Just a while ago, we reported that Oracle has decided to give OpenOffice.org to the Apache Foundation instead of The Document Foundation. Well, Italo Vignoli, who is one of the co-founders and a member of the steering committee of The Document Foundation, has responded to Oracle’s decision to ignore them and go to the Apache Foundation instead.
In an email, Italo Vignoli wrote that The Document Foundation welcomes Oracle’s decision to release previously proprietary codes as open source to the Apache Foundation. He also mentioned that open-sourcing the codes makes it possible for them to take up “key user features” and include them in LibreOffice.
The Document Foundation is not however, pleased at Oracle’s move which has resulted in the possibility of reuniting LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org being ruled out – something which The Document Foundation has wanted right from the beginning. This is what Vignoli wrote:
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.
Because The Document Foundation is not involved directly in Oracle’s announcement today, Vigoli described the event as “neutral” for The Document Foundation. He, however, expressed desire to work with the Apache Foundation to co-develop with them to provide better office applications.
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.
The reality is that almost all of the previous OpenOffice.org contributors are with The Document Foundation now. So, the best possible place for Oracle to donate OpenOffice.org should have been The Document Foundation. Now that it is with the Apache Foundation, a completely new development team will have to take up the OpenOffice.org project – something which is not very easy to do, as Oracle found out. The best possible course of action for Apache Foundation will be to co-develop with The Document Foundation, as they have suggested. Even if they do not get access to the OpenOffice.org development, it will not affect The Document Foundation very much as they already have a very active community with great experience to keep working on LibreOffice.