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OpenOffice Is Dying (And IBM Won't Help)

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the is-this-a-cry-for-help dept.

IBM 298

jfruhlinger writes "OpenOffice.org, now separate both from corporate sponsor Oracle and the Document Foundation's LibreOffice, is in trouble, with its team putting out a dramatic press release detailing the organization's trouble. One missing player in all this is IBM, who has backed OpenOffice.org in the past. One possible reason for Big Blue's silence is that it might be a prelude to the killing of Lotus Symphony, its OpenOffice-based suite." The Apache Software Foundation, on the other hand, insists OpenOffice.org is not at risk.

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298 comments

Nothing confirmed... yet! (4, Funny)

goldspider (445116) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714718)

Netcraft is rumored to be monitoring the situation carefully.

Re:Nothing confirmed... yet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715168)

Nice to know people actually use these things. Office suites seem such an overkill...for individuals, and for small companies $200-300 seems pretty cheap for even small businesses.

So? (5, Interesting)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714740)

LibreOffice is already a better product. Just let it die. There's no need for it anymore.

Re:So? (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714822)

Yeah, for all practical purposes it's dead ever since Oracle interfered.

Re:So? (-1, Flamebait)

RCL (891376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715268)

Unwarranted LibreOffice split is what killed it, not Oracle. And LibreOffice is unlikely to create a brand of its own - it will be just another obscure office suite with funny name.

This is the price one pays for not making compromises.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715412)

If winning is the price for not making compromises, then sign me up for two lots.

Re:So? (1, Interesting)

RCL (891376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715626)

Winning? LibreOffice shines by light reflected off OpenOffice brand. Use Google Trends or any other metric (including absense of any mention of LO in TFA) to estimate how popular LO is vs OO.o.

Guess what happens when OO.o is pronounced 'dead'? All those users who only wanted free beer, grudgingly tolerating OO.o's 90+% compability with MS Office, aren't likely to continue experiments with yet another underdog.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715506)

Unwarranted? You don't know what you are talking about.
By accounts of many insiders and users, a split was desperately needed to fix all the problems Oracle refused to.

As for "obscurity", it's already more popular and widely-used than OO.o ever was.

The only reason OO.o still exists is because Oracle is run by assholes who gave it to Apache Foundation just to spite LibreOffice.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715528)

I don't see this happening since ubuntu is already coming with LibreOffice. OpenOffice.org became popular because of bottom up activity. What keeps LibreOffice from doing the same

Re:So? (1)

RCL (891376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715734)

I think that OpenOffice.org owes a lot to Sun and its StarOffice heritage, while bottom-up activity didn't promote brands like KOffice or AbiWord, did it?

Whatever the reasons for its popularity were, OpenOffice.org is the most successful open office suite at the time being, and it's not wise to start from scratch with LibreOffice, being in worse position than OO.o was in the beginning.

Re:So? (1)

WorLord (16143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715540)

You ARE aware that the OpenOffice people created the split, right? As in, kicked out all the LibreOffice people for even *thinking* about a more open-source friendly split?

Re:So? (0)

RCL (891376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715806)

From what I know, the split happened because some people were afraid of Oracle doing something bad to OO.o, and started to act first - effectively creating a self-fullfilling prophecy.

Re:So? (0)

uniquename72 (1169497) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715786)

Agreed. LibreOffice can't possibly match OpenOffice's brand recognition without a name change ("LibreOffice" is just clunky all around). Perhaps the death of OpenOffice could allow LibreOffice to adopt the former's far, far superior moniker.

Re:So? (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715736)

I wonder, re we going to see a LibreSQL sometime soon?

I'm not comfortable with the Oracle / MySQL direction.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37714950)

It does have a crappier name, though. Maybe if OO.o dies, The Document Foundation can use the trademark.

Re:So? (0)

hduff (570443) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715084)

It does have a crappier name, though. Maybe if OO.o dies, The Document Foundation can use the trademark.

What's wrong with Lee Bray Office?

Mrs. Bray says her little boy stands for free dumb.

Re:So? (1)

efalk (935211) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714962)

LibreOffice is already a better product. Just let it die. There's no need for it anymore.

