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Meeks: A LibreOffice/Apache OpenOffice Comparison

Michael Meeks has posted a comparison of new features added to LibreOffice and the upcoming OpenOffice 3.4 release. As a LibreOffice developer, Michael is clearly trying to prove a point. "On the other hand, thus far, there are rather few really new features in the [Apache OpenOffice] release that did not come from Oracle's existing work; that is outside of some pleasant drawing improvements, which we hope to merge into LibreOffice for our next major release."
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Few really new features in AOO (incubating) means nothing

Posted Apr 26, 2012 14:01 UTC (Thu) by cesarb (subscriber, #6266) [Link]

Having few new features (or even no new feature at all) in 3.4 would be expected, and in fact it is a good thing. They need a "baseline" release to base their work on, and need it fast (the longer they wait, the greater the chance of a critical security bug in 3.3 they cannot distribute a fix to). So their focus would be in releasing 3.4 as soon as possible, and not in adding new features to it (or even fixing bugs and cleaning up the code).

A real comparison will be possible only with the next major release following AOO 3.4 (be it 3.5 or 4.0).

Few really new features in AOO (incubating) means nothing

Posted Apr 26, 2012 21:59 UTC (Thu) by josh (subscriber, #17465) [Link]

That argument would carry more weight if AOO didn't bring that pain on themselves via the Apache licensing policy of refusing to use GPLed/LGPLed components.

Few really new features in AOO (incubating) means nothing

Posted Apr 26, 2012 23:00 UTC (Thu) by cesarb (subscriber, #6266) [Link]

> That argument would carry more weight if AOO didn't bring that pain on themselves via the Apache licensing policy of refusing to use GPLed/LGPLed components.

That policy is no fault of AOO; as far as I have heard, it has been Apache policy for a long time.

If we were trying to place blame, the fault would lie with the ones who chose to drop the giant ball of code in Apache's lap, knowing fully that it would mean creating a need to purge parts of that code.

The Apache OpenOffice (incubating) community had no choice in this matter, since it did not exist yet (it obviously started existing only after the code was thrown to Apache). They have to do their best with the preexisting situation: the strict Apache policy, the inherited bundle of code and artifacts with their licenses and grants, and the resulting intersection.

IMHO, their best code of action (if they decide to go on separately instead of merging with LO) would be to release a clean working 3.4 as a base as soon as possible, and go on from there. From what I have seen, this is the course of action they are following.

Few really new features in AOO (incubating) means nothing

Posted Apr 28, 2012 15:25 UTC (Sat) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

> That policy is no fault of AOO; as far as I have heard, it has been Apache policy for a long time.

Yes: This is a not a unusual issue that crops up with all Apache projects. They are very strict on the licenses they are willing to accept or re-license to.

> If we were trying to place blame, the fault would lie with the ones who chose to drop the giant ball of code in Apache's lap, knowing fully that it would mean creating a need to purge parts of that code.

This seems like a inappropriate project for Apache to take on, then. Just because the ball was thrown at them doesn't mean that they are obligated to run with it. Maybe the devs on the Apache project would better serve themselves by placing their contributions under the auspices of the Libre project.

That's not strict, that's rigid

Posted Apr 28, 2012 20:15 UTC (Sat) by coriordan (guest, #7544) [Link]

> They are very strict

Sounds more rigid than strict.

If a policy blocks the goal, the policy should be discussed. (That's assuming that the goal of AOO is to improve the free software options available to users of office suites.)

Take RMS for example. No one doubts that software freedom is his goal. He has policies about using GNU licences and GNU contributors assigning copyright, but in limited circumstances he recommends non-GNU licences and accepts code into GNU packages without copyright assignments. He puts the goal ahead of rigidly following policy.

Before AOO, there was little worry about the motivations within the Apache project. But there are also no illusions about the motivations of Oracle Corp and IBM. Each has a lot of influence in AOO. If a decision is bad for software freedom but good for Oracle or IBM, and the decision is supported by rigidly following a policy, then "we're really strict" can be a convenient fig leaf.

OO development processes mean everything

Posted May 3, 2012 23:44 UTC (Thu) by brianomahoney (guest, #6206) [Link]

I didn't realise until I read your comment for the third time is that the way you think and react is exactly what is wrong with the OO, but not the LO culture ... your culture is one in which code bases need to be PROPERLY maintained and needed new features come from the Marketing Department, which the get by talking to self selected senior users.

OO has been incubating for decades, always trying to catch up with MS Office.

Bound to fail!

