Linked by Debjit on Fri 15th Jul 2011 13:06 UTC
IBM "After most of the developers and Linux distributions deserted them for LibreOffice, Oracle donated OpenOffice.org to the Apache Software Foundation. IBM has surprisingly thrown its weight behind OpenOffice.org in the OpenOffice.org vs LibreOffice fight. Tomorrow IBM will announce the donation of the source code of their free office suite - IBM Lotus Symphony - to the Apache OpenOffice.org."
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Interesting development
by madcrow on Fri 15th Jul 2011 14:01 UTC
madcrow
Member since:
2006-03-13

Symphony has a nice interface, but is well behind the current state of OO and LO "under the hood". Still, maybe the new interface, once ported to the OO codebase, will finally provide a real point of differentiation between them and will help to solidify OO as its own project rather than merely the failed parent of LO.

Edited 2011-07-15 14:01 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Interesting development
by jabjoe on Fri 15th Jul 2011 14:08 UTC in reply to "Interesting development"
jabjoe Member since:
2009-05-06

Due to licensing, LO can take from OO and OO can't take from LO. If IBM provides any useful code to OO, it will make into LO. It's a very one sided relationship. OO is set up to loose even if it's developer community hadn't moved over to LO. A good podcast about this is: http://faif.us/cast/2011/jun/07/0x11/

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Interesting development
by kragil on Fri 15th Jul 2011 16:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Interesting development"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

Sure, but somebody still has to integrate it. It is not like TDF has a lot of resources. My guess is that the codebases will diverge if IBM gets its way, which doesn't have to be bad: http://blogs.gnome.org/bolsh/2011/07/15/openoffice-org-in-apache-th...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Interesting development
by lemur2 on Sat 16th Jul 2011 10:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Interesting development"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Sure, but somebody still has to integrate it. It is not like TDF has a lot of resources.


http://www.libreoffice.org/about-us/credits/

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Interesting development
by winter skies on Sat 16th Jul 2011 16:56 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Interesting development"
winter skies Member since:
2009-08-21

"Sure, but somebody still has to integrate it. It is not like TDF has a lot of resources.


http://www.libreoffice.org/about-us/credits/
"

Please note that they explicitly state that on that page there is no distinction between contributions to OOo and LO.

"We do not distinguish between commits that were imported from the OOo code base and those who went directly into the LibreOffice code base as:
a) it is technically not possible to distinguish between commits that go directly into the LibreOffice code base and commits that were merged in from the OpenOffice.org code base, and
b) contributers to the OOo code base should also be credited for the excellent work they do."

So, even if you're right, I think this is no proof LO has got such a large programmer base.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Interesting development
by lemur2 on Sun 17th Jul 2011 02:23 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Interesting development"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Sure, but somebody still has to integrate it. It is not like TDF has a lot of resources.


http://www.libreoffice.org/about-us/credits/
"

Please note that they explicitly state that on that page there is no distinction between contributions to OOo and LO.

"We do not distinguish between commits that were imported from the OOo code base and those who went directly into the LibreOffice code base as:
a) it is technically not possible to distinguish between commits that go directly into the LibreOffice code base and commits that were merged in from the OpenOffice.org code base, and
b) contributers to the OOo code base should also be credited for the excellent work they do."

So, even if you're right, I think this is no proof LO has got such a large programmer base.


The majority of the programmers who used to contribute to OpenOffice have now joined the LibreOffice effort.

Besides, from the credits page:
"Total contributions to the TDF Wiki

1005 individuals contributed"


My bold. That alone is impressive. People who think that OpenOffice has more resources than LibreOffice need to re-think.

Edited 2011-07-17 02:28 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Interesting development
by bassbeast on Mon 18th Jul 2011 19:39 UTC in reply to "Interesting development"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

The problem is I truly believe without SERIOUS corporate funding LO is doomed. Have you looked at the LO/OO code? It is massive, monolithic,complex as can be, and written by dozens of guys over the years. If they manage to lose the original Sun guys that worked on it for years (which I haven't heard of any of them staying, just a few of the Novell guys before they went and got bought out so they are probably gone too) then you are probably looking at a good year and a half or more just to get someone up to speed it is THAT big and complex.

The problem that the Linux community doesn't seem to want to accept is the days of the "basement hacker" died out in the late 90s. Most of the big projects now are strictly run by corporations with their own agendas. Do you know who gave the most code to the Linux 3.0 kernel? MSFT! They needed better hooks for their hypervisior so there you go.

But all the corps are spending money on SERVER and don't care about the desktop. MSFT certainly isn't gonna spend anything on LO, RH? Server is where their bread is buttered and not only does Canonical rarely if ever give any back but their latest moves seem to be toward netbooks and tablets, neither of which will be a good fit to a big hulking office suite when you could just use Google Docs.