Will LibreOffice read/write powerpoint? Because I tell you, using OO Presentation was one of the most painful things I've ever had to deal with.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715138)

Because I tell you, using OO Presentation was one of the most painful things I've ever had to deal with.

I hear things like this all the time. I thought I had a good life, but compare to you, life is like a punch in the face. Having a root canal with inadequate anesthesia was one of the most painful things I have ever had to deal with. I envy you.

Re:So? (5, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715204)

I agree. People shouldn't use hyperbole in their writings. It is literally murdering the English language.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715234)

LibreOffice forked from OpenOffice, then made a few improvements. If you hated OpenOffice, you will hate LibreOffice slightly less or the same. The goals of LibreOffice are more about being free (libre) than about being Micro$oft. If you liked PowerPoint and hated OO Presentation, then I'm afraid PowerPoint is probably the only product that will ever make you happy.

Re:So? (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715308)

The first thing that LibreOffice did was import all of Novell's patches that OpenOffice rejected because of their dubious legal status (they were written with documentation provided by Microsoft under their patent agreement with Novell). So it has better support for a lot of MS Office things than OO.o.

If it has "better support" ... I really feel sorry (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715494)

What you call "better support" is not even acceptable to the rest of the world.

MS Office compatibility of LibreOffice is just as bad if not WORST than OpenOffice. It is so bad that it can't open a document with only basic formatting (a few bullets with the same font w/ different sizes) without making a mess of it.

Sorry, but LibreOffice is not worth the free price tag.

On the other hand, OpenOffice was of acceptable quality while SUN was in control. It turned into crap as soon as Oracle took over.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715682)

LibreOffice is already a better product. Just let it die. There's no need for it anymore.

Will LibreOffice read/write powerpoint? Because I tell you, using OO Presentation was one of the most painful things I've ever had to deal with.

If you are trying to do anything using PowerPoint, "you're doing it wrong."

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

RCL (891376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715136)

Death of OpenOffice.org will damage LibreOffice, too. Only geeks around me know (and care) about the split, whereas most other users I know just use "open Office" because it's free and don't want to be educated about the situation (they simply don't care). News about OpenOffice.org dying will probably result in them considering the "open Office" idea a failure and switching to MS Office, not LibreOffice, since LibreOffice is a scary and not widely known name.

You already see that headlines like these make news, and you will see that overall population of Libre/OpenOffice will dwindle if brand is considered "dead".

Re:So? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715514)

Well, I didn't have any trouble getting a couple dozens of people I know from OO.o to LO. Maybe you've just got dumb friends?

Wow, let's go sensational! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37714784)

If you want to be sensational, then yes: OpenOffice.org as a project is dead. Oracle killed it. Deal with it, get over it, whatever it takes to get you through the day.

But Apache has this great ApacheOpenOffice podling thing that's doing great, and has inherited both most of the OOo code, as well as all of the OpenOffice.org logos, brand, and trademarks.

So here's hoping people are willing to look at this new Apache Licensed version of the old OpenOffice.org suite!

P.S. Note comments on the other article and public statements on ooo-dev@ mailing that show IBM'ers working on the project as part of their dayjobs. Who knows how far the commitment will go, but there are certainly some of them there already.

And? (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714794)

When a project loses interest it dies. That's just how these things go no?

People aren't using OpenOffice (or there aren't people who are interested in contributing) and are using other suites like LibreOffice.

Lifecycles happen. Death is part of those.

RIM is in trouble too, let's get up and help them out as well.

Corps not individuals behind some FOSS projects (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714994)

When a project loses interest it dies. That's just how these things go no? People aren't using OpenOffice (or there aren't people who are interested in contributing) and are using other suites like LibreOffice. Lifecycles happen. Death is part of those.

For some projects. However for some major projects the development is really corporate sponsored. It is at times an urban myth that FOSS contributors are a bunch of individual volunteer. Sometimes the corporate employees instructed to contribute to FOSS are far more important. The corporation directing their efforts may have different motivations than individuals.

Re:Corps not individuals behind some FOSS projects (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715800)

It is at times an urban myth that FOSS contributors are a bunch of individual volunteer.

You are far too nice. That is actually deliberately spread FUD and lies used by people who hate FOSS (like Microsoft) to basically carry out ad-hominem attacks on the developers, users, and software itself.

