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Oracle Open Source Software Declares Independence From Oracle, Becomes LibreOffice 648

Google85 writes "The Project has unveiled a major restructuring that separates itself from Oracle and that takes responsibility for OpenOffice away from a single company. From now on, OpenOffice's development and direction will be decided by a steering committee of developers and national language project managers. Driving home the changes, the project is now The Document Foundation, while the suite has been given the temporary name of LibreOffice."
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  • by TheLinuxSRC ( 683475 ) * <slashdot.pagewash@com> on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:46AM (#33722238) Homepage
    This is probably the best thing to happen to since the sale of Sun to Oracle. Almost all of Sun's open source projects have either been neglected (abandoned?) by Oracle or moved to a less-friendly license (OpenSolaris anyone?).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:47AM (#33722248)

    Now no one will take OpenOffice... err... I mean LibreOffice seriously and continue using Microsoft Office unabated.

  • Oh no! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:48AM (#33722268)

    When I see names of this kind I know that the project is now dead.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:49AM (#33722286)

    Tensions between the open source community and Oracle, a big proprietary software company, can hardly be called infighting in the OSS community.

  • by Abstrackt ( 609015 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:51AM (#33722330)

    Well that's bollocksed up what little name recognition it had then. Well done OSS community. Shot itself in the foot with infighting again.

    Sadly, I have to agree. Add to that the fact that it appears half the population doesn't know how to pronounce "libre" or even what it means and it's hard to see how this change can help rather than hurt.

  • by vinn ( 4370 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:52AM (#33722340) Homepage Journal

    LibreOffice? Seriously? What a horrid name. We're not French and the percentage of the population that understands what Libre means is nil.

    There's a reason we're all geeks and not in marketing. However, we all have friends who have a bit savviness when it comes to creativity. Quit being a geek and ask for help.

    This is no different than the Diaspora project. Even if that project had the technical side working, it'd still fail because the name is so stupid. You can't compete against a product named "Facebook" when your name is "Diaspora".

  • by catbutt ( 469582 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:53AM (#33722384)
    So this is an improvement then, in a sense. The ".org" thing was idiotic.

    Rather than idiotic, the name LibreOffice is simply dumb. I'm not even sure how to pronounce it. But I guess dumb is a step up from idiotic.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:55AM (#33722412)

    Well that's bollocksed up what little name recognition it had then. Well done OSS community. Shot itself in the foot with infighting again.

    More importantly, by choosing a name that lots of English speakers won't even know how to pronounce, they've isolated themselves even more. They'd have done better if they'd chosen an abstract name like "Firefox" or "Apache."

      Lee Bray Office? Sounds like an evangelical preacher's fundraising department.

  • by yet-another-lobbyist ( 1276848 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:00AM (#33722480)
    My first reaction is: Thank God. I didn't have a very good feeling where things were going after the Oracle takeover and some of their later business decisions (OpenSolaris). Of course, it all depends on how the new foundation will steer things, and I don't know anyone who is part of this, so it's hard to make a judgment. So my hope is that they will at least not make things worse, and maybe this is a even chance to re-energize the project and take it to the next level.

    Dear Document Foundation:
    Please live up to it, and make OOo (or LO) kick some ass. We need you!

    May the force be with them!
  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:00AM (#33722490)

    There is a good chance Oracle owns the name.

    Good. They can have it. Who ever heard of a piece of software being named after its website?

  • Re:Oh no! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeyO ( 99577 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:00AM (#33722494) Homepage

    When I see names of this kind I know that the project is now dead.

    You mean like how it [didn't] die when transitioning from "StarOffice" to ""?

  • Re:bad name (Score:3, Insightful)

    by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:01AM (#33722504) Journal

    It's temporary--this is pretty common. A new name will be created to clearly demarcate that a Change Has Happened, and then a real name is sorted out over time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:02AM (#33722528)

    They might be forced to change it. I think they were cleverly trying to avoid naming it FreeOffice. How about a slight change to 'FreedomOffice' ? 'Free' makes you think it's not worth much, i.e. a cheap watered down version of something better, but with 'Freedom' i get the connotation that i'm being freed from something... Just a thought.... Juuuuust a thought.

  • by MonsterTrimble ( 1205334 ) <> on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:08AM (#33722620)

    What's really sad is that if Oracle were to come back with "You can have the name for one million dollars" the LibreOffice people wouldn't be able to come up with the money. Chump change for Ellison, deal breaker for OSS.

