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Oracle Asks OpenOffice Community Members To Leave 589

Posted by Soulskill
from the pack-your-junk dept.
Elektroschock writes "In an unprecedented move with respect to other forks, Oracle asked the founders of the Document Foundation and LibreOffice to leave the OpenOffice.org Community Council. Apparently there is a conflict of interest, which concerns the Oracle employees."
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Oracle Asks OpenOffice Community Members To Leave

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2010 @01:14AM (#33922170)
    You don't have to be an oracle to see that Oracle is up to no good.
  • I'm shocked. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wroughtNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday October 17, 2010 @01:23AM (#33922198) Homepage Journal
    I was expecting them to sue. Seriously. Oracle is just the snotty kid on the block with the only basketball; the one who always takes the ball and goes home instead of accepting that everyone else is just better.
  • That does it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dishwasha (125561) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @01:27AM (#33922208)

    I've been talking about it for about a year now. I'm going to stop using MySQL and only use PostgreSQL from here on out.

  • by diamondsw (685967) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @01:27AM (#33922212)

    I predict within six months "OpenOffice" will be dead and "LibreOffice" (or similar community-owned fork) will have supplanted it. Linux distros will drop it like a hot potato, and Novell and IBM sure aren't going to tie themselves to a hostile third-party for their efforts.

  • Smooth move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IICV (652597) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @01:29AM (#33922222)

    Given that Oracle thinks this will lead to a conflict of interest, doesn't that kind of imply that there will be a conflict of interest? In other words, that what Oracle sees LibreOffice doing is going to conflict with where they want OpenOffice to go?

    In other words, doesn't this basically mean that Oracle is actively planning to screw the pooch with OpenOffice?

  • by bored_engineer (951004) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @01:45AM (#33922274)

    Didn't the license change [wikipedia.org] drive much of the switch to x.org? I recall, and Wikipedia confirms, that Keith Packard had been trying some of his own things before then, but I don't recall that they were going very far. I thought that his treatment, then the change in license was what made the difference.

    So far, OO.o is distributed under the same license. I seem to recall that Fedora (Red Hat) and Ubuntu (Canonical) will support LibreOffice for now, but do they have any obligation to do so? If LO doesn't draw other support, then what will stop them from running, hat in hand (so to speak), back to OpenOffice? What if Oracle throws lots of resources behind OO.o, overshadowing the efforts that LO makes?

    For the record, I tend to think that you're right. I'm just not willing to "predict" such an outcome for now. I can see circumstances which could drive it in either direction, or even a third direction, in which there's a great deal of cooperation between OO.o and LO.

  • Re:I'm shocked. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2010 @01:46AM (#33922276)

    Well... Honestly, look at what the Document Foundation did.

    They forked the project, and then asked Oracle to donate the name to them. While, at the same time, asking Oracle to join the "new" foundation.

    Now, I know Oracle itself didn't put a lot of work into OO.org, but Sun did (something tells me OO.org's codebase is 90% the work of paid Sun employees - correct me if I'm wrong), and so now all that work is Oracle's by right.

    So, say you spent 5 years making an awesome program, and made it GPL and everything. You did the vast majority of the work. Then, some guy says, cool, I'm gonna fork it. "Ok, fine, go for it." Oh, also, I'm gonna need the name...

    How about... go fuck yourself, sir.

    There is obvious financial value in the name, and that value was Sun's, and is now Oracle's.

  • by gnalle (125916) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @01:48AM (#33922282)

    How much of the openoffice code was created by sun employees?

    Can libreoffice stay relevant without coorperate backing?

    No flames please. I ask because I want to know.

  • by pieterh (196118) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @01:52AM (#33922302) Homepage

    I predict that projects like OOo take money to keep going, and that within six months LibreOffice and other forks will be dead. Looking at the IRC transcript I don't see Oracle forcing anything. There's a council that runs OOo and some people on that council have made a fork, which is literally a competing product. The correct place for those people is TDF, not the OOoCC, that's surely obvious.

