End of OpenOffice?

Sep 07, 2016

The Apache Software Foundation considers retiring OpenOffice

Apache OpenOffice Vice President Dennis Hamilton sent an email on September 1, 2016, inquiring about the fate of Apache OpenOffice. Hamilton wrote that “the Apache OpenOffice project has limited capacity for sustaining the project in an energetic manner.”

The dearth of developers and interest in OpenOffice came about because a majority of OpenOffice developers moved to LibreOffice, a fork of OpenOffice under the governance of The Document Foundation.

Retiring the project is now a possibility. Hamilton wrote in the email, “I cannot make a prediction how this will all work out. It is remiss of me not to point out that retirement of the project is a serious possibility.”

OpenOffice is not under very active development and is plagued with security bugs. “In the case of Apache OpenOffice, needing to disclose security vulnerabilities for which there is no mitigation in an update has become a serious issue,” said Hamilton.

Due to the popularity of the OpenOffice brand name there may still be users who are running Apache OpenOffice on their systems, exposing themselves to security risks.

Oracle acquired OpenOffice through the Sun Microsystem acquisition. Oracle’s treatment of OpenOffice led to its forking of Libreoffice under The Document Foundation. However instead of donating the code-base and trademark to the Document Foundation, Oracle donated it to the Apache Foundation. Ever since then, OpenOffice has been part of Apache Incubator.

Apache OpenOffice may be retired soon, but what’s not clear is what will happen to its code-base and trademark. There is a possibility that the Apache Software Foundation may choose to transfer the trademark to the Document Foundation, which has established LibreOffice as the rightful successor of OpenOffice.

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