    I think the monatary amount would be beside the point. If Oracle said that they could have it for $1000 I would tell them to turn it sideways and shove it up their asses. Oracle has basically given the finger to FOSS so why deal with them at all unless they are truly willing to give up something of value?

    Personally, I think LibreOffice should pick a new name, totally redo the icon set and then have the big three push it like crazy. I think the biggest problem with LibreOffice is that it's ugly. Sad, but true.

  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:09AM (#33722646) Homepage

    Yeah, really. It was either this, or see the project get scrapped and a new, proprietary "" get released a few weeks later. I'm glad to see open source resisting becoming assimilated and crushed because a major backer got acquired.

  • by JeffSpudrinski ( 1310127 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:11AM (#33722672)

    They aren't intending to change the least not initially.

    From LibreOffice's FAQ:

    Q: So is this a breakaway project?
    A: Not at all. The Document Foundation will continue to be focused on developing, supporting, and promoting the same software, and it's very much business as usual. We are simply moving to a new and more appropriate organisational model for the next decade - a logical development from Sun's inspirational launch a decade ago.

    I think this is the community's way of trying to push Oracle into releasing the name to them.

    I doubt very much that Larry Ellison will let go of it due to name recognition (name recognition is worth $$$ from a marketing standpoint).

    Just my $0.02.


  • by Mongoose Disciple ( 722373 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:28AM (#33722922)

    Well that's bollocksed up what little name recognition it had then

    Sure, but what's the alternative?

    Oracle actually is the malevolent cartoon devil that people here will make Microsoft/Apple/Google/whatever out to be depending on what day it is.

  • Horrible name (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Big_Monkey_Bird ( 620459 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:37AM (#33723068)
    Nothing is going to slow down adoption in the US than an unpronounceable Frenchy name.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:38AM (#33723098)

    Leebray Zeebray? I don't get it.

  • by grahamm ( 8844 ) <> on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:44AM (#33723190) Homepage

    Yet it is not at all uncommon for even large and well known businesses to re-brand and change the name of either the business or the product. Norwich Union -> Aviva, Charmin -> Cushelle, to quote two relatively recent examples.

  • Had to be done. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:52AM (#33723316) Homepage

    It had to be done. Open Office (and MySQL) are too important to be entrusted to Larry Ellison. Already, a few parts of MySQL, such as the Windows GUI client, are no longer reliable.

    ("LibreOffice", as a name, though, has to go. The open source community sucks at naming.)

  • by gslj ( 214011 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:16PM (#33723682)

    To tell the truth, I never minded having it called "" because no-one ever bothered to say ".org." On the other hand, you've got a good point that the names are stupid...but the names of the components. You've got Writer, Calc, Impress, Base, and Draw. These are, respectively, noun, contracted verb or noun, verb, contracted noun, and verb. Could we even be less consistent? We'd have to create a new component that was named with a preposition, participle, or conjunction...for example a mail component called Into, Mailing, or And.

    I hope that this new start lets even something so basic get fixed.


  • by domatic ( 1128127 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:23PM (#33723798)

    2. REALLY hoping someone can make an OpenOffice fork/port/whatever that makes full use of the Qt toolkit. Instead of just getting the look of native widgets (which is what I understood efforts to date had been doing?) actually use the real Qt widgets and let the Qt toolkit handle that part of things. Probably requires major reworking of OpenOffice, but moments like this tend to be good times to take new directions like that. Let Qt do what it does so well and handle the cross-platform GUI widgets, and focus on the Office stuff.

    More to the point, it would be nice if it was componetized to the extent that the backend document and data code were cleanly separate and callable from UI code. Then new interfaces could be done in whatever you like and the backend code could be used alone for things like document conversion servers.

  • by u17 ( 1730558 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:27PM (#33723888)
    While this could spell death for OpenOffice, it could just as well be its revival. Since presumably the copyright assignment requirement and poor management by Sun will now be gone, features from go-oo [] can (and apparently, will) be merged into OO/LO, and potential developers will have a better incentive to contribute. The project might become truly free software, and get a real community. On the other hand, it seems from some of the posts at Planet go-oo [], that not all go-oo developers are happy with the people behind this Document Foundation (I wish they'd picked a better name), for some reason. I will definitely keep an eye on this project.
  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:33PM (#33723968) Homepage

    You win the "Poor Analogy of the Day Award". Twice. (Do you even understand what's being discussed?)

