An Antic Disposition
The Apache OpenOffice project and The Document Foundation are pleased to announce that an agreement has been made to combine resources and jointly develop a next-generation open source office suite, to be called “OpenLibreOffice” (except in France where it will be called “LibreOfficeOpen”). OpenLibreOffice will be quad licensed under the ALv2, MPL, LPGL and WTFPL licenses, so programmers can maximize their ability to express fine distinctions about copyright law. Similarly, source code for OpenLibreOffice will be made available to in C++, C#, Java and Ruby, for the benefit of attorneys who wish to make fine distinctions about type checking.
Some people eat meat. Some are vegetarians. Some are vegan, and won’t even eat eggs or cheese.”, said Michael Meeks of Koolibra. “These distinctions are important to how we look at ourselves. The choice of open source license gives us each an opportunity to feel morally superior, which is the primary joy of open source development.
This new joint effort brings an end to the brief fork that had disrupted development of the decade-old OpenOffice project and lead to a passionate contest to see which project would fail the slowest. As former TDF Board Member Charles Schulz recalls:
The fork originated over a disagreement over the color of icons in the toolbar. Or something like that. I don’t really remember. It was 2011 and everyone was protesting for something. ‘Occupy OpenOffice’ didn’t sound right, so we just called it ‘LibreOffice’. It was intended to be a placeholder name. We were hoping, after a suitable period of insults and ridicule, that Oracle would just give us the trademark for OpenOffice. For unknown reasons, likely involving IBM, the Military-Industrial Complex and the Trilateral Commission, that plan didn’t work. By the time we realized that no one outside of France and Spain knew how to pronounce ‘LibreOffice’, it was too late.
LibreOffice shipped 68 releases over the 4 year duration of their fork, fixing over 1673 bugs and introducing only 1532 new bugs, making it the most productive, though least efficient, open source project of all time. Apache has made only two releases in the last year, taking the “principle of least astonishment” to new levels.
Apache OpenOffice Poo-Bah Rob Weir applauded news of the announcement:
Users will quickly benefit from the combined engineering effort on OpenLibreOffice. But even greater things await the public when the marketing efforts combine and 100 million downloads of OpenOffice get transformed into colorful infographics showing 20 billion IP addresses or abstract videos of flashing lights accompanied by jazz flute music.
In related news, Microsoft released a new policy paper suggesting that open source software was partially responsible for European economic woes, due to the lack of VAT revenue, and proposed a special new surtax on open source software, “in the interest of fairness and open competition”.
Last Wednesday, March 26th, on Document Freedom Day, OASIS submitted Open Document Format 1.2 standard to the ISO/IEC JTC1 Secretariat for transposition to an International Standard under the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) procedure.
If you recall, the PAS procedure is what we used back in 2005 when ODF 1.0 was submitted to ISO and was approved as ISO/IEC 26300. ODF 1.1 used a different procedure and was processed as an amendment to ISO/IEC 26300. Since ODF 1.2 is a much larger delta to the previous version it makes sense to take it through the PAS procedure again.
The PAS transposition process starts with a two month “translation period” when National Bodies may translate the ODF 1.2 specification if they wish. This is then followed by a three-month ballot. Following a successful ballot any comments received are reviewed by all stakeholders and resolutions determined at a Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM).
I am notoriously bad at predicting the pace of standards development, but if you add up the steps of the process, this looks like a ballot ending in Q4 and a BRM around year’s end.