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Sun Urged to Give Up OpenOffice Control

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the set-my-people-free dept.

Sun Microsystems 246

inc_x writes "Developers from OpenOffice.org are urging Sun to set the project free and bring it under a foundation. Sun's dominance over the project makes other companies such as IBM, Redhat and Novell reluctant to contribute more. Both Mozilla and Eclipse managed to attract an increasing number of developers after the projects were moved over to an independent foundation."

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First Shitface (-1, Troll)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668424)

Dear friends,
Here is my FP. I hope you like it.
Love, FTM

Re:First Shitface (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668449)

Women i see
on the street wearing headscarves
remind me
of burning buildings
and coldblooded slaughter

maybe its time
they know
we now laugh
at their faith

regards
a pigeater

good step (4, Interesting)

Pavel Stratil (950257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668431)

It's now clear that Sun understood it's possition in the linux/unix world. It's to open up or die eventually. Will Microsoft ever get this?

Re:good step (2, Interesting)

cnettel (836611) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668483)

Sun's main selling point has always been a platform, where the hardware and software together gives the client the (sense of an) advantage. This means that Sun may continue selling hardware, with software support just a selling point for that hardware. MS could of course turn to just rely on MSN and Xbox, but it would be a much more radical change than the Sun decision of opening up.

Re:good step (2, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668625)

MS could of course turn to just rely on MSN and Xbox

Didn't the XBox related activities make a loss?

Re:good step (5, Funny)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668685)

It's to open up or die eventually. Will Microsoft ever get this?

Probably not, and look at the results: Microsoft is hurting today more than ever! Profits are down enormously due to software piracy by Homebrew Computer Club members and the Harvard IT department just busted them for using their computer time for doing rebuilds of Windows Vista. If this continues Microsoft is going to head into a death-spiral and be out of business within the year. Microsoft needs to desperately find some product of theirs that they can market profitably. Until then I'm afraid it is only a matter of time before Red Hat and others in the Open Source community overtake them in the marketplace and hammer the final nail into the coffin of the dying proprietary software industry.

Re:good step (1)

aCapitalist (552761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668696)

Hehe, humor is always the best comeback.

Re:good step (1)

hodet (620484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668859)

That's funny I enjoyed reading it. Apparently the joke was lost on the mods though for modding this insightful. Funny yes, insightful no.

Re:good step (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669050)

Um, no, it's more that the insightfulness was lost on you.

Re:good step (1)

ratatask (905257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668710)

> Will Microsoft ever get this?
Why would they ?
For Microsoft it's not a choice of "open up or die".
What makes you think Microsoft will die if it doesn't open up ?
Microsoft is growing by the day, and does not need to open up to continue.
At All.

(I'm just stating these facts - I have not mentioned a word on wether I
agree that they /should/ "open up")

Microsoft's not dying (2, Interesting)

James_Aguilar (890772) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669016)

Key difference between Sun and Microsoft: Microsoft on the up and up, has total market dominance, and won't be dead at any point in the near future. I once read somewhere (But don't ask me to substantiate this remark because I can't!) that Microsoft has enough cash on hand that it could stop selling all of its products and keep going for five years without firing anyone. So I don't see how Microsoft could possibly learn the lesson, "Open up or die," when staying closed is doing pretty well for it so far.

In other news, here is the thing about Sun. I agree that it would be good if they opened up on OpenOffice. However, if I were them, I would feel pretty crappy about doing all that work on OpenOffice for everyone, then everyone turning around and telling me that I couldn't keep control of it. I guess a company can't really feel crappy, but if it were a person, I bet that's how it would feel.

Re:Microsoft's not dying (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669084)

I seriously doubt Microsoft has enough cash on hand to keep paying its employees for the next five years without any income. They might have enough cash from investors, but if they completely stopped selling products, the investors would back out, and then they'd be in trouble.

I agree that Microsoft has no inkling that they have to "open up or die," but I think investors are a large part of the reason they feel the should stay closed.

should happen (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668437)

The next logical step - should have been done allready. I can't really se OO go very much further unless they go this way.

Re:should happen (5, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668462)

How could Sun then relicense the program for sale as StarOffice? In my understanding, the Mozilla foundation can continue to operate on its own while Netscape Navigator is released because of the MPL license, but OO.o is under the LGPL, and Sun requires all submissions to be signed over to the company so that the program can be dual-licensed. How would this work if OO.o became its own Org, like Mozilla. I don't see it happening unless Sun gives up the StarOffice brand.

Re:should happen (4, Insightful)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668485)

If Sun as you say has the copyright on the complete program today they can relicence it in any way they want. They don't have to use only LGPL, they can even use a BSD licence. I don't see the problem.

Re:should happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668528)

What about releases of future versions that incorporate changes that Sun wouldn't own?
Is there some guarantee that Sun could still take a foundation OpenOffice under some future license and link the code with its own proprietary additions to sell as StarOffice?

