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Open Source Oracle Software Apache

Oracle To Give OpenOffice.org To Apache Incubator 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the final-destination dept.
Julie188 writes "Oracle has finally officially spilled the beans: It's proposing OpenOffice.org as an Apache Incubator project — and not handing it to The Document Foundation. Oracle had announced earlier this year that it would be passing the torch to the community, but failed to provide any specifics about the ultimate destination. The Document Foundation is the organization behind the OpenOffice fork, LibreOffice."
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Oracle To Give OpenOffice.org To Apache Incubator

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  • by Bloodwine77 (913355) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @12:56PM (#36310452)

    I wish OpenOffice and LibreOffice would un-fork and all the brain power stay behind one unified product.

    I know Oracle is sketchy so I understand the fork, but if Oracle is trying to offload OpenOffice back to the open source community it would be nice to put politics aside.

    Am I missing some underhanded scheme by Oracle that keeps their foot in the door on causing legal or support issues down the road?

    • by eln (21727) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @01:19PM (#36310760) Homepage
      It's too late for that. The egos in both organizations are entrenched now, merging would be very difficult.
      • by Trixter (9555)

        It's too late for that. The egos in both organizations are entrenched now, merging would be very difficult.

        This is the same problem, unfortunately, as the ffmpeg vs. libav fork problem (which recently has led to odd lawsuit threats [multimedia.cx]).

        • Blah, I hadn't been paying attention for a while ... I always knew the guys who tried to get rid of Michael were scummy, but this is a fucking new low. Don't send lawyers in before simply asking, unless want everyone to know you're an utter bastard.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      If they do merge, it'll be Apache incubator giving up and joining TDF. TDF already announced that they were going forward regardless of Oracle's actions regarding giving OO back of the community. TDF welcomes all new members -- including Apache Incubator.

      At this point, TDF/LO is a stronger horse to back -- they've shown they can organize the community, and the software is (arguably) more willing to accept improvements that OO didn't (perhaps because Oracle was still working to find a way to monetize so
    • by michelcolman (1208008) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @01:28PM (#36310848)
      Someone should just start a new, independent fork to end the confusion once and for all.
      • by hawk (1151)

        Contribute to ForkenOffice!

        do you feel like you have a knife in your back from all the snping projects, And the nonsense they try to spoon-feed you?

        Fight back! Make the world safe for tableware users everywhere with ForkenOffice!

        The fork you save might be your own. . .

      • Let's call it OpenLibreOrifice.org. Pun intended
    • by TemporalBeing (803363) <bm_witnessNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @02:14PM (#36311364) Homepage Journal
      Well, LO/TDF didn't instill much confidence at least in me that they were going to be better than what they cried fowl with per Oracle - the only difference being they didn't require copyright assignment. So I am quite pleased to see ASF receiving OOo, and hope it does very well there. I'm sure it will pick up steam and again become the de facto driver of OOo and its derivatives especially as this brings great clarity to what is going on with OOo - something that has been lacking since LO split, and probably the main driver behind the loss of momentum behind OOo itself.
      • Well, since you value the truth: the code base is doing just fine with the Libre Office folks, and the product is better than ever. I don't see how you can even remotely compare them with Oracle, which you know very well would have mis-handled it and made it a mess for users.
    • "... but if Oracle is trying to offload OpenOffice back to the open source community it would be nice to put politics aside."

      Oracle doesn't know how to put politics aside. That's part of how they got where they are... and also part of the problem.

      I think it's pretty clear that The Document Foundation is largely made up of people who walked out in a huff as soon as they found out what working for Oracle was like... then immediately went on to make some good improvements in the code base.

      I think it's pretty clear that this is a big "fuck you" to them from Oracle. Oracle never gave a damn about their users. They want profit. T

    • A good summary about potential underhandedness: http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2011/06/01/open-office.html [ebb.org]

      Basically, while on the surface this appears like a community-friendly move, the fact that it is happening after the LibreOffice fork really puts it in a suspicious place. They had the opportunity to engage before the fork... why the sudden change of heart? Similar to the Hudson project, I suspect Oracle didn't believe the community could survive without them, and are now trying to recover from the communi

    • And oracle would still have intellectual property over the trademark. Later, this could me used as a hammer to impose directions to the project.

