|| ||"=?ISO-8859-1?Q?G=F6tz_Wohlberg?=" <goetz.wohlberg-AT-googlemail.com> |
|| ||ooo-dev-AT-incubator.apache.org |
|| ||About Team OpenOffice.org |
|| ||Tue, 20 Dec 2011 17:55:44 +0100|
|| ||Article, Thread
May I introduce myself? My name is Goetz Wohlberg and I spent the last
16+ years working on OpenOffice.org and it's commercial derivatives like
StarOffice or Oracle Open Office. At the moment I'm helping Martin and
Stefan from Team OpenOffice.org e.V. to setup a team with full-time
developers to join the Apache OpenOffice podling. My focus is to create
value for customers and to build a successful commercial business.
I have not read all of the posting here and I'm not a native English
speaker. So I might have missed some topics or discussions. But my
impression is that there is a major disconnect between the ASF and Team
OpenOffice.org. I guess it's time to be more direct and blunt about our
situation. Please let me try to explain what our ideas are with Team
OpenOffice.org, what we did, what we learned and what our next steps are.
First off, we are not evil! We don't want to mislead consumers (although
I admit we did)! We are not collecting donations for our own coffers! We
don't have a business model that is just based on donations! What we
plan to do can be summarized in the following three goals:
1. We want to help existing Oracle customers that they continue to use
2. We want to make money with support and service for OpenOffice.org
and Apache OpenOffice
3. We want to be able to sponsor developers working full-time on
OpenOffice.org and save as much developer know-how as possible from
the primary contributor Sun/Oracle
I'm in contact with a number of customers and I can assure you, that
they are desperately looking for a sign of life and new releases for
OpenOffice.org. Keep in mind that we released products every 3 month.
Customers haven't seen an OOo release since nearly a year now. I
understand that AOO 3.4 is in preparation and on the horizon, but how
reliable is this? The ASF does not have a track record yet for AOO.
Customers and consumers are also asking for support for their current
version -- and this is OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 and earlier. That's the
reason why we strongly believe, AOO 3.4 is important, but OOo 3.3.1 is
also important. We think that a maintenance releases for OOo 3.3.0 can
help to create trust in the project and help customers to wait for AOO 3.4.
Important part of our business model is to sell support and service
contracts to OpenOffice.org and -- in the future -- Apache OpenOffice
customers. With the withdrawal of the main sponsor Oracle there are not
many companies on this planet doing so. We believe that this is quite a
cool unique selling point (USP). Unfortunately decision-making in the
Enterprise about OOo support contracts normally takes around 6 to 9
month. We don't have that reach. So we need to close this gap until we
see service revenue coming in.
Here is a quote from a kind user who is trying to help us to make our
case. I think this is a pretty good explanation of our situation:
"Oracle used to pay our salaries to work on OpenOffice,org, but since
Oracle turned OpenOffice.org over to the Apache Foundation, it no longer
pays us. We were primary contributors to OpenOffice.org, we love it, and
we want to be able to work on it full-time. Unless a large company or
government hires us to do this (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), we are trying
to support ourselves via donations -- until we are ready to sell service
contracts. Donations to the Apache Foundation, while a nice thing to do,
can not be used for this purpose, so you will need to donate to Team
OpenOffice.org as a separate entity."
And collecting donations is something -- as you know -- Team
OpenOffice.org always did! Donations are very important for us in this
phase to close the gap until we see service revenue coming in. And there
are also very successful companies like the Wikimedia Foundation that
are based on donations. Therefore I authorized the donation campaign
"Save OpenOffice.org" - and I want to apologize for that! It was a
mistake because I didn't realize that at the same time this implies that
OpenOffice.org is not doing well at the ASF. Believe me or not, it was
not my intend to bring discredit upon the Apache OpenOffice project.
What are our next steps though? We are of course accepting the ASF
ownership of the OpenOffice.org trademark. As we worked since 2003
smoothly together with Sun and Oracle, we were surprised to see that
non-commercial Apache is seeing us as a troublemaker. Btw, Team
OpenOffice.org is also non-commercial.
We will not stop asking for donations to sponsor developers! Please take
your time to understand what we are asking for. We are asking for money
to help developing OOo! We are not asking to donate for the ASF or OOo!
If our communication on this topic is not clear enough, we'll fix it! Do
you see the difference? Again, we want full-time developers working on
the project and contributing their work to the Apache OpenOffice podling
-- something the ASF can't do! How bad is this? Without full-time
developers our business model won't fly.
We will not stop telling the world that we were the primary contributors
and inventors of OpenOffice.org. The development team in Hamburg created
it -- with the help of the OpenOffice.org community -- and is happy to
continue developing it. I don't think that this is confusing users. It's
the truth. The ASF should use this as a weapon not as a threat. We will
also defend ourselves against malicious gossip or suspicion -- same like
the ASF does. So please stop the own-coffers-thing.
As service and support is part of our business model, we are listening
to OpenOffice.org Enterprise users and customers. They asked us for a
maintenance release for OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 due to the security issues
-- and we will deliver! This release will carry a name that does not
conflict with the OpenOffice.org trademark. Using another name is
clearly not the best solution for all of us: users and customers, the
ASF and Team OpenOffice.org. This should be motivation enough to work on
a better solution.
Just one more paragraph with my personal thoughts: We recognized our
mistakes! Reason for the mistake was to get donations to hire full-time
developers. We are also working hard on other ideas to get funding but
we are not there yet! We want to be a committer to the Apache OpenOffice
podling and we basically share the same goals. We inserted a very
prominent link to the ASF on our website (see the box "Home of the
Development Project" on teamopenoffice.org). I hope that this email does
not have a negative impact on our chance to establish a cooperative
relationship between Team OpenOffice.org and the Apache OpenOffice
project. Does it? We are not evil!
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