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Oracle Asks OpenOffice Community Members To Leave

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the pack-your-junk dept.

Open Source 589

Elektroschock writes "In an unprecedented move with respect to other forks, Oracle asked the founders of the Document Foundation and LibreOffice to leave the OpenOffice.org Community Council. Apparently there is a conflict of interest, which concerns the Oracle employees."

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Did anyone not see this coming? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922170)

You don't have to be an oracle to see that Oracle is up to no good.

Re:Did anyone not see this coming? (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922182)

Honor the carneia.

Oracle = Predictable? (1)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922172)

Conflict of interest? Apparently!

Oracle doesn't approve? (5, Funny)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922194)

If the Oracle doesn't approve, secretly create an army of 300 of your best men.

Re:Oracle doesn't approve? (2, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922210)

If the Oracle doesn't approve, secretly create an army of 300 of your best men.

Including Ephialtes S. Raymond?

I'm shocked. (4, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922198)

I was expecting them to sue. Seriously. Oracle is just the snotty kid on the block with the only basketball; the one who always takes the ball and goes home instead of accepting that everyone else is just better.

Re:I'm shocked. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922276)

Well... Honestly, look at what the Document Foundation did.

They forked the project, and then asked Oracle to donate the name to them. While, at the same time, asking Oracle to join the "new" foundation.

Now, I know Oracle itself didn't put a lot of work into OO.org, but Sun did (something tells me OO.org's codebase is 90% the work of paid Sun employees - correct me if I'm wrong), and so now all that work is Oracle's by right.

So, say you spent 5 years making an awesome program, and made it GPL and everything. You did the vast majority of the work. Then, some guy says, cool, I'm gonna fork it. "Ok, fine, go for it." Oh, also, I'm gonna need the name...

How about... go fuck yourself, sir.

There is obvious financial value in the name, and that value was Sun's, and is now Oracle's.

Re:I'm shocked. (4, Insightful)

IB4Student (1885914) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922320)

The Document Foundation's members put a lot of work into OO.org. Suppose you spend over 10 years on making an awesome program, and then some company buys out the name and doesn't let you use it. The Document Foundation has done a lot more for OO.org than Oracle will ever do. It's a crime that Oracle is allowed to have their clutches on it.

Re:I'm shocked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922354)

+1 sir +1

Re:I'm shocked. (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922552)

Citation please? Because last time I heard a great deal of the work done on Open Office was PAID for by Sun, which Oracle shelled out serious cash to buy, which INCLUDES the work done by Sun. Do you think all that money was a donation? And forking it is one thing, but asking for the name as well? I would have told them exactly where to go jump. It was rude, it was some serious attitude, and it was frankly uncalled for. Hell if I was Oracle I'd just take it proprietary and see how long the Libreoffice can keep up with $0 in work coming from Oracle.

Re:I'm shocked. (2, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922706)

Should have thought about that before creating a competing fork.

I find it pretty silly that they couldn't see the conflict of interest. (I find it more silly that anyone thinks a serious meeting could take place over IRC... but that's another discussion). Their product is competing to replace Open Office as the dominant office suite. It would be like Bill Gates being a board member for Microsoft and Apple. You can contribute. You can own stock. But to be in a leadership position is just ridiculous.

Re:I'm shocked. (1, Troll)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922322)

Yeah, it's their right to keep the name, if the open source people really want to prove that open source is better anyway they should just make the fork better and let the market decide. It was also pointed out that the name actually sucks so maybe this is really a good thing, as long as they don't use that gay LibreOffice name.

They should choose a name with more "zazziness" (Kaching Office, I dunno) or a really simple and straightforward one (like FreeOffice). Libre Office gives an air of smugness like the one that you get from <insert minority here> rights movement, or from vegans and other super ecofriendly people.

Re:I'm shocked. (3, Interesting)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922384)

Yeah, it's their right to keep the name, if the open source people really want to prove that open source is better anyway they should just make the fork better and let the market decide. It was also pointed out that the name actually sucks so maybe this is really a good thing, as long as they don't use that gay LibreOffice name.

I actually like the name LibreOffice more than OpenOffice. Also, a new name gives them a chance to shed the negative baggage that was associated with the OpenOffice name while still being able to point back to it for creditability.

Re:I'm shocked. (0, Offtopic)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922524)

i'm not sure how tacking an english word onto a Spanish one makes sense.

Re:I'm shocked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922536)

It's the English Language, it believes in hybrid vigor.

I like to think of it as a macrophage... (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922566)

English is like a macrophage. We eat everything up, but instead of getting rid of it, we re-purpose it in some way.

For a good visual image, try The Doomsday Machine from Trek (TOS). There's a good picture of it here [startrek.com] .

Re:I'm shocked. (2, Funny)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922656)

i'm not sure how tacking an english word onto a Spanish one makes sense.
Colorado River?

