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Oracle Open Source News

33 Developers Leave OpenOffice.org 500

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
dkd903 writes "We all knew it would come to this, and it has finally happened — 33 developers have left OpenOffice.org to join The Document Foundation, with more expected to leave in the next few days. After Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, OpenOffice.org fell into the hands of Oracle, as did a lot of other products. So, last month a few very prominent members of the OpenOffice.org community decided to form The Document Foundation and fork OpenOffice.org as LibreOffice, possibly fearing that it could go the OpenSolaris way."
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33 Developers Leave OpenOffice.org

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  • I guess that means OO.org is pretty much dead. Haven't looked at LibreOffice yet. Anybody got any observations? Is it that different? Have they at least got rid of the incredibly annoying registration reminder?

  • Bravo.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shoeler (180797) * on Monday November 01, 2010 @02:59PM (#34092854)
    Bravery in the face of a difficult choice. It's very telling when people who so clearly believe in the project and its open source roots defect in these numbers.

    Oracle may yet be the end of Java too. Stay tuned.
    • Re:Bravo.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:10PM (#34093030)

      and its open source roots

      You mean except for the fact that its roots are the proprietary StarOffice suite?

      • Re:Bravo.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01, 2010 @04:02PM (#34093830)

        Well, Sun purchased StarOffice because:

                "The number one reason why Sun bought StarDivision in 1999 was because, at the time, Sun had something approaching forty-two thousand employees. Pretty much every one of them had to have both a Unix workstation and a Windows laptop. And it was cheaper to go buy a company that could make a Solaris and Linux desktop productivity suite than it was to buy forty-two thousand licenses from Microsoft. (Simon Phipps, Sun, LUGradio podcast.)"

        And they wanted Solaris to be a more complete product as well. They chose the open-source license for OpenOffice because it best served their purposes. Buying something and open-sourcing it should be considered just as legitimate an "open-source root" as building it from scratch.

    • by vlm (69642) on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:27PM (#34093324)

      Oracle may yet be the end of Java too.

      "Every mushroom cloud has a silver lining"

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:00PM (#34092856) Journal

    His name is 4Q2. Yeah, 4Q2, buddy.

  • So when whoever leads this group decides to sell out down the road (don't say it wont happen, it just did...) does that mean I'm going to be left high and dry, again ?
    • Re:Unstable (Score:4, Informative)

      by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:17PM (#34093150)

      Can't really happen at this point. Only the original copyright owners can "sell-out". OpenOffice was originally StarOffice - a closed source office suite. When Sun bought it, they GPL'd it. Then Orcale bought it from Sun. In that case, they had the original copyright, and the right to change the license at will if they wished.

      The GPL licensing bit allows a third-party group to fork it and continue work under the GPL, but that's the only thing they can do. Since they don't have the copyright to the original code, then undless Oracle donates it to them (fat chance), they don't have any rights to it to sell.

      Short translation: only the original project can sell-out. Forks can't.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Galestar (1473827)
        I believe you are confusing rights to the code with rights to the name. The name "OpenOffice" is the only thing that "LibreOffice" loses by forking it, and is the only thing that is actually worth anything to sell since the code has been GPL'd.
    • Re:Unstable (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:23PM (#34093238) Journal

      How, exactly, have you been left high and dry? Do you not understand how open source works? Nobody can sell out. They can try, but this is what happens. The sell out has absolutely no power to coerce anyone else into selling out, and no power to block them from moving forward without him. For example, see, uh, this very story.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Galestar (1473827)
        They can sell the brand and the name. The name is what users recognize, and building brand-awareness on LibreOffice is what will determine its success in the coming months.
  • by assertation (1255714) on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:09PM (#34093006)

    I love Java and have programming in it since Applets were the hot deal. It is matched by none as a server side language. However, being honest and not a fan-boy it isn't that great for GUI apps. LibreOffice people, please remove Java from Open Office. If you do, it will jump in popularity. Right now users have the choice of Open Office either performing clunky because of the Java based wizards or turning the wizards off, which people actually do want to use sometimes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      However, being honest and not a fan-boy it isn't that great for GUI apps. LibreOffice people, please remove Java from Open Office. If you do, it will jump in popularity. Right now users have the choice of Open Office either performing clunky because of the Java based wizards or turning the wizards off, which people actually do want to use sometimes.

      One thing Java has going for it is that it (in theory) will run on all of the platforms.

      If you removed the Java, then you would need to write the interface code

    • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:43PM (#34093596)

      However, being honest and not a fan-boy it isn't that great for GUI apps.

      I disagree.

      Java is great for cross platform GUI apps. I can write a Java app and as long as I use Swing, I'm sure that the app will run on a different platform. You're blaming Java for Open Office's design decision to use "wizards". Wizards are not exclusively tied to Java. Sure Sun made a Swing library to make creating wizards easier, but so did Qt, and WxWidget.

  • Got funding? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:10PM (#34093026) Journal

    Just curious.

    -jcr

  • by assertation (1255714) on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:10PM (#34093034)

    I don't mean to be ignorant or trollish, but isn't this a good thing for Oracle?

