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Assuming that these are question that you are serious about
wanting answers to, I will attempt to do so.

On Jun 5, 2011, at 10:15 AM, Simos Xenitellis wrote:

What can the Apache Foundation provide to OpenOffice?

A formal, legal foundation. The ASF is a recognized 501(c)3, non-
profit public charity. It is a legal incorporation, which has been
in existence since 1999. It is, as you say, a foundation with lots
of projects, in fact, most of the top 10 FOSS projects are ASF ones.
It has a proven track record, and a set governance and organizational
structure that is recognized and emulated within the FOSS and
non-FOSS (eg: government, health-care, etc) communities.

I would say quite a bit then.

So imagine the potential if the ASF and TDF worked together...

1. You start with zero community and you alienate the LibreOffice community.

I would submit that "zero" community is somewhat of an understatement.
As far as alienation, if the LOo community feels alienated, and I'm
not saying that they don't have every right to, why is it directed to the
ASF which never sought this donation, and from the get-go has tried to pull
in the LOo organization?

2. You will start building a community at some point in the future in
some unknown way.

Please read the various posts and sites regarding the Apache Incubator
which describes how this is done, and has been done, quite successfully,
for loads of projects.

3. You are developers and can currently only deal with developer needs.

We are users and developers. Anyone with even a rudimentary awareness
of the ASF and how ASF projects work should realize that. In fact,
the very 1st ASF project, the httpd server, should clearly indicate that
it was as *users* that we used our developer skills to keep the project

4. Your infrastructure is based on Subversion (SVN) which will make it
for other to share code. Git is not even in the immediate plans.

git is currently being investigated. svn allows others to share code.

5. You are happy to get going with 20-30 core developers.

And why not?

6. The Apache Foundation hosts over 150 projects and I fail to see
any important user-centric software like OpenOffice.

Agreed, if by "user" you mean "desktop end user." And the ASF has
been quite upfront in saying that this is an area where TDF has
some clear areas to provide insight/help/guidance, etc...

The essential need for the Apache Foundation involvement in this appears to be
so that IBM can continue to offer a proprietary product, IBM Lotus Symphony,
License Agreement at

No, the essential need is that Oracle wanted someplace with a
proven track record to donate the code to so they could then
be rid of it. The essential need to the community is an open,
well-established entity that is (hopefully) able to help the
entire community to cooperate and collaborate on such an important
piece of FOSS code as OOo.

Is IBM is trying to replicate what Sun/Oracle had with StarOffice,
putting just enough resources
for their own needs in order to ship their product?

One could ask the same of Novell, but in any case that is
immaterial to the point. By building a healthy community around
the project, what IBM/Novell/Foobar "tries" to do is moot.

The Linux kernel is an amazing piece of software that it used in 92%
of Top500 supercomputers,
all sort of servers, mobile phones, most TVs and routers.
And still, there is a single Linux kernel project thanks to the
copyleft license.
Everyone works on Linux because they cannot keep away their own contributions;
they have to share them with the community.
Even the ARM architecture, where each ARM licensee went their own way,
is going to get its cleanup.
Because the code for all of them is already in the Linux kernel repository.

One could point to the success of AL codebases in the same way.
Ideological stances on licenses have a tendency to get in the way.

IBM makes money out of Linux by providing services. And IBM is even a
top contributor to the Linux kernel.
Would IBM hypothetically prefer to have the Linux kernel developed
under the Apache Foundation?


OO/LO are in this critical point where they can repeat the Linux
copyleft success story
and help ODF dominate the document formats.

Even FSF admits that when there are competing "standards", a AL license
is the best choice, even compared to a copyleft one.

OO/LO is a complicated piece of code and will probably require big
architectural changes.
Having an Apache OpenOffice and a LibreOffice will slow down progress
in major changes.

One could also say that having both cooperate would greatly speed up
progress in major changes.

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