Re:And? (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715750)

RIM is in trouble too, let's get up and help them out as well.

Aren't they too big to fail? Can't we get some large government to bail them out? Canada???

google (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37714798)

google should take you to the libreoffice site when you type in openoffice.

Ads & Shady programs incoming (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714828)

Typically when this happens, for the developers to stay afloat, they try and offer software with their bundles (like chrome) as well as maybe a few "extra" features such as daemon tools did, that most people don't appreciate. Then again, they're probably just orphaned and will be picked up by another sponsor shortly. Also gotta wonder how such practices work under an open source license.

Re:Ads & Shady programs incoming (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715096)

They don't. If they tried such a thing, which they won't, someone would just distribute a cleaned up verison.

By the way, that shit only happens on windows. I have never seen an rpm or deb that pulls in any extra bullshit like that in.

Why? (1)

Aknaton (528294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714838)

Considering the situation with LibreOffice at the time of the transfer, I have to wonder why ASF even accepted OOo from Oracle in the first place.

LibreOffice (1)

sorenstoutner (1303759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714842)

Wow! There is no mention anywhere in these articles about LibreOffice, which is where all the energy and development behind the project has gone. http://people.gnome.org/~michael/data/2011-10-10-lool-demo.webm [gnome.org] OpenOffice isn't dying. It finally shook itself free from its corporate shackles and got a new name in the process.

Re:LibreOffice (2)

RCL (891376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715486)

And this is not accidental. LibreOffice is not attractive for those OpenOffice.org users who prefer free beer to free speech (and unfortunately, they are the majority, at least judging from people I know, YMMV), because:

  • - It is not backed by any commercial entity and is not perceived as able to keep pace with MS Office.
  • - It looks like it was created because of some childish ego-war or other bullshit - no one guarantees that the project won't be split again
  • - It has a weird name, which does not appeal to people from non-Latin-speaking countries.
  • - It's harder to find.

Re:LibreOffice (1)

sorenstoutner (1303759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715896)

I disagree with points 1, 2, and 4. 1. Not being backed by a commercial entity is a plus for open source software. I don't know anyone who believes it can't compete with MS Office. In fact, LibreOffice has progressed more in the last year than OpenOffice ever did in a one year period, so I would argue that it is the best placed project to compete with MS Office. 2. Haven't met anyone with this opinion either. Can you post one link to a credible person who feels this way? (Hint: there is no guarantee in any open source project that it won't be split again. That hasn't kept open source software from becoming increasingly relevent.) 4. Not sure what you mean by this. Most linux distros are switching to LibreOffice or already have switched. Those who follow open source software know how to find it easily. It does have an odd name for English speakers. So do lots of successful open source programs. The point being, all the momentum is with LibreOffice. Look at the link in my original post, which demos LibreOffice running in a browser using Canvas and HTML5. It will eventually allow collaborative editing and embedding in any website. Can OpenOffice do that? There is an active Android port underway. Any action on that front for OpenOffice? http://www.itworld.com/it-managementstrategy/213373/libreoffice-sees-new-platforms-more-users [itworld.com] It's all about momentum.

Ah. Ok. (5, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714860)

The point of Open Source is that it is an evolutionary-based philosophy. Branches compete and, in those environments in which a given branch thrives, that branch will continue to evolve. ("Survival of the fittest" is a misnomer as it carries the implication that there is a unique fittest and a unique environment for it to be fittest in.)

Libre Office is thriving in most of the environments Open Office used to do well in, with KOffice, Abiword and other integrated office packages doing well in their own niches. Saying "Open Office can't be allowed to die" is simply not the right approach. The right approach is to find a niche in which Open Office and not Libre Office or any other office software is the correct solution.

To do that, of course, Open Office has to actually do something new. Just doing the same things Libre Office already does better isn't a reason to maintain it. It has to diverge FIRST and then, if that divergence produces something interesting, it will survive because it is doing something interesting.

Re:Ah. Ok. (2, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715008)

Yup. OpenOffice was dead once it forked hard, XFree86 style.

Oracle separating themselves from OO was too little, too late - by the time Oracle stopped meddling, the project was already dead.

