On one hand we have Google which has been open sourcing technologies, encouraging the free software community via SoC events, on the other hand we have Oracle which is making mistakes after mistakes post Sun acquisition.
Unfortunately, the company doesn't seem to fix anything. In a disappointing move Oracle has donated the code of OpenOffice.org to Apache Foundation, with which it already has a lot of problems.
IBM has also joined Oracle in this pile of mess, first by turning Java Committee into a bi-polar monopoly dominated by IBM and Oracle, throwing out Apache; and now by supporting the so-called 'donation' of the code to Apache and not the body which should have received -- The Document Foundation, the oranization behind LibreOffice.
"IBM welcomes Oracle's contribution of OpenOffice software to the Apache Software Foundation. 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." -- Kevin Cavanaugh, Vice President, IBM Collaboration Solutions.
Oracle, along with IBM, is distancing itself from the free software community -- first with attach on Google over Java and now depriving TDF from the OpenOffice code.
Is it an attempt to divide the LibreOffice community and weaken it? I wonder why the flood of press releases, published by Oracle and IBM, and the blogs posted by IBM and Oracle experts did not even mention the existence of LibreOffice which has become the de-facto Office suite for major Linux distribution? Neither of the IBM experts -- Rob Weir, Ed Brill and Bob Sutor -- mention LibreOffice in their 1000-1000 words long mono-blogs.
Are these experts not aware of the existence of LibreOffice (which is surprising) or they intentionally ignored it (which is alarming)? Free software world has health competition and support for each other -- but what these two companies are trying to do seems to be against the spirit of free software.
In a true community spirit, The Document Foundation sees a silver lining here. "The Document Foundation would welcome the reuniting of the OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice projects into a single community of equals in the wake of the departure of Oracle. The step Oracle has taken today was no doubt taken in good faith, but does not appear to directly achieve this goal. The Apache community, which we respect enormously, has very different expectations and norms - licensing, membership and more - to the existing OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice projects. We regret the missed opportunity but are committed to working with all active community members to devise the best possible future for LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org," say a foundation statement.
TDF further added, "On the bright side, one benefit of this arrangement is the potential for future-proof licensing. The Apache License is compatible with both the LGPLv3+ and MPL licenses, allowing TDF future flexibility to move the entire codebase, to MPLv2 or future LGPL license versions. The Document Foundation believes that commercially-friendly, copy-left licensing provides the best path to constructive participation in, and growth of the project."
IBM and Oracle's ignorance of LibreOffice reminds me of Gandhi. He said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
Oracle/IBM's desperate measures to divide and conquer the free software community brings good news for TDF and LibreOffice -- they have already won. The OOo code is no more than a pile of text. The real community, the real project is the one which lives in the hearts of people.
Where is your heart?