back to article OpenOffice files Oracle divorce papers

Open sourcers have seized control of the OpenOffice project and product and declared their independence from database giant Oracle. The Project has unveiled a major restructuring that separates itself from Oracle and that takes responsibility for OpenOffice away from a single company. Oracle had been OpenOffice …


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  1. Paul Slater


    FreeOffice would be a better name. And less confusing to pronounce.

    1. James Hughes 1


      Who the hell thought that one up? Have all the good names already been taken or something?

      1. Nigel 11

        Suggest a better name!

        It says in the article, it's a temporary name.

        "Office Libre" would be better, but perhaps vulnerable to a lawsuit from Microsoft. Which is probably the key. Now the project is out from under the corporate lawyer-shelter that was provided by Sun, it will have to tread much more carefully.

        My guess is that the placeholder may have to be replaced by something not containing "Office" at all.

        I'll start the suggestions ball rolling with "FreeDoc". At least it trips off the tongue OK.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Gates Horns

          Not even MS...

          can trademark a word as generic as "Office".

          1. Robert E A Harvey
            Thumb Down

            Not sure

            >Not even MS can trademark a word as generic as "Office".

            Anywhere sensible, yes. US, no. After the way Apple just claimed 'Pad'?

          2. Nigel 11
            Thumb Down

            What about "Easy" then?

            Stelios can't trademark "Easy", but it doesn't stop him setting his lawyers on anyone who dares to trade as Easy anything. Not even if they were trading before EasyJet existed.

            It costs money to defend a trademark against an infringement accusation. Money that a free project either doesn't have, or can better spend on other things.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Given that FreeOffice would completely bugger any future efforts to sell it due to the whole misunderstanding of free beer / freedom thing, this might not actually be a bad idea. Especially since it begs explanation any time the name is used.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Don't be such a monoglot...

      The big problem with emphasising the "free" part is the risk of confuzzlement in the English language between "free as in beer" and "free as in speech". Hence the "Software Libre" tag that's been around for a while now.

      1. hahnchen

        It doesn't stop the name from being crap though

        The gratis/libre thing is something only the neckbeards at FSF care about.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Umm, no.

          "Why you trying to make me pay for this? It's free!"

          Bang goes any support-wrapper or extended-capability version of the software.

    3. Richard Boyce
      Thumb Up

      Not such a bad name...

      When some people read "free", they think "low quality", and not "open". Also, despite the fact that plenty of people like me (and perhaps Paul Slater) have no ability with another language, it's sensible to be seen acknowledging the non-English speaking world in a product that seeks worldwide popularity.

      1. Christoph

        acknowledging the non-English speaking world

        I really don't think that's going to be a problem.

        Have a look at and check the nationalities involved.

    4. Dunstan Vavasour


      Because it is Libre, not just Gratis. When people ask what the name means, they will learn something.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Won't make a difference

        I doubt very much most people, who don't already know the significance of the words, will learn anything other than the meanings of a couple of Latin words and then immediately forget them and go back to wondering why the software has such a crap name.

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Yes, FreeOffice would be better, but...

      They'll probably need to charge for it if they don't find a backer, do a paid-for version which has more features, or some kind of apps store.

      1. Christoph

        Paid for version?

        "They'll probably need to charge for it "

        From :

        Q: What difference will The Document Foundation make to users of LibreOffice?

        A: LibreOffice is The Document Foundation's reason for existence. We do not have and will not have a commercial product which receives preferential treatment. We only have one focus - delivering the best free office suite for our users - LibreOffice.

      2. alun phillips


        Yes, because the supporters they have, Google, Canonical etc aren't gonna be able to stump up enough cash to keep it free

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tabloid summary

    Basically, they've forked.

    1. Atli


      And taken the community with the, apparently, which is why this is a bigger news item than a typical fork would be. An open-source project, even one in the clutches of MS Junior, is nothing without the community.

  3. JaitcH

    Oracle policies like Apples, demented CEO's rule

    This decision is a wise one given that Oracles policies seem to change on the whim of one man, much as Apples do.

    With this instability it is hard to do business with these types of personality without catering to the personalities various mindsets.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Subservient fruit

      Apples change on the whim of one man? Crikey.

      Don't worry, I'll get it. It's the one with an extra apostrophe in the pocket.

      1. Charlie van Becelaere

        That post was especially troubling

        given that yesterday was National Punctuation Day in the States. (Who'd have thought anyone in the States knew anything about punctuation?)

        1. PirateSlayer


          have an entire sentence in brackets? I think you're looking for a semi colon.

        2. Anonymous Coward

          National Punctuation Day

          Such-and-Such days in the US of A typically exist to raise awareness for something... Some subjects are a little tougher and they create a whole month for it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Give it a rest!