OO being dead doesn't really matter that much other than the fact that LibreOffice is a rather lame name which will probably inhibit corporate acceptance in some organizations. LibreOffice just has too many idealistic/propaganda connotations in the name - it makes it sound like it came from a bunch of RMS-style nutjobs (even if it didn't).

Re:Ah. Ok. (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715074)

Am I the only one disturbed that the word "freedom" apparently has negative connotations?

Would "FreeOffice" be better because people would be free (libre) to assume it means free (gratis) if that makes them more comfortable?

Re:Ah. Ok. (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715156)

Because you shouldn't be pushing an agenda when you name your software.

OpenOffice wasn't too bad because Open is such an overloaded and diluted word that no one cares about it.

Free has negative connotations of "crap"

Libre has negative connotations of "those people are probably a bunch of zealots like RMS".

Re:Ah. Ok. (5, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715336)

> Libre has negative connotations of "those people are probably a bunch of zealots like
> RMS".

Or worse - French.

Re:Ah. Ok. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715470)

Ah, so mentioning equals pushing.

They should apologize for shoving their agenda down your throat by forcing the word "freedom" to cross your lips when referring to the software product that you're benefiting from due to the freedom it provides its users.

They shouldn't change the name exactly so that people can see that "mentioning the existence of freedom" != "RMS-style zealotry".

And people who can't get past that and avoid LibreOffice as a result of their own prejudice can do without. I'm fine with that.

Re:Ah. Ok. (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715578)

Why would it be assumed they are pushing an agenda? If the name was unrelated to the actual software I could see that (e.g. "FreeHealthcareForAllOffice", "NoHigherTaxesOnAmericansWithAnnualIncomesGreaterThanOneMillionDollarsOffice") but LibreOffice is a reasonably accurate description of what the software is.

Re:Ah. Ok. (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715238)

Am I the only one disturbed that the word "freedom" apparently has negative connotations?

It sounds a bit much like liberate when most companies don't see themselves as captives. It's more over the top than anything else. OpenOffice is a rather ideal name in my opinion, that it's open (source) and that it's an office (suite). Well minus the ".org" that they had to add for some trademark reason, meh.

Re:Ah. Ok. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715298)

Speaking only for myself, the strongest image that springs to mind when you say "Libre" is "Nacho Libre". So naturally I find the product name to be silly-sounding. That said, I am in possession of a demented mind.

Another good name would be "Airplane! Office" or "The Naked Office". "Austin Office, the Suite that Shagged Me". Nah, too far.

Re:Ah. Ok. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715300)

Am I the only one disturbed that the word "freedom" apparently has negative connotations?

Would "FreeOffice" be better because people would be free (libre) to assume it means free (gratis) if that makes them more comfortable?

No, because then the perception in most of the business world would be something like "It's free, so it can't be that good. Let's go throw money at that $400 office suite over there so we'll know we're getting a premium product."

Honestly, I think if some of these open source programs and operating systems would charge somewhere around 40-60% of what the competing Microsoft product does, while still offering the option of a free, completely identical download, you'd see their market shares jump significantly.

Re:Ah. Ok. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715644)

Nah, the lack of a restrictive EULA requiring you to turn over your first-born if you violate it would immediately tip off the Point-Haired-Bosses that they were installing something free and open. You'd have to charge more than Microsoft in order to make them feel as if they're getting their value from their purchase. See Apple product pricing.

Re:Ah. Ok. (4, Informative)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715796)

My main problem with OpenOffice dying, and continued development on LibreOffice, is that it took years to get the name of OpenOffice recognized and somewhat widely used. With LibreOffice you throw that brand recognition away, which will make it a much more niche product.

Re:Ah. Ok. (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715040)

To do that, of course, Open Office has to actually do something new.

Rewriting software from scratch isn't as easy as you think... :)

Re:Ah. Ok. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715062)

Rewriting software from scratch isn't as easy as you think... :)

Perhaps they could get some pointers from the Gnome dev team. They seem to have been doing nothing else these past couple years :P

Re:Ah. Ok. (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715636)

Why rewrite? Plenty of functionality they could add. Proper DTP support, support within Calc for the numerous maths and stats libraries out there, better document revision control, hooks for FlightGear so that the wordprocessor properly emulates the Easter eggs in MS Word, etc.

