Oracle vs. TDF LibreOffice

Oracle continues to be at the center of controversy despite their press release stating they will continue to support and release as an open source project. Most recently Oracle was vilified by bloggers and the press for asking members of The Document Foundation to resign from due to potential conflicts of interest.

Dave Neary, a respected GNOME and GIMP developer, suggests that rush to judgment is not only pre-mature, but possibly incorrect. In a recent blog post Neary stated that the resignation request was made by long-term developers and community managers - not by corporate Oracle. He further explained that it was a "proposal," not a voted decision. "There was no decision to expel anyone" and the proposal didn't even gain a consensus although there is a clear divide between the council and members of The Document Foundation. Neary says many volunteers are confused and feel like they must make a choice between the two.

In fact, Neary continues by pointing out that The Document Foundation might have instigated the whole thing by implying that wasn't being managed and developed properly. Further, in wanting to use the name The Document Foundation showed it really wants to supersede And many believe they ultimately will.

Whether the proposal was backed by Oracle or not, some long-term contributors are resigning already. On Friday, October 22, Charles H. Schulz announced his resignation in a blog post. He said it saddened him to have to resign, but was also a relief due to the tension at lately. He said the proposal and subsequent behaviors and discussions were unprofessional and showed a complete lack of understanding of Free and Open Source Software. He and others have stated that both projects will now lose out due to a competitive atmosphere instead of the desired cooperation. Schultz said the LibreOffice will now become an official fork since Oracle et al. "refuse to play ball" with The Document Foundation. Schultz will continue to contribute to The Document Foundation.

In addition, Christoph Noack, former Product Development Representative, Florian Effenberger, former marketing project lead, and Thorsten Behrens, project lead for the Graphic Layer System, have also resigned and expressed regret over the split of the two projects.

In an interview with a representative from The Document Foundation stated that their first stable release of LibreOffice will arrive in November. Although there is very little divergence from at this time, version 3.4 will begin to show "new developments and features." 3.3.0 Release Candidate 2 arrived October 25.

While many were relieved to hear of the formation of The Document Foundation and LibreOffice as a safe-guard against suffering the fate of OpenSolaris, both projects and ultimately every user could possibly lose out due to the separation of talent. It will be interesting to see the resulting products in a year or two. Competition can spark ingenious ideas, let's hope this is the case for these two projects.


Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of


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Well, I'll put me food on the

Anonymous's picture

Well, I'll put me food on the side of the "free" world.
Lets all give the free-bees a hand.

Corporate is on their own.


John Batz's picture

Excuse me for putting it out so roughly, but OpenOffice does need to be shaken a bit. For a 2010 software, it's user interface is remarkably old. More like how Word 6.0 looked like, back in those days of Windows 3.11.

Now let me tell you something fellows...
User experience have come a very long way since then 1993.
Why not updating...? Just because you are living a lonely and miserable lives, hating M$...? Isn't there anything better for you to do with your spare time...? What's so wrong with the Ribbon interface...? God! I read so many stupid replies in so many forums... this GUI is far better than the current one, so either shut up or stop pretending you're more in numbers then you actually are (by posting on different names).

Good riddance of all those that quit OpenOffice.
Perhaps now it could shine its way to 2011.
Oracle - you're the best!

Given Oracles behaviour over Android

Anonymous's picture

I would not consider them to have any real interest in Open Source. They should be sidelined as quickly as possible.

URL for meeting is first post.

YetAnotherBob's picture

The first post points to the URL for the meeting that brought this all to a head. Yes, it was a bit of a flame fest. Tempers were no doubt high on both sides.

I agree with this author that OOo will lose from this loss. It was seemingly Oracle employees verses everyone else. Sun had a reputation in both Java and OOo for arrogance. A lot of potential contributors felt put down. The Sun people are Oracle people now, and whether it is Oracle policy, or leftover inertia from Sun doesn't really matter at this point.

A good project has been split, and we don't know what will happen. If The Document Foundation (TDF) can get a sizable group behind them, then Libre Office will be stable. Open Office may face competition. It has before.

TDF has made the right beginning, with an invitation for OOo and/or Oracle to join. I could see a situation where experimentation takes place in Libre, with everything that works well lifted into OOo wholesale. That would be the best possible outcome. Rather like the service Fedora does to Red Hat, or Sid to Debian Stable.

The worst possible outcome would be for bickering to replace coding in both efforts.

Well, I can hope for the best.

Here you go

click's picture

You're seriously kidding

Anonymous's picture

You're seriously kidding right? Go read the IRC chat log. It's a lot harder to spread FUD when the entire conversation is recorded.

What is the URI where we can

Anonymous's picture

What is the URI where we can find the chat log?