Re:I'm shocked. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922568)

How about they shorten it to LOffice, and make it short for Less office? As in, how about a non-bloated Office suite that is still capable of doing anything anyone really needs (with the right AddOn at least, as in the Mozilla approach)...

Re:I'm shocked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922658)

>LOffice

How about LOLffice?

Re:I'm shocked. (4, Funny)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922668)

>>LOffice

>How about LOLffice?

I maed you a documents ...but I ated it. ;_;

Re:I'm shocked. (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922604)

Free Office means it's not very good. If it were good it would cost money and not be given away for free.

If you want to market OpenOffice then you want to sell the customer on why it's desirable. If you say it's desirable because it's free then you are telling the customer that its only advantage is on cost.

Or you can just avoid ripping off Microsoft's branding all together and come up with a completely original branding. However, the current name does communicate to a customer exactly all that OpenOffice has ever striven to achieve so it's been very effective in explaining that it's just a rip off of MS Office but open source.

They should call it something new like:

Venture, Endeavor, Enlighten, Slate... something related to productivity and work but not named after Office.

Re:I'm shocked. (2, Insightful)

lanswitch (705539) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922662)

Microsoft is just one of many who sell office suites. There is no 'ripping of Microsoft's branding'.

Re:I'm shocked. (4, Interesting)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922414)

Technically, remember, that OOo is basically a dressing up and improving of Star Office, started by a German company, so if you want to attribute 90% of the work to someone, I'd put it there, but I don't think, at this point, you can contribute 90% to one entity.

Granted, Star Office, both program and company, were bought by Sun, but a lot of the work was done well before Sun stepped in and bought it.

And, I know it's a small detail, but it can matter legally, it's not GPL, it's LGPL. There are differences.

Re:I'm shocked. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922606)

I sort-of almost forgot that, to be honest. One of those things that I "knew", had I thought about it.

Re:I'm shocked. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922416)

The obvious problem with your view of the situation is
OO.org is GPL, the part of the copyright and trademarks may belong to Oracle, but not all. As a whole, Oracle does not "own" the project.

I can understand the move, several community members feel Oracle is going to be bad for the future of OO.org, and the project would be better
in the hands of a non-profit foundation.

Besides, there this is not the first fork (go-OO), and it is a sign that the project structure at OO.org is detrimental for the project. A similar, yet different situation
happened with XFree86. Did you ever try to ask yourself why community members would try to do something drastic as a fork? It is to get rid of the rot.

The council members would like to stay in the council because they think that even while separate, LibreOffice and others can be part of a bigger community, having similar
goals but different rules. So all officesuites can be part of the same foundation. I do not see a COI there, this is not a company, but an OS project. The interests of the two project are largely identical. Only the way how to actually do it maybe different.

Would it kill the submitters (4, Interesting)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922314)

Would it kill the story submitter to give people like me with no background in open source politics some info on what the heck is LibreOffice, why was it forked and is this latest development good or bad? I occasionally use Go-oo to open incompatible files but that's about it. Wikipedia and Libreoffice's website aren't much help either. So, someone knowledgeable, please reply below. Thanks in advance.

Re:Would it kill the submitters (3, Informative)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922356)

LibreOffice is a fork of OO.org that was started because of Oracle's buyout of Sun. They asked Oracle to donate the OO.org name to their fork, and now Oracle has kicked them out of the OO.org community counsel. Hard to say if it's good or bad, but it looks to be the start of a fight.

Re:Would it kill the submitters (2, Insightful)

Qubit (100461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922402)

Would it kill the story submitter to give people like me with no background in open source politics some info on what the heck is LibreOffice, why was it forked and is this latest development good or bad?

Are you sure you're on the right website?

No offense intended, but if you're hanging around /. and aren't at least mildly familiar with what's going on in the FOSS world, you're going to be copy/pasting that comment in a lot of articles.

Re:Would it kill the submitters (3, Informative)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922694)

Actually no.
Slashdot is FOSS centered but also covers a multitude of other sins, look at the one on near-nuclear disasters in the US for example.
My background knowledge of this particular story could be summarised as

  1. Sun bought Star Office several years back
  2. Sun released the Star Office sources and founded OpenOffice, while still releasing a non-free version under the original name
  3. OpenOffice became more and more important over the years, but the lion's share of the development was funded by Sun
  4. Oracle bought MySQL but this did not work out too well. A central problem was that MySQL is a free competitor to Oracle's main product (simplifying things a lot!!)
  5. Oracle bought Sun, thus acquiring Java and OpenOffice. They were not the reason for the buyout.
  6. loss?

That is simply general knowledge and does not adequately explain the background to this confrontation.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922704)

Not the GP here, but: I'm relatively active Slashdotter and 3rd year software engineering student... And I've never heard of LibreOffice before this.