This is why I believe if they don't get some serious sponsors they are dead in the water. Already MS Office compatibility is frankly shite on a crusty roll, with serious formatting errors and DocX files of any complexity turning into word salad and things will only get worse with each new MS Office version. How will they afford to improve the existing compatibility while keeping up with the new features and formats of MS Office?

Answer: They won't, not if some serious annual income can't be found. Oh they'll try their little hearts out, beg and hold fund raising events, but to afford the number of coders they need the tin cup model simply won't do. It is just too large and complex for a weekend coder, and pro coders with that level of exp cost good money. And I apologize about the length, but I think this is something that needs to be said and action taken. As a retailer that often hands out plenty of FOSS to my customers I'd hate to see LO die but I already have to warn them about sharing with MS Office users, I don't see how having Oracle and IBM both drop support is gonna help make that any better in the long run.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Interesting development
by lemur2 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 00:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Interesting development"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

The problem is I truly believe without SERIOUS corporate funding LO is doomed. Have you looked at the LO/OO code? It is massive, monolithic,complex as can be, and written by dozens of guys over the years. If they manage to lose the original Sun guys that worked on it for years (which I haven't heard of any of them staying, just a few of the Novell guys before they went and got bought out so they are probably gone too) then you are probably looking at a good year and a half or more just to get someone up to speed it is THAT big and complex. The problem that the Linux community doesn't seem to want to accept is the days of the "basement hacker" died out in the late 90s. Most of the big projects now are strictly run by corporations with their own agendas.


http://fossforce.com/2011/07/openoffice-org-and-symphony-did-ibm-do...
"When the OpenOffice/LibreOffice fork occurred last September, IBM was noticeably MIA, even as practically every important FOSS player was bending over backwards to come-out in support of The Document Foundation. Novell, Red Hat, Canonical and Google immediately jumped on board, and soon afterward nearly all Linux distros dropped OpenOffice to proclaim LibreOffice as the new standard bearer open source office productivity suite.

IBM was about the only exception."


There is ample support for LibreOffice, including corporate support.

Do you know who gave the most code to the Linux 3.0 kernel? MSFT! They needed better hooks for their hypervisior so there you go. But all the corps are spending money on SERVER and don't care about the desktop.


http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Microsoft-contributes-a-lot-...
"Microsoft provided a total of 361 changes, putting it in seventh place on the list of companies and groups that contributed code to the Linux kernel. By comparison, independent developers provided 1,085 change sets to Linux 3.0, while Red Hat provided 1,000 and Intel 839."

Just keeping it real here.

MSFT certainly isn't gonna spend anything on LO, RH? Server is where their bread is buttered and not only does Canonical rarely if ever give any back but their latest moves seem to be toward netbooks and tablets, neither of which will be a good fit to a big hulking office suite when you could just use Google Docs. This is why I believe if they don't get some serious sponsors they are dead in the water. Already MS Office compatibility is frankly shite on a crusty roll, with serious formatting errors and DocX files of any complexity turning into word salad and things will only get worse with each new MS Office version. How will they afford to improve the existing compatibility while keeping up with the new features and formats of MS Office? Answer: They won't, not if some serious annual income can't be found. Oh they'll try their little hearts out, beg and hold fund raising events, but to afford the number of coders they need the tin cup model simply won't do. It is just too large and complex for a weekend coder, and pro coders with that level of exp cost good money.


Since it forked from OpenOffice, LibreOffice has released two major updates to LibreOffice.

http://www.libreoffice.org/download/new-features-and-fixes/
"Features tagged with a * are specific to LibreOffice."

http://www.libreoffice.org/download/3-4-new-features-and-fixes/

In addition to these user-facing improvements, LibreOffice has removed a lot of legacy "cruft" from the inherited OpenOffice codebase. As a result, it now loads considerably faster than OpenOffice. On my netbook, where startup times are quite slow, under Windows 7 LibreOffice starts faster than MS Office 2010.

Since it forked from OpenOffice, LibreOffice has had far more code commits to it than OpenOffice has had in the same period.

"The Apache License will allow LibreOffice to use the OpenOffice code and relicense it under the LGPL."

Just keeping it real here.

And I apologize about the length, but I think this is something that needs to be said and action taken. As a retailer that often hands out plenty of FOSS to my customers I'd hate to see LO die but I already have to warn them about sharing with MS Office users, I don't see how having Oracle and IBM both drop support is gonna help make that any better in the long run.


LibreOffice has better support for .docx than OpenOffice does. It goes without saying that both OpenOffice and LibreOffice have enormously better support for ODF than MS Office does (MS Office makes word salad of ODF documents). In fact, both OpenOffice and LibreOffice both have enormously better support for MS Office than MS Office has for OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

If you are going to warn customers about sharing with MS Office users, it is only fair to also warn your customers who are MS Office users about sharing with OpenOffice and LibreOffice users, because it is the MS Office users who are getting the lesser capability to interoperate.

