IBM crams Lotus Symphony back into OpenOffice
Blows kisses at Oracle
IBM is contributing Lotus Symphony to the Apache Software Foundation, re-uniting this OpenOffice fork with the "official" version of the project.
On Wednesday, IBM said it will donate the standalone version of Lotus Symphony to Apache's OpenOffice.org project under an Apache 2.0 license.
Open Document Format (ODF) architect Rob Weir said IBM will work with ASF project members to decide which pieces will be integrated into OpenOffice. He noted that IBM has already done a lot of work replacing GPL and LGPL dependencies and that this work could help accelerate an Apache release of OpenOffice.
Last month, Oracle donated the OpenOffice project to ASF. This came after most committers walked out and created their own fork, LibreOffice. Oracle had refused to spin out the project and relinquish control.
Oracle inherited OpenOffice from Sun Microsystems, who had been the largest contributor. IBM took exception to Sun's control of the project, just as it had objected to Sun's control over Java. Though Oracle has donated the project to Apache, It appears that the company still retains ownership of the OpenOffice trademark. Weir noted that IBM had not been "exemplary community members" on OpenOffice.org under Sun and called Oracle's decision to place OpenOffice with ASF a "fresh start."
"We at IBM have not been exemplary community members when it came to OpenOffice.org," Weir said. "This wasn't necessarily by design, but for various reasons, that was the effect. Yes, we participated in various community councils, and sponsored conferences and worked together on standards. But when it came down to the code, we maintained Symphony essentially as a fork, and although we occasionally contributed code back, we did not do this well, or often."
In June, IBM welcomed Oracle's decision to land OpenOffice at Apache. Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president for IBM collaboration solutions, said: "We look forward to engaging with other community members to advance the technology beginning with our strong support of the incubation process for OpenOffice at Apache." ®
IBM is the scavanger in this situation.
Leaving aside the fact how differently Sun treated contributors that had licensed some of the code of OpenOffice (IBM for instance) to others that used only the free version (Suse, Redhat, Canonical), how it would come in and changing importance of bug reports according to which company had submitted it or was affected by it. I dare say that IBM is the coyote here... feeding on a dead animal left by something else.
After Oracle left OpenOffice for dead after it aquired its owner and basically wouldn't give a frak about what was left of it in the wake of the wave of fleeing developers, guess who urged Oracle to donate the code to Apache? If you guessed IBM, have a cookie. Why would IBM want the code given to Apache? Well if you think they want it out of the hands of a apathic Oracle and into the hands of someone that might do something to it you might be partially right... but that's far prom the real reason. You see if they wanted that, they could just contribute to The Document Foundation.
Now, what's the biggest difference between LibreOffice and OpenOffice, leaving their names and document icons aside. If you thought the license you now get a cupcake. What does the permisive Apache License let you do (to some extent) that the GPL does not? Come on, you all know this. it's the same reason why Google has Android under an Apache-like license and the reason they have so far held back the source of Android 3.0+ Have a muffin if you thought that using an Apache license may allow you to have some/all of the code spun off into a separate proprietary project. Guess who is the largest corporate user of OpenOffice code after Sun/Oracle... Why yes, it is Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (or the Big Blue as they like to be called now), if you were thinking of them have a donut. IBM would benefit form an Apache sponsored project with a permissive license and that's the reason that they put their Lotus code that they are giving Apache under the same license. It is so that they can make use of it all in a cohesive manner.
I'm definitely not criticising their behaviour, they are geniuses, evil geniuses mind you, but geniuses non the less. Oracle is absolutely aware of this move but don't really care. Be sure that Apache knows some of this already although they might not admit it yet (not even to themselves) but their excuse is that they can't really allow themselves to treat any new incubator project differently.
The biggest irony of all of this is that LibreOffice could take some improvements made by OpenOffice because OpenOffice's license alows it, but IBM can't use virtually any LibreOffice code because it would make their own license less permisive so they would have to write a whole lot of code themselves.
Kidding - right?
@Rob Weir - "He noted that IBM has already done a lot of work replacing GPL and LGPL dependencies and that this work could help accelerate an Apache release of OpenOffice."
Rob - do you really think that's a commendable act? Un-GPL'ing community contributed code, for the chance you might make a profit, and then maneuvering the donation of the code by Oracle to Apache instead of TDF? I think you must have no idea the amount of volunteer work that people have put into this office suite for years.
I sure hope your version of OOo or Symphony or whatever you are going to call it IMPROVES drastically and rapidly -- If you are going to act this callously, you should at least put out a product that's worth looking at.
So it's official then....
..... IBM want to kill OpenOffice! Why else would you lumber OO with cack like Symphony?