The "FOSS world" is so large (IE: there is a lot of drama going on at any given time) and most of what happens there is so irrelevant (I code mostly Java/web applications. There is no reason why any catfight between Torvalds and some other dude would be relevant to me or my work) and there is so much else in life (school, work, drinking, sleeping, friends, own projects...) that frankly, I don't even try to pay that much attention to the FOSS politics. I do, of course, pay attention to the large events (Oracle aquiring Sun, etc.) but the politics between all the forks of any given project...? Meh.

But when some project is apparently important enough that it gets a /. summary and a reaction from Oracle, it would be nice to have a few sentences that describe the project. It's not all that unreasonable thing to ask for.

Re:Would it kill the submitters (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922526)

I think the short summary is that OpenOffice.org development is heavily dominated by one company who is slow to accept outside patches, requires copyright assignment and controls the direction it develops in, So far this has only lead to a set of extra patches (Go-oo), but with Sun being bought by Oracle the other contributors expect the situation to get worse and have decided to try reforming it as a community project. They've called it LibreOffice as Oracle owns the name but would ideally like to come to terms with Oracle and continue under the OpenOffice.org name. At least initially it seems that Oracle refuses the idea, and as they then see LibreOffice as a competing project this is bad news but not unexpected. I didn't expect Oracle to hand over the control so easily and suspect Oracle will not budge until most everybody else stand behind LibreOffice.

Re:Would it kill the submitters (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922630)

Would it kill the story submitter to give people like me with no background in open source politics some info on what the heck is LibreOffice, why was it forked and is this latest development good or bad?

Did you miss the recent slew of /. stories about just this?

After reading the log... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922318)

After reading the log, it seems like they feel that one can't represent both a forked project and the existing one, because they see them as being in competition.

I don't see why someone working on a fork has to be seen as being on the other team, but that's just me. I didn't see anyone saying anything about Oracle, but I admit that I don't really trust Oracle, either, nor do I know any of these devs.

Re:After reading the log... (4, Insightful)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922406)

I noticed that as well. It doesn't speak well of the Oracle people involved, since it essentially means they see Libre Office, which truly wants to remain free, as competition, and they only reason they'd see it that way is if Oracle's goals, which have not yet been stated, involved some way to tighten controls on OOo.

Re:After reading the log... (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922448)

precisely.

I was a little surprised to see evidence in the logs that the new employer was exercising so much influence over (former) friends: "COI .... COI .... COI .... COI .... COI .... COI ...." Sounded like a broken record. (Or should I say it looks like the input device for the end condition got stuck.)

Re:After reading the log... (1)

peter3125 (1117319) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922532)

Interesting - how easy would it be for a commercial company to change the license of an OpenSource product like OOo to something more restrictive? Or is it as easy as releasing a "new version" with a new version number and including an "updated license"?

Re:After reading the log... (3, Informative)

Znork (31774) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922610)

Or is it as easy as releasing a "new version" with a new version number and including an "updated license"?

If they have required copyright assignment for outside contributions, which OO has, it's that easy. For projects without copyright assignment it's much more difficult, as you have to have the agreement of all contributors (excepting automatic update clauses like the GPLs GPL version X or later).

Of course, you cannot retroactively change the license, so previously released code would remain viable to use for a fork.

Suing (1)

jbernardo (1014507) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922394)

I still expect Oracle to sue. Maybe not in Europe, for now, but surely in the USA, where Software Patents and their ilk are considered valid and used by trolls to extort money or to quash innovation. We'll see, but after Oracle's attack on Google over a bunch of idiotic software patents, we can expect anything. And we know it is cheaper even to large corporations like HTC to pay the trolls than to fight them.

That does it (3, Insightful)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922208)

I've been talking about it for about a year now. I'm going to stop using MySQL and only use PostgreSQL from here on out.

Re:That does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922342)

Go for it -- I'm sure Pg can use all the 14-year-olds it can get it hands on.

Re:That does it (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922392)

If you had any sense you'd have done that years ago. I can't fathom why anyone would use MySQL in this day and age. It's like a toy compared to most of the other DBMS's. The only upside I see to it is that it's free (as in beer - that's the only one many care about). If it was the only game in town, then sure, that factor would be worth using it for certain stuff. You get that with PostgreSQL too though, and you actually get a well written and capable DBMS.

For the inevitable car analogy: I drive a Hyundai because I'm a cheap bastard and it works well enough. If when I was looking to get my car though, someone had given me my choice of either a free Hyundai (MySQL) or a free Audi (PostgreSQL), I can guarantee you I wouldn't be driving the Hyundai.

Re:That does it (1)

wmac (1107843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922428)

Because PostgreSQL's performance is not enough for large websites and transaction numbers (it will need many times more hardware). We have a website with 2 million members and 200 million page views a month (10,000 concurrent users sometimes). We tried to convert to PostgreSQL but it just did not provide even near to the MySQL's performance on the same hardware.

Re:That does it (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922464)

Let me guess, you're probably using MyISAM instead of InnoDB too?