Re:Ah. Ok. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715890)

Why rewrite? Plenty of functionality they could add. Proper DTP support, support within Calc for the numerous maths and stats libraries out there, better document revision control, hooks for FlightGear so that the wordprocessor properly emulates the Easter eggs in MS Word, etc.

Proper DTP support ? Writer already trounces all over Word in the DTP arena.
And both of them suck big time confronted with a proper DTP solution (being Scribus, LaTex, XeTeX or Adobe InDesign).

Calc is not powerfull enough ? Use R.

See its not difficult, use the right tool for the right job.
But that requires a little bit of intellectual flexbility and this seems to be a rare skill indeed in our technological society.

Killing Kotus symphony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37714872)

The company I work for recently made the move to Lotus Notes 8.5, and as a part of that, they're seeming staging for a move to Lotus Symphony, and away from MS Office. And this is a major fortune 500 manufacturing company.

It's interesting that the author seems to have made that idea up from whole cloth. Isn't the idea that IBM aren't supporting OpenOffice.org because they want to kill off their OWN product a bit of a stretch? What are they going to replace it with?

Re:Killing Kotus symphony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715780)

Does that company make big yellow things? Because mine did the exact same thing. (Lotus 8.5 just came last week).

While it'll work just fine for 95% of the company. IT has forgotten how much legacy code was written in VBA Excel.

Anonymous for obvious reasons

Jumping on the Death bandwagon (4, Funny)

quangdog (1002624) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714876)

First Jobs, then Ritchie, now OOo?

They just want to be like the cool kids.

Misinformation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37714924)

We congratulate the LibreOffice community on their success over their inaugural year and wish them luck in their future endeavors. We look forward to opening up the dialogue between Open Document Format-oriented communities to deepen understanding and cease the unwarranted spread of misinformation.

This was from the ASF press release. Does anyone know what misinformation the PR refers to?

Re:Misinformation (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715014)

Yeah. They are referring to the misinformation such as stating that oo.org is dead when it's not. Pretty much the very misinformation and FUD being spread by this very submission.

Re:Misinformation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715174)

But the first press release was authored by Team OpenOffice.org e.V. , so the ASF is responding to a faction within it's own OpenOffice community, right? Or is there more to it? I'm not seeing the misinformation angle here.

Openoffice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37714926)

And nothing of value was lost.

OpenOffice / Lotus Symphony (2)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714958)

These two are not as linked as everyone wants to report. I believe Lotus Symphony was developed from OpenOffice 1.0, before the license changed. The code base has changed greatly since. Lotus Symphony is closed source, and can't take anything from the existing OpenOffice unless IBM owned the copyright to all the code completely and had the right to change the license. And even then, the two code bases are far enough apart that it probably won't be that worth while.

The existing Lotus Symphony would likely have to get thrown out the window, and they'd have to port their UI and file formats to the existing OpenOffice codebase.

I think it would be better for IBM to embrace LibreOffice, but offer a cloud interface. Imagine if they served it up in a Citrix style from the web. Google Docs doesn't cut it beyond basic tasks.

Re:OpenOffice / Lotus Symphony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715272)

The current version of Lotus Symphony is based on OOo 3. Since Sun required copyright-assignment for anything that was integrated into the OOo codebase they were free to license it under whatever terms they wanted.

Both Lotus Symphony and Red Office use the OOo code in their proprietary products.

Now that OOo is under the Apache license they can continue to use the code without giving back or paying Oracle, although IBM did say they were going to release the Lotus Symphony code under the Apache license too. Not sure whether that's happened yet though.

Re:OpenOffice / Lotus Symphony (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715378)

Google Docs doesn't cut it beyond basic tasks.

That was true in the past, but becomes less and less true every moment. They even support macros and custom spreadsheet functions now. It's no excel, but I gradually find myself moving stuff over to it.