Re:should happen (2, Interesting)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668572)

If Sun sets up the foundation and lays the groundwork for the licences on the codebase it's very likely they can ensure to be able to use the code in proprietary programs in the future. However, as seen with Wine [winehq.com] some projects goes from BSD to LGPL licences to ensure not being ripped of by companies. But as this is Suns codebase to begin with a similiar scenario would be very unlikely.

Re:should happen (1)

Ded Bob (67043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669013)

However, as seen with Wine some projects goes from BSD to LGPL licences to ensure not being ripped of by companies.

I am curious about what companies Wine has stopped. As I see it now, Wine is a one company show when it used to have at least two with TransGaming.

BTW, you can never "rip off" something with a BSD or MIT license. That is just FUD. As long as you follow the terms of a license, how can you "rip" it off?

It is interesting that the development community go Novell to release Xgl even though it was under the MIT license.

Re:should happen (5, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668609)

It's kind of my point that they really can't keep the current license and still sell StarOffice, because they wouldn't be able to take code which isn't theirs and relicense it. They would have to move OO.o to a BSD-style license to still sell StarOffice, right? And that would alienate a large number of developers who prefer the (L)GPL. Sun would also be seeing numerous, virtually identical competing offerings from other companies (e.g. IBM). I just don't see the motivation for Sun to do this. When Mozilla was cut loose, it looked to me to be a way to cut developer salaries, and since the Netscape brand was pretty much defunct (and free!) anyway, there was nofinancial disincentive to move Mozilla into its own org. StarOffice is, as far as I can tell, making "some" money for Sun, still, and is an up-and-comer, not a has-been. My two won (SKW).

Re:should happen (1)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668700)

I agree with most everything of your post except this.

And that would alienate a large number of developers who prefer the (L)GPL

As it is now outside developers need to hand over copyright to Sun, I can't in any way believe they wouldn't prefer a more liberate licence as they gain nothing from GPL in this case.

But as you say, loosening the grip is a risk for Sun. Hopefully Sun can see some opportunities in the risk too.

Re:should happen (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668785)

If new code went to this foundation codebase, sun wouldn't be able to include it in staroffice (unless they make it BSD, yes, but I doubt they want to do that). So the free OOo will rapidly overtake staroffice features-wise. I doubt Sun wants that.

Re:should happen (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668923)

I don't see the problem.

I do.

  they cant take all the developers work and sell it as theirs.

THAT is the problem they are having. Everyhing submitted under the GPL by others is NOT THEIRS TO SELL.

If they want to take the current code and do what they want, then fine. but they cant take all the free programming, wrap it up and call it theirs if they release it.

Re:should happen (2, Interesting)

pinky0x51 (951042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669019)

I don't see the problem. At the end it's not a license issue.
People don't buy StarOffice because they maybe use a proprietary license. They buy it because they want a "product" with a company in the back wo is "responsible" if something goes wrong and they have a phone number they could call. Maybe they like some add-ons like a better spellchecker etc too.

So Sun can also offers a StarOffice from a community driven OpenOffice. Just take from time to time the latest OOo, call it StarOffice, put it into a box with a nice handbook, some add-ons etc. And costumers will be happy to get a "product" from a reputable company. That's why they buy StarOffice and not because they like software with lots of restrictions through proprietary licencing.

Re:should happen (1)

mshiltonj (220311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668581)

I don't see it happening unless Sun gives up the StarOffice brand.

So it's all about marketing, then, isn't it?

Re:should happen (2, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668617)

For Sun, the company, it probably is about whether it's a good financial move for them or not, wouldn't you agree. Since they're the ones making the decision, and not the developers, about whether to move OO.o or not, I expect that marketing will weigh in heavily.

Re:should happen (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668780)

I think they should just kill StarOffice. Open up OpenOffice, and just use that. More people would use it, more people would improve it, and it would just be better in the long run. Does StarOffice even offer anything that OpenOffice doesn't? Couldn't they just sell you OpenOffice support, instead of trying to make 2 of the same product.

Re:should happen (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668798)

"How could Sun then relicense the program for sale as StarOffice?"

Easy.

They just make a deal with the organization that takes responsibility for OO.o to give them special licensing terms.

Re:should happen (1)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668963)

You're so right. OpenOffice is doomed if people can't add even MORE code. It really needs other big companies kicking in their ideas, so we can make it even slower and more bloated. OpenOffice will definately succeed if developers can make it take longer to load up than Photoshop CS2.

Never!!! (5, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668445)

Without Sun's beneficient guidance, how will OpenOffice truely embrace the awesome power and control that can only be offered by Java(TM)!!?

How can OpenOffice hope to succeed without object-oriented interfaces with sandboxed wrapper pardiagm extensible intuiative platform-independant mainatainable code... paradigms?

Only Java(TM) with its mastodonicly magnificant API can hope to keep OpenOffice afloat!

The future is here (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668461)

Were movoing to cobol man, COBOL!

