they can merge, but it will involve abandoning one of the forks.
The LO fork has quite a bit of development work that's gone on while the AOO fork has been going through it's management issues. It would have been very easy from a technical point of view for the people who have been expending effort on AOO to start working on LO instead.
The real problem here is the conflict between people and management approaches. The LO people left OOo while it was still managed by Sun/Oracle because they were ordered away. That leaves them understanably resentful and unwilling to give up the work they've done to go back and join the project that booted them out (especially since they've been so successful on their own) There is a real question of what value (other than the name) the Apache OO project has over the LO project.
In theory, their advantage is the companies are willing to contribute to AOO, but we don't yet have much that's been contributed,
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