  • Re:I'm shocked. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IB4Student (1885914) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @02:00AM (#33922320)
    The Document Foundation's members put a lot of work into OO.org. Suppose you spend over 10 years on making an awesome program, and then some company buys out the name and doesn't let you use it. The Document Foundation has done a lot more for OO.org than Oracle will ever do. It's a crime that Oracle is allowed to have their clutches on it.
  • by Scholasticus (567646) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @02:16AM (#33922368) Journal
    Pretty much. I would add that any F/LOSS which depends on the good will of a large corporation should be ready at any time to cut and run. Nothing against big business (at least regarding this question) but the goal of a corporation is ultimately to make money. The goals of people who write free/open source software are many, though profit for it's own sake isn't usually at the top of the list. For Linus, it was at least originally "just for fun," for Stallman it's always been about the right to freedom - and you could make a long list of other reasons. Some people in the Linux and BSD communities of developers like to write software in an environment where making a mistake won't get them fired from their paying job. OpenOffice.org has been the flagship productivity suite for Linux for a while now. Since the acquisition of Sun by Oracle, it's only been a matter of time before some kind of split. I'm rooting for the fork, whatever they end up calling it, not because I don't like Oracle (I don't like Oracle, but that's not really the issue here), but because a truly independent office suite would be good to have. I hope that at least some of the devs who have been with this project for a long time continue to work on Libre Office.
  • by NZheretic (23872) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @02:16AM (#33922372) Homepage Journal
    Quoting myself [blogspot.com]

    At some point some open source projects developers may go in a direction that the distribution vendors and end uses may disagree with. It is the licensing which allows a fork of the project to develop that sets the open source development model apart from the pure proprietary development model. Apache, X.org and even the current version of the GNU GCC compiler toolset have been all derived from an outside fork of an existing open source project. No vendor or open source software developer can block development for any substantial period of time without the risk of the development being taken over by a descendant of the same project -- it's called evolution.

    Every time the leading members/developers of each of those original projects complained bitterly about the interlopers.

    The longer the original team remains entrenched in their design/implementation choices, the less the original team control has over the successor project and the less original product's market share of total users.

    This will remain true for all freely licensed source code that Oracle has purchased or inherited. Even for the forks of the GPL licensed Java.

    In the end freely licensed source code can have no dictators, only obsoleted dickhead.

  • Re:That does it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @02:23AM (#33922392)

    If you had any sense you'd have done that years ago. I can't fathom why anyone would use MySQL in this day and age. It's like a toy compared to most of the other DBMS's. The only upside I see to it is that it's free (as in beer - that's the only one many care about). If it was the only game in town, then sure, that factor would be worth using it for certain stuff. You get that with PostgreSQL too though, and you actually get a well written and capable DBMS.

    For the inevitable car analogy: I drive a Hyundai because I'm a cheap bastard and it works well enough. If when I was looking to get my car though, someone had given me my choice of either a free Hyundai (MySQL) or a free Audi (PostgreSQL), I can guarantee you I wouldn't be driving the Hyundai.

  • by Statecraftsman (718862) * on Sunday October 17, 2010 @02:25AM (#33922396) Homepage
    This all depends on the interest. I am familiar with people in the free software community whose main interest is increasing free software adoption. In that case they can fully be in support of two projects. The features may overlap and the projects may compete but the interest of free software adoption can neutralize any maliciousness that might appear in a traditional business conflict of interest situation.
  • by Qubit (100461) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @02:29AM (#33922402) Homepage Journal

    Would it kill the story submitter to give people like me with no background in open source politics some info on what the heck is LibreOffice, why was it forked and is this latest development good or bad?

    Are you sure you're on the right website?

    No offense intended, but if you're hanging around /. and aren't at least mildly familiar with what's going on in the FOSS world, you're going to be copy/pasting that comment in a lot of articles.

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @02:29AM (#33922404)

    What if Oracle throws lots of resources behind OO.o, overshadowing the efforts that LO makes?

    If they keep the same license, LibreOffice is free to implement those things in their code base too. If they change the license, you have the same problem you noted earlier.