Re:The future is here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668583)

Surely you mean COBOL.net [netcobol.com]

Re:Never!!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668515)

Clearly Suns strategic long term strategy is to leverage cross-platform turnkey J2EE technologies by employing SOAP on Rails with XMLHttpRequest.

Wait..BINGO!

Re:Never!!! (3, Funny)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668640)

Your metaphor is confusing. I thought the mastodon was an arctic creature, in the cold wastes of the world, who benefitted and increased their range of influence from having the Sun's influence lessened.

Re:Never!!! (1)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668649)

I thought it was a band [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Never!!! (4, Interesting)

williamhb (758070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668704)

Without Sun's beneficient guidance, how will OpenOffice truely embrace the awesome power and control that can only be offered by Java(TM)!!?
That's not as dumb as it seems - for office applications there's not much to be lost in running within a VM, and delegating garbage collection and a few other things to the VM, and eventually gaining more portable binaries by publishing bytecode rather than machine code. (So you no longer have to publish binaries per OS/processor combo, but only per OS. I'm assuming you probably will still be making some OS-specific calls). The objection to Java is simply that the FOSS implementations of the VM are not up to scratch yet.

Re:Never!!! (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668828)

The objection to Java is simply that the FOSS implementations of the VM are not up to scratch yet.

Pull down fedora core 4, and update to the latest packages.

The free java stack still isn't 100%, but man its getting close.
FC4's eclipse & Open Office2 both use it.

Re:Never!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668933)

Did you just say 'abloat'??

Being urged by developers is one thing (2, Interesting)

kernelblaha (756819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668453)

And doing what they say is quite another. I wonder if Sun will let OO go?

Re:Being urged by developers is one thing (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668524)

Considering that over 80% of OpenOffice.org developers are employed by Sun (statistic provided by Novell), I wonder who, exactly, the developers asking for this are. I attended a talk by a Novell OpenOffice.org guy a while back, and his view was that the baroque build system was the biggest reason that new developers didn't get involved, and they had people working on simplifying that.

Re:Being urged by developers is one thing (1)

kernelblaha (756819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668531)

Interesting, that view implies that the whole discussion about licensing is somehow irrelevant.

Re:Being urged by developers is one thing (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668551)

This discussion isn't about licensing. OO.o is LGPL'd, and no one seems to be arguing that it should be something different. The discussion is about whether Sun should hold the copyrights or not. Sun automatically holds the copyrights on any code written by their employees, so the only issue is whether they should be expected to give up the copyright on:
  1. All of the existing code including the code they bought from Star Division, and
  2. 80% of all new contributions.
All because someone, presumably in the remaining 20% pool, thinks that they should. Sun signing OO.o over to a foundation wouldn't make it any more Free - it's already LGPL'd, and you can do anything that the LGPL allows with it. This sounds very much like an attention seeking article to me. 'Look! Sun bought an office suite, released it to the community under the LGPL and paid most of the developers, but I want more! They shouldn't be allowed their name on it either!'

Re:Being urged by developers is one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669055)

Amen. I can't believe sometimes how people will keep asking for MORE MORE MORE. On the other hand, perhaps they would acheive greater market penetration if they did hand it over, but I'm going to be honest and say I don't see that happening.

The OO build system... (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668745)

is ~exactly~ what has kept me from jumping in to fix bugs.

That, and the fact that it takes several hours to compile the product.

Re:Being urged by developers is one thing (1)

smallguy78 (775828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669087)

Java TM is the Chevrolet HHR [truckblog.com] of the UI world

Fork it (2, Informative)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668464)

As far as I recall from the license, the issue is that under OOo, you have to in essence give up your code copyright.

But, I also understand that this doesn't stop someone taking the OOo code, removing all the OpenOffice.org references, and releasing it under another name without giving the changes back to Sun.

Don't (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668500)

While it's probably possible to fork it, it wouldn't be a good idea imho, especially seeing that the bulk of OO developers are from Sun anyway. So I don't think a fork would achieve much and I don't think a fork is really merited in any way at this point.

This isn't about forking however, but about better organizing OO developement, in order to attract more external developers, which would of course be a very good thing and probably also benefit Sun.

Re:Fork it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668774)

But, I also understand that this doesn't stop someone taking the OOo code, removing all the OpenOffice.org references, and releasing it under another name without giving the changes back to Sun.

This already happens.

The last 'discount computer' someone bought here which advertised as coming with "Office Suite" turned out not to be Microsoft Office, or OO.o, it turned out to be some disc pressed in china which *was* OO.o but all OO.o references removed and replaced with "Future Office" or something like that. It was hilarious if it wasn't so annoying. We threw it out and installed the real OO.o, of course.

I for one.. (2, Insightful)

jimsteri (888700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668466)

I for one.. Just kidding. I don't actually see why Sun would not agree with this. But on the other hand I'm thinking from the user aspect and not corporation aspect. More developers sounds good for me, usually more and better features. But putting OO under its own foundation probably means less money for Sun?

