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From Louis Suárez-Potts <lui...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: InfoWorld article on LibreOffice and OpenOffice
Date Tue, 11 Aug 2015 18:05:36 GMT

Sorry for long rant/post. Summary: More is at stake in the FUD than mere blind adherence to
a belief. 

Note, I write this in my own person, not as a member of the AOO PMC, but as someone who has
been with the OO organisation since its inception, in 2000, and who has worked amicably with
all those in LO/TDF, as well as in the current AOO setup. (Times--they change, but not always
the people.)

> On 11 Aug 15, at 08:51, Jim Jagielski <jim@jaguNET.com> wrote:
>> On Aug 6, 2015, at 11:29 PM, Marvin Humphrey <marvin@rectangular.com> wrote:
>> On Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 7:11 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton <orcmid@apache.org> wrote:
>>> It is not at all clear how the “greater flexibility of open-source licenses”
>>> is pertinent to end-user requirements for use of an ODF-compliant software
>>> product in a civil administration environment.
>> From the article:
>> During Munich's multiyear migration from proprietary software (read:
>> Microsoft), the city's administration decided to go with LibreOffice over
>> OpenOffice back in 2012. (One cited reason was "the greater flexibility of
>> the project regarding consumption of open source licenses.")
>> It's hilarious when copyleft licensing gets credit for the flexibility of
>> permissive licensing.
> There is a lot of FUD out there focused and directed towards AOO and the
> ASF regarding licensing as it relates to LO. Mostly this is to influence
> people (and corps) that contributing to LO is good and safe and more in
> keeping w/ the ideals of open source than it would be in contributing to
> AOO. A lot of this FUD comes from people who should Know Better and who
> have had it against the ASF since we accepted AOO under our wing and claim
> that that action has somehow shown us to be more religiously strict than
> the FSF!
> What is strange, of course, is that they conveniently forget that LO's
> widespread and rampant consumption of AOO code and patches is proof that
> what they are saying is total BS.

This FUD directed against AOO captures earlier venom dating to before the fork of OOo and
seems to try to reinscribe the narrative precipitating the dissolution itself: community vs.
The Corporation. The primary antagonists are the same. The issues, or at least the rhetoric
of the issues, is also similar, with the notion that the One True Community is embodied by
the stalwarts of LIbreOffice and those at AOO are, I guess, minions of I, Big Machine.

Truth—as in facts that can be demonstratively corroborated using generally accepted means
and logical frames—has diminished place in this scission. I suppose that partly has to do
with what’s at stake, financially and even in the evolving ecology of open source. That
is, who benefits from the continuing animus characterising AOO/LO relations and who would
lose out should the barriers prohibiting what I think is a generally desired collaboration
between the parties fall and globally useful harmony ensue. Of interest, in addition to the
money at stake (visible, perhaps not in direct LO support/service sales—if any exist—but
in what Canonical & other significant stakeholders can claim as being ready for enterprises),
the quality at play here, especially for LO/TDF, includes the fragile construction (and idea)
of a productive commons-based peer network, better known as an open-source community. As long
as LO/TDF is asserted to be more equal than we, and to have a more engaged community operating
freely under generous license, then it is easier to gloss over the deficiencies of code provenance
and argue that the work done is more immune from the vagaries of the market and, worse, the
whims of giant corporations.

Those deficiencies of code provenance? That the basic version of OO that LO works on has historically
come from AOO, I believe and there has not, as far as I know, any actual replacement to that
stream created in LO land. (I could be wrong; haven’t checked the latest on their developers.)

What can be done? It would be nice to actually contest the false claims made about Apache
and AOO. I’m not saying we should assert that we are superior or in any way better; or that
we are opposed to "forks" as such; I, at least, am not interested in going down that path.
But setting the record straight would help. And it would help customers-big time users, like
governments—of AOO/LO. So far, the historical majority have seemingly preferred AOO—or
nothing, where "nothing" means (sorry) status quo ante. (I don’t have data on the uptake
by government bodies of LO.)


PS  Why is the tech press so unreasonably biased? Sure, we are all guilty of our affections
and our personal biases; of exaggeration, I not the least; but usually, in a supposedly open
journalistic market the expectation is for the journalist to ask for the facts and to try
to go beyond the glamour of marketing and desires. Is everyone so afraid that in so doing
the mystery magic of open source productivity will dissipate? That it is better to maintain
the fiction of the underdog community than to look more deeply at at the reality? (By now,
it’s not a secret garden, it’s, well, you know, an engineered commons-based peer network.)
Of course, the tech journo field is hardly open; as with all business reporting, it serves
the interests of its primary audience. And the only times one encounters critical reporting
in its crowd, I think, is when the target is so big and vast that no fragile idea of a better
way of doing things (for some) is threatened by the revelations of naked truth. (Note, there
are a few good journos out there. Hello?)

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