OpenOffice's Future at Apache

Reactions: Oracle Donate OpenOffice to Apache

Jessica Thornsby

Free Software Foundation worried about license change.

Freelance developer and trainer and ASF member Christian Grobmeier has posted his thoughts on

OpenOffice being donated to Apache
.

He views OpenOffice.org as fundamentally different to all the
other projects currently incubating at Apache. Its size alone means
that it’s more “a foundation incubating into a foundation,” and
this raises a whole host of new issues, such as conferences,
education and support. He stresses that the ASF have had experience
with these topics already, but in a different way to how it has
previously been done in the OpenOffice.org community. “I expect
many things to be changed within incubation,” he says, citing a
paring down of OpenOffice.org’s current, multiple mailing lists as
an example.

But, he is positive about OpenOffice.org’s future at Apache:

“I am pretty sure this podling will be established. After all
concerns and problems, OOo is a strong trademark, attracting tons
of people. And the ASL is a very good license, which might be a
good alternative to some people.”

Grobmeier states that he is hoping the Apache Software
Foundation can collaborate with The Document Foundation in the
future. The Document Foundation have also posted about a potential collaboration between them and
Apache
, even stating that the ASF coming into possession of
OpenOffice could be the catalyst that brings their LibreOffice
product and OpenOffice into a “single community of equals.”

However, Brett Smith, who works in the Licensing Compliance Lab
at the Free Software Foundation, is less positive about this development. In a ‘Statement
on OpenOffice.org’s Move to Apache’ he claims that the move means
“it will become easier for proprietary software developers to
distribute OpenOffice.org as nonfree software.” He writes that the
Apache License is a non-copyleft free software license that means
anyone in possession of the software can distribute it under
nonfree terms. Previously, OpenOffice was distributed under the GNU
Lesser General Public License.

“While we do recommend the Apache License in specific
situations, we do not believe it is the best choice for software
like OpenOffice.org,” he concludes, encouraging OpenOffice users to
switch to The Document Foundation’s LibreOffice.

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