Apache OpenOffice

Thursday December 05, 2013

Call for Comments: Apache OpenOffice Distributor Best Practices

Apache OpenOffice (formerly OpenOffice.org) is the leading free and open office productivity suite.  We have many millions of users.  In the past two years we've seen over 80 million downloads from our website, and millions more from 3rd party websites. 

Although most users are able to download OpenOffice successfully, we do get occasional requests for a CD.   This is something that we (the Apache Software Foundation) do not currently do.  We make the OpenOffice source code, and installable versions of OpenOffice, available for free download.  But we're not involved in distributing CDs.  However, the Apache License 2.0, like most open source licenses, allows 3rd parties to copy and distribute copies of the software and even to charge for the copies.

So the open question is this:   Would it be beneficial for the Apache OpenOffice project to maintain, as a public service, a list of 3rd party CD distributors, on our website?

Also, it is probably reasonable to ask CD distributors, in return for giving them a listing on our website, to adhere to defined best practices.  An example draft Distributor Best Practices page is on our website.  Is there anything that should be added or removed from that list?

We invite public comments on this topic, as comments to this blog post, or in an email to our public marketing mailing list.  Comments are welcome from anyone, especially users, potential distributors and the wider Apache community.  Please submit comments by January 15th for our consideration.


How would you "vet" 3rd party outlets? And once vetted, how would you keep them clean for the long term (other than banning them from the list)?

Posted by Maurice D Howe on December 05, 2013 at 03:01 PM UTC #

I say yes, put a few CD Distributors up...it will help those who just aren't very computer literate about downloading things to be a little 'safer'. I'd also like to offer a distributor to use, since I've used them a couple times over the years and they are friendly and service is quick and they are very inexpensive and they've been a CD Distributor for Distrowatch.com seems like forever, heh... OS Disc https://www.osdisc.com

Posted by John B on December 05, 2013 at 03:23 PM UTC #

With great difficulty I installed OO on Mint 14 KDE. I still don't have a proper icon for writer, which is what I installed it for. (I don't have the other apps on the desktop.) No other software package is so clumsy to install as yours. Some time ago I had similar problems installing on an rpm system, but at least I got the icons on screen. You really need to repackage this in a user-friendly way.

Posted by Doug on December 05, 2013 at 05:53 PM UTC #

If the list is of approved or recommended CD distributors - than yes. This means ASF is auditing the distributors for compliance with GDP (good distribution practice). Otherwise - no. About the list: 1) Latest isn't always the greatest - allow older versions. 3) Add spyware and backdoors... + Don't bundle or mention other software in the packaging. + Give preference to environmentally friendly distributors.

Posted by Ariel on December 05, 2013 at 08:12 PM UTC #

I don't mind for 3rd party CD Distributor, but I don't think those outlet will last longer for "selling" OSS, you know there is not a lot of profit in there... since a lot of my friend would rather copy it for free from another guy who just downloaded the newest version...

Posted by Satrio on December 05, 2013 at 10:44 PM UTC #

I was wondering what exactly is included in these CDs or USBs? What I was specifically wondering is I did not see any explicit requirement to include the license and code. While many of these users want to use OpenOffice, I would like to see the standards include making the license available or code available also, even if it is a link to a website for download. Personally, I would like to have the source included on the CD. I see the src is 317 MB so that may be an issue. However, the Win version is 137 MB and that should fit on a CD or USB. I was just wondering if this has been presented and think it would be great to include the source and license. This would be useful.

Posted by Marcia Wilbur on December 06, 2013 at 12:24 AM UTC #

I think you can ask 3rd party distributors to comply, but there are plenty out there already selling it, with who-knows-what riding along on the CD. If you maintain a small list of trusted sources (that are spot-checked periodically for quality and continuance), it can't hurt. People who aren't tech-savvy may still buy from the first listing they see on Amazon or eBay, though, which dilutes the impression of quality, despite your efforts.

Posted by Alisa on December 12, 2013 at 06:42 PM UTC #

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