OpenOffice.org. ping-pong (again)

@louis: I told you, OpenOffice.org was dead. Don't hold you breath.

On 2011-05-13, at 04:39 , Ian Lynch wrote:

> I know this might be a bit of an emotive topic for some, but wouldn't it be an idea to open up dialogue with the LibreOffice people? A split community was never an ideal situation from a simple logical point of view. Ok, there are emotional wounds to heal but talking about possibilities without any commitment on either side can't do any harm. Maybe this is already happening?

Actually, Florian and I are discussing that exactly. The days of stiff difference are over with; were over with when Oracle renounced OOo as a revenue source. And in their lieu, discussions of reconciliation.

To be sure, there are still personal differences. These are, to me, not irrelevant but ought not to stop the development of the code by the larger community.

What counts, what makes up, what comprises that larger community is of some debate. We need a lot of money to develop the code. We need, that is, far more than LibreOffice or TDF or any single company can probably provide. Figure more than 10M USD/annum. That's to develop the code, test it, distribute it, and move ahead into areas that go beyond the limits of legacy.

Unfortunately, for something like OOo, a "community effort," still needs huge buckets of money. It's not about corporations, per se. It's about needing to get dedicated developers, one way or another, working on the code, so that it can be reliably produced, and satisfy the most demanding expectations.

Meanwhile, I continue to drive ODF interest, and continue to represent OOo at ODF events; and continue to represent, as much as I can, as energetically as I can, to the world. I have no animus toward LibreOffice, though I do have my share of doubts; but my spirit is stamped with OOo, its community, its goal, of providing reliable and reliably, the best productivity tools there are to the most people.



I am.

My strategies are, obviously, to invoke the established stakeholders—IBM, Red Hat, to name but two, but also Google—in the gambit. But the issue is even more interesting than money alone. Much of the secret of OOo's sauce lies not in the recipe, which is open, but in the makers, who are like chefs the world round, only more so. And with Oracle's renunciation, they are obviously affected. How, it's not clear. But if I were in the team, I'd be no doubt updating my résumé—and be fending off hot solicitations.

In short, time is of the essence.

LibreOffice, TDF, do not have the full resources to continue, let alone advance OOo. They can differentiate it, which is to be lauded, but they have their own uncertainties. They do not appeal, too, to enterprises; we do. Enterprises can be public sector or private. They have the same concerns: reliability, predictability, stability, and super-good QA.

That all takes money not just in the present but in the future. So, these are not trivial points.

I've been working sub rosa because that's the way this is done. And even so, I've been pretty much shut out of a lot of discourse. Oracle has been absolutely mum about OOo's copyright and development future, though I've asked. They are surely in talks with the usual suspects, at least, I hope so. But the discussions are hardly including the OOo community—not me, at least, and not really any I know involved with OOo.

What I'll do is what I promised earlier: write an open letter to Edward Screven, the Oracle VP who issued the announcement 15 April.

And I also would very much appreciate it, and I think the entire OOo community would, too, if IBM and other stakeholders, such as Google and Red Hat execcs-I'll spare names—would engage the community representatives, in the plural or even singular, to proceed. What counts here is not my presence or participation per se, that's irrelevant and immaterial, but the continuation of OOo as that set of tools enterprises and users the world round expect to be there, as a community thing is.

So, we are doing things. And I just wish I could speak more, or write more on this. I also wish I had more to speak, write, say. But you see the issues. They are not secret, they are not hard to comprehend, they are not hard to digest. We need not just the funds but the chefs, and we need not jus to continue status quo—that did not work, obviously—but to re-do things, re-set things, improve: no one liked the old logistics of power, all wanted change. This is our opportunity, and let's begin with the reconciliation, with the stakeholders, so that we can continue working on this.

And one more point: OOo makes money. It makes money not just for the ecosystem stakeholders, like Ian, Jean, and many many others, including me, now—but for the stakeholders, in much the same way that an Eclipse like platform or Apache does. By providing the source technology that creates new markets.


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