  • by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @02:29AM (#33922406)

    I noticed that as well. It doesn't speak well of the Oracle people involved, since it essentially means they see Libre Office, which truly wants to remain free, as competition, and they only reason they'd see it that way is if Oracle's goals, which have not yet been stated, involved some way to tighten controls on OOo.

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @02:29AM (#33922408)

    Maybe the founders of LibreOffice don't consider themselves in competition with Oracle and are simply forking because Oracle wasn't attending to what they felt were important issues. Forking a project in FOSS doesn't have to be competition, it can still be a quite cooperative arrangement. Apparently Oracle is of the opinion that if you aren't with them you are against them and that's a terrible position to be in. Oracle thinks like a private company and apparently considers a fork some kind of competitive betrayal which is quite sad really. Forked projects can be quite cooperative, sharing code, project direction and working together on everything but the few items they disagree on. That's apparently NOT the direction Oracle wants to go and wants to sideline themselves completely. Not to worry, LibreOffice is now the default in nearly all the major Linux Distributions and I have no doubt within a few years OO will be a footnote in history. Too bad Oracle's stupid.

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @02:41AM (#33922434)

    FOSS projects only have to be in competition if they want to be, if they in fact want to cooperate it's still quite easy and being on each others boards would ensure competition.

    I'll make the opposite prediction, LibreOffice (a much better name IMO than OpenOffice.org) will be dominant and OO will fade to only being available from Oracle. As of right now Fedora, Ubuntu and SUSE are switching that I know of, and I thought I heard nearly every Linux distribution has announced they are switching. That's signficant marketshare. Given that OO.org doesn't allow contributions without copyright assignment and LibreOffice is already moving at about twice the development pace because they accept contributions from everyone it doesn't take a crystal ball to see that LibreOffice will soon be the default very soon.

    Oracle's made a big mistake on this front. They will be just like XFree86, completely irrelevant.

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @02:41AM (#33922436)

    Conversely, Oracle can simply change the license on OO.o, should they so choose. They own all of the copyright, no?

    They can, but they can't retroactively retract it on the existing code. That code has already been licensed under the GPL and is out there. If they change the license, only the future changes to the code could remain closed source. What LibreOffice has already forked could and would be further developed separately. You can bet at that point the Linux distros would drop the closed source Oracle version for sure.

    At this point, assuming that the developers behind LibreOffice stay active, I really don't see the Oracle version remaining in use.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2010 @02:44AM (#33922442)

    > So far, OO.o is distributed under the same license. I seem to recall that Fedora (Red Hat) and Ubuntu (Canonical)
    > will support LibreOffice for now, but do they have any obligation to do so? If LO doesn't draw other support, then
    > what will stop them from running, hat in hand (so to speak), back to OpenOffice? What if Oracle throws lots of
    > resources behind OO.o, overshadowing the efforts that LO makes?

    Since OO.o will still be released under the GPL any improvements Oracle makes to it can be quickly integrated into LibreOffice. Any improvements the LibreOffice folks make wont be reflected in OO.o because Oracle requires copyright assignment (which was one of the problems preventing people from contributing to OO.o) in order for them to dual-license OO.o and sell their closed-source StarOffice.

    So it doesn't really matter how many resources Oracle dedicates; so long as they release under the GPL LibreOffice wins.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:07AM (#33922526) Homepage

    I think the short summary is that OpenOffice.org development is heavily dominated by one company who is slow to accept outside patches, requires copyright assignment and controls the direction it develops in, So far this has only lead to a set of extra patches (Go-oo), but with Sun being bought by Oracle the other contributors expect the situation to get worse and have decided to try reforming it as a community project. They've called it LibreOffice as Oracle owns the name but would ideally like to come to terms with Oracle and continue under the OpenOffice.org name. At least initially it seems that Oracle refuses the idea, and as they then see LibreOffice as a competing project this is bad news but not unexpected. I didn't expect Oracle to hand over the control so easily and suspect Oracle will not budge until most everybody else stand behind LibreOffice.

