OpenOffice.org moves forward!

 Everyone hopefully has been noticing the great strides that the OpenOffice.org community has made of late and the fantastic set of features that are now available for everyone in the latest release 2.3. If you haven't tried it yet, download a copy and give it a try. I guarantee you will be just as impressed as I have been.  http://www.openoffice.org/)                 

The Sun team is  extremely excited with the progress made to date.We are aggressively working  to move in the right direction, to ensure that the community continues to thrive. What many of you might not be aware of  is that we (Sun) have increased our focus and dedication around OpenOffice.org.  Nine months ago Rich Green asked me to take over the responsibility for Sun's commitment and support to OpenOffice.org.  We are looking at the history of OpenOffice.org, issues that might effect the community and how best to evolve, for everyone's benefit.  Based on my observations and discussions with the community members, three areas of  focus are;

1. Community governance
2. Contribution agreement
3. New tools and more open selection of tools

In the area of Governance, we have asked a number of folks to join a new Community Advisory Group. These are  companies interested in investing more resources in OO.org  and from the community at large.

To better describe the role the text from the invitation is below.

There have been significant and ground-breaking announcements around OpenOffice.org and there is great momentum around the project and community. We should all feel very proud of being part of such an amazing Open Source project. We can't just stop here we need to continue to evolve and ensure we are doing the right things for the community and the product's long-term future. I can ensure you that this common goal is something that I am committed to. With this goal in mind I would personally like to take this opportunity to invite you, and the company you represent, to join the OpenOffice.org Advisory Board.

The goal of the Advisory Board is to ensure we continue to move OpenOffice.org in such a direction that guarantees its long-term success and a successful future. The Board will provide strategic representation of the project's key stakeholders and community representatives. It will mediate between the desires and interests of the stakeholder companies and the community, and balance the inputs against with the strategic goal.

There are no preconceived notions on the actual structure and boundaries of the Board and suggest we cover that collectively at our first meeting. The Board will not manage the project's daily affairs, nor will it replace the OpenOffice.org's existing governing body, and the Community Council. The council will continue to do what it has done so well: resolve community issues and conflicts, set community goals, manage community funds, and most important, give a voice to the hundreds of thousands who make up the OpenOffice.org community.


I will report out after the first meeting, which is Nov. 1, 2007.

In order to address some of the concerns I have heard from the community, we are planning for  OO.org to use the new Sun Contributor Agreement (SCA) http://www.sun.com/software/opensource/contributor_agreement.jsp. I have carefully reviewed this document and have had council from a variety of our community members. This SCA goes a long way in addressing a variety of concerns with the current agreement. The most community friendly aspect of moving to the SCA is the inclusion of language stating that any contribution licensed out by Sun will also be licensed under an OSI or FSF approved license.  Please take a look at it and give comments.  We plan to use this agreement as soon as possible. This is a positive step forward for the community and more evidence that we are listening.  We continue to listen to feedback regarding the license under which OO.org is available.

In the tools area, I have asked Michael Bemmer and the Engineering Steering committee to come back with  recommendations on the tools the community agrees are best.  Then we will start the process to implement as soon as possible. We are counting on the community to help in that effort.  We are committed to a bug,build and source code management environment that speeds contribution and adoption by all.

Having read many blogs in the last few days, I need to clear up a few things:
 
-- StarOffice and OpenOffice are almost identical binaries
-- The big difference is that Sun can indemnify any user of StarOffice
-- StarOffice comes with enterprise level support and hence we charge for that. OpenOffice is free
-- The copyright assignment is not new
-- Sun contributes all of its development to OO.o under LGPL


Clearly we have work ahead, please be assured that Sun is steadfastly behind a strong, transparent and fair community process. We value the users and developers in the community! We welcome your input and your contribution. We invite developers, users and corporations to join the OpenOffice community effort !

 

 


Comments:

thanks

Posted by 电炉 on October 04, 2007 at 02:14 AM PDT #

"The most community friendly aspect of moving to the SCA is the inclusion of language stating that any contribution licensed out by Sun will also be licensed under an OSI or FSF approved license."

IANAL, but this does not warrant anything as it technically allows Sun to relicense the code under BSD-like or MIT license, therefor allowing proprietary version of the code.

Posted by Hub on October 04, 2007 at 05:28 AM PDT #

What does this precisely mean?

"The big difference is that Sun can indemnify any user of StarOffice"

In what way does a user need indemnification from Sun for StarOffice that isn't available for OpenOffice?

Posted by Mark Wielaard on October 04, 2007 at 06:38 AM PDT #

"IANAL, but this does not warrant anything as it technically allows Sun to relicense the code under BSD-like or MIT license, therefor allowing proprietary version of the code."

