Is it Time for a Move to LibreOffice?
With the recent announcement that Oracle will drop Open Office, is it time for businesses to switch to open-source alternative LibreOffice?
Posted by Killian McAleese, 19th April 2011
The schism was motivated by the purchase of the Open Office suite's principal creator and developer, Sun Microsystems, by the Oracle Corporation.
And it now seems certain that the emergent Document Foundation's fears were well founded, as last week Oracle announced its intentions to sever ties with the Open Office project, suggesting it would be better employed on a “non-commercial” basis.
Not a Suitable Owner?
LibreOffice had been created over fears that Oracle would drop Open Office as it had done with OpenSolaris, or adopt a less open approach to the project. The Document Foundation was therefore founded as a not-for-profit community organisation which, it was believed, would better suit the open-source culture of such an endeavour.
The irony, perhaps, is that it would seem as though Oracle and the LibreOffice team implicitly agree: Oracle is not a suitable owner for a project like Open Office. And credit is due to the LibreOffice team for realising this from the start.
But questions must be asked: What will now happen to Open Office? And, perhaps more importantly, is there room, or indeed requirement, on the market for two fully open-source MS Office rivals?
LibreOffice's Open-Source Credentials
Oracle does seem concerned for the future of Open Office, however, as chief corporate architect at Oracle Edward Screven commented that Oracle would work with the community to “further the continued success of Open Office.”
But one can't help feeling that part of the reason why Open Office is being dropped by Oracle is the fact that there has been a perception that the open-source developer and user community in general has had a propensity to lean towards LibreOffice due to its open-source credentials.
Time for a Change?
This interpretation would caution that there may be a certain, forthcoming sense of redundancy associated Open Office as seen by community members in general.
In view of the uncertainty that lies ahead, many businesses using open-source suites will likely favour a move to LibreOffice.
However, users need not panic, as Open Office will of course remain functional for the time being. Perhaps the more telling phase will be when, next month, the Document Foundation releases LibreOffice 3.4.
The reception of this more mature release of what looks to be MS Office's chief open source rival will be well worth keeping an eye on.
Document Foundation Releases LibreOffice 3.3.224th March 2011
300,000,000 Downloads Later, OpenOfficeShips Version 3.2 (from TechCrunch)11th February 2011
Oracle Gives Up on OpenOffice After Community Forks the Project (from Ars Technica)18th March 2011
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