CyberTech Rambler

September 28, 2010

Hello LibreOffice. One question: Have you played into Ellison’s hand?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 1:59 pm

The web is buzzed with news about LibreOffice and the Document Foundation. Alex Brown when as far as saying this is the closest to Community-based open source software as OpenOffice.org ever got.

Me? On the one hand I am glad that my favorite Office Productivity Application has a future. Equally as glad is the biggest stumbling block to OpenOffice, i.e., the copyright assignment requirement, is finally looking as if it will be removed.

One problem with the new foundation, as with every new foundation, is the worry that development of the suite will be stalled after some initial enthusiasm. We cannot do anything but to wait and see. However, it looks like there are enough heavy weights behind it to be as certain as one can that this will not happen.

Losing the legal protection afforded to StarOffice/OpenOffice by SUN-Microsoft patent agreement is a worry. But lets put it in perspective. It is at least a year or so away. Microsoft knows that the first thing LibreOffice will do if Microsoft makes any move in this direction is to run to the European Commission and file an antitrust suit on Office (again), draining resources it could use to fight the more important battleground of so-called ‘Cloud’-based services.

How about the business dimension? Oracle, under Larry Ellison, is know to be ‘predatory’ towards Open Source. They do contributes to open source, in particular, the Linux Kernel. Other than that, the best I can describe their behaviour is a business’ vulture. Don’t believe me, see the Unbreakable Linux campaign or Ellison’s proclamation that  “If an Open Source Product Gets Good Enough, We’ll Simply Take It.” What Oracle is doing is above board, but they leave a bad taste in the mouth. So I guess Oracle philosophy is the same as mine: Do as little as possible.

I was of the opinion that since Oracle bought OpenOffice as part of its SUN acquisition, now it is forced to contribute back in the form of stewardship of an important project. I have doubts about Oracle’s stewardship, but I think we have to give Oracle time. Note that since Oracle’s philosophy is to “do as little as possible”, isn’t forking the project now simply plays into Ellison’s hand? i.e., allow him to leech on LibreOffice?

What next? Fork VirtualBox and Sun Grid Engine? I know the latter is on the cards. If I were Ellison, I will be glad you are forking it. That allows me to come back later and “take” it.

Finally, note that I do not share Alex Brown’s optimism for OOXML adoption in LibreOffice. They are staffed by the same people who rejected it in the first place.

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1 Comment »

  1. >isn’t forking the project now simply plays into Ellison’s hand? i.e., allow him to leech on LibreOffice?

    So?
    What if he does leech on LibreOffice?
    What he does with Unbreakable is ALLOWED under the GPL, so I have no doubt they will do the same with OO.
    So what?

    Id rather have LO be run by a foundation than by Oracle running OO,
    just like I would rather Oracle copy Linux rather than have then head it.

    The only thing worse than working on a community project led by Oracle would have been to go with GO that was led by Novell.
    I never understood the logic of jumping from the fire into the pan.

    >Finally, note that I do not share Alex Brown’s optimism for OOXML adoption in LibreOffice. They are staffed by the same >people who rejected it in the first place.

    Hopefully, people will remember that whole sham procedure that went with it and reject it again.(besides the technical aspects and the fact that we already have ODF)

    Comment by Tim Lovejoy — September 28, 2010 @ 8:37 pm | Reply


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