Re:I for one.. (1)

Zemplar (764598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668519)

Except on thing: StarOffice

It would make sense. (5, Interesting)

zenmojodaddy (754377) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668470)

If Sun were to sever all ties to the project, and coders are more willing to contribute, that would be beneficial to pretty much everyone - including Sun, since they can still polish up the end product and release a commercial version, no?

Plus, it might make it easier for someone to take the Mozilla route and split the suite up into smaller components, for those of us who don't particularly need a spreadsheet or presentation tool but would love a lean version of Writer.

S'pose this is one of those, 'If you love it, set it free' kinda things.

Re:It would make sense. (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668533)

Today, Sun employs 80% of the developers. Novell employs the majority of the remainder. Do you seriously think that there are enough people interested in developing OO.o outside of Sun to make this worth their while? The code base is quite hideous in places - mainly inherited from the Star Division days - and it takes a long while for a developer to really get up to speed. I think most people interested on working on an office quite would rather work on something with a cleaner codebase (e.g. AbiWord, KOffice) than struggle through OO.o.

I suppose this is one of those, 'if you're paying for it, you may as well keep your name on it' kind of things.

Re:It would make sense. (2, Insightful)

zenmojodaddy (754377) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668804)

On the other hand, if IBM, Red Hat et al are encouraged to commit manpower to the project by a loosening if licence restrictions, wouldn't that help in cleaning up the codebase?

That's couple of pretty big ifs, of course. Many open source projects, for good or bad, tend to focus on the addition of new features rather than just making the old ones work properly and cleanly, every time; so chances are, more manpower might well be used deployed on tasks other than cleaning and streamlining, despite OOo sorely needing a bit of both. Still, a guy can dream.

It All Depends on Sun's Goals (5, Interesting)

bgfay (5362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668479)

If Sun is interested in goodwill, then this seems a great way to go. If Sun is interested in hurting Microsoft, then this is a great way to go. If Sun is interested in a broader partnership with Google, then this can't hurt that either.

I'm not as informed about all this as I could be, so who can say what the downsides are for Sun if they release this to a Mozilla-like foundation?

Anything that keeps OpenOffice going, helps it become faster and less of a resource hog, and further forces open document standards on the proprietary office suites is a good thing to me.

Re:It All Depends on Sun's Goals (5, Insightful)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668560)

If Sun is interested in goodwill, then this seems a great way to go.

Open Office is possibly the single most important reason why Linux is useful as a workstation OS. Seems to me like they deserve all the goodwill anyway.

Re:It All Depends on Sun's Goals (5, Interesting)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668644)

You can say that (and I use OO.o a lot, too), but I really think that Gnome and KDE's office products would be a lot further along if OO.o weren't in the picture. Much of the rapid development that was happening to bring KOffice along went quiet when OO.o was released, if I remember correctly. I love OO.o, but I sometimes wonder if we would now have a significantly lighter, "cleaner" office suite had OO.o not dropped into the picture when it had.

Re:It All Depends on Sun's Goals (2, Insightful)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668677)

I love OO.o, but I sometimes wonder if we would now have a significantly lighter, "cleaner" office suite had OO.o not dropped into the picture when it had.

You may be right, but, sadly, I don't think that users want a light clean suite - they want something that looks like MS Office.

Re:It All Depends on Sun's Goals (1)

Octorian (14086) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668815)

Well, you have 3 categories of users:
1) People who want it to look/work like MS Office
2) People who *need* it to be compatable with MS Office files (for more than just the basic lowest-common-denomenator features)
3) People who evangelize how it can replace MS Office, but don't personally fall into group 1 or group 2.

The reasons I'm not using OpenOffice at work are because I fall into group #2. (Oh, and OO.o 2.0 isn't so great on the Mac, at the moment, and my work machine is thankfully a PowerBook with a legal license of MS Office 2004)

At home, however, I run SuSE Linux and OO.o 2.0 works pretty well. But then again, the only MS Office files I have to interact with are the occasional simple MS Word document, and nothing fancy.

Re:It All Depends on Sun's Goals (1)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668853)

2) People who *need* it to be compatable with MS Office files (for more than just the basic lowest-common-denomenator features) ....
The reasons I'm not using OpenOffice at work are because I fall into group #2.


I have installed Open Office as the main Office suite at a medium size company that needs to exchange MS Office documents with other organisations and with customers. I have had very few problems with compatibility.

Re:It All Depends on Sun's Goals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668987)

And I think that Linux would be further along if KDE wasn't in the picture - $3000 for a commercial development license? Can you say "retarded"?

You may believe (as many Linux users seem to) that closed-source commercial software is evil, but the most popular desktop OS in the world (Windows) got where it is today with a mix of closed -and- open source applications. Both of which seem to be absolutely essential for a platform's success.

Re:It All Depends on Sun's Goals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669025)

you have a wierd definition of useful and workstation.