Re:OpenOffice / Lotus Symphony (5, Interesting)

xenoc_1 (140817) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715566)

They're more linked than you think. IBM Lotus Symphony is now based on OO.o 3x code, has been since 2009. Now I believe 3.3 or at least 3.2 after the early-2011 Symphony FixPack. Other than the IBM-built UI, a lot of Symphony is open source or built on open source. Even the UI is based on Eclipse. IBM added some import/export filter improvements, which I think they gave back to the community. If they didn't then, they did 4 months ago, when IBM donated the entire Symphony codebase and rights to Apache [ibm.com] . Also reported right here on Slashdot [slashdot.org] , which is of course why nobody here seems to know that.

I strongly prefer Symphony for everyday use over LibreOffice/OpenOffice.org (essentially indistinguishable until recently, from a user and UI perspective). I like the tabbed interface a whole lot better than having a bunch of windows running around. We geeks castigated IE for years until they adopted tabbed browsing; how come we meekly accept non-tabbed office suite interfaces? I've got LibreOffice on my PCs, but I also have Symphony, and I have Symphony set as the default for all ODF formats and Microsoft Office formats that are supported by Symphony.

I'm working on a novel. Writing in in Symphony. Chapter I'm writing is in one tab, other chapters for referbacks are in others, character notes and plot notes, dialog snippets in yet others. Just more intuitive than different windows. Also, each new tab eats less resources than a full new window. For regular everyday life stuff, the same tabbed interface helps with a budget spreadsheet in one tab and reference docs in others. Sure, could do this in separate windows. But we could all be using single-page non-tabbed browsers too.

Symphony does not include the OpenOffice.org Base, Math, nor Draw modules. If I need them (unlikely), I have LibreOffice's improved versions of them to use. The only two features (arguably one feature) from OpenOffice.org / LibreOffice I miss sometimes is the Open Read-Only option in the file dialogs, and the toolbar button to switch from editing to Read-Only mode. In Symphony the only way I've found to open something read-only is to deliberately open it first in Symphony, Microsoft Office, or LibreOffice, and then open it a second time. The second time will be read-only due to the file lock.

I'd love to see the Symphony interface and other enhancements become the new UI for OpenOffice.org, or perhaps "Apache SymphonyOffice" to get away from the "we're not the now-who-cares OpenOffice commercial company which is why we need the stupid .org in our actual product name" problem. Bake Base, Draw, Math back into it along with some of the features that IBM took out (R/O pretty please?). You get a strong alternative to Microsoft Office, with an updated UI compared to LibreOffice. Rather than the confusing situation of LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org being identical in appearance (yeah, minor toolbar changes) and a confused outside-the-geekosphere public. LibreOffice and Symphony would be different enough to attract different audiences. Somewhere down the road they might even be able to work together again, because their products wouldn't be looking 99% identical and thus direct competitors with no reason for both to exist. The Symphony changeover would give that reason.

Dropping Lotus Symphony? Says who? (3, Informative)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714968)

This article links to another article whose authour is just SPECULATING that IBM may be dropping Lotus Symphony. I can find no evidence that IBM has said any such thing, nor can I even find any leaked information to support this.

Conclusion? Yet another unsubstantiated blog post promoted to the front page of Slashdot with no fact checking. And people wonder why the readership of /. is in decline....

Change the name back to OpenOffice!! (2)

AppleOSuX (1080499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714976)

Why don't the LibreOffice people take the OpenOffice name back? I fucking hate the new name.

Professionally Developed? (2)

CockMonster (886033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37714990)

I always found OO slow, bloated and visually unappealing. I forgave it though as I assumed it had been developed by students.

Re:Professionally Developed? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715400)

Funny, I thought the same about Microsoft Office.

Re:Professionally Developed? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715414)

I just thought they were doing a good job copying MS. :)

PS: I'm joking, but if I'm working on OpenOffice, co-workers will sometimes stop in their tracks and say, "Hey, how did you get the old Excel back?" when they walk by my cube. So it can't be THAT ugly...

XFree86 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715010)

Perhaps this will give the OpenOffice developers more time to hang out with the XFree86 folks?

Conflating two different organizations (4, Informative)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715030)

The article is conflating the Team OpenOffice, e.V. non profit with the OpenOffice.org open source project.

Team OpenOffice, e.V, was the fundraising arm of the OpenOffice.org project, set up as a non profit so they could legally raise funds for things like conferences. It was always independent of the open source project.