In modern times, using production-suitable storage engines, the speed difference isn't that great. In any event, speed is an easy problem to fix. You throw more hardware at it. Problem solved. Using amateur level storage methods in a large setup with (presumably) important data is just asking for trouble.

Re:That does it (1)

metageek (466836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922684)

You will not lose out with the switch. Pg is a proper relational dbms, unlike myqsl which was originally a very disabled dbms optimized for read performance. For my database projects the question was always whether we should use PostgreSQL or Oracle; Pg won because of the obvious (free as in speech and beer) but also because this way the developers were not allowed to use proprietary extensions which made our system easy to port if needed.

Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (5, Insightful)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922212)

I predict within six months "OpenOffice" will be dead and "LibreOffice" (or similar community-owned fork) will have supplanted it. Linux distros will drop it like a hot potato, and Novell and IBM sure aren't going to tie themselves to a hostile third-party for their efforts.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (5, Informative)

gblfxt (931709) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922220)

seems ubuntu is switching to libreoffice soon.

http://www.techdrivein.com/2010/09/future-ubuntu-releases-will-be-shipped.html [techdrivein.com]

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922350)

LibreOffice is waiting for the Debian ftpmasters to review it already:

http://ftp-master.debian.org/new/libreoffice_1:3.3.0~beta2-1.html

So it will be in Debian for wheezy. Unsurprising considering Rene is on the LibreOffice founders page.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (3, Funny)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922574)

openSUSE is switching as well [opensuse.org] . Not surprising, as they were shipping go-oo before.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (1)

EricX2 (670266) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922266)

Microsoft should fork it and include exchange capabilities. Damn them!

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (5, Insightful)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922274)

Didn't the license change [wikipedia.org] drive much of the switch to x.org? I recall, and Wikipedia confirms, that Keith Packard had been trying some of his own things before then, but I don't recall that they were going very far. I thought that his treatment, then the change in license was what made the difference.

So far, OO.o is distributed under the same license. I seem to recall that Fedora (Red Hat) and Ubuntu (Canonical) will support LibreOffice for now, but do they have any obligation to do so? If LO doesn't draw other support, then what will stop them from running, hat in hand (so to speak), back to OpenOffice? What if Oracle throws lots of resources behind OO.o, overshadowing the efforts that LO makes?

For the record, I tend to think that you're right. I'm just not willing to "predict" such an outcome for now. I can see circumstances which could drive it in either direction, or even a third direction, in which there's a great deal of cooperation between OO.o and LO.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922404)

What if Oracle throws lots of resources behind OO.o, overshadowing the efforts that LO makes?

If they keep the same license, LibreOffice is free to implement those things in their code base too. If they change the license, you have the same problem you noted earlier.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922424)

Ah. I didn't think about that part. This is another difference between the LO/OO.o split and the X.org/XF86 split, isn't it? Conversely, Oracle can simply change the license on OO.o, should they so choose. They own all of the copyright, no?

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922436)

Conversely, Oracle can simply change the license on OO.o, should they so choose. They own all of the copyright, no?

They can, but they can't retroactively retract it on the existing code. That code has already been licensed under the GPL and is out there. If they change the license, only the future changes to the code could remain closed source. What LibreOffice has already forked could and would be further developed separately. You can bet at that point the Linux distros would drop the closed source Oracle version for sure.

At this point, assuming that the developers behind LibreOffice stay active, I really don't see the Oracle version remaining in use.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (2, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922650)

The interesting question is how much developers are in each group. X.org was more successful than XFree not the least because a huge chunk of actively contributing devs was with that project.

With OO.org, I'm not so sure. In the past I've heard claims that most code - especially the core stuff, rather than various beautifications like Gtk & KDE theming, better icons etc - is maintained by Sun employees; that would be Oracle employees now (or most of them, anyway).

Or to put it simple: if you take the standing member line-up for OO.org and LibreOffice, and then look at the history of their commits for, say, the last two years, and measure the volume of said commits, how do the two groups compare?

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922442)

> So far, OO.o is distributed under the same license. I seem to recall that Fedora (Red Hat) and Ubuntu (Canonical)
> will support LibreOffice for now, but do they have any obligation to do so? If LO doesn't draw other support, then
> what will stop them from running, hat in hand (so to speak), back to OpenOffice? What if Oracle throws lots of
> resources behind OO.o, overshadowing the efforts that LO makes?

Since OO.o will still be released under the GPL any improvements Oracle makes to it can be quickly integrated into LibreOffice. Any improvements the LibreOffice folks make wont be reflected in OO.o because Oracle requires copyright assignment (which was one of the problems preventing people from contributing to OO.o) in order for them to dual-license OO.o and sell their closed-source StarOffice.

