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Apache promotes OpenOffice to top-level project

Fiddling as LibreOffice speeds past

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Ever since Oracle dumped OpenOffice on the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), progress in developing the free office apps suite has been glacial at best. That may now change with the announcement that OpenOffice is now officially a Top-Level Project (TLP) for the open source group.

"The OpenOffice graduation is the official recognition that the project is now able to self-manage not only in technical matters, but also in community issues," said Andrea Pescetti, vice president of Apache OpenOffice in a statement.

"The 'Apache Way' and its methods, such as taking every decision in public with total transparency, have allowed the project to attract and successfully engage new volunteers, and to elect an active and diverse Project Management Committee that will be able to guarantee a stable future to Apache OpenOffice."

So far so good, but the move still leaves OpenOffice users with precious little to show for the ASF's stewardship since it took over in June of last year. So far there's been a couple of code revisions to version 3.4 in May and 3.4.1 in August, with the first mainly focused around incompatibly licensed libraries, and another has been promised at some point this year. But that's been it.

In the meantime, much of the growth in open source office software has been driven by rival fork LibreOffice, which was formed when Oracle annoyed enough key developers to get them to jump ship and set up The Document Foundation (TDF) to run it. The LibreOffice team is growing quickly and is now shipping with many major Linux builds.

LibreOffice, which celebrated its second birthday last month, is now releasing updates on a regular basis and is winning customers in both government and business. Intel recently bought into the project too, supporting it financially and taking a seat on the TDF board.

So far the LibreOffice code has been through three major revisions and a host of smaller ones, such as Friday's version 3.5.7 release. This will probably be the last 3.5 revision before the code moves on to its next major upgrade, and the group has plans for iOS, Android, and cloud versions of the application suite.

The comparison to progress with OpenOffice couldn't be clearer. ®

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