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From Shane Curcuru <...@shanecurcuru.org>
Subject Re: working on a OpenOffice roadmap
Date Thu, 20 Oct 2011 12:35:57 GMT
Thanks for joining the ooo-dev@ list!

On 10/20/2011 5:02 AM, Martin Hollmichel wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Wether to stay with OpenOffice or LibreOffice or to migrate to
> LibreOffice or to OpenOffce is a question in the recent past often
> occurred, by users, by people doing business with OpenOffice, by the
> press. The answer I would like to give is that this question is not
> really that relevant because there is a roadmap in place and both
> projects plan to stay close together.

I agree that the Apache OpenOffice podling here, via it's PPMC, does 
need to publish a roadmap in an obvious (to users) place.  Even one in 
draft form would be helpful to users to get an idea of what's expected 
to be happening (i.e. even some intelligent guesses would be better than 
nothing).

Please note that it's up to TDF to publish a roadmap for LibreOffice 
releases.

> I suggest following actions:
>
> * A call to LibreOffice contributors also to contribute their changes to
> Apache as the ASF is the long desired independent foundation for
> OpenOffice.org. On this basis a collaboration among the OpenOffice.org
> Apache Project and TDF can be achieved and duplication of efforts get
> avoided. As a result the question which project/product to choose is not
> that important any more.

The Apache OpenOffice podling would love to get Apache-licensed code 
contributions from TDF volunteers, as well as everyone else involved in 
OOo related projects.  We've mentioned this before, and certainly hope 
we can share code (appropriately licensed) in both directions.

> * Provide an OpenOffice.org 3.3.1 micro release showing the world that
> OpenOffice.org continues to move (assuming that an production stable 3.4
> release is not ready to get happen within the next months), this release
> should include a prominent statement to show the upcoming roadmap with
> the next releases. This 3.3.x release may not comply with the ASF
> standards but is an ideal vehicle for doing communication and elaborate
> on the transition from the old to the new environment.

This is an interesting idea.  The three key questions are:

-- Are there sufficient volunteers in the Apache OpenOffice podling to 
actually complete this work in a reasonable time, without impacting 
(what I think is) the progress to a new Apache OpenOffice 3.4 release? 
This is a vitally important question, because without sufficient 
volunteers and committers working on this, it won't be possible to do.

-- How much does this idea rely on the existing Oracle-hosted 
openoffice.org infrastructure?  Many parts of that infrastructure will 
be shut down soon (at Oracle's choice), so only the new Apache services 
- subtly different I imagine - will be available soon.

-- Is there a credible way to produce a release that the ASF is willing 
to host on it's servers?

Normally, I would say this is not possible, because the ASF only ships 
software under the Apache License (or compatible), and I understand that 
a significant amount of the existing OOo source code is under LGPL or 
GPL licenses.  Much like some FOSS volunteers really only like to use 
GPL or related licenses, the ASF really only likes to use the Apache 
license.

However, there is a somewhat related precedent in the Apache Subversion 
project, which shipped code as a podling under it's previous license 
before creating a fully ASF "blessed" release.  As a widely used and 
mature project before it came to the ASF, it made sense to allow the 
podling to create a "bridge" release under similar but not identical 
Apache policies, before they graduated and began producing releases 
under all Apache policies.

Note that this is only somewhat related, because previous Subversion 
builds used an earlier Apache license or similar, and not GPL style 
licenses.  So I'm not sure the precedent will apply, but it's something 
we could consider asking if the PPMC is interested in pursuing this.

>
> * Work on a model or agreement where user donations specific to the
> project can be continued. This is not only a matter for the ASF (and
> Team OOo), but for the overall community and we need to find ways to
> include them (including TDF) into this discussion. It is required that
> we have a clear communication on how donations will benefit the project
> and to provide transparency on the execution. A donation model shall
> give users a more direct possibility to influence the further
> development of the product without the filtering by own interests of a
> profit orientated organization.

Any such activity would need to happen outside of the ASF, and would 
need to respect Apache marks.

Please remember that one of the top goals of the incubation process at 
Apache is to ensure the PPMC governing that project is a healthy one 
following the Apache Way.  In particular, the graduation requirements 
specifically list these points under Meritocracy / Community:

* Demonstrate an active and diverse development community

* The project is not highly dependent on any single contributor (there 
are at least 3 legally independent committers and there is no single 
company or entity that is vital to the success of the project)

These key points about the incubation process will help ensure that no 
single "profit orientated organization" can control any newly graduated 
Apache project.  Thus I think the level of concern over Sun's / Oracle's 
control over the past OpenOffice.org project is not really relevant to 
the future Apache OpenOffice top level project (once it graduates).

> We need to include the expertise of
> people doing business with OpenOffice into this approach, so doing this
> discussion also on discuss@openoffice.org
> <mailto:discuss@openoffice.org>might makes sense. The employment of full
> time developers sponsored and directed by the community is IHMO a very
> good chance and would be examplary for the bigger opensource projects. I
> think this model is already to be proven as working fine for small OS
> projects and we now got that chance to introduce this also for
> OpenOffice.org.

Please note that ooo-dev@ is currently discussing "[Proposal] Shutting 
down legacy OOo mailing lists" on another thread, thus the discuss@oo.o 
mailing list is likely to be changed to an Apache list in another month 
or so (as best I can tell so far from that Proposal).

> Martin
>
> PS: I intentionally leave out the Apache vs. GNU license paradigm in
> these thoughts, assuming that this not the point for most users using
> product and discussion about this topic are quite predictable.

I agree that the license is not an issue for the vast majority of OOo 
related product users.  However I get the impression that it is a 
critical issue for a significant number of the existing developers who 
have contributed to OOo related code.

- Shane

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