      Christ, you really have got a bit of an obsession there, haven't you? The article doesn't mention Apple once, but you manage to find a tenuous link to spout your tire rhetoric. listen mate, WE GET IT! You don't have to tell us anymore.

  4. Paul 77

    Oh dear

    I do hope they change it back to Open Office in the long term. I can't understand why Oracle would have any problem with this project, so why the need for a change of name?

    1. Ed Vim

      Re: Oh dear

      Please re-read the article -- Oracle has not been a friend to Open Source. Also, note that this actual project, 'OpenOffice' cannot be referred to by the media as OpenOffice because that name is a legally owned trademark by another company. That's why it's actually named, ""

  5. Stuart 22


    Its not 1968 but I smell a whiff of the revolution. Not sure about the name either.

    Personally I would find NotLarrysOffice a bit more attractive ...

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      What's in a name?

      Yeah, I can't understand why they didn't go with Larry'sLeisureSuite or something.

      Oh wait.

      1. Ragarath
        Thumb Up

        Thank you..

        That made me smile.

        The name is OK. (to stay on topic.)

  6. rahul

    A welcome move...

    ... but I can't see Oracle giving up control over this so easily.

    Let's hope that everything goes smoothly... staying tuned.

    1. Test Man

      Don't be silly

      Of course there is nothing Oracle can do. The software's source code is freely available and anyone can use it to set up their own office suite, which is what has been done in this case. Oracle have now got a lame-duck software package because the main contributers have left and produced their own version.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    At least for the Benelux there is a chance it can be called OpenOffice (not depending on wheter these guys ( can do something about it. They are the original trademark owners of the name OpenOffice in the Benelux. They had that name years before Sun was thinking of open sourcing star office.

    1. Test Man


      Seeing as they still own the trademark and weren't going to give it to Oracle/Sun, they aren't going to give it to the new group. Seeing as it'll be problematic (and stupid) having the software called two different things depending on the location, it definitely won't ever be called OpenOffice.

  8. Uwe Dippel

    Well done, Libre Office!

    No, Paul, 'Free' is totally misleading. It is not necessarily coming without cost, Free Of Charge. But it does come as software 'libre', that means it fulfills the requirements of liberty for software. James Huges 1, what do you suggest instead?

    1. hplasm

      How about-


      1. John G Imrie

        French Office.

        Used to produce French Letters.

        I'll get me coat.

  9. Daemon ZOGG

    " project is now The Document Foundation"

    Unfortunate that many of Sun's open projects are having to break away like this. But Oracle IS very quickly becoming the next closed-minded, closed-source micr0$haft. }:/

    Considering the past actions/inactions of Oracle.. I'm very happy to see The Document Foundation break away from oracle. ;)

    Will the domain name of the website change to reflect the organizations new name? So far, no news about any of this on the site.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      No news on OOo

      Since that's an Oracle-run site, I'm not surprised...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sun project escape

      The other project that needs to get out is VirtualBox.

      1. amehaye

        Re: VirtualBox

        That would be problematic.

        OpenOffice is licensed under GPLv3 which confers patent protection, so Oracle cannot sue the producers/distributors/users of the LibreOffice fork.

        VirtualBox, on the other hand, is licensed under GPLv2 which does not confer patent protection:

    3. Test Man


      The domain name and will always be there, as it's its own project. LibreOffice is not a replacement, it's a fork.

  10. Greg J Preece

    Nice one!

    This is why there was no point in worrying about MySQL and OpenOffice - you can't kill open source. If you shut down the project, someone will fork it. If you act like an arsehole, you lose control.

    Nicely done, OOo.

  11. Rogerborg

    Silence, running dogs of the Military Industrial Complex

    What do you know about marketing? It shows that we're finally at libre to develop those vital missing features that had been holding "Open" (snort!) Office back from mainstream adoption: built-in support for Klingon, and an Emacs look-and-feel.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      five years ago...

    2. asdf
      Thumb Up

      new keyboard alert

      Funniest geek comment of the week.

  12. Paolo Marini

    how about BoxOffice?

    not sure if it's a big hit, but surely will give sales a boost :-)

    and you're done!

  13. Richard Lloyd

    Wot, no links?

    There seemed to be a distinct lack of links in this article, so here's a couple: - Web site of the new Document Foundation. - Download page for LibreOffice. Note the lack of a final version - all the downloads are for the 3.3.0 beta 1 version. A shame they launched the fork without actually having a stable version to download (something missed by the article....).

    BTW, am I the only one who doesn't like the LibreOffice name because it's a French word mixed in with an English one, which is very clumsy indeed for an office suite containing a word processor whose English spelling checker rejects the word "libre"...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Wot, no links?

      "am I the only one who doesn't like the LibreOffice name because it's a French word mixed in with an English one"

      'Libre' is free as in freedom in Spanish, so it's OK Rich.


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