Michael Meeks has posted a status update on LibreOffice versus Apache OpenOffice. It is worth reading, but there are some points I’d like to add and emphasize.
The first is that the Apache OpenOffice project went public about a year ago. And in the meanwhile, all they’ve done is make a build with a small amount of new features:
Most of the new features they will announce are features done by Sun / Oracle, but never debugged / shipped. Only a handful of features have been achieved by this new organization. In other words, while Apache are now making a release under the OpenOffice brand, it is not a version moves things forward very much. It should be a concern that the value of the OpenOffice name is decreasing. How many would still be running Firefox if it didn’t make major improvements for 2 years? What is the point of a brand if you aren’t building the best product to represent it? It is cheapest if the brand is handed over to LibreOffice, though primarily IBM stands in the way. In the meanwhile, explaining to as many people as possible that LibreOffice is a better OpenOffice is helpful. I am happy several people mentioned LibreOffice in my movie interviews.
The Apache incubation started because IBM didn’t understand that LibreOffice had just build everything they would need and that copyleft is considered a good thing by many. IBM are convincing a few handfuls of naive contributors to use lax license with a primary benefit that allows IBM to use but not give back. I don’t recommend these people play poker.
The biggest point from that chart is that it documents how Apache OpenOffice is behind and will never be able to catch up with LibreOffice, especially considering their license prevents them from incorporating LO code. It should have been possible to predict these results a year ago, and now we have the evidence. I don’t expect these facts to make it into the skulls of smart but stubborn people at IBM, but it is a good reminder of the situation. There will surely be some announcements of their first release coming soon, and which will ask the community to try it out and help. Fortunately, the Linux community is already clued in to what is going on. LibreOffice is one of the most important communities to enable more people to run Linux on a full-time basis. There are many ways for people to help out.