So it doesn't really matter how many resources Oracle dedicates; so long as they release under the GPL LibreOffice wins.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (4, Insightful)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922648)

What if Oracle throws lots of resources behind OO.o, overshadowing the efforts that LO makes

Based on my experience of Oracle, OpenOffice would quickly become so buggy that the few remaining users would jump ship.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (5, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922698)

You should be modded up because I think your more nuanced take on the matter is a clearer way to think about the issue. I also happen to agree with you. I tend to think the LibreOffice will become the version of choice, but I don't think it's 100% or even 90% certain.

I can see circumstances which could drive it in either direction, or even a third direction, in which there's a great deal of cooperation between OO.o and LO.

Oracle just made the third direction a lot harder. A normal member of the Open Source community would've seen the writing on the wall when the fork was made and realized a fight would benefit nobody. Oracle is clearly an entity that desires to cut off its nose to spite its face. I don't think the direction of cooperation is likely.

In fact, I'm really hoping the btrfs developers leave Oracle and some other Linux distribution or a foundation starts paying them. The fact they're Oracle employees is beginning to worry me. Oracle is not playing nice, and btrfs is too important to be in the hands of a company that doesn't play nice.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (3, Insightful)

gnalle (125916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922282)

How much of the openoffice code was created by sun employees?

Can libreoffice stay relevant without coorperate backing?

No flames please. I ask because I want to know.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (4, Interesting)

micheas (231635) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922504)

How much of the openoffice code was created by sun employees?

Can libreoffice stay relevant without coorperate backing?

No flames please. I ask because I want to know.

Nobody will know the answer to your question, because libreoffice has corporate backing of both Redhat (RHT:NYSE) and Canonical Ltd.

I would assume that Novell will merge oo-go into libreoffice and add their support to libreoffice.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (2, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922302)

I predict that projects like OOo take money to keep going, and that within six months LibreOffice and other forks will be dead. Looking at the IRC transcript I don't see Oracle forcing anything. There's a council that runs OOo and some people on that council have made a fork, which is literally a competing product. The correct place for those people is TDF, not the OOoCC, that's surely obvious.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (5, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922434)

FOSS projects only have to be in competition if they want to be, if they in fact want to cooperate it's still quite easy and being on each others boards would ensure competition.

I'll make the opposite prediction, LibreOffice (a much better name IMO than OpenOffice.org) will be dominant and OO will fade to only being available from Oracle. As of right now Fedora, Ubuntu and SUSE are switching that I know of, and I thought I heard nearly every Linux distribution has announced they are switching. That's signficant marketshare. Given that OO.org doesn't allow contributions without copyright assignment and LibreOffice is already moving at about twice the development pace because they accept contributions from everyone it doesn't take a crystal ball to see that LibreOffice will soon be the default very soon.

Oracle's made a big mistake on this front. They will be just like XFree86, completely irrelevant.

No force? (2, Interesting)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922470)

You don't know how to read between the lines in this kind of meeting, I'd say.

I've seen enough of these kinds of meetings to see the evidence of backroom deals. (As I noted above, the jammed input on the COI loop is one obvious bit of evidence.)

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922636)

Why would the Linux distros drop it? And, how is Open and/or Libre office hostile to either Novell or IBM? I realize you're just making a prediction, but I don't see what you're basing it on. I think that a lot of the point of the summary is, Libre is NOT a "competitor" in the traditional sense.

Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922692)

Ooops. Please ignore my post. Headupassitis. Or, to much multi-tasking or something. I read the parent's post incorrectly . . .

Smooth move (4, Insightful)

IICV (652597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922222)

Given that Oracle thinks this will lead to a conflict of interest, doesn't that kind of imply that there will be a conflict of interest? In other words, that what Oracle sees LibreOffice doing is going to conflict with where they want OpenOffice to go?

In other words, doesn't this basically mean that Oracle is actively planning to screw the pooch with OpenOffice?

Re:Smooth move (0, Offtopic)

IICV (652597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922236)

Wow, that's a lot of other words. Maybe I shouldn't post at this time of night.

Re:Smooth move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922268)

In other words, verbiage.
Or in other words, you suck. :)

Didn't Libre Office asked Oracle to join (2, Informative)

maweki (999634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922234)

Didn't Libre Office asked Oracle to join their Board of Directors?

But I did not see that coming

MS throws chairs, Oracle throws yachts (3, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922250)

Microsoft must be jealous that Oracle is the new FOSS hubris king. "They are out-eviling us! We....can't....have....this!"

Re:MS throws chairs, Oracle throws yachts (4, Insightful)

Scholasticus (567646) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922368)

Pretty much. I would add that any F/LOSS which depends on the good will of a large corporation should be ready at any time to cut and run. Nothing against big business (at least regarding this question) but the goal of a corporation is ultimately to make money. The goals of people who write free/open source software are many, though profit for it's own sake isn't usually at the top of the list. For Linus, it was at least originally "just for fun," for Stallman it's always been about the right to freedom - and you could make a long list of other reasons. Some people in the Linux and BSD communities of developers like to write software in an environment where making a mistake won't get them fired from their paying job. OpenOffice.org has been the flagship productivity suite for Linux for a while now. Since the acquisition of Sun by Oracle, it's only been a matter of time before some kind of split. I'm rooting for the fork, whatever they end up calling it, not because I don't like Oracle (I don't like Oracle, but that's not really the issue here), but because a truly independent office suite would be good to have. I hope that at least some of the devs who have been with this project for a long time continue to work on Libre Office.

