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Re: [steering-discuss] Re: [Libreoffice] Hello! ... and lurking :-)

Hello Sam,

(emptying interesting bits of discussion for clarity).

I think it goes without saying that everybody should be respectful to each
Let me try to rephrase the general terms of this discussion from the broad
perspective of TDF (I'm not trying to suggest that this is an official
message from the Steering Committee of TDF, but... you get the point).

TDF started the LibreOffice eight months ago, and has so far released
software, deployed infrastructure and other resources, defined and
implemented processes while elaborating governance methods and structure
(that's still a work in progress).

TDF has had the ambition of being the future of the community
and after 8 months it is very safe to assume that it has largely succeeded
in being so. Granted, not everyone from has jumped to TDF;
existing Oracle employees have not joined the LibreOffice project
(obviously), and a few -but very few- people and teams have chosen either
not to choose, or to reject TDF mostly on personal grounds. Oracle has ended
up dropping the OpenOffice project as well as its commercial offerings
around it as this line of business and project were not complying to their
own internal criteria for profitability, and thus Oracle ended up dumping
the IPR assets to the Apache Foundation. I'm delighted to read from Andrew
Rist that Oracle will still support the existing OpenOffice infrastructure
throughout the transition. The announcement from Oracle came in 8 months
after the birth of the LibreOffice project. You will understand that any
argument framing the discussion along the lines that now that OpenOffice is
being transferred to the Apache Foundation we should all turn towards this
project sounds weird, chronologically anachronistic, and probably
counterproductive in our view.

But this is not a reason for TDF and the Apache Foundation to stop
discussing the matter at hand.

Going back to the OpenOffice project, I think it's safe to assume four key
elements in our discussion. Some of these are issues, but some others are
just factors to be considered.
- Oracle will not provide its existing OpenOffice engineers to continue the
OpenOffice project.
- Unless IBM pours engineers on it, it is likely that there will be a very
small community of developers working on OpenOffice
- IBM does have business and operational requirements that make the transfer
of OpenOffice to an Apache environment desirable and appealing.
- TDF and ASF have very different views on licensing.

Simon Phipps made some very interesting proposals yesterday on the Apache
list, and I'm glad to see that one of the many threads around this debate on
the Apache mailing list is furthering this discussion; namely, that the
OpenOffice project at Apache be not so much considered as an end to itself,
but rather as an engineering project catering to specific needs of IBM while
also helping the LibreOffice project in specific areas. The point on the
OpenOffice project not providing binaries is going in that direction.

I thus think that there is room for TDF and ASF to cooperate even if the two
will not change their stance on licensing easily. This being said, many of
us here at TDF still question the whole relevance of an OpenOffice project
*anywhere* but inactive now that LibreOffice exists, runs and has been
releases several versions of stable software. I hope this helps you
understand more about our perception.

Charles-H. Schulz.

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