With Oracle demonstrating yet again that they just don’t get it, and with The Document Foundation now truly forking OpenOffice.org into the new “LibreOffice“, we’re beginning to see where the lay of the land lies for the future of open source where documents, presentations and spreadsheets are concerned.
I think it’s a good idea for those of us in the open source community to make sure our voices are heard on this pivotal point in this project.
So a bunch of angry developers went out and made their own club, took their ball, and went home. So what? you say. Oracle has come right out and said that they’re going to be continuing development and support of OpenOffice.org, and are picking up that ball right where Sun left it?
Who cares about a fork of this project?
Well, for one, I do.
Oracle has a history of an unconventional way of demonstrating support for open source projects, and with them having taken over Sun, the future of every open source project Sun was behind is in doubt.
I use OpenOffice.org every day. I like it a lot. But it needs work, and I don’t see Oracle as being a good shepherd of that project. To the contrary, as much as Sun stood in the way of OpenOffice.org really reaching its potential, I see Oracle as being the project’s death-knell.
With so many big names coming out in favor of LibreOffice, and with such a bold, positive, and ambitious set of statements about the future, I see LibreOffice as being the project to back, the one that’s going to pave the way for breaking Microsoft‘s lock-in strategy once and for all.
I see LibreOffice as being able to stop the stagnation we’ve seen in OpenOffice.org and truly innovate. I see it as being an open, insightful, and inspired forum for developers who really want to see this grow and explode over the next decade, rather than be ruled by a tight-fisted group of control freaks protecting their precious spaghetti code forever.
Considering how much of an impact OpenOffice.org has had on Microsoft’s dominance of the office productivity suite market over the years, even in the somewhat stagnant, stodgy state it’s in is saying something… just imagine what can be done without the chains of Sun or Oracle holding it back!
At any rate, I wanted to get this out there, because I think it’s important to see this through, see it succeed, and get the word out that there’s a new and better game in town when it comes to this product. With major support from open source contributors around the world backing it, and with major Linux distributions already planning on replacing OpenOffice.org with LibreOffice going forward, I see the future as a pretty bright place for open source.
And this is yet another demonstration of just how hard it is to truly kill that which we love so much. Keep it free, keep it alive, and keep it vibrant, and don’t ever let anyone shut you down!