Oracle has ceded control of the OpenOffice.org code base to the Apache Software Foundation Incubator project and it was donating the open-source code so as to demonstrate its commitment to the developer and open-source communities……….
Oracle is shunting OpenOffice onto the Apache Software Foundation, sidelining the original OpenOffice community that forked of the project as LibreOffice last year and they are proposing to contribute OpenOffice.org code to Apache Foundation. With this move, Oracle hopes to get some positive karma from the open source community. “With today’s proposal to contribute theOpenOffice.org code to The Apache Software Foundation’s Incubator, Oracle continues to demonstrate its commitment to the developer and open source communities. Donating OpenOffice.org to Apache gives this popular consumer software a mature, open, and well established infrastructure to continue well into the future. The Apache Software Foundation’s model makes it possible for commercial and individual volunteer contributors to collaborate on open source product development.” — Luke Kowalski, vice president, Oracle Corporate Architecture Group. OpenOffice.org will be the Apache incubator project for a while before it graduates to a top level project, a standard procedure with any project entering the Apache Foundation. Jim Jagielski, president, The Apache Software Foundation, will be the podling member during the incubation process. He will be responsible for creating a reporting schedule, setting up a project status page, mailing lists and repository space.
This move is interesting because it splits OpenOffice.org community (before the fork) in the middle with one side aligning more to protect the consumer interests and the other aligning more with enterprise interests. After Oracle took over Sun Microsystems and grabbed the rights to OpenOffice.org, a powerful group of developers upset with Oracle forked the project and formed Document Foundation. They released the fork as LibreOffice, a more open and inclusive version of OpenOffice.org. Well, the grumblings were there even before the Oracle acquisition of Sun Microsystems but the new owner made it easier to fork, driving a large chunk of the community to the new non-profit foundation. The Document Foundation, which had some expectations for a merger between the two communities, was a bit disappointed :
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.
On the bright side, one benefit of this arrangement is the potential for future-proof licensing. The Apache License is compatible with both the LGPLv3+ and MPL licenses, allowing TDF future flexibility to move the entire codebase, to MPLv2 or future LGPL license versions. The Document Foundation believes that commercially-friendly, copy-left licensing provides the best path to constructive participation in, and growth of the project.
Thus, the event is neutral for The Document Foundation, which – as always – remains open to every company, individual or foundation that wishes to participate in co-development. There has never been a better time to get involved and advance the state of the art in free software office suites.
On the other hand, IBM’s Bob Sutor is very excited about the move to Apache Foundation
With this move, we’ll get a chance to see what empowered individuals with the right technical chops can do in a community to innovate on the current code base. I’m very excited to see what they come up with.