Re:MS throws chairs, Oracle throws yachts (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922422)

I generally agree, and the same applies to MySql (Isn't there already AmySql or TotsSql or something like that named after somebody's daughter? Macho up the name a bit to avoid corporate teasers, though.)

Re:MS throws chairs, Oracle throws yachts (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922626)

You see? That just PROVES the company is being mismanaged! No one would EVER have been able to out evil Darth Gates, not even if he had a cold. He would have just given them a dirty look, his eyes would have glowed red, and he would have said in a dark voice "Smite Him!" and smote he would be. Now what do they have running the company? A big fat raving monkey boy who might as well be wearing a propeller beanie and a "I heart Apple!" t-shirt, walking around the once dark and powerful halls of Redmond going "We can be as hip and cool as Apple! Yes we can! Yes we can! STOP LAUGHING AT ME!

As for TFA it should be interesting to see who wins. If Oracle wins then I figure OO.o will just continue as it did under Sun, but if TDF wins this might make companies decide simply to not buy any company that is using Open Source licenses, because the developers can simply decide "We don't like you" and take what you paid for away from you. Why would anyone want to buy a FOSS company if that is true?

Looking at the transcript (2, Interesting)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922288)

That IRC meeting was painful. Is the reason OOo has been so slow to gain traction in America because nobody on the board speaks english or has the cultural fortitude to face tough issues? Thankfully louis_to was there to get down to business and make something happen.

Re:Looking at the transcript (1)

Bloodwine (223097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922328)

I'm glad I am not the only one who found it painful to read the transcript. I tried telling myself that the chat reads the way it does because English is not their first language. English or not, there seemed to be a lot of crosstalk and irrelevant chit chat. So much so that I don't see how they can really accomplish much of anything in such a format. I suppose that is why they were talking about geting a face-to-face meeting together.

Re:Looking at the transcript (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922572)

A public paper trail is the community members' best, and perhaps only, defense from this consolidation-of-power play. Make them give honest reasons for kicking them off the community council, not some trumped up "appearance of COI" garbage, and make them take their punitive actions publicly, and deal with the consequences.

Re:Looking at the transcript (2, Interesting)

rta (559125) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922462)

I too was struck by the overall unprofessional tone of the discussion. The language barrier was certainly palpable, but what was up w/ all the "joking" and such. louis_to at least put down some statement of what he (and/or his faction) were demanding, but he didn't really explain how or why this was a conflict of interest.

His statements were a quoted appeal to "gentlemanship" and a statement that he didn't want to "confuse the users". That's fairly weak reasoning. There was, for example, no statement of how the two projects are in competition with each other or any statement about WHAT exactly the users would be confused about.

I'm not saying that there isn't a COI, but no theory of COI was even advanced in the "discussion".

From my reading of this it looks like louis_to and mhu were giving the branchers/non-employees an ultimatum to resign by Tuesday (though no specific "or else" was specified). I assume otherwise they're going to be voted off the island?

(as a purely subjective matter, and perhaps as a result of their making demands without presenting an argument, mhu and louis_to came off as jerks in this exchange.)

Re:Looking at the transcript (1)

HelloKitty2 (1585373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922494)

lol, as a European I usually find it painful to discuss with, or read, with/from an American because of their constant wittyness and irrelevant crap that they have to say, I blame Americanization for this painful-to-read chat log ;)

Re:Looking at the transcript (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922514)

you're kidding right? right? Somehow adding political assholes to your advisory board is going to get you more uptake? Having people there who get things done is a good thing, but they must be the sort who fix more than they break. In this case expelling all members of the community from the community council doesn't exactly sound like good business. If anything oracle should have no more than one or two reps on that board, if it is to act as it is named.

oh, and drop the pretenses, the COI stuff is total bullshit.

painful (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922584)

Kind of like watching the scene where the former girlfriend is telling the geek goodbye, and you see her new boyfriend in the background with bulging, er, wallet.

And she has way too much makeup, way more than she used to, and the way it's caked on (cake, get it? Can't have your cake and eat it too.), the way it's caked on, you gotta wonder whether it's hiding bruises. And you know, the way these plots play out, that's exactly what the makeup is hiding.

Is that what you mean?

oracle and software (2, Interesting)

lexluther (529642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922306)

First, as usual, the post makes an infirmed attempt at giving the user any help in actually understanding the issue. Second, oracle has really never been successful in giving end-users a reasonably effective piece of software. They make great software and horrible interfaces. Using open office, I think about how great it would be if shuttleworth got into it. It is not as good as word and i say that with regret.

