illusion of changing the world today, tomorrow or ever but small acts of "software charity" are making a difference and are helping to make things a little better.

      So next time you decide to piss all over other people's parade, ask yourself what you've done to make this nasty world just a tiny bit more more bearable.

    4. Anonymous Coward


      I usually find that people who refer to the forum voting system in their posts are either trying to game said voting system, or they realise that their viewpoint is a minority one. In your case, it looks like both.

    5. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Up to a point

      I agree that the majority of human kind is selfish, and will ultimately do things in their own interests. This is why capitalism "works", at least better than the implementations of the alternatives we have had so far.

      However, the point of FOSS is not always altruism. In many case it is because it works, at least for the developers involved.

      Let us say you need/want a specific feature in your office suite. Using a proprietry suite, you would have to request that feature from the supplier and hope they see enough commercial interest in developing it. Go to FOSS, and you can add it yourself, then make that feature available to the community. It is, in this case, a selfish motivation: you want it, so you make it. You get the benefit, but you also get the benefit of everyone elses contributions, and probably help from the community to ensure your contribution is up to the job (stable and works as expected). They will help improve it: not for altruistic reasons, but for their own benefit (even if it is just for their own ego).

      And WRT votes: I'm not going to down vote you on the grounds that you WANT to be downvoted. See above resonse about sadist and masochist.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        @ Dr. Mouse

        Capitalism "works"? If it wasn't for a massive bail-out, it would have crashed&burned harder than communism. And have enough lessons really been learned that such a thing won't happen again?

        Either way, rampant greed is unsustainable. As is never-ending kindness. A logical balance is somewhere between the two extremes.

        1. noboard

          The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

          My thoughts exactly, anyone who thinks we live in a capitalist society any more isn't worth listening too. I guess they just haven't thought of a name for this new society we belong to. Corrupt gets my vote.

          1. Ole Juul


            "My thoughts exactly, anyone who thinks we live in a capitalist society any more isn't worth listening too. I guess they just haven't thought of a name for this new society we belong to. Corrupt gets my vote."

            I think "corrupt" fits everywhere. However, pretty much anything that works does so because it benefits society in general. So, as long as we have public roads and schools, pay taxes and vote, I'd have to call it socialism.

        2. LaeMing Silver badge


          I'm pretty sure that what happened there isn't 'capitalism' in any real sense of the term, any more than what failed in the USSR was 'communism' in anything but name. However I agree with the overall point.

        3. Tom 13

          The massive bailout didn't fix it.

          It's just another hair of the dog tonic that's going to smack even harder later. It didn't fix it, because it didn't address the fundamental problem: massive capital dislocation according to marxist principles under the rubic of helping the down and out and racial justice. The system is still just as broken as it was before, and it won't get fixed until we get some real capitalists in to fix it - not just more crony communists who deny what they are.

    6. Martin Usher

      Its what works for you

      The value-add in Open Source comes from using the product as a platform. Open Office is a bit short here and I think it would benefit from a license model similar to that used by Trolltech for Qt (and other larger scale, widely used Open Source packages). There has to be a low cost or free entry point giving access to a usable product (MS's take on this isn't usable). This feeds the value add market and leads in to a revenue generating product which makes ongoing development sustainable.

      We all benefit from Open Source packages and the open standards that they champion. Like most ostensibly alturistic enterprises there's enlightened self-interest at the bottom of it..

      I'd like to dispute that the much despised capitalist system works but this isn't the place to debate this. Capitalism's viability depends on the definition of the term 'works'. Historically it leads to wasted resources, boom and bust cycles and wars -- great prosperity for some and poverty and misery for many. In its raw form its not sustainable which is why Keynes and his ilk tried tinkering with it.

      1. Tom 13

        In a paraphrase of Winston Churchill

        Capitalism has produced the most poverty and misery for the many, except for all other economic systems.

    7. asdf Silver badge

      ever notice

      Those that preach pulling yourself up by the bootstraps didn't pay for their own college? Also ever notice those that defend our fake capitalist system (since when is capitalism privatizing profits and socializing losses) tend to be middle managers butt kissers on a salary that like any house slave love the system because they are so much better off than the field slaves.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Just like Hudson / Jenkins

    Sounds similar to what they are trying to do with Hudson now Jenkins has forked. All of the developers and users have jumped ship, but they are trying to give it to the Eclipse project. Oracle have added no value - just leave those working on the fork to keep doing the great work they have been doing for years.

    I can't think of an organization that is trying harder to screw over open source developers.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Myths and Fairytales

    How hard is it to look up even the most basic facts? We no longer need to walk to the library. Let's see:

    TDF forkers had time to write all this new code under MPL and GPL in a few months, and the new version is all their work and a proven success? Look at the code. I have, since my company makes a companion product. A few Novell patches, a different spellchecker, and a new set of rearranged buttons does not a release make. Run a diff. It is open source.