Every Personal Computer here has Office on it.

Every workstation has the high power apps that need the poweer of a workstation such as Graphics, 3d modeling, compiling, Scientific, etc.

Those do NOT have office on them. And most of them are either Silicon Graphics or SUN boxes. (We do have a few of Intel with windows as workstations as well for the AVID editors and Maya 3d.)

what you use in the office is NOT a workstation but a simple PC. and an office suite really is only a nicething(tm) but not critical on a workstation.

Workstations = high power typically multi processor. PeeCee = what you have in front of you for "office work"

Sun (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668656)

Sun would cut off the proverbial nose to spite their face. Their proprietary control of Java and their failure to standardize Java through an open process has hurt them big time. They missed the boat with NeWS as well by keeping it proprietary. And they're going to retain control of OpenOffice and annoy people until that, too, will have been replaced by something else.

Sun is cleverly attempting to drive themselves out of business, and they are doing it ever so gently, gradually, and persistently.

Re:It All Depends on Sun's Goals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668676)

Funny. I thought Sun's motive was making money.

Giving it to a foundation wouldn't help Sun's bottom line, but then again, maybe nothing else will either.

Nevertheless, it is terribly audacious to ask Sun to give away for free something that (1) they originally bought (as Star Office) from another company; and that (2) Sun employees were and are largely responsible for improvements.

Maybe Sun should keep it? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668505)

Mozilla, for all the support it has, still hasn't achieved any of their goals. 4 years later it's still essentially NS code, and it's plagued by code nobody likes, and bugs [slyerfox.com] both inherited and introduced.

With Sun at least you've got one company at the wheel so to speak.

Re:Maybe Sun should keep it? (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668615)

Heh, that site you mentioned, registered to Dynadot Privacy [dynadot.com] really smacks of a Grass Roots [wikipedia.org] campaign by interested parties. I was particularly amused by the popup that was essentially an image of a firefox crash. It didn't even do anything interesting when clicked on.

Re:Maybe Sun should keep it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668671)

I like it too. It's definitely anti-firefox and there's some pretty obvious trolling but it's good for a laugh and it does point out a couple of problems people like to gloss over.

Bull, plain and simple. (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668695)

You sir, are a liar or a fool. The rewrite from scratch, binning the original Netscape code was complete over six years ago.

Oh look, you're an AC. Who'd have thought. (shill!?)

Also the mod that declared you insightful is a sucker.

Justin.

Evidence - from 1999! (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668713)

Linky [chguy.net]

Re:Evidence - from 1999! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668872)

Netscape didn't even release their source code till March 1998.

Version 1.0 of Mozilla App Suite came out halfway through 2002.

What did they do for the 3 years you claim they'd had all of Netscape's code rewritten for by that stage? Other than not release anything.

Re:Evidence - from 1999! (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668901)

Oh, go away little shill person. I've had a look at the (s)lyerfox site and it's a total shill site. It even hides it's registration details behind a third party. Don't waste any more of my time.

Justin.

Die MS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668540)

If Sun's true motivation is to slaughter MS, then this is definitely a winning strategy. Let everyone who hates MS join together and produce an app that will p*ss on MS-Office from a great height.

If Suns motivation is to make it easier for those of us that actually use Hyper-Mega-Super Sparc architecture, so we don't move to Apple kit ~(:-}, then this is a winner too.

If Sun's intention is to make money from OOO, by holding it close to their chests, then they should apply now for a brain transplant. Even an Intel 8080 could figure out that one won't fly.

However, only Sun know if the Sun branded Star Office really does penetrate the kind of damn fool organisation that refuses free stuff. (People actually BUY shares in companies that refuse to use free stuff, even when its better than what you pay for?)

Causation or correlation? (5, Interesting)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668569)

Genuine question - did Mozilla and Eclipse gain developers because they were "set free", or is that just coincidence? (Remember - just because B followed A, doesn't mean that A caused B)

Re:Causation or correlation? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668602)

Eclipse has become the dominant IDE because it was set free, otherwise there would have been no other reason to use Eclipse 1.0 over NetBeans or what have you. Because it targets Java programmers you can bet that it definately benefited by this (I see a Java bug in the tool I do my Java coding, I fix it)...

I'm not sure Mozilla is not so open and shut, devs would have had different reasons for working on it which may have been related to past loyalty to the browser, hatered of IE, or just plain curiousity... But I'm not sure what the OSS developer counts were for the Netscape/AOL Mozilla vs. Mozilla.org Mozilla releases.

Re:Causation or correlation? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668752)

there would have been no other reason to use Eclipse 1.0 over NetBeans or what have you

I used a fairly early release of Eclipse, and (on my machine at least) there were plenty of reasons not to use it - not least of which was that any time it redrew the interface you could practically see it doing so. (In fact you could, if you resized the window) In contrast, JBuilder was much, much faster and just downright more usable.

