From the whispers of ApacheCon, OpenOffice.org may never leave the incubator project. The intention may be to do a thorough code audit and produce one last, clean release that the rival LibreOffice can absorb.
That was what you may have heard 10 months ago, if you listened to the rumormongers. Certainly there were a lot of rumors being spread. (Or should we call it FUD?) Whatever you call it, the whispers continued, in a negative propaganda campaign that the open source community should be ashamed to be associated with. Even just a few weeks ago I heard from one LibreOffice lead that he was certain that the Apache OpenOffice podling would never graduate and that we’d fail, give up, shut down the project and give the OpenOffice trademarks to LibreOffice. I’m sorry to disappoint, but this kind of FUD has an expiration date, and that date is now.
From the whispers of ApacheCon…
Yes, you will hear talk of OpenOffice at ApacheCon next month, a lot of it, but it will be quite in the open, no whispers there. The Apache OpenOffice Project, no longer a “podling”, (Did I neglect to mention that we graduated from the Apache Incubator in a unanimous ASF Board resolution?) will be running a track dedicated to OpenOffice and related technologies.
And as for a clean release that LibreOffice can “absorb”, they are welcome to it. In fact they have for several months now been merging (“rebasing” is there preferred term) Apache OpenOffice code into LibreOffice, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Ironically, after demonizing the permissive Apache License, it is for this very reason that LibreOffice is doing this “rebasing”, to escape from the constraints of LGPL. After all the demagoguery, their source files will now carry an Apache License notice.
I need not repeat the long list of other false predictions and rumors: that we would never be able to bring the product’s IP up to Apache standards (we did), that we would not be able to issue security patches for OpenOffice (we did), that we would never get a release out the door (we did, twice), that we had delayed too long in our release and were thus irrelevant (we had more downloads in 4 months than LibreOffice has had in 2 years), that we would never contribute developers to the OpenOffice effort (we have), that we would never donate Symphony to Apache (we did), that we would dominate the project (we don’t) or that we would force Symphony to be the new base of OpenOffice (we didn’t), etc. The FUD went on and on and continues even today, combined with exaggerations of their own modest achievements.
It is probably a vain hope to expect the FUD to stop now that we’ve graduated, though I would be happy to be wrong. But at the very least I think we’ve established a record of accomplishment that stands in stark contrast to the repeated false predictions of the anti-Apache whisper campaign. And it is worth noting this, and preserving some skepticism when hearing further FUD from these same sources. And this is something worth saying louder than a whisper.