  • by badpazzword (991691) <badpazzword@gm a i l . com> on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:12AM (#33922544)
    It is still concerning -- hell, misleading, confusing to have an "Open Office.org Community Council" made by 100% Oracle employees and 0% community.
  • Re:I'm shocked. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:14AM (#33922552) Journal
    Citation please? Because last time I heard a great deal of the work done on Open Office was PAID for by Sun, which Oracle shelled out serious cash to buy, which INCLUDES the work done by Sun. Do you think all that money was a donation? And forking it is one thing, but asking for the name as well? I would have told them exactly where to go jump. It was rude, it was some serious attitude, and it was frankly uncalled for. Hell if I was Oracle I'd just take it proprietary and see how long the Libreoffice can keep up with $0 in work coming from Oracle.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:35AM (#33922628)

    Exactly.
    If Oracle's interest conflicts with the communities interest of having free software, then THEY should leave the COMMUNITY council.

    If they want to rip out OOo from the community as a whole, they should rip themselves out from the Community council, to resolve the COI THEY created in the first place.

    They are playing stupid, using their shut up power over enslaved programmers they succeed to bribe with their salaries because they need to eat, and they try to rip the community into their pockets just because the "own" (in a legalistic way) the name.

    Oracle seems to be quite a shitty company, legalistic, tyrannic, kind of the worst of humanity.

  • by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:38AM (#33922648)
    What if Oracle throws lots of resources behind OO.o, overshadowing the efforts that LO makes

    Based on my experience of Oracle, OpenOffice would quickly become so buggy that the few remaining users would jump ship.

  • Re:I'm shocked. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lanswitch (705539) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:41AM (#33922662)

    Microsoft is just one of many who sell office suites. There is no 'ripping of Microsoft's branding'.

  • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@@@omnifarious...org> on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:50AM (#33922698) Homepage Journal

    You should be modded up because I think your more nuanced take on the matter is a clearer way to think about the issue. I also happen to agree with you. I tend to think the LibreOffice will become the version of choice, but I don't think it's 100% or even 90% certain.

    I can see circumstances which could drive it in either direction, or even a third direction, in which there's a great deal of cooperation between OO.o and LO.

    Oracle just made the third direction a lot harder. A normal member of the Open Source community would've seen the writing on the wall when the fork was made and realized a fight would benefit nobody. Oracle is clearly an entity that desires to cut off its nose to spite its face. I don't think the direction of cooperation is likely.

    In fact, I'm really hoping the btrfs developers leave Oracle and some other Linux distribution or a foundation starts paying them. The fact they're Oracle employees is beginning to worry me. Oracle is not playing nice, and btrfs is too important to be in the hands of a company that doesn't play nice.

  • Re:I'm shocked. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:53AM (#33922706)

    Should have thought about that before creating a competing fork.

    I find it pretty silly that they couldn't see the conflict of interest. (I find it more silly that anyone thinks a serious meeting could take place over IRC... but that's another discussion). Their product is competing to replace Open Office as the dominant office suite. It would be like Bill Gates being a board member for Microsoft and Apple. You can contribute. You can own stock. But to be in a leadership position is just ridiculous.

  • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@@@omnifarious...org> on Sunday October 17, 2010 @04:01AM (#33922726) Homepage Journal

    This is Open Source. There doesn't have to be a conflict of interest. Netscape and Mozilla got along fine for a long time. If there is a conflict of interest, it is created by Oracle. It's interesting that the Oracle employees won't explain precisely what the conflict of interest is.

  • by kn (167667) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @04:04AM (#33922738)

    Thanks for clarifying that. I noticed that some were absent, but it was not made clear from the log whether they were independent or more Oracle.

    The fact that the board is overwhelmingly employed by Oracle is a sign that there is no community oversight to speak of, and probably an excellent reason for a fork. I'm still not entirely convinced that being on two boards of competing projects is tenable, however some other posters are opening my mind to the possibility.

    Ultimately, the end result will be that the community backing of OpenOffice will disappear, if it hasn't already. Not because of the board asking for resignations, but because the project itself is under Oracle's collective thumb.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2010 @04:10AM (#33922744)

    That's not a good analogy, because the community is everybody and it didn't vow any exclusive fidelity to any one egoistic corporate interest.

