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IBM crams Lotus Symphony back into OpenOffice

Blows kisses at Oracle

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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." ®

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