Apache OpenOffice.org - a few days after

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Disclaimer: not speaking as ASF member - this is my personal impression.

The Apache OpenOffice.org proposal is a few days old. In this time it has grown with an unbelievable speed. At the time of this writing 54 people have signed up as initial committers. Most are individuals, followed by a bunch of OpenOffice and IBM colleagues.

Discussion around this podling is causing a huge noise in my inbox. At the moment I have roundabout 300 unread e-mails in my inbox. Discussion are sometimes very valid, but surrounded by tons of noise. Even some troll-like "GPL vs ASL" debates have started, but then disappeared again (or i don't see them).

The proposal itself seems to be rather complete for me, in theory. But the vote did not happen so far - there are a few more discussion points which need to be solved.

While some people are mainly doing marketing work and try to convince people about the "why", some voices have raised a few serious concerns on the "how". For example, is the ASF able to handle the cost of such a project? Is the infrastructure ready for it? What, if IBM leaves the project. Do the two projects - LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org now interfere with each other? Or can they collaborate, as it is the wish of (hopefully) the most people? And finally - more a "why", but still considerable - , is the ASF somehow a doll in Oracles game?

OpenOffice.org for sure brings up a very different view to Apache. It is more a foundation incubating into a foundation - it's way bigger than all the other podlings. Different aspects come into it - like Education, User Downloads, Support, Conferences. While the ASF has handled much of these topics already, it is a bit different how OOo has done it. I expect many things to be changed within incubation.

Somebody has counted the number of mailinglist which have been used by OOo. I think they were 20 - but then somebody else explained that not all are used anymore. A clean up is necessary. If OpenOffice.org moves, the Apache incubator will for sure act as a huge shower and remove some dirt which has been grown by history. For sure, a good cleaning is always nice to have.

After all, I am pretty sure this podling will be established. After all concerns and problems, OOo is a strong trademark, attracting tons of people. And the ASL is a very good license, which might be a good alternative to some people. I hope that the ASF can have a good collaboration with the TDF. Who knows, maybe they change to a ASL compatible license somewhere in future? Let's see.

One thing comes to my mind: if IBM could convince Oracle to give OpenOffice.org to the ASF - maybe they could have some conferences and arrange a TCK for the ASF too ;-)?

Tags: ASF, Incubator, Java, Open Source, OpenOffice.org