LO has what any good software needs, a vibrant developer community that want to do GOOD, NEAT things and ARE, without waiting for some droid's permission.

OO development processes mean everything

Posted May 4, 2012 12:41 UTC (Fri) by cesarb (subscriber, #6266) [Link]

> I didn't realise until I read your comment for the third time is that the way you think and react is exactly what is wrong with the OO, but not the LO culture ... your culture is one in which code bases need to be PROPERLY maintained and needed new features come from the Marketing Department, which the get by talking to self selected senior users.

What.

I completely fail to understand how you could get *that* from my comment.

Meeks: A LibreOffice/Apache OpenOffice Comparison

Posted Apr 26, 2012 15:10 UTC (Thu) by and (subscriber, #2883) [Link]

I don't know what to think about such comparisons. Whenever the LO people publish something like that I always have the impression that they are beating a dead horse...

Meeks: A LibreOffice/Apache OpenOffice Comparison

Posted Apr 26, 2012 17:12 UTC (Thu) by jpnp (subscriber, #63341) [Link]

One of the most curious things about the OpenOffice.org brand, is the loyalty that users have to it, despite the 3.3 feature freeze being twenty-two months ago, having lost much of it's development community, and having had no new release since January 2011 - users are still downloading this increasingly old and creaky release at top speed. Getting the LibreOffice message out: about the new, exciting, much more featureful, and fun suite is important - and much appreciated. Existing profoundly clueful GNU/Linux communities already know about the best free office suite ever others don't yet.
I think this paragraph explains the rational for these type of articles. The OpenOffice brand had a pretty wide reach. There are many many people who search for OpenOffice and hit the download link without realising there is an alternative. I know I regularly meet people who've not even heard of Linux, but who use OpenOffice as a free alternative to MS Office on their windows boxes.

Meeks: A LibreOffice/Apache OpenOffice Comparison

Posted Apr 26, 2012 17:34 UTC (Thu) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106) [Link]

Searching for OpenOffice gets me a LibreOffice link... at the bottom of the second page of results. If this could be changed to top-5 of the first page it would go a long way towards solving this problem.

Meeks: A LibreOffice/Apache OpenOffice Comparison

Posted Apr 26, 2012 20:08 UTC (Thu) by gioele (subscriber, #61675) [Link]

If this could be changed to top-5 of the first page it would go a long way towards solving this problem.

For some reason go-oo.org is on the first page of results for "openoffice". Couldn't that become an HTTP 301 redirect to the new OpenOffice or host a big banner linked to LibreOffice above the fold?

Linking to LibreOffice

Posted Apr 30, 2012 23:41 UTC (Mon) by dmarti (subscriber, #11625) [Link]

That "new OpenOffice" link in your comment is basically the right idea. If enough people put links to libreoffice.org on high-ranking sites, the problem will go away.

The go-oo site says, "Going forward, the Go-oo project will be discontinued in favor of LibreOffice," so if they put in the appropriate HTTP Redirect that should help a lot, too.

Linking to LibreOffice

Posted May 1, 2012 16:10 UTC (Tue) by JanC_ (guest, #34940) [Link]

Actually, it would help a lot if the Go-OO site stays there and keeps linking to LibreOffice. A HTTP-redirect doesn't show up in search results...

Linking to LibreOffice

Posted May 1, 2012 18:55 UTC (Tue) by dmarti (subscriber, #11625) [Link]

But a properly set up redirect would pass all or most of the link juice flowing in to go-oo.

I always thought such a comparison would be just one single sentence?

Posted May 3, 2012 8:54 UTC (Thu) by giggls (subscriber, #48434) [Link]

Openoffice has got the brand, Libreoffice has got all the rest.

No longer true anymore?

Sven

Meeks: A LibreOffice/Apache OpenOffice Comparison

Posted May 3, 2012 23:24 UTC (Thu) by brianomahoney (guest, #6206) [Link]

Mr Meeks can sometimes bang the drum a bit loudly, BUT he is right on the money, LO got the community (of developers) while Ellison was scampering to catch up with Oracle's latest stupidity. In retrospect SUN and Oracle should make good reinforceing bed fellows since they both could never stop their hubris from damaging their business plan, and remember both are heirs of DEC.

The bottom line is that Oracle dosen't know to monetize SUN's intellectual property, unsurprising, neither did SUN.

LO has got the free developers, and while Apache had, in the day they are now another non-agile organization with too many policies and rules and not enough coding. For years to come, LO will slowly pull away from OO as more people do stuff not talk about how 'to do/or not to do' stuff.

Go back and reread the Cathedral and the Bizzar.


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