The open source community behind OpenOffice last week broke away from the brand and organisation that Oracle acquired with Sun 18 months ago.
The new, independent Document Foundation that emerged immediately received the support of almost the entire OpenOffice programming community, including Novell, Red Hat and Google.
Conspicuous by its absence, Oracle however appears to be in no rush to curry favour with the new foundation, nor donate the OpenOffice brand or software, according to its response to a V3.co.uk request for comment late last week.
Oracle said it was investing substantial resources in OpenOffice.org.
“With more than 100 million users, we believe OpenOffice.org is the most advanced, most feature-rich open-source implementation and will strongly encourage the OpenOffice community to continue to contribute through www.openoffice.org,” the enterprise software and hardware giant said in a statement.
The newly formed foundation had invited Oracle to join its organisation and donate the OpenOffice brand. The foundation said it would use the new " LibreOffice" brand for its software development efforts in the meantime.
But Oracle said, “The beauty of open source is that it can be forked by anyone who chooses, as was done [by The Document Foundation]. Our sincerest goal for OpenOffice is that it becomes more widely used so, if this new foundation will help advance OpenOffice and the Open Document Format (ODF), we wish them the best.”
Florian Effenberger, steering committee member at The Document Foundation, confirmed to V3.co.uk that the OpenOffice.org trademark belongs to Oracle. “And we as the community have shaped this brand for the last 10 years,” he added.
In spite of the apparent rebuff of Oracle’s statement, he restated: “We hope Oracle will join the foundation and also donate these assets to it, so we can continue using the name OpenOffice.org.”
Effenberger added: “As of today, we have no final decision by Oracle yet – neither with regards to being a part of the foundation, nor with regards to the donation of the assets.”
Effenberger was keen to highlight the huge amounts of positive feedback on the creation of The Document Foundation, which “confirms that the major step we've taken was right”, he said.
“We're very confident that it will shift not only the community, but also the software to a new and important level,” he added.
Bob Tarzey, director of analyst firm Quocirca, questioned whether Oracle and the OpenOffice brand should be so important to the breakaway community. “There are multiple projects working on the underlying project anyway,” he said.
“Some will support commercial Linux distributions, like Ubuntu, openSUSE and Red Hat, and in a way, Oracle has every right to the same. It could’ve used this opportunity [The Document Foundation’s invitation] to show its open-source commitment. But it doesn’t have to,” he added.
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