Edited 2011-07-19 00:47 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Shouldn't be surprising
by tsedlmeyer on Fri 15th Jul 2011 14:12 UTC
tsedlmeyer
Member since:
2005-07-07

IBM has a long history of working with the Apache Software Foundation, so it shouldn't be surprising that they would choose to contrib the code base to the project under their control rather than libreoffice.

Reply Score: 5

Document Foundation?
by Damnshock on Fri 15th Jul 2011 14:26 UTC
Damnshock
Member since:
2006-09-15

Will the Document Foundation be able to get some code from them and introduce it to LibreOffice?

That'd be indeed a great thing!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Document Foundation?
by Sodki on Fri 15th Jul 2011 14:46 UTC in reply to "Document Foundation?"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

Yes, LibreOffice can use code from OpenOffice.org and from Lotus Symphony now.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Document Foundation?
by pfgbsd on Fri 15th Jul 2011 16:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Document Foundation?"
pfgbsd Member since:
2011-03-12

The code is starting to diverge more and more though ...

Reply Score: 1

Comment by robojerk
by robojerk on Fri 15th Jul 2011 15:47 UTC
robojerk
Member since:
2006-01-10

I actually preferred the UI of Lotus Symphony over OOo. I think where IBM filed with symphony was marketing, and getting it into the hands of linux distributions.

Reply Score: 3

Some comments on the article ...
by pfgbsd on Fri 15th Jul 2011 16:31 UTC
pfgbsd
Member since:
2011-03-12

First of all this is not really surprising as IBM had announced previously that they were supporting the Oracle/SUN move of OpenOffice.org to Apache. What is really suprising is that they chose to contribute *everything*.

Second ... the situation with the libreoffice fork isn't exactly a fight, in that there is no one likely to win from a division in the community. The fight may be with some company in Redmond that has taken a further advantage by offering a cloud service.

Third, contributing to Apache is not difficult at all, IBM can choose to do a software grant like Oracle did, or just have some of their engineers, that already signed the ICLA, directly commit the relevant parts they want to contribute.

The Apache Project will likely do an IP cleanup the Oracle codebase first, so this code may take a while to find it's way in.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by marcp
by marcp on Sat 16th Jul 2011 09:33 UTC
marcp
Member since:
2007-11-23

A little to late, IBM. Corporate guys seem to act together, but this is not enough to make a good, open office suite.
You spoiled your chance, why are you contributing just now, IBM?

Reply Score: 2

DHeintzman
Member since:
2011-07-18

There is a huge piece of this story that every one is missing. Yes it is good news that more code and more developers are being focused on the document editing space. Yes the community has work to do to figure out what the best parts of these donations are and bring them together, and yes IBM hopes that anyone and every one will be able to leverage and benefit from the donated technology and resources, this includes TDF/Libre Office and the Linux distributions and anyone else for that matter. No this is not a dump and run. IBM is increasing its investments in this space and is hiring new programmers to work on the project.

The real question is why? If we don't intend to make money off of the resulting editors why go to all this effort. Certainly IBM believes that the overall market is a healthier place with a strong vibrant and open document editor suite and that a modern, open, technically elegant and pragmatically implementable document format is a very good thing indeed. And certainly IBM has the breath of interests to execute a community benefactor play simply on this rational. But that isn't really what this is all about, at lease not all of it.

IBM believes that there is tremendous pent up innovative potential in the document space. The confluence of the rise of mobile, the rise of cloud and co-editing models, new collaborative and social business models and new analytic technology, and the emerging building blocks of the semantic web, suggests that there is enormous potential for innovation.

Traditional documents have focused on 2 layers, the content layer and the presentation layer. The great potential for innovation and new value creation is in the 3rd layer. The semantic layer.

Documents need to become much smarter. They need to incorporate rich descriptive semantics to aid navigation, discovery, trustworthiness analysis, compliance, and deep Q&A technology. Smarter documents will be used by business and governments in fields such as health care and marketing, for risk or sentiment analysis. People and organizations who leverage document content need to know its accuracy: who authored it? who has had access to it? where it was developed and what the provenance of the content is. Can you imagine what Deep QA technology like "Watson" could do if it had smarter documents to chew on?

The document editor suite is very important for this vision of new value creation. If documents can become smarter at creation or edit time then much more semantic/ social information can be embedded in documents and those documents can be leveraged by discovery engines, GRC engines, content management stores, analytic and deep QA engines etc... There is a lot of new value creation here. A lot of new business opportunity, but a lot of the fundamental work needs to be done by a community of technology partners to succeed. What is IBM really trying to accomplish here? IBM is trying to create a critical mass to attract the key investors in this new innovative space. You should watch for IBM to be working very hard to recruit other significant players with resources and IP to join the initiative.

Disclaimer: I am the Director of Strategy for IBM's Collaboration Solutions division.

Reply Score: 2