    YouTube is still called "YouTube"; there was no change of name that would suggest instability to a casual observer. was not renamed when it was taken over by Oracle; it is (apparently) being renamed in an attempt to wrest it from Oracle, which is a sign of instablity.

  • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:37PM (#33724028)

    SOME would say better? Is there any rational basis for ANYONE to claim MySQL is better than PostgreSQL in ANY meaningful regard?

  • by CarpetShark ( 865376 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:51PM (#33724270)

    I disagree. Like it or not, Oracle is part of the OSS community.

    There are thieves in your area. Are they part of your community? Only in a very broad sense of community. Generally, community refers to a group of people with shared ideals, cooperating. Submitting patches to FOSS is one thing. Submitting patches to FOSS for the good of the community, without an ulterior motive, or at least with your vision of how it might be useful sharing a large subset with others, is another thing.

  • by asdfghjklqwertyuiop ( 649296 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:59PM (#33724444)

    Didn't they just buy a chip manufacturer? SPARC?

  • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:20PM (#33724822) Homepage Journal

    Some of us find Oracle being in the name to strip all credibility, much like Microsoft.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:49PM (#33725276) Homepage Journal

    I agree LibreOffice is a stupid name, almost as stupid as that open source FaceBook "Die As Poor As", but lots of stupid names are big now. TWAIN (Technology Without An Interesting Name) only went away because USB came along, not because of its name. GNU's still here. And WiFi; God what a stupid, ignorant name. Whoever named that obviously was thinking of "HiFi", which was short for "High Fidelity". The "wi" makes sense, but where the hell did the "fi" come from? What about "Bluetooth", I mean, WTF? Who thinks that idiocy is in any way clever?

    How about iPad? I had to wear one overnight after my iSurgery. Or WiMP for MS' media player?

    We're not in marketing because you have to take an IQ test to be in marketing. Anything higher than a 90 and you fail, few here could pass that. Who here would make a slogan "we build excitement" for basic transportation; what, the brakes are bad and the handling sucks?

    Why not just call the damned thing "Free Office"? People LIKE free. Maybe it's because so many people worship the almighty dollar and equate "free" with "worthless".

    To go along with GNU (Gnu's Not Unix) I vote INMO -- "It's Not Microsoft Office". Naw, that'd never work...

  • Re:Horrible name (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:50PM (#33725302)
    So? USasians can waste their money on Redmond, what do we care what they do?
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @03:23PM (#33726882) Homepage Journal

    They have been invited to join the efforts as an equal contributor. Hopefully they will. They just aren't going to be permitted to actually run the project. Yes, many large companies have contributed to Free software while also producing commercial software, and that's fine. That's not the same as actually RUNNING the project effectively. That requires a particular management culture that Oracle just doesn't seem to have.

  • by calderra ( 1034658 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @03:44PM (#33727202)
    I stopped using OOo. It's slow, I constantly encounter compatiblity issues with simple documents moving back to Office and so on. I used to mention OpenOffice to people and they'd say wow, free Office? Now I mention OpenOffice to people and they say yeah, my dad uses it and I'd rather have MSOffice. Even the OpenOffice website is very unappealing. If you click "I want to learn more", your only options for user types are Business and Government and so on. What about "90% of our userbase that just wants a word processor that doesn't cost $100"? And the whole page is BOLDED walls OF TEXT. That's REALLY pretty horrible DESIGN. Ugh. Get it together, people.
  • by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @09:18PM (#33730110)

    Submitting patches to FOSS for the good of the community, without an ulterior motive, or at least with your vision of how it might be useful sharing a large subset with others, is another thing.

    corporations who submit patches purely in their own interest are just as valuable to the OSS community as contributors who do it altruistically. look at the amount of contributions from corporations - to say linux - who do it purely because they need the improvements.

  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:28AM (#33730940)

    Performing rigorous QA is "bureaucratic obstruction?" What are you smoking?

    Ever notice how a lot of software out there just fucking sucks? Crashes all the time, trashes your data, and makes you pull your hair out? Do you think the situation would improve if only we could find those mythical perfect developers who never make mistakes? Or might it have something to do with... the fact that nobody TESTS their shit anymore?

    I'm really baffled at how ANY developer could have a beef against QA. For crap sake, they are taking responsibility for the quality of the product! If something goes wrong you can point your finger at them and deflect the blame! And you want to call them useless bureaucrats? They're covering your ass!

    *Shakes head in disbelief*

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman