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Oracle to Dump OpenOffice.org on Apache

IBM says it will help advance the widgetry by contributing staff resources, new project members and individual contributors

In a terse statement Wednesday that reads like the top half is missing and Oracle is in the middle of a thought, the company said that it's "donating" OpenOffice.org to the Apache Software Foundation's Incubator, a move that IBM, an OpenOffice cheerleader and part of the announcement, evidently encouraged.

Anyway, IBM says it will help advance the widgetry by contributing staff resources, new project members and individual contributors.

Blue's got a vested interest in ODF, the OfficeOpen-based Lotus Symphony and its 30-Year War against Microsoft.

The breakaway Document Foundation (TDF), which forked OpenOffice last year when a bunch of developers got sick and tried of trying to deal with an uninterested, unsympathetic Oracle, is disappointed and lamenting that the two bodies of code won't be reunited, but means to pick over the previously Oracle-proprietary code like carrion to flesh out its LibreOffice distribution as soon as it can.

Oracle painted the decision as demonstrating "its commitment to the developer and open source communities."

It said giving OpenOffice.org to Apache gives it "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."

Presumably it wouldn't say the same of the Document Foundation.

Before OpenOffice gets to be an Apache Top-Level Project (TLP) there's a long and involved process that includes reviewing the code for provenance and releasing it under the Apache 2.0 license.

OpenOffice was licensed under the LGPL 3.

The licensing may be a problem for the Document Foundation, which said in a statement penned by Italio Vignoli, a member of its steering committee, that "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 code base 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."

Apache president Jim Jagielski is supposed to be OpenOffice.org's "podling mentor" steering it through incubation and has reportedly been in e-mail contact with TDF.

Meanwhile, LibreOffice 3.4.0 is due out this week and 3.4.1 in a month's time.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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