The OpenOffice.org open source project, the code, the trademarks, the domain name and the website, have moved to Apache, where work continues: http://incubator.apache.org/openofficeorg/ [apache.org]

It looks like the Team OpenOffice, e.V. guys are publishing alarmist material in order to raise money. That is a standard fundraising technique. What about the children, the baby seals, the environment? Who will save them now that the big bad oil companies/loggers/tech corporations that are out to get them. Send money now or the kitten dies.

Re:Conflating two different organizations (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715184)

p>It looks like the Team OpenOffice, e.V. guys are publishing alarmist material in order to raise money. That is a standard fundraising technique. What about the children, the baby seals, the environment? Who will save them now that the big bad oil companies/loggers/tech corporations that are out to get them. Send money now or the kitten dies.

Children, baby seals, the environment and kittens do not believe in freedom. They take your freedoms away from you. Bad kitty.

Re:Conflating two different organizations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715930)

[flamebait] What wonderful wit you have! Ha ha ha, ha ha ha, ha ha. [/flamebait]

Re:Conflating two different organizations (1)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715840)

They are not getting the right effect. Articles with titles like "X is dying", usually have a self-fulfilling value to them it they get enough traction.

The Stench of Oracle (1)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715068)

It's almost impossible to get it off of products, even when they are still not part of Oracle.

RIP SUN Microsystems.

downside? (1)

prograde (1425683) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715106)

a prelude to the killing of Lotus Symphony

I fail to see a down-side to this.

Legacy File Conversions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715746)

a prelude to the killing of Lotus Symphony

I fail to see a down-side to this.

Lotus Symphony can read legacy Lotus WordPro files, and allow you to convert them to ODT or Word. So far as I know, it is the only app that can do this on Linux or a Mac, and by far the easiest and cheapest way to do this on Windows. It also does Lotus 1-2-3 conversions.

Analyst's analysis seems dodgy... (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715120)

"This means IBM and any other Apache OpenOffice.org project member can innovate the OpenOffice.org source code for their own purposes and not be obligated to give back to the mainline OpenOffice.org code, since the ASL is a non-copyleft license. IBM and other OpenOffice.org contributors will also be able to re-license OpenOffice.org code under any license they want, including a proprietary license, should they wish."

TFA's analyst appears to be under the impression that IBM would see this as a good thing, and would therefore be more likely to want to support OO.org. I'm not sure that makes much sense.

Aside from the horribly mangled use of "innovate", the ability to take code proprietary is only sometimes valuable. It can be valuable if you have the sole right to do it(ie. in the case where it is mostly your project, and you have a copyright assignment policy for contributors, which gives you the option to maintain a proprietary commercial version with some additional features or whatever without any significant forking from the public version). It can also be valuable if you have a different product, 100% proprietary, that needs some feature available in the non-copyleft code, which you can just incorporate. If neither of those is true, though, the ability becomes rather less valuable, possibly even of negative value, in practice.(observe, for instance, the places where Linux ends up in products vs. the ones where BSD does)

Given that the business of trying to make money from the direct sale of office suites that aren't Office is something of an uphill battle, the right of all and sundry to throw their slightly differentiated proprieterized forks into the ring is likely to be of negligible commercial value. If(as I strongly suspect is IBM's case) your real interest is in a combination of selling server/groupware stuff and attempting to prevent MS from using desktop software as a beachhead to sell their server/groupware stuff, the largely theoretical ability to make money from selling shrinkwrapped proprietary spins of Apache licensed code is far less valuable than throwing your lot in with whatever branch of ODF-supporting software sucks least and shows the greatest promise of surviving long enough for ODF to evolve into a real format, rather than a snapshot of OO.org's behavior with aspirations to openness.

LibreOffice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715142)

What about LibreOffice? They seem to be doing ok, no?
They are going to have a conference in Paris soon:

http://www.libreoffice.org/

Oh no, Sodipodi is too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715210)

Sodipodi is dead... I guess we'll have to use Inkscape, oh no.

I bet you have never even heard of Sodipodi. It was a similar situation to so many open source projects. The original project leaders/developers were arrogant morons so someone forks it and turns it into something way better by doing all the stuff the original developers thought was a bad idea.

Watch out GNOME.

