OpenOffice.org under Oracle: Still viable?

The LibreOffice fork sparked by Oracle profiteering leaves IT shops wondering about the viability of their favorite Office alternative

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TDF then asked Oracle head honcho Larry Ellison to voluntarily give them the name "OpenOffice.org." Mr. Ellison determined that TDF didn't have Oracle's best interests at heart, and three weeks ago fired the founders; 33 of Oracle's developers resigned in protest. The developers posted an open letter describing their intentions for LibreOffice.

OpenOffice.org version 3.3 went into beta in early August. Release Candidate 6 should be available shortly.

LibreOffice 3.3 Beta 3 is available for download, too. It's still a long way from being ready for release and demonstrates some significant departures from the OpenOffice.org version.

You can choose your fork

There's no love lost between the groups. TDF steering committee member Charles Schulz says, "the whole frigging software looks and feels like we're stuck in [past]. Many things were not fixed, some others need a complete rewrite" -- hardly the kind of comment you'd expect from a group that claims it's working with Oracle on a technical level.

At the same time, suggestions are swirling that Oracle may find a way to make money from OpenOffice.org, perhaps using the same method it so successfully employed with MySQL: selling support contracts for the open source software, which Oracle develops. If that happens, there may be fiscal incentive for mending the spat and working together.

Or maybe not

If your company's evaluating ways to get out from under Microsoft's expensive Office licenses, you might want to delay your decision -- even your recommendations -- for another six months. Clearly, something's got to give in the Open-Libre shoot-out. But it's way too early to call a winner or even gauge the long-term effect of all this internal strife.

This article, "OpenOffice.org under Oracle: Still viable?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

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