Oracle hangs up the gloves on OpenOffice

By Liam Tung on Apr 18, 2011 9:49 AM
Filed under Software

Now an open source community project.

Oracle has announced that it will no longer offer a commercial version of desktop productivity suite 'OpenOffice', which it inherited from Sun Microsystems in 2009.

The vendor said it would transfer OpenOffice.org to a “purely community-based open source project” but has not revealed any details on whether this referred to The Document Foundation, a splinter group of OpenOffice.org responsible for the LibreOffice suite.

The Document Foundation was formed in 2010 over fears for OpenOffice's future under Oracle's ownership.

"Given the breadth of interest in free personal productivity applications and the rapid evolution of personal computing technologies, we believe the OpenOffice.org project would be best managed by an organisation focused on serving that broad constituency on a non-commercial basis," said Edward Screven, Oracle's chief corporate architect in a statement.

“Oracle will continue to strongly support the adoption of open standards-based document formats, such as the Open Document Format (ODF)," Screven added. 

The most suitable home for OpenOffice would be The Document Foundation, according to one of the group's Dutch volunteers, Cor Nouws, posting on the organisation's blog.

Nouws described Oracle's decision as a "remarkable change in course.

"This is a big step forward in the direction that I expressed as a wish at the time that The Document Foundation started: that the two paths [of OpenOffice.org] will merge again," Nouws said. "And look, as per today Oracle searches a group, a community, that does want to give a home to OpenOffice.org. Me thinks that Oracle will get a warm welcome from The Document Foundation."

The Document Foundation commandeered the OpenOffice.org project in September 2010 and has since released its first stable version of LibreOffice in January 2011.

The foundation has garnered support from Google, Red Hat, Novell and Canonical (Ubuntu OS) amongst others, and unveiled the beta of its second major LibreOffice release late last week.

Oracle said it would continue to invest in Linux and MySQL, which were widely used by its enterprise and government customers. 

 
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