Now, time has passed, and I switched to Eclipse from JBuilder about a year ago, and Eclipse has improved a hell of a lot in that time. Back then though, I can't really see how anyone could be using it for serious work, except maybe on really beefy machines.

Re:Causation or correlation? (4, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668651)

Genuine question - did Mozilla and Eclipse gain developers because they were "set free", or is that just coincidence? (Remember - just because B followed A, doesn't mean that A caused B)

Genuine answer - Alot of developers have clauses in their employment contracts about what they can and cannot do in their spare time in terms of software develoment. In my own case (I had a lawyer check my contract) I can am free to work on OSS projects if they :

1) Do not undermine the business of my employer. That is the OSS project represents a competing product.
2) The project is not conntrolled by a competing company or corporation.

So I am guessing that it was at least partly a case of Mozilla and Eclipse gaining developers because they were 'set free'.

Some developers have truly draconian clauses in their contracts about the extent to which they can participate in OSS projects. I have even heard of people being forbidden by contract to develop software for anybody but their employer no matter what the circumstance or the nature of the development work (ie. even if it is an OSS project that is solely for their own enjoyment, unrelated to the employers line of business and not for profit). Such clauses would probably not hold up in court, at least not in most EU countries, but corporations include them in employment contracts anyway. The same goes for anti competition clauses, ie. "If you quit and start working for a rival corporation you must remain unemployed for N months before starting your new job". Supreme courts in a nubmer of European countries have have declared such anti competition clauses to be invalid but they keep being included in employment contracts regardless. I suppose employers are counting on their terror value since employees may be reluctant to take the matter to court even if they will win because of the legal cost and the time-demands and hassle of a court case.

That's strange (5, Insightful)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668585)

That's strange. We do hear that request from IBM.

But in fact I heard that most FLOSS developers are turned down by the size and overall (low) quality of OOo code.

As one developer said on blog (I failed to find that remark again) the thing is only paid Sun developers would work on it. And only because they are paid to do so. Compilation take ages and level of requirements for development is high - that all creates entry barrier to FLOSS developers, most of whome work in their own spare time.

To put in prospective: what would you want to spend you time on: hacking Linux kernel and then in 10 minutes seeing your changes or waiting N hours when OOo compilation finishes?

I never looked into OOo sources. But the pace of progress project makes - and the kind of progress it makes - tell quite much about how project is organized. I truly hope that KOffice would be able to run on Wind0ze - in office unfortunately I'm completely confined to the M$ Wind0ze. At the moment only OOo can read the SXW files OOo produces upon import from M$O... AbiWord fails completely to pick up styles in such documents. KOffice 1.4 is quite close to render the files the way as OOo does.

Pretentiousness (3, Insightful)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668591)


Mozilla has gotten new developers since Firefox, NOT because it's not controlled by AOL/Netscape anymore.

I wish developers would be less pretentious about their choice of projects. Surely successful projects
which have significant amounts of corporate backing, both financial and in terms of management, are some
of the better projects to work on. You have defined goals, a great infrastructure to work in, and nobody
ever complained about the way Mozilla was being run before The Foundation (in fact The Foundation works
exactly the same way for every developer in terms of bug tracking, IRC events, software testing and
releases, as it did during AOL's tenure)

OpenOffice could get more developers if it had some unsubstantial hype or managed to get a bunch of new
features it already had (get rid of Java and implement everything the same way, some other way :) but
not just because Sun would have dropped it. I actually think OpenOffice (like Seamonkey becoming a tiny
little sideproject in view of Firefox's popularity) would suffer for it.

Codebase (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668601)

From what I've heard (and seen, to an extent), OpenOffice.org has such a complex codebase that the only developers willing to work on it are those paid by Sun. No one will be interested in learning such a weird and large codebase.

Re:Codebase (1)

aCapitalist (552761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668715)

It's true. But what is "turning it over" (it's already open source) to random group of people going to acomplish. It's not going to change the fact the codebase is a clusterfsck that nobody wants to touch.

OO.org biggest problems (2, Insightful)

Libor Vanek (248963) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668604)

In my view OO.org biggest problem is not that SUN pays most engeneers but huge complexity of OO.org. I've heard even some rumors that OO.org contains ASSEMBLER language in some parts!!!

To make much more flexible whole project needs to become much more modular (which equals trash all existing codebase and start from scratch):
- file modules (input/output) - in ideal world OO.org would share this part with AbiWord, KOffice etc...
- "processing" module (document "managment", scripting etc.) - imagine running OO.org without GUI (some server document processing etc.)
- "GUI" module - native Qt, GTK, Windows, MacOS, etc..

But I'm 99% sure that this will not ever happen. More probable is that KOffice will become much more usable and supported on Windows/MacOS.

Re:OO.org biggest problems (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669051)

Might help if you knew what you where talking about...

OO can be run headless and I do so to generate multiple outputs from web
forms on a server, doc, word, pdf etc.

