CyberTech Rambler

July 15, 2011

IBM contributing to Apache OpenOffice

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 7:08 pm

It’s good news for Apache OpenOffice. IBM contributed code from Lotus Symphony to it. It’s not so much about new stuff, but it can go a long way to replace existing GPL/LGPLed components which are incompatible with Apache License.

The not-so-good news is, what did IBM actually contribute when they say ‘standalone’ version of Lotus Symphony? First reaction is it is the one you and I can download for free and definitely not the one where you can integrate with other, IBM and partners’ application. It is partly out of necessity: IBM is not going to give Apache it’s crown jewel, i.e., the part that integrate with other IBM or partners’ application.

From a source code point of view, and presumably IBM gave everything it has and not holding anything back, one can say the contribution is huge. I think it will save Apache OpenOffice a lot of rewriting and allow it to start competing with other offerings, including LibreOffice, earlier.

The confusing part is Lotus Symphony is partly built on Eclipse Technology. Is it included or excluded in the code donation? If it is, where is the place to house it? That part is expected to be under Eclipse Public License which is incompatible with Apache License. The eclipse part of Lotus Symphony has  a lot of value and if donated, can form part of the advantage OpenOffice has over other offerings. I got the feeling that part is not included in the donation.

What does this means to the relation of OpenOffice with LibreOffice? They are both going their separate ways. If Eclipse-based technology was included in the donation, it means they are both going even more further apart. Reconciliation will be more difficult.

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