"Alternative" to MS Office? Right.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715236)

Is this the kind of stability the FOSSies offered as an "alternative" to Microsoft Office? I'm willing to bet MS Office will outlive OO.o by quite a longshot.

Re:"Alternative" to MS Office? Right.... (2)

hduff (570443) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715360)

Is this the kind of stability the FOSSies offered as an "alternative" to Microsoft Office? I'm willing to bet MS Office will outlive OO.o by quite a longshot.

And you can still buy brand-new buggy whips.

Your point?

LibreOffice is having it's Paris Conference Now! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715250)

http://www.libreoffice.org/
That's right, these are the last days of the conference. Yes this is great timing, I don't know what this FUD supports, but the timing is interesting.

Nobody cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715288)

I can't even find the press release the article linked in the summary is about.

Sun was bought by Oracle including VirtualBox, OpenOffice and mySQL.

People forked OpenOffice to LibreOffice. LibreOffice is more popular now.

People stopped using VirtualBox because QEmu is good enough.

People are still deciding to switch to pgSQL or another mySQL alternative.

Oracle knows pretty they can't be trusted with maintaining things that do not earn them money.

People who write code for OpenOffice should take their patches and give them to LibreOffice or stay in their Fantasyworld and fuck off.

Open Office Is Holding Back Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715464)

I've really tried my best to like Open Office, using it for as long as 6 months when v2 came out and 8 months when v3 came out, but each time I'm left with the conclusion that it should be allowed to die. Anyone who says it's a perfectly acceptable office suite is deluding themselves, and the software has a vast number of flaws that make it totally unusable.

Open Office is actually holding back FOS office suits by its mere existence. Had Open Office not existed IBM may have created an office suite from scratch and as such it may have been good. Sadly Lotus Symphony inherited many of the flaws of Open Office and was equally unusable.

Libre Office continues to flog the dead horse and still more resources are being wasted on a piece of software that is ultimately a compete mess. In the long term they'd likely make more progress if they started again from scratch.

Open Office actually damages the reputation of FOS. It should be the poster boy for FOS software which shows companies that there are alternatives to handing all their money over to Microsoft. Instead most companies that try Open Office probably leave with the impression that FOS software is buggy, slow, lacking features and generally low quality.

The MS Office ribbon introduced a big opportunity for Open Office, and I'm sure many people tried using Open Office to avoid the ribbon abomination. Sadly, due to its low quality, OO couldn't capitalise on this opportunity and instead people are either sticking with Office 2003 or forcing themselves to use the ribbon.

As things stand there'll never be a decent open source office suite because everyone just keeps wasting their time and resources on Open Office branches. Let it die and start again.

Top 4 reasons I quit using OpenOffice (2, Interesting)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715576)

1) Simple things like "copy one row to another" regularly crash OpenOffice for many users. The reaction on the forums? "Dink around with Java for a few hours, tweak some clipboard settings and pray, etc." That's not the mark of a product ready for office consumers.

2) GoogleDocs. Where's the "share this with my colleagues and let them make updates" function in OpenOffice?

3) Poor formatting of Microsoft Office documents. Sure, you can read incoming Microsoft Office documents, but OpenOffice has a way of uglifying them by not quite rendering or saving things in a compatible manner. (When I saved a doc from OpenOffice, I only saved as PDF, never doc - just couldn't trust it!)

4) UI. Who the hell came up with the color picker? Why are commonly used functions buried? Did anyone on the OpenOffice project ever sit down with someone who spends 8 hours a day cranking documents or did they just work off a list of matching features somewhere?

no need for two office packages (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715830)

LibreOffice was created as a fork when Oracle when all corporate asshat with OpenOffice. There's no point in dumping resources into two open source office products anyway. I don't see the problem here.

Symphony is dead! Long live Symphony! (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715882)

I'm old enough to remember when the original Symphony was developed - when Lotus was an independent company. Lotus 1-2-3 had a fairly strong following, so they decided to move into the integrated office suite arena after all the big kids had already done so. Symphony never gained a whole lot of traction; but apparently IBM (who acquired Lotus' remains) thought the name was cool enough that they eventually reincarnated it as an OpenOffice-based suite. If IBM kills the current incarnation, I'm sure the name will rise from the dead in the reasonably near future - maybe as a completely different type of product.

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