    Oracle wouldn't make any money out of Open Office and now ( or soon ) they will not have the burden of it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      I don't mean to be ignorant or trollish, but isn't this a good thing for Oracle?

      I've been trying to figure out if this is a strategy by Oracle, or a side-effect they don't really care about.

      Oracle is only interested in things that make them money. Something free, not so much. Now, we know they want Java because they've invested a lot in it. And, they want Sun hardware so they can have the revenue stream and ship Oracle appliances on a nice shiny support contract.

      But I can't tell if Oracle is being ass-ha

      • by Angst Badger (8636) on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:53PM (#34093702)

        I've been trying to figure out if this is a strategy by Oracle, or a side-effect they don't really care about.

        It's a side-effect. Oracle isn't in the application software business. They wanted Sun because their OS and hardware are a good platform for their database, which is where their money comes from.

        Now, we know they want Java because they've invested a lot in it.

        They want Java because their primary commercial competitor, IBM, is heavily invested in Java, so it gives them a solid inroad to luring IBM's customers away and breaking compatibility with IBM's Java solutions. They just wanted MySQL just to kill it.

        There's nothing mysterious about Oracle's actions if you remember that they are here to sell their database software and associated services. That's how they made their billions, and that's how they plan to continue making more billions. Microsoft tries to compete with everyone on everything; Oracle is just aiming to absolutely dominate the database space. Everything else is useful or not in terms of that single-minded goal. OO.o and its development team are a total non-issue to Oracle. They're not in the office suite business, and it's entirely irrelevant to the database.

        • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday November 01, 2010 @04:03PM (#34093848) Homepage

          They wanted Sun because their OS and hardware are a good platform for their database, which is where their money comes from.

          I fear we will lose Sun as general-use machines and have them replaced as being only for running Oracle. I know people are already getting burned with Oracle basically saying "unless you're on a support contract, you get nothing for your existing machines". If anything, they might drive people to replace Sun's with something else sooner.

          They want Java because their primary commercial competitor, IBM, is heavily invested in Java, so it gives them a solid inroad to luring IBM's customers away and breaking compatibility with IBM's Java solutions.

          Well, that and the fact that all of Oracle's stuff is written in Java. They've got a massive investment in Java that need to maintain.

          They just wanted MySQL just to kill it.

          I believe that.

          I just don't think that this acquisition will be good for the industry, but only for Oracle; certainly not for the customers of the former Sun. In the long run, it might make things crappier overall.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hedwards (940851)
          MS and Oracle are sort of the extremes. More sanely run corporations look for a balance. Just look at Apple. They've diversified, but not put themselves in the position of being spread thin, which means that they can be a serious force in whatever space they enter, but not tied down if something changes significantly in one of their markets.
    • by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:20PM (#34093194)

      I don't mean to be ignorant or trollish, but isn't this a good thing for Oracle?

      Oracle wouldn't make any money out of Open Office and now ( or soon ) they will not have the burden of it.

      Yep, and that's exactly what Oracle thinks about everything they bought from Sun (aside from the patents they plan to use to sue Google). It just sucks for all of us peons is all.

    • by vlm (69642) on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:24PM (#34093272)

      Oracle wouldn't make any money out of Open Office and now ( or soon ) they will not have the burden of it.

      They won't have a diversity of products anymore either. Nothing but an overly expensive database, being squeezed at the top by DB2 and squeezed at the bottom by all the open source projects. Eventually, inevitably, they'll go "poof" and disappear. IMHO couldn't happen fast enough. They are actually in the same position Sun was, squeeze at both ends until they go poof. Maybe that sort of organizational knowledge of how to ride a sinking ship is why they wanted to buy Sun?

      Now if they had kept the office suite, they could have sponsored a MS Access clone-ish solution inside OO.org that transparently and trivially at a click could upgrade from something free like mysql to their flagship Oracle database for a backend. Or maybe pay to integrate Oracles feelers as deeply as possible into the rest of OO.org. After all an application that had to swallow java web applet language and "survive" could probably have Oracle DBMS shoved down its throat. That could monetize quite profitably, but now it'll never happen...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by vegiVamp (518171)

        Oracle may be squeezed at both ends by DB2 and the open source alternatives, but they are definitely squeezing back, too.

        On the low end, don't forget that they now own MySQL. Right now, it seems as if they're actually getting things done, too, so that's not looking too bad. Personally, I'm hoping they take the obvious road and add some Oracle features and compatibility, which would both make MySQL a bit more powerful, and would allow Oracle-the-company to offer MySQL customers an easy upgrade path when the

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:30PM (#34093382)

      This happens every time: When one company buys out another, they first reassure customers that it will be business as usual. Then they look for stuff to kill off, to get some savings to compensate for what they forked out to buy the company.

      Ellison is not the only one who does this.

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday November 01, 2010 @03:27PM (#34093322)

    This is 33 members of the OpenOffice project leaving.

    They're not all developers. It sounds like about 2 developers and a whole bunch of tech support and documentation people.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday November 01, 2010 @04:59PM (#34094604) Homepage Journal
    This will show what happens when you attempt to herd open source. It is like cats ; if they like it, they come. if they dont, there is no way in hell you can make them do what you want.

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