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From "Götz Wohlberg" <goetz.wohlb...@googlemail.com>
Subject About Team OpenOffice.org
Date Tue, 20 Dec 2011 16:55:44 GMT
Hi all,

May I introduce myself? My name is Goetz Wohlberg and I spent the last 
16+ years working on OpenOffice.org and it's commercial derivatives like 
StarOffice or Oracle Open Office. At the moment I'm helping Martin and 
Stefan from Team OpenOffice.org e.V. to setup a team with full-time 
developers to join the Apache OpenOffice podling. My focus is to create 
value for customers and to build a successful commercial business.

I have not read all of the posting here and I'm not a native English 
speaker. So I might have missed some topics or discussions. But my 
impression is that there is a major disconnect between the ASF and Team 
OpenOffice.org. I guess it's time to be more direct and blunt about our 
situation. Please let me try to explain what our ideas are with Team 
OpenOffice.org, what we did, what we learned and what our next steps are.

First off, we are not evil! We don't want to mislead consumers (although 
I admit we did)! We are not collecting donations for our own coffers! We 
don't have a business model that is just based on donations! What we 
plan to do can be summarized in the following three goals:

 1. We want to help existing Oracle customers that they continue to use
    OpenOffice.org
 2. We want to make money with support and service for OpenOffice.org
    and Apache OpenOffice
 3. We want to be able to sponsor developers working full-time on
    OpenOffice.org and save as much developer know-how as possible from
    the primary contributor Sun/Oracle


To 1:
I'm in contact with a number of customers and I can assure you, that 
they are desperately looking for a sign of life and new releases for 
OpenOffice.org. Keep in mind that we released products every 3 month. 
Customers haven't seen an OOo release since nearly a year now. I 
understand that AOO 3.4 is in preparation and on the horizon, but how 
reliable is this? The ASF does not have a track record yet for AOO. 
Customers and consumers are also asking for support for their current 
version -- and this is OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 and earlier. That's the 
reason why we strongly believe, AOO 3.4 is important, but OOo 3.3.1 is 
also important. We think that a maintenance releases for OOo 3.3.0 can 
help to create trust in the project and help customers to wait for AOO 3.4.

To 2:
Important part of our business model is to sell support and service 
contracts to OpenOffice.org and -- in the future -- Apache OpenOffice 
customers. With the withdrawal of the main sponsor Oracle there are not 
many companies on this planet doing so. We believe that this is quite a 
cool unique selling point (USP). Unfortunately decision-making in the 
Enterprise about OOo support contracts normally takes around 6 to 9 
month. We don't have that reach. So we need to close this gap until we 
see service revenue coming in.

To 3:
Here is a quote from a kind user who is trying to help us to make our 
case. I think this is a pretty good explanation of our situation: 
"Oracle used to pay our salaries to work on OpenOffice,org, but since 
Oracle turned OpenOffice.org over to the Apache Foundation, it no longer 
pays us. We were primary contributors to OpenOffice.org, we love it, and 
we want to be able to work on it full-time. Unless a large company or 
government hires us to do this (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), we are trying 
to support ourselves via donations -- until we are ready to sell service 
contracts. Donations to the Apache Foundation, while a nice thing to do, 
can not be used for this purpose, so you will need to donate to Team 
OpenOffice.org as a separate entity."

And collecting donations is something -- as you know -- Team 
OpenOffice.org always did! Donations are very important for us in this 
phase to close the gap until we see service revenue coming in. And there 
are also very successful companies like the Wikimedia Foundation that 
are based on donations. Therefore I authorized the donation campaign 
"Save OpenOffice.org" - and I want to apologize for that! It was a 
mistake because I didn't realize that at the same time this implies that 
OpenOffice.org is not doing well at the ASF. Believe me or not, it was 
not my intend to bring discredit upon the Apache OpenOffice project.

What are our next steps though? We are of course accepting the ASF 
ownership of the OpenOffice.org trademark. As we worked since 2003 
smoothly together with Sun and Oracle, we were surprised to see that 
non-commercial Apache is seeing us as a troublemaker. Btw, Team 
OpenOffice.org is also non-commercial.

We will not stop asking for donations to sponsor developers! Please take 
your time to understand what we are asking for. We are asking for money 
to help developing OOo! We are not asking to donate for the ASF or OOo! 
If our communication on this topic is not clear enough, we'll fix it! Do 
you see the difference? Again, we want full-time developers working on 
the project and contributing their work to the Apache OpenOffice podling 
-- something the ASF can't do! How bad is this? Without full-time 
developers our business model won't fly.

We will not stop telling the world that we were the primary contributors 
and inventors of OpenOffice.org. The development team in Hamburg created 
it -- with the help of the OpenOffice.org community -- and is happy to 
continue developing it. I don't think that this is confusing users. It's 
the truth. The ASF should use this as a weapon not as a threat. We will 
also defend ourselves against malicious gossip or suspicion -- same like 
the ASF does. So please stop the own-coffers-thing.

As service and support is part of our business model, we are listening 
to OpenOffice.org Enterprise users and customers. They asked us for a 
maintenance release for OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 due to the security issues 
-- and we will deliver! This release will carry a name that does not 
conflict with the OpenOffice.org trademark. Using another name is 
clearly not the best solution for all of us: users and customers, the 
ASF and Team OpenOffice.org. This should be motivation enough to work on 
a better solution.

Just one more paragraph with my personal thoughts: We recognized our 
mistakes! Reason for the mistake was to get donations to hire full-time 
developers. We are also working hard on other ideas to get funding but 
we are not there yet! We want to be a committer to the Apache OpenOffice 
podling and we basically share the same goals. We inserted a very 
prominent link to the ASF on our website (see the box "Home of the 
Development Project" on teamopenoffice.org). I hope that this email does 
not have a negative impact on our chance to establish a cooperative 
relationship between Team OpenOffice.org and the Apache OpenOffice 
project. Does it? We are not evil!

Thanks,
Goetz





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