The Apache Software Foundation Blog

Tuesday Dec 20, 2011

Open Letter to the Open Document Format Ecosystem

Earlier this year the OpenOffice.org code base was donated to The Apache Software Foundation. The resulting project, Apache OpenOffice (Incubating) is progressing well as a podling in the Apache Incubator with a rapidly growing community and project infrastructure (see http://incubator.apache.org/projects/openofficeorg.html). This open letter seeks to articulate our vision for the future of Apache OpenOffice within the wider Open Document Format ecosystem.

With the OpenOffice.org donation, Apache has become a significant part of a global ecosystem that was initially formed more than ten years ago, it includes support for an internationally recognised Open Standard for documents (the Open Document Format developed by the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications [OpenDocument] Technical Committee) and at least 13 related open source projects. In addition to being a critical component of the IT industry OpenOffice.org is of significant value to the global user community with approximately 100 million users and over 70 native language packs.

In such a large ecosystem it is impossible to agree upon a single vision for all participants, Apache OpenOffice does not seek to define a single vision, nor does it seek to be the only player. Instead we seek to offer a neutral and powerful collaboration opportunity.

The permissive Apache License 2.0 reduces restrictions on the use and distribution of our code and thus facilitates a diverse contributor and user base for the benefit of the whole Open Document Format ecosystem. Within an Apache project it is possible to rise above political, social and commercial differences in the pursuit of maximally effective implementations of freely available open standards and related software tools.

Our license and open development model is widely recognised as one of the best ways to ensure open standards, such as ODF, gain traction and adoption. Apache OpenOffice offers much more potential for OpenOffice.org than "just" an end-user Microsoft Office replacement. We offer a vendor neutral space in which to collaborate whilst enabling third parties to pursue almost any for-profit or not-for-profit business model.

Apache has over 100 world leading projects and over 50 incubating projects. Within these projects we have demonstrated many times over that our model of collaboration is highly successful. Maximum benefit is gained through increased engagement with our communities. While it is possible, and legal, to take our code and work independently of the foundation we believe that collaborating wherever possible strengthens the ecosystem and facilitates progress towards one’s own vision for ODF.

Each participant in an Apache project is free to set their own boundaries of collaboration. However, they are not free to use our trademarks in confusing ways. This includes OpenOffice.org and all related marks. To ensure that the use of Apache marks will not lead to confusion about our projects, we must control their use in association with software and related services provided by others. Our trademark policy is clearly laid out at http://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/.

Only the Apache Software Foundation can make releases of software that bear our trademarks. The Apache OpenOffice (Incubating) project has tentatively identified the first quarter of 2012 for a Version 3.4 release.

As well as clarifying our position in relation to our trademarks we wish to make it clear that no third party has been given approval to solicit donations of any kind on behalf of the Apache Software Foundation or any of its projects, including OpenOffice.org.

In general, if a communication does not come to you from a verifiable apache.org address then it is not an official Apache Software Foundation or OpenOffice.org communication.

We invite and encourage everyone engaged with the Open Document Format standards to explore opportunities for collaboration with the Apache OpenOffice (Incubating) project. For further information see http://incubator.apache.org/openofficeorg/get-involved.html .

# # #

Comments:

This is directed at TeamOOo (Team OpenOffice.org e.V.), right ?

Posted by 127.0.0.1 on December 20, 2011 at 12:48 PM GMT+00:00 #

"However, they are not free to use our trademarks in confusing ways. This includes OpenOffice.org and all related marks." According to OHIM the OpenOffice.org trademark is owned by: Owner's reference: M32521/EU Owner number: 409970 Owner name: Oracle America, Inc. Representative's ID No: 10072 Representative's name: MITSCHERLICH & PARTNER

Posted by Rebentisch on December 20, 2011 at 01:27 PM GMT+00:00 #

[Trackback] Apache: Members can not use the Apache trademark for fundraising efforts (ASF Blog): http://bit.ly/u1vgVB

Posted by joabj on December 20, 2011 at 02:07 PM GMT+00:00 #

[Trackback] Apache: Members can not use the Apache trademark for fundraising efforts w/o prior approval from ASF (ASF Blog): http://bit.ly/u1vgVB

Posted by joabj on December 20, 2011 at 02:42 PM GMT+00:00 #

@Rebentisch: Oracle has transferred all the registered OpenOffice.org marks and logos they held in various jurisdictions to the ASF with a signed legal agreement. It takes the various governmental trademark offices a while (sometimes quite a while) to catch up on the change in their systems.

Posted by Shane Curcuru on December 20, 2011 at 04:13 PM GMT+00:00 #

Will Apache be using OpenOffice.org for any products? Or can The Document Foundation use it to rename LibreOffice to OpenOffice.org now?

Posted by Mark on December 20, 2011 at 06:06 PM GMT+00:00 #

Thats the problem with open office now. Oracle killed it and now Libreoffice is the king. Oracle wants to control how you use your own software while libre office gives the user total control while preserving the essential freedoms of a users own system. If wont be too long now before you will give ownership of your pc to oracle corporation so they can plunder your data for their own ends. for your own good naturally.

Posted by Justaminute on December 21, 2011 at 01:57 AM GMT+00:00 #

LibreOffice is just another free fork yelding much hype but staying with more restricted license. It shouldn't be paid attention.

Posted by Anonymous on December 21, 2011 at 07:03 AM GMT+00:00 #

That's easy : LibreOffice is not OpenOffice.org, it's just another fork.