Re:OO.org biggest problems (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669107)

Sounds good. take a nice clean project like AbiWord [abisource.com] that is insanely fast and stable and build from there.

It blows my mind how fast and stable that works is overlooked by many developers for the bloated feature-fest of other projects.

Come up woth a companion spreadsheet for Abiword that works on windows,OSX, BSD and linux and you will utterly kill OO.o simply because of speed and the fact it works.

many people claim that users WANT the added fluff in MS office and OO.o has. yet 90% of the time I hear people bitch about how all that added crap only get's in the way like the autoformatting and autospellcorrection, etc... AS well as 60% of the users do not use the other cruft in there.

why cant the "features" be plug-in's? so if someone does not want them they do not have to have them?

I love OO.o but it's absolutely redicilous that I need a P4 1.8ghz machine to run a stupid word processor in a speedy manner. OO.o and MS office is 100% useless on a P-III 900 machine with a tiny 512 meg of ram. or a G3-600 with more ram.

that is completely redicilous and the developers should be ashamed of that.

Minority opinion maybe (3, Interesting)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668627)

I don't really see much of a problem with OOo as it is. It seems to be developing at a fair pace and it is free (at least as in beer which is all I care about). Ok, so it uses Java, so what. I don't generally find Java slow but then I have a machine that is fairly up to date.

I think part of the problem here is that a good portion of the Linux community runs what most people would consider very old boxes. There is nothing wrong with that but I don't agree that we should hold back development to cater for it. I don't care if an application sucks 200MB of memory as long as it does what I want it to do. If I have a problem with it I'll stick in another GB of RAM to deal with it. There is a limit to this approach but we are no where near it yet.

Re:Minority opinion maybe (1)

Dave2 Wickham (600202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668728)

Sticking in another GB of RAM isn't hugely cheap (does the term hugely cheap even make sense?) - £50 for no-name PC3200 from Scan [scan.co.uk] . Whilst that may be fine for many people, for people on lower incomes, or in developing countries, that is a lot of money just to run an office suite which should be less demanding.

Do also bear in mind 2 of the ways in which Linux/open source has been pushed: faster on older hardware (though not with GNOME, etc), and there are no licencing fee issues for those who cannot afford it. Granted, the price of the RAM is still lower than that of MS Office retail, but it's still likely to be higher than many can afford, and I can't comfortably run OOo on my 1GHz Celeron laptop with 256MB RAM. I can run MS Office (when booted into win32, obviously, which is rarely).

Also, you say that you like that it's free as in beer, but if you have to buy more RAM just to run it comfortably, surely that benefit goes out of the window?

unprecedented evile urged to cede .controll of US (0, Troll)

already_gone (848753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668665)

it's too bad it's come to this, because most of US are good folks who wouldn't hurt anybody.

all they want is... everything. at what cost to US? not a pretty picture at all. quite infactdead from our viewpoint.

for many of US, the only way out is up.

don't forget, for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way) there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/US as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile will not be available after the big flash occurs.

'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

OOo needs a Firefox makeover (4, Insightful)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668670)

OOo is at the same stage as Mozilla was: a functional but bloated and messy codebase and system. Unfortunately, that's what big companies tend to produce (I think it's a consequence of having too many engineers, many of which are mediocre).

What needs to happen to it is what happened to Firefox: the thing needs to be split up, the GUI and cross platform toolkit need to be overhauled (or even replaced with Gtk+), and Java needs to be exorcised from it.

And, yes, severing the connection with Sun would be a good thing for OOo, and ultimately for Sun as well.

Re:OOo needs a Firefox makeover (3, Insightful)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668718)

(I think it's a consequence of having too many engineers, many of which are mediocre).

How do big companies tend to produce that, but you forgot all those huge, bloated, never-controlled-by-a-corporation projects like GCC, XFree86, and suchlike?

Too many cooks spoiling the broth IS what causes it, but why make the dig at big companies?

Re:OOo needs a Firefox makeover (2, Interesting)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668737)

Too many cooks spoiling the broth IS what causes it, but why make the dig at big companies?

Because those kinds of projects are commonplace at big companies, while they are the exception for open source projects: most open source projects simply don't have the resources to support lots of mediocre engineers that aren't really interested in the product.

However, I'm not even sure that gcc and XFree86 are good examples of FOSS development problems. The reason gcc and XFree86 have become so big and messy is precisly because they have had so much corporate support. And I think gcc has managed the complexity fairly well--doing a multi-language multi-target compiler completely in C is a really tough task. As for XFree86, its license notwithstanding, it had started to acquire corporate-like structures, and the X.org fork was the answer and the solution.

OpenDocument Event in Los Angeles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668672)

Peter Quinn, Susy Strubl (Sun), Doug Heintzman (IBM) and others will be speaking at a workshop on the use of OpenDocument Format in Government [socallinuxexpo.org] . The event will take place this Friday Feb 10th at the Los Angeles Airport Westin. Attendance is free. They just request you RSVP via e-mail.

