Enterprise Linux Log

Jun 1 2011   10:40PM GMT

Oracle passes OpenOffice.org on to the Apache Software Foundation

Leah Rosin Leah Rosin Profile: Leah Rosin

Oracle has contributed the OpenOffice.org code to the Apache Software Foundation’s (ASF) Incubator, marking the end of Oracle ownership of the popular Sun legacy open source project. But, Oracle may retain the trademark as the agreement only mentions the code.

The “donation” of the code to ASF was met coolly by The Document Foundation (TDF), the organization of developers that spun off LibreOffice in September 2010 from OpenOffice in response to Oracle’s handling of the project, including the decision to charge for the previously free Open Document Format plugin that allowed interoperability between OpenOffice and Microsoft Office suite. TDF lists its supporters, which include most of the big names in Linux: Red Hat, Canonical, Novell, Google and more.

TDF issued a statement, explaining that this move was not all they had hoped for:

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.

This move by Oracle doesn’t seem to be as “open” claim in its press materials on the matter, and TDF’s grumblings won’t go unnoticed by the open source community. One of the key hang-ups is the change of software licensing under Apache. Previously, OpenOffice code was licensed under the GPL, LGPLv3 and MPL. Under Apache’s license, modifications to the code do not need to be given back, which contrasts with the previous licensing versions.

Notably, IBM is supporting the move, and Bob Sutor has issued his own analysis and reaction on his blog.

More on OpenOffice and ASF
Oracle watchers speculate on future of OpenOffice

ASF Incubator: What does that mean?

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