Posted by ericb on December 21, 2011 at 09:11 AM GMT+00:00 #

…to the “Libre Office is just another fork” lot – guys, LibreOffice delivers working code. Now please do show me working release of Apache OpenOffice for Debian.

Posted by Jubal on December 21, 2011 at 12:43 PM GMT+00:00 #

"LibreOffice is just another free fork yelding much hype but staying with more restricted license. It shouldn't be paid attention." LOL! I love license-nazi fanboys. By now most of the OpenOffice.org developers are working on LibreOffice project.

Posted by 127.0.0.1 on December 21, 2011 at 04:02 PM GMT+00:00 #

Next week: Apache Foundation takes over XFree86 development.

Posted by Sam Kennedy on December 21, 2011 at 06:39 PM GMT+00:00 #

Are there any plans to have any sort of collaboration with The Document Foundation (primarily development collaboration)?

Posted by Branko Majic on December 21, 2011 at 07:10 PM GMT+00:00 #

Can't you just give LibreOffice the name already, they have the comunity & a release... how long do you want to string out this ugly death-by-mutual-starvation started by Oracle? Oh well, at least we have our fork. Speaking of which: What do you mean "just another fork"?... oh do people here fork OpenOffice every day? Anyone has had the opportunity to fork OOo anytime but did not. LibreOffice is more than "just another fork".

Posted by PuZZleDucK on December 22, 2011 at 03:36 AM GMT+00:00 #

Stop being pricks and hand it over to the The Document Foundation.

Posted by NGOHQ.com on December 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM GMT+00:00 #

The Document Foundation chooses part development by themselves, no one forces them to. If they want to have another project they are free to do that under another logo. The Document Foundation is not the "primary development collaboration" as it doesn't provide most of the patches. Just look at the http://blog.documentfoundation.org/2011/08/01/libreoffice-3-4-2-for-enterprise-users/ The last one is also an answer to "By now most of the OpenOffice.org developers are working on LibreOffice project." The sentence isn't false but totally misses that many patches end up commited to both office suites. OpenOffice has many forks with some of them being free projects and others provide some extra functionality for a price. Try perusing wikipedia before you post.

Posted by Anonymous on December 22, 2011 at 10:58 AM GMT+00:00 #

You can put a fork in it. It was done when Oracle killed it. Putting it under the "less restrictive" Apache license encourages developers to work on LibreOffice, which they've done. LibreOffice has accomplished more positive change since the fork than OpenOffice has done in the two years since... or after. Sorry, Apache. You were handed a steaming carcass. Sure, it was warm. But it's not good to eat. Time to stop the suckup status reports and face the reality. OpenOffice is done. Put a fork in it. E

Posted by Ehud on December 22, 2011 at 12:15 PM GMT+00:00 #

Ah, Anonymous, Anonymous. It's quite a pity that you're choosing to forget that LibreOffice and TDF do predate the extremely ingenious offer that IBM and Oracle made to the Apache Foundation. Anyway, back to my question: when can we expect something similar to a release plan, and, perhaps, a working release? I do understand, that squeezing the OpenOffice codebase into subversion is not making the whole process developer-friendly (more probably, it makes everything actively developer-hostile), but surely, with all of the Apache Foundation backing there should be a way to get something half-working out.

Posted by Jubal on December 22, 2011 at 12:45 PM GMT+00:00 #

The "restriction" of remaining free and open is a major reason why more people are behind LO. Oracle's moves have assured a slow rotting end to OOo.

Posted by Luke Hollins on December 22, 2011 at 05:12 PM GMT+00:00 #

Err, I'm confused. Team OpenOffice is taking PayPal donations to the "team@openoffice.org" account. If ASF thinks that's illegitimate, don't they have control of the domain and thus the ability to wrest control of the PayPal account? (I hope I haven't just given someone a good idea.)

Posted by ysth on December 22, 2011 at 08:30 PM GMT+00:00 #

It looks like OO.org is now trying to ride on LibreOffice success, not the other way arround :) That is odd, for just another fork :)

Posted by 127.0.0.1 on December 22, 2011 at 10:11 PM GMT+00:00 #

When Oracle handed Sun's code to the Apache Foundation * I * knew right then it was a steaming pile of ordure, ready to rot where it lay and permissive Apache's licensing as opposed to Libre Office's would kill it eventually. Why would open source developers code for a product that can be taken private and proprietary thus stealing the work of all those many volunteers? I switched the day the first iteration of Libre Office came out. Personally I hope that OOo does the right thing and hands all the code, IP, trademarks and so forth over to Libre Office, but I've heard it said that you can hope in one hand and 'spit' in the other and notice which one fills up first.

Posted by DeeDee Wilson on December 22, 2011 at 11:32 PM GMT+00:00 #

Oracle is a serious organization. Our all major projects only to use this technology databases.

Posted by Gotovitkulinar on December 23, 2011 at 11:46 AM GMT+00:00 #

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Posted by thegadgetmedia on December 24, 2011 at 11:57 AM GMT+00:00 #

"It takes the various governmental trademark offices a while (sometimes quite a while) to catch up on the change in their systems. " --- What counts for market players is what is registered at the office, not a contractual agreement to transfer.

Posted by Rebentisch on December 27, 2011 at 03:25 PM GMT+00:00 #

I am still fuzzy what this letter is trying to achieve? I think the market (users, developers, etc.) will go to the ultimate innovator and the system that delivers the most value over time. It's a journey and not a destination as the browser wars and OS wars and so many other software wars are showing. Until Apache releases something that's better than the current LibreOffice, we'll be using LibreOffice. :)

Posted by ld on December 28, 2011 at 04:47 PM GMT+00:00 #

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