Not only OpenOffice, Linux kernel too (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668675)

It is not only OpenOffice, Linux kernel development also should bring under a foundation and set an example for the open source community. The "Linux" trademark also should bring it under that foundation.

I don't understand the problem... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668683)

...why don't they just fork the code and create a new project? Isn't that the beauty of open source?

More gimme, gimme (3, Interesting)

aCapitalist (552761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668687)

"In an ideal world open source should not be dependent on the capriciousness of any one corporation," OpenOffice.org project leader Louis Suarez-Potts told vnunet.com.

It's already not dependant. It's open source. Do with it as you please. IBM already has.

IBM used the OpenOffice source code last year to create a separate version of the suite as part of its Workplace offering, which is allowed under the application's licence.

Oops, IBM already forked it, so what is Louis talking about again?

A fork is considered inappropriate for open source projects, as it forces the developer community to spread its attention over multiple, yet similar, projects.

*cough*, bullshit.

"If OpenOffice did become independent we would be interested in talking to Sun about it, but it's not holding us back in any way," he wrote.

So IBM officially doesn't care one way or the other, so what are Louis' real motives. That's easy. It's all about corporate hatred and biting the hand that feeds you.

Re:More gimme, gimme (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668840)

That's easy. It's all about corporate hatred and biting the hand that feeds you.

I think he is saying that OOo would actually benefit from a little less feeding because it is rather obese already.

And then there's this (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668689)

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/1381903 5.htm [mercurynews.com]
Might shed some light onto Sun's intentions?

Is it about the product or prestige ? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668818)

In my opinion this is utter nonsense.

Its like saying that Linus should give up on the kernel and move all the decisions about its development in a seperate group. Wake up call: that is not going to work since it will only slow down development. I know its but a movie, but to give the geeks something they can relate to: The endless debates in the senate (Star Wars - first trilogy) are actually based on real-life politics. If the system works, don't change it.. Second puzzle: is it these people to do about the product or prestige and more important: when will they be satisfied?

Sun buys StarOffice. People are dissapointed and some protest because it was free. Sun gives in and branches OpenOffice, the free alternative, while keeping their finger on it. Everyone was happy. And now, shortly after the release of 2.0 and when its picking up some momentum (cooperation with Google comes to mind) people suddenly want it to become more open?

This is just my idea but I think some people hold a double agenda.

Do we really need another foundaton? (1)

Can (21457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668833)

Is it really necessary to start yet another foundation for a single project (along with all of the overhead involved in maintaining that foundation)? Isn't there an existing foundation that the code could be released to and reap the benefits of one fundraising arm, one set of lawyers, one (well, however many) web server, etc. Fedora foundation might be the best fit for the code, but would likely make Sun cringe. But why not the Mozilla Foundation? I'm sure there are other out there that I'm not thinking of.

Why is IBM listed here??? (0, Flamebait)

mrjatsun (543322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668878)

This always makes me angry when I see IBM listed with companies like RedHat. When IBM opens up some of their proprietary applications (e.g. Lotus Notes), then they can start be included in conversations like this.. Why do people always give them a free ride? They are still the proprietary, lock in as a strategy, company. They spens a lot more money on proprietary software than open source software..


disclaimer, I work for Sun (but I have always felt this way. no, really :-))

Re:Why is IBM listed here??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669058)

If Notes were to be opened would anyone really care? It's not like it's hugely effective at anything it does. Not entirely useless; but reasonably close.

Re:Why is IBM listed here??? (1)

Dutchmang (74300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669122)

Hmm, why? I dunno, Eclipse, Cloudscape (Derby)... Not to mention all the contributions to individual projects and general support for OSS. Understand a concern about a corporation trying to find a middle path, but give credit for the leadership and consistency.

A cynic might argue that IBM actually makes software people find worth paying for...

Problems with OO.o (2, Interesting)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669022)

OpenOffice.org began life as StarOffice, a closed-source product. The closed-source heritage becomes obvious when you study the code: there are things in there that whoever wrote them, was evidently banking on nobody ever seeing them. OO.o 1.x would not even compile at all on 64-bit, and even on 32-bit the make output is riddled with warnings.

What's really required is for somebody to sit down and start afresh in reimplementing the whole of OpenOffice.org from scratch. Whilst it's nice to talk of code reusability, the reality in this case is that the nice, reusable bits are buried too deeply in nasty, gicky stuff to be retrievable. I say ditch the bathwater, the baby and all; go back to square one, and do it properly this time.

{And if the new OpenOffice.org doesn't contain significant amounts of old OO.o code, then it won't be a derivative work, but a new work in its own right; and so can be placed under a different licence. BSD if the team are prepared to fight tooth and nail against proprietary forks, GPL if they aren't.}

In other news.. (1)

saboola (655522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669117)

Moon urged to give up tidal control. Moon will not be available to fully comment until FEB. 13 at 4:44.
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