Re:oracle and software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922438)

You make some very good points.
However I'd like to slightly change one sentence.
Second, oracle has really never been successful in giving end-users a reasonably effective piece of software.
Change this to:-
Second, oracle has really never been successful in giving end-users a reasonably effective piece of software at a price that does not send shivers down your spine when you see it.
We just got a quote from Oracle & MS for a Datawarehousing Solution. There were gasps all round when we saw the prices(even with the hefty discounts). The result is that we are going (with some gritted teeth from a few people) with IBM. Their solution was a LOT (and I mean a lot) cheaper than the other two.

They make great software and horrible interfaces.
Yep. SQLDeveloper is one of the worst bits of software I've seen in recent years. It is little wonder that most people I know use (and willingly pay for) Toad.

Finally, IMHO, the last thing I'd like to see is Canonical get their sticky mits into LO. They do things for their own ends and not the for the greater community. Just look at their record with Kernel fixes. Even Oracle(And in this context, this is saying something) have contributed more fixed/enhancement back to the Kernel than Canonical.

Clear Conflict of Interest (5, Interesting)

kn (167667) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922332)

As a complete outsider, having read through the logs, it is hard for me to understand how this could possibly not be a conflict of interest.

I'm all for some Oracle bagging, as an ex-OpenSolaris user, but the comments so far seem rather unjustified in this case.

The board seems to be composed of Oracle Employees, and 3 independents (possibly more who were not present?). Comments are made that indicate that some of the Oracle employees have been involved in OpenOffice since before Sun's acquisition of Star Office. The 3 independents have all formed a competing project, and fail to understand how forming a separate project constitutes a conflict of interest. They justify this position by mentioning that they invited Oracle to join the board of their competing project. The concept of some mysterious cloud office is mentioned by one of the independents, seemingly indicating that there is no conflict. Most reasonable people would ordinarily conclude that the independents are crazy; however, due to Oracle's involvement it is apparently they who are in error.

Oracle may well have been uncooperative or something to bring forth a situation that necessitated a fork, but that hardly makes the current predicament anything less than a conflict of interest.

Re:Clear Conflict of Interest (4, Insightful)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922396)

This all depends on the interest. I am familiar with people in the free software community whose main interest is increasing free software adoption. In that case they can fully be in support of two projects. The features may overlap and the projects may compete but the interest of free software adoption can neutralize any maliciousness that might appear in a traditional business conflict of interest situation.

Re:Clear Conflict of Interest (1)

kn (167667) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922686)

This is a very interesting point of view, which I had not considered. I'm still not convinced that it is workable, and cannot note any other significant projects where this occurs on a large scale, but it does offer a reasoned alternative perspective on a matter that otherwise seemed to me to be very clear-cut.

Re:Clear Conflict of Interest (5, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922408)

Maybe the founders of LibreOffice don't consider themselves in competition with Oracle and are simply forking because Oracle wasn't attending to what they felt were important issues. Forking a project in FOSS doesn't have to be competition, it can still be a quite cooperative arrangement. Apparently Oracle is of the opinion that if you aren't with them you are against them and that's a terrible position to be in. Oracle thinks like a private company and apparently considers a fork some kind of competitive betrayal which is quite sad really. Forked projects can be quite cooperative, sharing code, project direction and working together on everything but the few items they disagree on. That's apparently NOT the direction Oracle wants to go and wants to sideline themselves completely. Not to worry, LibreOffice is now the default in nearly all the major Linux Distributions and I have no doubt within a few years OO will be a footnote in history. Too bad Oracle's stupid.

Re:Clear Conflict of Interest (4, Insightful)

badpazzword (991691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922544)

It is still concerning -- hell, misleading, confusing to have an "Open Office.org Community Council" made by 100% Oracle employees and 0% community.

Re:Clear Conflict of Interest (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922628)

Exactly.
If Oracle's interest conflicts with the communities interest of having free software, then THEY should leave the COMMUNITY council.

If they want to rip out OOo from the community as a whole, they should rip themselves out from the Community council, to resolve the COI THEY created in the first place.

They are playing stupid, using their shut up power over enslaved programmers they succeed to bribe with their salaries because they need to eat, and they try to rip the community into their pockets just because the "own" (in a legalistic way) the name.

Oracle seems to be quite a shitty company, legalistic, tyrannic, kind of the worst of humanity.

Re:Clear Conflict of Interest (1)

imunfair (877689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922590)

The way I read the whole situation sounds like open source developers forked the project to keep Oracle honest and prevent them from turning years of open source work into a closed source profit center. Oracle wants full rights on the project so they're trying to kick out all the developers that want to run parallel projects.

The open source developers don't see it as a conflict of interest since they are perfectly happy to contribute their updates to both development streams - and it doesn't become a conflict until Oracle tries to start making proprietary changes and preventing those changes from being ported over to the 'more free' project.