      I would prefer if the brain power got behind one project too, but because OpenOffice just died! ;-)

  • ORACLE (Score:5, Funny)

    by sockman (133264) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @12:56PM (#36310454)

    One Rich Asshole Called Larry Ellison

    • You make being rich seem almost dirty when you put it that way. heh.

    • Larry Ellison is the most evil man in the tech world and he completely escapes scrutiny because most end users have no idea what Oracle does or sells.

      • Oracle sells very expensive software. The small number of people that can afford it means that his evil doesn't (directly) affect many people. A tiny bit of evil-per-customer from a company like Apple, Google, or Microsoft adds up to a lot more than a huge amount of evil-per-customer from Oracle.
        • Re:ORACLE (Score:4, Informative)

          by RazzleFrog (537054) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @02:32PM (#36311572)

          There are very few companies who don't use some Oracle product - whether it is their database, their eBusiness Suite, Hyperion, or Java. People don't realize how much they are impacted by Oracle.

          • I suffer under the yoke of Oracle's eBusiness suite. Yes, I am certainly impacted by Oracle, and I feel every blow. It is huge, bloated, astonishingly slow (I thought Oracle could do fast databases).

            Java till has too much of Sun's influence to really, trylu feel like an Oracle application. I.e. it actually works quite well.

        • Next time you go the DMV, a police station, etc. take a look at what software is running. The "small number of people" includes just about everyone, since many tax-funded institutions are using (or trying to use) Oracle software.

          We could all be a bit more sympathetic to government workers who spend every day kludging through broken, half-assed software shat out by Ellison and his cronies.

          • by Nutria (679911)

            Next time you go the DMV, a police station, etc. take a look at what software is running.

            There's no way in hell that you're going to see "Oracle" in the DMV, Police Station or any other end-user location that accesses an Oracle DB behind one or more layers of software.

      • by Raenex (947668)

        Larry Ellison is the most evil man in the tech world

        Could you say explicitly why you believe this?

  • Good, now make two versions, one International version and one US version.

    The international version should be the gold version, with the US version a crippled version which honors all the software patent follies going on in the US.

    The rest of the world should just ignore their sissy talk.

    Let us hope that Apache don't respect US software patents outside the US.

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      amen. but lets go one further and make an International version and forget the US one. Tell the USA that they can stick their patents in their software and keep them... and that they can use our nice, un-encumbered software if they can bear the humiliation of using something not invented here. :)

      Seriously, I like the Apache Foundation. There now no need for the Document Foundation at all, they should shut up shop and say "hah! we made you do it Larry, now we're going back to business as usual as if you neve

      • by Qubit (100461)

        Tell the USA that they can stick their patents in their software and keep them... and that they can use our nice, un-encumbered software if they can bear the humiliation of using something not invented here. :)

        You mean like Linux, which was started by Torvalds in a foreign country (Finland), or do you mean like StarOffice, written by StarDivision in another foreign country (Germany)?

        Sure, software patents suck, but given the insane amount of software development going on in the US I think that it's of global concern to the FOSS community that software patents still exist here...

    • by hduff (570443)

      Good, now make two versions, one International version and one US version.

      The international version should be the gold version, with the US version a crippled version which honors all the software patent follies going on in the US.

      The rest of the world should just ignore their sissy talk.

      Let us hope that Apache don't respect US software patents outside the US.

      OK as long as the US users can d/l the gold version.

      • by powerlord (28156) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @03:08PM (#36311962) Journal

        Good, now make two versions, one International version and one US version.

        The international version should be the gold version, with the US version a crippled version which honors all the software patent follies going on in the US.

        The rest of the world should just ignore their sissy talk.

        Let us hope that Apache don't respect US software patents outside the US.

        OK as long as the US users can d/l the gold version.

        But ... but ... then your Web Browser would be a circumvention device!

        That could NEVER be allowed to happen!

      • by Zappy (7013)

        But is should default to A4 independently from the printer settings :-)

        That will teach them for every piece of software I have had to endure who defaulted to a Letter paper-size...