    Oracle wants to force f_ck OOo exclusively, that's all. They want to rape OOo. Or create a forced marriage. There you have better analogies.

  • Re:I'm shocked. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by diegocg (1680514) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @04:49AM (#33922824)

    It's not a "fork".

    When SUN opensourced OpenOffice many years ago, they promised to create a independent foundation for it. All this time, the LibreOffice contributors have been waiting for the foundation, assigning their (costly) code contributions to SUN, and watching how SUN released his propietary version using their (costly) code contributions. They hoped that their self-imposed copyright donation would have a meaning they day SUN created the foundation, but the situation never had an end. After Oracle killed the OpenSolaris foundation, they decided to react quickly. It's Oracle who owes these guys an explanation.

  • Re:I'm shocked. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bangzilla (534214) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @05:08AM (#33922868) Journal
    "It's a crime that Oracle is allowed to have their clutches on it."

    What exactly is the criminal activity in which Oracle has engaged? Or is your comment just foot-stomping hyperbole?

    The fact is that anyone working on the project knew under what basis they were working. Getting all petulant after the fact is hardly a compelling argument.
  • Re:I'm shocked. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LambdaWolf (1561517) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @05:12AM (#33922884)

    I actually like the name LibreOffice more than OpenOffice.

    I like how the LibreOffice name lets them dispense with insisting that the program is technically named OpenOffice.org, even though no one calls it that, as a trademark circumvention. I can appreciate the problem they had, but naming the program after its own website is just silly.

  • by Znork (31774) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @05:53AM (#33923002)

    Oracle would be overkill for a typical MySQL project, and MySQL wouldn't be up to the task of replacing a typical Oracle installation.

    Even if Oracle is overkill it's not that uncommon to have enterprise situations where you're 'standardized' on oracle, in which case you get a lot of databases forced onto the overkill system. The competition between Oracle and MySQL would be the chance that enterprises used both a mysql farm _and_ an oracle farm, using the oracle farm only for the applications that needed it, thus cutting down on the number of (wasted) oracle licenses.

    From completely anecdotal experience I'd say about 90% of the databases I've seen running on oracle could just as well have been running on MySQL (heck, about a third of those could have managed with a flat file, for that matter).

  • by cbope (130292) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @05:58AM (#33923012)

    Hence, the need for better regulation of the "free market" when it comes to anti-competitive behavior as demonstrated by Oracle. Hands up if you still think an unregulated free market is a good idea and better for consumers?

  • by MrHanky (141717) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @05:59AM (#33923018) Homepage Journal

    This project isn't forked to create a better version, though, it's forked so that it doesn't depend on a gang of absolute scumbags.

  • by yyxx (1812612) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @06:39AM (#33923128)

    It doesn't matter who did most of the work on OpenOffice--Sun employees or outside developers--without the open source, open format tie-in, the software would have been just another proprietary, slightly incompatible Microsoft Office clone, and it would have died long ago.

  • Re:I'm shocked. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @07:23AM (#33923240) Homepage

    as long as they don't use that gay LibreOffice name

    I know this is OT, but I have to call you out for using "gay" as a pejorative here. If you think it's stupid, call it that. If you think it's idiotic, call it that. If you think it's bad branding, say so. But don't call it "gay" for the same reason you wouldn't call it a "n*****" name.

    Unless, of course, you mean it's a name that invokes joyful frolicking.

  • Re:That does it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jesus_666 (702802) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @07:25AM (#33923244)
    If you're a hobbyist developer MySQL has a couple advantages. It's the usual database in ready-to-go web server packages for Windows, which means it's much more convenient on that platform. Also, many of the tutorials you find online assume MySQL. Last but not least, most cheap hosters give you a couple MySQL databases but if you want Postgres you'll often have to get a root server and install it yourself.

    Yes, this boils down to "the network effects are on MySQL's side" but for people who don't need anything beyond an entry-level hosting package, who are new to databases or who want to develop locally on their Windows box with a minimum of hassle those are important arguments.

