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Apache confirms new OpenOffice build by 2012

Warns developers that it’s still the daddy

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The Apache Software Foundation has confirmed that a new build of the OpenOffice suite will be out next year, and has warned rogue developers that it - and only it - can use the trademark for the software.

According to the group, version 3.4 of the software will be out in the first quarter of next year, and will be a developer-focused release that is designed to ensure the entire code base fits with Apache’s licensing terms. There is some third-party code to remove from the OpenOffice base that is incompatible with the Apache licence, although in some cases the original coders have been happy to relicense their source under different terms in order to help the project.

“We’re focused on developers with this build, making sure it’s IP clean with no licensing incompatibilities,” Ross Gardler, mentor on the project for Apache, told The Register. “That said there have been user improvements too, such as better graphics handling.”

Once the licensing issues have been resolved, a series of user improvements will be made to the OpenOffice code, he explained, and an updated build with more end user features would follow on as soon as possible.

Apache, which was handed the OpenOffice project in June, used the v3.4 announcement to warn others that it was running the show. Gardler said that this was because there had been a number of cases of groups using the situation to trick money out of contributors under the guise of developing the code, and even some cases of unauthorised builds containing malware.

However, these problems were nothing to do with The Document Foundation he stressed. Cooperation between the LibreOffice folk and OpenOffice was extensive and very encouraging he said, with cross use of code and both groups helping each other on bug fixes and development.

“I don’t think we’ll ever get back together – we’ve different visions and a different license perspective,” he said. “But there’s plenty of space for way for more than two iterations – the more the merrier in fact.” ®

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