  • Interesting move (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomaiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @01:09PM (#36310658) Homepage
    What are the odds that the Document Foundation will voluntarily merge with the Apache Foundation? Is there a licensing issue that might prevent this?
    • Re:Interesting move (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Migala77 (1179151) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @01:26PM (#36310824)
      The article has a reaction from The Document Foundation, and it looks like they are not interested in reuniting; they don't like the Apache license, but say they may change LibreOffice licensing to MPL or LGPL (now that they can thanks to the new Apache license).
      • Italo Vignoli of The Document Foundation mailed me the following statement this morning:

        The Document Foundation
        Statement about Oracle's move to donate OpenOffice.org assets to the Apache Foundation

        The Internet, June 1st, 2011 - The Document Foundation constitutes a global team of hundreds of developers working together to improve the LibreOffice product for the benefit of all users. We are governed by an open, and meritocratic community headed by a diverse interim Steering Committee, and a vendor neutral Engineering Steering Committee overseeing development.

        Today we welcome Oracle's donation of code that has previously been proprietary to the Apache Software Foundation. It is great to see key user features released in a form that can be included into LibreOffice.

        The Document Foundation would welcome the reuniting of the OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice projects into a single community of equals in the wake of the departure of Oracle. The step Oracle has taken today was no doubt taken in good faith, but does not appear to directly achieve this goal. The Apache community, which we respect enormously, has very different expectations and norms - licensing, membership and more - to the existing OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice projects. We regret the missed opportunity but are committed to working with all active community members to devise the best possible future for LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org.

        On the bright side, one benefit of this arrangement is the potential for future-proof licensing. The Apache License is compatible with both the LGPLv3+ and MPL licenses, allowing TDF future flexibility to move the entire codebase, to MPLv2 or future LGPL license versions. The Document Foundation believes that commercially-friendly, copy-left licensing provides the best path to constructive participation in, and growth of the project.

        Thus, the event is neutral for The Document Foundation, which - as always - remains open to every company, individual or foundation that wishes to participate in co-development. There has never been a better time to get involved and advance the state of the art in free software office suites.

        TDF is therefore willing to start talking with Apache Software Foundation, following the email from ASF President Jim Jagielski, who is anticipating frequent contacts between the Apache Software Foundation and The Document Foundation over the next few months. We all want to offer corporate and individual users worldwide the best free office suite for enterprise and personal productivity.

        Finally, TDF continue executing on a time-based release plan for LibreOffice 3.4.0, due out this week, while continuing work on the bug fix release train, with 3.4.1 due in a months time, as well as ongoing feature development for the 3.5 release.

        *** About The Document Foundation

        The Document Foundation has the mission of facilitating the evolution of the OOo Community into an open, meritocratic and democratic organization. An independent Foundation is a better reflection of the values of our contributors, users and supporters, and will enable a more inclusive, effective, efficient and transparent community. TDF will protect past investments by building on the achievements of the first decade, will encourage wide participation within the community, and will co-ordinate activity across the community.

        [Contact information deleted for mercy's sake]

    • Re:Interesting move (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @01:26PM (#36310838) Homepage

      That suggests an even better solution:
      1. Apache takes OpenOffice off of Oracle's hands.
      2. Apache says, "Hey, Document Foundation, you want this? We'll even give you the name back."
      3. Document Foundation says "Great, we never really liked 'Libre' anyways," merges anything useful that was added pre-fork and switches back to OpenOffice branding.
      4. Users and developers are all happy, because they have all the LibreOffice features, but are back to an easily recognizable, pronounceable, and established name.

      There's no way for Oracle to win this round, that's for sure.

      • I thought LibreOffice was a temporary name? It seems like they are sticking with it, which is unfortunate.

        No matter how good the product is, you need brand recognition. While LibreOffice is a unique name, it is not very catchy and does not roll off the tongue very well.

        I know it is all subjective, but it needs a more polished and professional name and then perhaps you will see more market penetration, especially in business environments.

      • by devent (1627873) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @03:10PM (#36311996) Homepage

        Why is LibreOffice not recognizable or not pronounceable?
        I would rather see to take all the good parts out of OpenOffice into LibreOffice that could not have been done before and just end OpenOffice. Now that the main development will be coming from TDF anyway and all the distributions are going for LibreOffice, there will be more confusion if LO would end and OO would be resurrected.

        I see the turn more like a political one. The Apache Foundation criticized Oracle for Java and left the JCP EC, now Oracle is giving them something to come back maybe? And at the same time punish the TDO for forking OpenOffice by giving OO to Apache and as such not recognize TDF as a legit successor.