!COI (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922598)

In addition to what others note, the Sun, now Oracle, employees are not the only ones who have been working on it since before Sun bought Star Office.

(But, given the way you framed that, I suspect you are a troll.)

Re:!COI (1)

kn (167667) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922664)

If that is the case, such was not noted in the posted IRC log, whereas the point I noted was. I stated very clearly that I am a complete outsider, and therefore it could be reasonably assumed that I would not be aware of such things.

I take offence at you suggesting I am a troll. There is nothing trollish or even unreasonable about the assessment I made in the original post. There is certainly room for argument, however.

I am intrigued by some of the earlier comments in reply to my post, but your post serves little more than to insult me, which I think most would consider rather trollish behaviour.

I was also not suggesting that Oracle are totally in the right; just that on casual observation there appeared to me to be a very obvious conflict of interest. I am personally in favour of the fork (and any other fork away from Oracle, who seem incapable of open source project management in general), but I would have thought that the members of the fork would distance themselves from Oracle's project, which would appear to satisfy any apparent conflict of interest.

FOSS culture is more cooperative than competitive (1)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922616)

As a complete outsider, having read through the logs, it is hard for me to understand how this could possibly not be a conflict of interest.

The problem is one of corporate versus community perception.

From a corporate standpoint, two teams working on similar projects constitute competition, because they split the market share and profits, which forces teams to create a better product if they want a greater share of the rewards.

From a community perspective, it doesn't work this way. Since there are (usually) no direct profits from open source projects, there is virtually no competition. Furthermore, open source code creates an atmosphere of cooperation between teams because they can happily use each others' ideas and code. The "reward" is simply in becoming well known for creating a useful product, and market share isn't even a relevant concept.

These are two very different development paradigms, and perceiving a "conflict of interest" when there are multiple teams really just highlights the corporate mindset and lack of appreciation for FOSS community values.

Evolution in action (5, Insightful)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922372)

Quoting myself [blogspot.com]

At some point some open source projects developers may go in a direction that the distribution vendors and end uses may disagree with. It is the licensing which allows a fork of the project to develop that sets the open source development model apart from the pure proprietary development model. Apache, X.org and even the current version of the GNU GCC compiler toolset have been all derived from an outside fork of an existing open source project. No vendor or open source software developer can block development for any substantial period of time without the risk of the development being taken over by a descendant of the same project -- it's called evolution.

Every time the leading members/developers of each of those original projects complained bitterly about the interlopers.

The longer the original team remains entrenched in their design/implementation choices, the less the original team control has over the successor project and the less original product's market share of total users.

This will remain true for all freely licensed source code that Oracle has purchased or inherited. Even for the forks of the GPL licensed Java.

In the end freely licensed source code can have no dictators, only obsoleted dickhead.

s/oracle/orifice/g (1)

12WTF$ (979066) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922400)

no longer can I bring myself to correctly utter the name of lullison's code cancer corporation, ever more.

H-Oracal Has it Backwards (1)

BrendaEM (871664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922446)

Well, now that OpenOffice is pretty stable and secure, H-Oracle might as well try to get everyone to leave, that way they can have full control. The people who gave of themselves to work on OpenOffice, oh well.

If the will of the masses could will a company to bankruptcy, H-Oracle might be the next SCO.

Brace yourselves for a big Java split, too.

Oracle thinks it can choose it's own community (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922476)

I don't think that's part of free, open software. I think the community should choose their own council and Oracle will have to deal with it, for better or for worse.

Understandable move (2, Interesting)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922486)

Understandable move from Oracle. Anyone finding out that their wife/husband/life partner is having a side affair would ask them to move out.

It is really really sad, but I am not so sure about the ethical steps from Oracle's side up to this point. What made these guys create LibreOffice in the first place and why doesn't Oracle answer to that more constructively? Does LibreOffice really have the momentum already to withstand this move or is Oracle using the early stage?

At this stage we are not in a win-win situation, and things may get worse than the frustrated name calling of a bitter drama-queen feud.

Self-destructive (3, Interesting)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922496)

LibreOffice and co. have been a barely known contender in the free Office market so far, while OO.o has the market pretty much sealed up.

After this little stunt, and if this trend continues in the future, I would be surprised if OO.o remained the office of choice in Ubuntu 11.04, or really any of the Linux distros who pride themselves on free software. Oracle is destroying its free-software products.

A naive person might ask why they bought Sun in the first place, if they are clueless about how to manage free software. A cynic would answer that they bought it in order to run OO.o, MySQL and Java into the ground.

Re:Self-destructive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922672)

For arrogant, tyrannic dickheads, the idea of a community might be just over their heads.

Thus the forks. (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922690)

Everything good Sun had, everything of value even in the corporate world, is now forked, or soon will be.

Trying times ahead, while the money that evaporated recondenses and precipitates somewhere else.

communists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33922558)

Nobody will ever get payed to program, again! This is my secret weapon says Balmer to squash.

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