This isn't different from the current use of LGPL, which also allows proprietary linking to the codebase.

"In what way does a user need indemnification from Sun for StarOffice that isn't available for OpenOffice?"

I'm betting it's mostly for corporate clients, who tend to like paying for that sort of thing.

Posted by Dark Phoenix on October 04, 2007 at 08:05 AM PDT #

The Novell fork has existed for many years, precisely because StarDivision continues to run OpenOffice.org as a cathedral, years after their purchase by Sun.

What's the most popular version of OOo for the Macintosh? Does OOo acknowledge its existence in any manner whatsoever?

Posted by David Gerard on October 04, 2007 at 10:17 AM PDT #

@Dark Phoenix: There is a large difference between LGPL and MIT or BSD licenses. LGPL requires the redistribution of the source code. Neither MIT or BSD have that requirement.

So in the case of a "proprietary" version of the application, the LGPL licensed code still have to be made available and the user still have to be able to rebuild the application, even if that implies either just rebuilding the LGPL code a dynamically linked code, or rebuilding using binary object for the non-LGPL code.

Posted by Hub on October 04, 2007 at 11:56 AM PDT #

I believe the biggest community problems with OOo are the mandatory copyright assignment to Sun (and has always been the biggest problem) and the status of some bugs in the tracker. Some bugs are over 4 years old, even though lots of people commented and voted for them. Many of those bugs are assigned to Sun employees.

I think these two are inter-related, by allowing developers to retain their copyrights, there may be more people/companies willing to invest time/money to fix some bugs. The Linux kernel has worked like this and is doing much better regarding bugs, community and innovation.

So scratch the copyright assignment and you've done your job!

Posted by Simon Oosthoek on October 05, 2007 at 01:19 AM PDT #

"In the tools area, I have asked Michael Bemmer and the Engineering Steering committee to come back with recommendations on the tools the community agrees are best. Then we will start the process to implement as soon as possible. We are counting on the community to help in that effort. We are committed to a bug,build and source code management environment that speeds contribution and adoption by all. "

So hopefully we'll see use of CMake (cmake.org) for build management, and Subversion (subversion.tigris.org) for revision control.

Posted by TemporalBeing on October 05, 2007 at 03:54 AM PDT #

If you want to truly support community development, then provide first class support for distributed source code management, not just centrally lead one (CVS/Subversion).

While there are several alternatives for this, I'd recommend Git, as used by Linux kernel (http://git.kernel.org/ ), Freedesktop.org (http://gitweb.freedesktop.org/ ).

While it is possible to use Git with current Subversion repository, (http://live.gnome.org/GitForGnomeDevelopers ), direct support for Git, also in the _development_processes_ would acknowledge the inherently distributed nature of true open source development.

Posted by Mox on October 05, 2007 at 07:06 PM PDT #

@Mox: I love git too, however there are real problems with git running on 'doze. The fs cache on 'doze isn't the best and it causes sub par performance. Maybe if some resources were thrown at git on 'doze this could be overcome however. Git on Linux/Unix rocks however. If you want a look at issues with running git on windows have a look at the comments on http://git.or.cz/gitwiki/WindowsInstall

Matt

Posted by Matt on October 05, 2007 at 07:50 PM PDT #

Regarding SCM, we are carefully investigating into the different solutions like git, mercurial, svn. The problem here is, that it has to fit into several requirements, such as platform support, OOo dev work flow, performance, existing or new infrastructure, personal style ...
There were several discussions about this within different blogs and also on the OOoCon in Barcelona.
Some useful resources:
http://blogs.sun.com/GullFOSS/entry/is_subversion_ooo_s_next
http://blogs.sun.com/GullFOSS/entry/openoffice_org_scm
http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/SVNMigration
http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Git
http://marketing.openoffice.org/ooocon2007/programme/friday.html (search for SCM or git on this page)

Posted by Nils.Fuhrmann on October 07, 2007 at 08:33 PM PDT #

I think the reason, you may need indemnification are the following:

1. The LGPL does not grant any patent license, so in theory Sun can go around suing for patent infringement, you never know.

2. I believe an earlier Microsoft-Sun Agreement affects the Intellectual Property surrounding StarOffice but excludes OpenOffice.org.

3. Because of 2, it may possible for Microsoft to sue the OpenOffice.org community.

If 2 & 3 are false, then why does Sun not issue a patent covenant for OpenOffice.org?

Posted by Haren Visavadia on October 09, 2007 at 02:37 AM PDT #

A problem with OO.org are still the default document templates that tend to break. Is there any work going on regarding that subject

Posted by andre on October 14, 2007 at 09:20 AM PDT #

Thank you very much!
It's very useful!

Posted by fake watches on December 19, 2009 at 11:13 AM PST #

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