Ready for takeoff

OpenOffice may become a top-level Apache project

Elliot Bentley
openoffice-logo1

Foundation members to vote on whether office suite should be prioritised – but has it already been left behind?

OpenOffice,
the Java-based open source rival to Microsoft Office, may become a
top-level Apache project as it heads towards ‘graduation’.

Apache OpenOffice, previously known as OpenOffice.org, has been
through a rough couple of years, facing competition from breakout
fork LibreOffice and
still in its incubation phase at the Apache Software
Foundation.

While many have been critical of the
lack of progress
as the project has changed hands, this
(possible) prioritising of the project by Apache is indicative that
there may be life in the old dog yet.

Having been incubating as an Apache ‘podling’ for the past sixteen
months, the project was voted to graduation stage
in August
. Now, Andrea Pescetti, Project Management Committee
chair (as
of Monday
), has
proposed to start a vote

o
n the incubator mailing list on whether it should be a
top-level project.

In some ways, this was inevitable. OpenOffice is almost a household
name, with a userbase and community larger than most open source
projects. Before its
transfer to Apache
, it even had its own
conference
.

Once OpenOffice leaves the incubation stage, development proper
will be able to resume. Whether it can catch up with LibreOffice’s
advancements, or make a dent in Microsoft Office’s market share,
remains to be seen.

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