Sunday, October 10, 2010

LibreOffice forked from and be independent from Oracle

Over the last decades, Sun Microsystems has supported a lot to, and successfully made it the world's leading open-source productivity suite nowadays.

That was happened after they acquired StarDivision in 1999, forking out from the proprietary StarOffice by releasing its source code to the public. Sun continued selling StarOffice, which then based heavily on the development of by the community.

10 years later in 2009, Sun Microsystems was in turn acquired by Oracle. Oracle has then rebranded the proprietary StarOffice to be Oracle Open Office. At the same time,  Oracle announced their intention for "Oracle Cloud Office" as a cloud-computing suite, a similar approach like Microsoft Office 2010 Live. The future of remains uncertain.

As contributions to project requires copyright assignment to Sun (now Oracle), which the community has faith with Sun but might not remains at the same level with Oracle, it is this critical moment that some lead developers of had just made a critical decision, to form a new group called The Document Foundation and to fork a rebranded called LibreOffice. The historical moment was  28 September 2010 .

The Document Foundation will continue to be focused on developing, supporting, and promoting "the same software", now known as LibreOffice as the trademark is legally owned by Oracle.

In fact, this move also resolved some of the former disputes in the project. For example, LibreOffice will now incorporate all the enhancements produced by the Go-oo team (with Novell behind the scene). Go-oo was forked earlier from as Sun refused to put in some of the contributions such as better support to Microsoft's OOXML into With this latest move,  Go-oo might be obsoleted by LibreOffice.

The Document Foundation and its LibreOffice have received support from Red Hat, Canonical (maker of Ubuntu), Novell (maker of SUSE), Google, Free Software Foundation (FSF, which Richard Stallman is the president), The GNOME Foundation, The Open Source Initiative (OSI), etc.

LibreOffice 3.3.0 is currently on beta, and has been downloaded for over 80,000 in a week time. People have started to contribute to the code, suggesting features, committing patches and filing bugs. In just one week, around 80 code contributions (patches, and direct commits) have been accepted in LibreOffice from a total of 27 volunteers, several of them newly-won, with around 100 developers hanging out on the #libreoffice irc channel which is buzzing with activity (around 14,000 messages sent).

Click here for more information about The Document Foundation and LibreOffice.


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