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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: Future of OOo
Date Thu, 07 Jul 2011 15:29:58 GMT
On Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 11:03 AM, IngridvdM <> wrote:
> Hi Donald, Ross, all,
> Am 07.07.2011 12:56, schrieb Donald Harbison:
> [...]
>> The end of a corporate controlled project, and the beginning of two new
>> open
>> source projects
> [...]
> I would like to change this part of the description. I think it should be
> made absolute clear to the public that the split of the community has
> happened before and completely independent from the donation of
> to the Apache Software Foundation. The creation of
> LibreOffice/TDF has happend already last year in 2010.
> Even before LibreOffice there already has existed a fork called Go-oo. I
> think it was created by Novell and used by several Linux distros. Go-oo was
> abandoned then in favor of LibreOffice. Looking at the overview picture of
> the different OpenOffice flavor releases
> one can see that a Go-oo 2.3.0 was already released in year 2007.
> That shows that a split of the community at least in terms of license issues
> has a history of several years already.
> In the beginning there have been several upstream offers from go-oo to
> At developer level we had good working relationships I would
> say. For example I worked together with Kohei on some stuff he was
> interested in. So I know the cooperation even over license barrier was
> possible and I hope we can get back to that state again.
> Let me cite from the go-oo home page ( as it is still
> online today 7/7/2011:
> "We believe that copyright assignment to a single corporate entity opens the
> door for substantial abuse of the best interests of the codebase and
> developer community. As such, we prefer either eclectic ownership (cf.
> Mozilla, GNOME, KDE, Linux), or an independent, meritocratic foundation (cf.
> Eclipse, Apache) to own the rights. Having said that we recognise and
> applaud Sun's technical contribution to OpenOffice and recommend that small
> patches & fixes to existing Sun code should be assigned to them under the
> SCA, and up-streamed."
> Especially I want to highlight that go-oo itself has recommended Apache as
> one of the preferred solutions with regards to the corporate ownership
> problem.

That is an interesting quote.  I see similar sentiments expressed a
few months later on Michael's blog:

"Wrt. copyright assignment, yes it's good to keep unified copyright
assignment for (hopefully extremely rare) changes of Free software
license etc. The problem lies not with the license, but the idea that
a single company, with it's own agenda, having set itself up as the
sole owner of an open source project, will then always act in that
project's best interest. That just seems unrealistic, and the bigger
the company - IMHO - the less likely it is. Now - a meritocratically
constituted foundation, to which all code / translation etc.
contributors belonged, with some truly representative governance - I'd
love to belong to something like that & assign my rights to it."

So I think it would have likely been true, that if Apache OpenOffice
had started back then, in 2007, that everyone, including Novell, would
have joined. The issue at that time was not about the copyleft
license.  It was about corporate versus community control.  However,
this does not mean that the issues are the same today.  The creation
of LibreOffice changes things.  This is not a purely rational,
technical/economic decision.  It is tied up as well with emotions and
self-identification.  The emotions may cool over time.  But how a
person identifies themselves is not so easy to change.  And I don't
think it is our business to try.  I think the ultimate goal should be
to share as much code and other project work as possible, in terms of
reuse, while allowing down stream consumers to identify themselves
however they want to.  That is the beauty of the permissive license.

> So the question now is whether the reasons that have caused
> go-oo/LibreOffice to stop contribute upstream are solved
> or whether new problems are born that hinder cooperation now.
> Kind regards,
> Ingrid

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