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From Keith Curtis <>
Subject Re: OpenOffice & LibreOffice
Date Wed, 08 Jun 2011 01:53:51 GMT
I was against this experiment since my first mail but I've reading and
learning a number of important facts since.

So I thought I would summarize the "no" vote reasons so I can
disconnect and return to my own big tasks ;-) If you've made up your
mind, plz delete as I don't want to waste any more of your time. I
read a lot and gained respect for Apache the foundation and OO the
brand. There is love people attach to that trademark and to Apache as
well. Apache could offer shit on a stick and it would have downloads
and people curious about how to contribute back.

Many of us want all of these good ideas and energies to be channeled.
The LibreOffice team is not a raging success yet and they've just
climbed some big hills alone. A drastic change to the plan today costs
merely 100 of thousands of dollars.

In absence of that, given all I have read and that the no major
alterations have been offered, this is my (unfinished) list for the
arguments against:
This is basically a code dump, not the set of 50(?) FTEs who know and
have created / been maintaining this code.
OpenOffice is now primarily a brand to be preserved.
This brand is in jeopardy now.
Copyleft is compelling to small LO contributors. "Do you really want
to write AL2 so that IBM can sell it?"
This AL2 is not within the spirit of the tradition of this codebase
because it is invoking a proprietary clause.
AL2 will make ongoing code sharing with LO impossible.
This proposal is considered to have a practical license agreement, but
grabbing code changes from LibreOffice is said to be impractical. This
is not seen as a problem.
The move from Java towards Python in LO will add more barriers.
There is a lot to be done: polish, services, plugins, mobile, etc.
The community of contributors to this podling is artificially inflated.
Naive people will show up here because of the Apache brand and the OO
brand. They will not understand what is going on.
The OO brand was given up by Oracle primarily because of the success
of LibreOffice.
LO has just built everything you need.
LO has just recruited many of the most passionate and interested
volunteers and other unaffiliated third-parties.
LibreOffice is a young community, easily confused and frightened. They
barely know this name "LibreOffice". Meanwhile LO needs and would love
to have another 10-whatever people.
The OpenOffice brand would be very valuable to TDF today.
LibreOffice can maximize the value and carry it on best right now.
They need all kinds of help. They are not turning down one
The hardware / bandwidth costs are not very expensive. It is the human costs.
It is not just a question of if you fail, but what is the damage in
that failed experiment. There is also the opportunity cost.
If this podling fails, it could hurt the value of the OpenOffice
brand, LibreOffice, waste resources (these emails are just the start),
hurt Apache's reputation, etc. Some think this could finally the GPL
debate for this codebase. It has always had a proprietary extra
clause. That is the clause that is being used to create this license.
Forks are one of the biggest reasons why free software has struggled in places.
People at IBM responsible for Notes / Symphony may get bad reviews for
building on top of a dying fork and when internal customers complain
the product isn't as good as what comes with Linux. These "open
source" evangelists are supposed to have their finger on the pulse of
the community, not their finger in the face of the community. I stole
that from someone ;-)
No major revisions have been proposed.
A "no" vote on current idea is fail-fast and the potential for a better plan.
LO see this as a danger. They received more cash donations since this
It will only be a trickle of volunteers. If more show up, LibreOffice
can recruit in bulk.
Wise people I have consulted with in LibreOffice believe this will fail.
Some are not even worried anymore, but I am less confident.
Some believe the Apache foundation is being used to legitimize a
poorly thought-out idea.
I believe the result will be the same no matter the vote unless the
plan is changed.
Once you have decided to shoot your foot, meeting cannot achieve much.

I know I'm leaving out some points but this took time already.

I am an un-affiliated observer rooting for Linux on the desktop and
Python everywhere. I have spent years surveying and writing about
Linux so I've come to respect the Apache server very much. Any rude
bits in my mails were directed at IBM ;-) I think the foundation has
been caught in the cross-fire of the language and license battles. I
sympathize for your struggles. There is also actual proprietary
competitors to fight as well! Isn't that the most important battle?

Even if this is born, and fails, the community will pick up the
pieces. It has many times before. I believe the LO opinion of the plan
is close to unanimous and strongly-felt. My feelings are more mixed.

Perhaps this can help serve as impetus for the vote. Many are curious
to its result and are anxiously awaiting.

Hope this work is helpful.

Warm regards,


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