    But you say that coders left to go to Libre? Any spectator can cross reference the names from the two websites. If TDF had to do paypal to incorporate, then how are they paying all those full time developers? Maybe consultants and students left to go to the fork.

    And last. Open office was licensed as MPL, GPL, and LGPL? All at once, or perhaps MPL during the odd years?

    TDF is the place where Oracle should have put this project, if they wanted to kill it. For now, give the TDF marketing guy a raise.

    Oh, wait.

  7. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Really ?

    "Oracle is looking for evidence that ASF and Google deliberately and knowingly looked for ways to rip off Java"

    My understanding wasn't that Oracle were after ASF, but they were looking for evidence in the ASF that Google knew what they were doing (with Java/Harmony) was illegal. As was pointed out at the time, the ASF is an open organisation, so most of what Oracle are looking for can be found in public mailing lists, etc.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    What is the problem?

    Speaking as an end-user., someone who uses OpenOffice to write letters, CVs, stories for upload to FanFiction & OriginalFiction, just what is the problem with having 2 versions being developed (maybe) concurrently?

    As long as both are fully compatible with ODF where exactly is the problem?

    Surely this is a good idea as it provides 2 ODF compatible 'office suites' instead of 1.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Critical dev mass

      The "problem" is that there is a finite number of devs (and of dev hours, for the part-time guys)

      Splitting the community in half also divides dev hours by half for each branch, which is bad for the oveerall progress as there needs to be a critical mass for any project to go forth. That's mostly theoretical in that case, as it seems that most of the dev community jumped to LO anyway; OOo should be considered legacy and only benefit from retro-ported features developped in LO, on which the main development effort should be focused. But that's just my opinion, we'll see what Apache does

  9. The BigYin

    An enemy...

    ...divided is an enemy defeated. Hopefully Apache can heal the rift between OpenOffice and LibreOffice. We need two competing versions like we need a hole in the head just now.

    Yes, choice is good, freedom is great; but division of labour won't do anything to help O/L-Office take on MS.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Saving face, or saving money ?

    I think its all about money and nothing else here. Oracle is a company, and one which doesn't really care for what other people think or how these people value their products in comparison to others. As to the Sun deal; they don't give a flying hootlum about the Sun legacy either; all they're after is money (which is understandable from a commercial point of view, but from that of a former Sun-fan its awkward).

    The reason I come to this conclusion is simple; I am (was) a big Solaris fan. And I ran 2 servers myself. Because these were (semi) professional I also decided to apply for a basic support contract with Sun so that I was entitled to all available updates (you could truly upgrade the system "on the fly", comparable to the way Debian does this). The main reason, obviously, is stability.

    Well, that soon came to a halt when I didn't got contacted about my subscriptions but simply looked into the whole lot myself. Now you pay a /whole/ lot more while in fact you get less in return.

    I think this issue is no different. They looked into it, they checked how they could make money from it and realized that their own strategy (which seems to be "raise the current prices threefold to begin with") doesn't work here.

    So they dropped it. And knowing Apache from their Java ties I think this move is only logical for them.

    Doesn't change much for me though; I stopped using OO and started looking for alternatives almost at the same time when I was confronted with the new outrageous Solaris support costs. Just like I (almost) moved all Solaris' servers out of the way in favor of something else.

    I don't want anything to do with Oracle; or better put; less as possible. I'm still a Java fan, but apart from that...

    1. Kevin Reader
      Paris Hilton


      Agree, and the thing is "Joe Public" has enough trouble grasping that "Document" and "MS-Word (tm)" are not the same thing. Heck most people think computer=windows and browser=internet.

      Ms Hilton, cos even she knows the best time for splits and forks.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      There is no enemy...

      The commonality of ODF stands, as long as the product can read and write to the standard then there is no loser.... except for Oracle, which has garnered much ill-will.

  11. tempemeaty

    Divide and conquer. It's a tactic. Oracle is using it.

    It's and old tactic. It just means Oracle has just found a way to sell it's war on open source as something else. Those execs are probably patting themselves on the back for reading Sun Tzu's "The Art of War"

  12. Anonymous Coward

    So Oracle is putting out the trash.

    Big deal. The only way forward for OO was to break bread with LO, but Oracle obviously don't want this to happen.

    LO seems to work very well. Goodbye OO. Hope Oracle got it for free, or there'll be tears before bedtime. Like anyone else cares.

  13. sisk Silver badge

    A bad match

    OO and Oracle were never a good match. Oracle is, depending on the context, indifferent to downright hostile to OSS. I cringed at the potential fate of OO when they bought out Sun and breathed a sigh of relief when LO forked. With a little luck Apache will be a better fit. Unfortunately, Oracle kept the all important trademark, so it looks like LO is going to remain the better build for the foreseeable future.

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Spoilt Brat

    ... couldn't get his own way so decided to try and screw it up for everyone else.

    I think little larry failed.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capitalism, oh yea

    My two favorite quotes from late 2008-present:

    1. Capitalism pits man against man; socialism does just the opposite.

    2. Socialism will always be there to bail out capitalism.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019