FAQ: What's the future of OpenOffice.org?

Here's a look at the top questions about the office suite's future, now that Oracle has given the codebase to Apache

By , IDG News Service |  Software, Apache, OpenOffice.org

But OpenOffice.org is important to companies like IBM, which users can expect will make substantial investments in continued development of the codebase. That "gives it a good chance to be viable moving forward," O'Grady said.

Q: Why did Oracle give OpenOffice.org to the Apache Foundation and not some other group, such as the Document Foundation, the group that oversees LibreOffice?

"Only Oracle can answer this, but it is clear from past history that Oracle prefers to work with foundations that have both history and long-term experience working with enterprises," O'Grady said.

He cited Oracle's recent decision to donate code for the Hudson continuous integration system to the Eclipse Foundation. Similar to OpenOffice.org, a group of Hudson developers split off from Oracle with an offshoot or "fork" of the codebase called Jenkins.

"And just as in the case of Hudson, [Oracle] chose not to ultimately donate the code to the group that forked it," O'Grady added. "As for why Apache specifically, they have the requisite history of working with vendors, and IBM for one certainly has a preference for their more permissive licensing style."

Some are seeing Oracle's decision as a snub to the Document Foundation, but Oracle's relationship with the ASF may also be feeling some tensions. Last month, Oracle subpoenaed the ASF, seeking documents in connection with its ongoing Java patent lawsuit against Google. The ASF also resigned from the Java SE/EE Executive Committee last year.

"This may show that the bad blood between Oracle and the Document Foundation is worse than any issues between Oracle and The Apache Foundation," 451 Group analyst Jay Lyman said.

Oracle couldn't immediately provide comment Thursday on underlying reasons for its decision.

Q: While the Document Foundation has expressed interest in "reuniting" OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice "into a single community of equals" now that Oracle is gone, what are the potential challenges?

"The area which needs to be worked on is, at least in my mind, 'healing' the rift between the communities," ASF president Jim Jagielski said via e-mail. "There is still quite a bit of hurt feelings, and TDF sees the ASF as 'getting' the code and the trademark as a slap; I can't say I don't blame them."

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