        • by Qubit (100461)

          I see the turn more like a political one. The Apache Foundation criticized Oracle for Java and left the JCP EC, now Oracle is giving them something to come back maybe? And at the same time punish the TDO for forking OpenOffice by giving OO to Apache and as such not recognize TDF as a legit successor.

          Yes, I, too, am confused as to why Oracle would give the project to Apache.

          One possible reason to give it to Apache is that they seem to be hooked on Java like nobody else. Don't get me wrong here, I love a lot of the projects that Apache works on, I use the Apache webserver on most of my machines, and I even try to give them some money each year, however their reliance on Java always seemed an odd fit, and now that Oracle is swinging around their Java assets like a machete, I don't want any more of my soft

          • by devent (1627873)

            "Oracle is swinging around their Java assets like a machete" WTF are you talking about? The only issue with Java was so far with Google's Android, but because Google implemented their own JVM and Oracle have some patents on that technology. It's like any other stupid software patent out there.

            Java is only used in OOorg for the database access. That's it, nothing more. It would be trivial to remove all Java from OOorg. In fact you can just do that: go to the preferences and remove the checkbox.

            From their wik

            • by Qubit (100461)

              "Oracle is swinging around their Java assets like a machete" WTF are you talking about? The only issue with Java was so far with Google's Android,

              Did you miss the whole about-face from Oracle? Before they owned Sun they were big champions of spinning-of Java oversight to a foundation, but lo and behold the minute they snapped up Sun, they clammed up and didn't respond to requests like Apache's request for a FOSS license to the java conformance tests.

              I'm not Gosling or anything, but from my limited understanding of the situation, Oracle has burnt more bridges during its brief ownership of the Java environment than Sun ever did.

              Java is only used in OOorg for the database access. That's it, nothing more. It would be trivial to remove all Java from OOorg.

              As you point ou

    • by fat_mike (71855)

      I believe its more of a "Who Cares?" issue than anything else.

      For a piece of software that has been around for 11.5 years and who's own website shows a 3% decrease in home usage in January 2010 (I guess given the fork turmoil ((that makes business run as fast as they can in the other direction)) they don't feel necessary to update their usage statistics) and the ">21 % in Poland,Czech Rep,Germany" that also hasn't been updated since January of 2010 PLUS there is a thing [documentfoundation.org] that isn't from some Slashdot cl

  • by C_Kode (102755) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @01:11PM (#36310672) Journal

    Let it die and stick with Libre. Oracle did what they did out of spite. They thought they could control it and still get support and that didn't work so instead of doing the right thing, they gave it to Apache out of spite.

    Same thing with Hudson.

    • I tend to agree. Oracle fucked OpenOffice over severely, and the momentum is with Libre now.

    • I don't think that spite was an issue, but then again I really don't know whether Larry Ellison was punching stuffed birds all this time and cackling, "let the f---ers sweat!"

      I suspect rather that Oracle didn't have the ability, willingness, or the guts to revise the source code licensing/assignment restrictions put in place by Sun Microsystems. And maybe they would have liked to, but could not legally resolve the assignments with a change to a more open license. Maybe it took them all this time to realize

      • Re:Let it die (Score:4, Informative)

        by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@@@project-retrograde...com> on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @02:59PM (#36311868)

        I suspect rather that Oracle didn't have the ability, willingness, or the guts to revise the source code licensing/assignment restrictions put in place by Sun Microsystems. And maybe they would have liked to, but could not legally resolve the assignments with a change to a more open license.

        No. Contributors to OO.org had to assign their copyright to Sun/Oracle [openoffice.org], EXPRESSLY SO THEY COULD EASILY change the source code license at will...

        LibreOffice does not require any copyright assignment [documentfoundation.org], so if they want to switch licenses they better do it before it becomes infeasible to request permission from all the copyright holding contributors. FTFAQ:

        Q: What difference will The Document Foundation make to developers?

        A: The Document Foundation sets out deliberately to be as developer friendly as possible. We do not demand that contributors share their copyright with us. People will gain status in our community based on peer evaluation of their contributions - not by who their employer is.

        Source code can only flow one way, from OO.org to LibreOffice / Document foundation, not vise versa. OO.org has a disadvantage: Their competitor (LO) can gobble up their codebase, but OO.org can not -- Well, depending on if you can get the developer to assign copyright. (Haven't cared to read the new Apache license for OO.org, but if it still requires assignment, they're toast).

