Ready for takeoff

OpenOffice may become a top-level Apache project

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 on 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.

Elliot Bentley

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