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From Robert Burrell Donkin <>
Subject Re: OpenOffice and the ASF
Date Fri, 03 Jun 2011 20:30:53 GMT
On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 11:39 AM, Florian Effenberger
<> wrote:
> Hello,

Hi Florian

> I hope you don't mind if I jump in to the discussion. The views shared here
> are not any official TDF statement, but rather solely my own ones, acting as
> a volunteer who has been contributing to the project, and now
> the LibreOffice project, since 2004, investing lots of my private time and
> heart into the community.

Thanks for jumping in (and for OpenOffice :-)

Sounds like our communities have a lot in common

(The convention at Apache is that unless clearly indicated otherwise,
we each just speak for ourselves)


> Some opinions state that Apache would be a safe home, as it has a track
> history of successful projects, is well established and has running
> processes. I have read about doubts that our infrastructure would be enough,
> I have read issues about stability and safety within TDF, and I have heard
> assumptions of us being not a good bet. I think the events of the last
> months prove the opposite. Not only did we manage to get up to 93.000 EUR in
> donations already -- 50.000 EUR of them in just eight days --, which proves
> that there is a large public interest in what we do, but we managed to set
> up processes, infrastructure and a vivid, strong project in just a short
> glimpse of time.

Hats off for this early success :-)

Developing infrastructure, legal and organisational process takes time
and energy. Given a choice, would the money raised be better invested
in free software development?


> To bring this to an end:
> I seriously doubt that having a separate project, even as incubator, within
> the Apache Foundation, would bring benefit for anyone. The Document
> Foundation has been working for months not only on shaping a project, but
> also on shaping solid grounds to work on, providing the legal framework, and
> our open, meritocratic and transparent approach ensures that anyone --
> individuals, organizations and businesses -- can contribute to the future.


> So, my honest and open question is indeed: Why would the Apache Foundation
> be a much better home than The Document Foundation is?

LibreOffice has a home at the Document Foundation :-)

OpenOffice has applied to join the Apache Software Foundation, hoping
to find a home at Apache

Wouldn't it be better to look for ways to work together to disrupt the
office application space?


> What, besides already
> being legally established, is it that Apache has, what The Document
> Foundation does not provide?

I like to think of this as a trade-off between options for The
Document Foundation. Already, TDF has captured mind share and raised
funding. LIbreOffice could continue as a direct fork with the money
invested in organisational, process and legal infrastructure.

Or TDF could allow LibreOffice to evolve into a pure GPLv3 licensed
downstream derivative of an IP-clean OpenOffice code base under the
Apache License. The GPLv3 is an excellent license very well suited to
distributed development. Dropping dual licensing would allow TDF to
adopt the standard lightweight distributed development process, and
use commodity infrastructure. The money raised by TDF could then be
spent developing free software under the GPL...

> What would prevent large organizations of working with us?

The process used by Apache is well understood and trusted by
corporations both large and small. We have experience of overcoming
legal and political challenges without compromising our core
principles. Building this level of trust took us a considerable effort
over several years.

IMHO it's great that TDF has the energy and ambition to take this
challenge on but the legal and process stuff isn't exactly a bucketful
of laughs (<ducks>). Why not avoid it if possible?


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