        • did sun ever make, significant, money off staroffice? Oracle's donation to Apache and subsequent license change is a last attempt to produce a proprietary offering.
          A copylefted office suite will suffice for most - the rest will buy MS anyway. Hence I can't see that Larry or Apache stand to gain much unless another big contributor agrees to dual license.

    • Who is actually behind LibreOffice? Not downstream users, developers. They've incorporated the Novell patches (which were rejected by OO.o because they infringe some Microsoft patents and it's not actually clear that Novell's license to these patents allows GPL'd distribution), but who is working on LibreOffice other than Novell? It always looked like a way of Novell making their fork (go-oo.org) the official one, from the outside. Last time I looked, about 80% of new code in OO.o was coming from Sun, a
      • by jimicus (737525)

        You've alluded to a very important issue.

        You can't take a project, stick it on Sourceforge and magically get an army of developers. Donating it to the Apache foundation amounts to the same thing, and has the same problem.

        Office software is not particularly fascinating, and for most F/OSS developers, "good enough" means "never going to see much more work". OO.o is, for most practical purposes, "good enough". Frankly, it's not moved on that much since the late betas of version 1.0 I remember from 2002.

        I re

  • Aren't Oracle and Apache at odds about Harmony

    After all, Oracle did all it could to kill Apache Harmony.
    Why would Apache take OpenOffice like that! It may be a trap and it wouldn't be the first time.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Aren't Oracle and Apache at odds about Harmony

      Yes, but in the grown-up world, big organizations don't usually let grudges get in the way of unrelated issues.

      Apache may take OO.o and still fight Oracle on Harmony. Or not, but if it's smart, it'll evaluate it an OO.o deal on its own merits.

      Heck, Apple is suing Samsung for supposedly copying the iPad, but it's still ordering loads of Samsung components to be used in the next iPad! And we all know how capricious Apple can be.

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      In the case of Harmony, it was an attempt to make a cleanroom implementation of the Java Classlib. In this case, it's Oracle looking like they're just handing it all over to them, lock, stock, and barrel. If so, there's no trap to be had.

      • by HiThere (15173)

        That depends on the license. After the Oracle suit against Google, I'd be very careful about any code I accepted from them. It would need to come with a clear grant of all needed rights. Like patents, copyrights, and trade secrets. (Yeah, I *know* that trade secrets aren't supposed to be enforceable once the code has been made visible. But there have been suits about that.)

        GPL3 or AGPL3 would be acceptable licenses. There are probably others, but in the case of Oracle I'd need to consider them very ca

    • the harmony problem emerged long before Oracle got involved. It commenced with dubious status re Sun's blessing which was never resolved. Further, twas a political ploy given cleanroom Java was already in play - GNU Classpath/cacao/jamvm/gcj/kaffe. A few Apache folks got their noses out of joint because it never came to fruition and Google bastardized their work in Android.
      OO.org is a straight donation, without the ideological baggage. Apache becoming a dumping ground for yet another dying offering the vend

  • This is the kind of stuff that makes people and businesses that just don't care about the behind the scenes politics stick with Microsoft Office. Should one move to the fork? Stick with the original? What if the fork falters? What if both suck over time due to talent drain between them? Many businesses will answer these questions with "we don't have time for this, just go buy Office."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is the kind of stuff that makes people and businesses that just don't care about the behind the scenes politics stick with Microsoft Office. Should one move to the fork? Stick with the original? What if the fork falters? What if both suck over time due to talent drain between them? Many businesses will answer these questions with "we don't have time for this, just go buy Office."

      Office Home and Student, Office Home and Business, Office Standard, Office Professional, Office Professional Plus or Office Professional Academic?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      After all, no proprietary software product has ever gone through ownership transfers and development disputes leading to confusion for users... :)

  • Putting under the Apache Foundation would allow oracle to still leverage it, make closed changes/plugins without legal issues.

    They easy saw TDF was going to steer OpenOffice (now the LibreOffice fork) into a GPLv3-ish license, which would be at Oracle's disadvantage.

    Smart move by oracle, decent for the OSS community, tolerable for the F/OSS community, but still not sure if it's a smart move for the end user.
  • I am surprised that the Apache Board voted Incubate this given there was the forked project. An end user Office Suite is a huge undertaking and to my knowledge a first at Apache. I can only speculate that allot of $$$ was promised. -Rob

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