    I'm dragging around a couple MySQL databases. Some I could move to Postgres but some would require me to move websites to new, more expensive hosters, transfer the domain over and generally spend time and money on nothing but the reassurance of not using an Oracle product. Is Postgres superior to MySQL? Probably. But no amount of superiority will make a difference to me (I don't even get close to putting a strain on my badly-configured MySQL servers) and thus inertia wins.

    If you want to get people off MySQL you'll have to do something about the network effects. That means convincing more entry-level hosters to offer Postgres along with or instead of MySQL, convincing more LAMP packages to offer (and favor) Postgres and generally pushing Postgres as the database. MySQL wins because it's everywhere. For casual developers, there is no competition on the technological level; it's solely on brand recognition.

    Unless you can largely displace MySQL from the public's eye casual developers will always flock to MySQL and stay there because Postgres doesn't offer any advantage to them. MySQL may be a toy but if a toy is all you need for the moment and the more powerful alternatives have next to zero shelf space the toy is what you're going to get.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2010 @08:15AM (#33923452)

    Che Guevara might be "in" among Hollywood libs and college kids, but I doubt that's the case in the business community. I don't see the glorification of a communist mass murderer going over so well in the corporate world.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2010 @09:12AM (#33923706)

    Think of the following situation. You've recently convinced your organization to switch from MS Office to OO.org. Now you've got to tell them that you actually have to switch to a new product called Libre Office which sorta kinda did and kinda didn't exist a couple of months ago. The question will come up: "What's wrong with that Open Office program you wanted us all to switch to?"

    That's not what you say. You say, "OpenOffice changed its name to LibreOffice," and make it less confusing. That's not lying, it's the truth, considering it's the same damn program, with the same damn code.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @09:27AM (#33923778) Homepage Journal

    Conflict of interest with Oracle employees. That's the laugh!

    In the end, this LibreOffice is going to look like X.Org. Where's XFree86, now? :-)

    They need a better name, 'tho. The Latin is nice - but really doesn't sound good or brand nicely.

    I propose FreeOffice. How 'bout ThinkSuite? OurOffice? What about StarOffice ( I just found that one on the ground here. No one was using it...)
     

  • Re:I'm shocked. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @11:55AM (#33924596)
    It is easy to say you do all the work, when you don't let anyone else in. The problem of accepting patches was the whole reason behind go-oo. Which make me wonder... Why fork again? Will they join forces? Terrible name if the do.. LO-GO :)
  • by Arker (91948) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:32PM (#33926052) Homepage

    Well then they really need to change it then. French just doesn't go over well with English-speaking people, who comprise most of the computing world.

    Wrong on all points. French goes over great with English-speakers, which only makes sense as English is about 30% French to begin with! And English-speakers are nowhere near the majority even among computer-users only, in fact we are a fast shrinking minority.

    Of course, "FreeOffice" just sounds cheesy and crappy (since "free" typically has some bad connotations, evoking the line "you get what you pay for"), and stupid English doesn't have separate words for free/beer and free/speech

    Again wrong. The English word you are looking for is 'Liberty.' And yes, like ~30% of English vocabulary it came to English from French; Liberté.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @10:25PM (#33928742) Journal

    No, libre is not a Latin word. Be careful making assumptions about Latin based on French or Spanish. Those languages have diverged significantly from Latin in both spellings and pronunciations. The modern language that is closest to Latin is Italian, and its word is "libero".

    With regard to the meaning of liber, you're both right, and those aren't the only two meanings for the word, either. The word liber has different meanings in Latin [wiktionary.org] depending on context and usage. As a noun, it is a form of the word for "book" (liber, genitive libri, etc.) from the Proto-Indo-European language. As an adjective, it means "free", from Greek. (The adverb form of this is "libere", hence the French/Spanish word "libre" came from dropping the first "e" from the adverb form. The noun form of this word is libertas.) As a verb, liber is an inflected form of the word libo, meaning "to spill".

    And you thought English was a messy language.

    Fitting, though, that the same Latin word can mean both "book" and "free". The pen is mightier and all that.

  • The name (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Compaqt (1758360) on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:19AM (#33930296) Homepage

    You have to admit LibreOffice is kind of weird name compared to some others they could have come up with. How about just GoOffice?

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