back to article LibreOffice rains on OpenOffice's 20th anniversary parade, tells rival project to 'do the right thing' and die

To mark the 20th anniversary of Apache OpenOffice, the project's main rival, LibreOffice, published a letter asking OpenOffice to tell its users to switch. Many people, the letter says, are unaware of LibreOffice because the OpenOffice brand is still so strong, despite the lack of significant updates over the past six years. …

  1. gobaskof Silver badge
    Joke

    THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

    Apache: No no it's not dead, it's, it's restin'! Remarkable project, the OpenOffice, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

    TDF: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

    Apache: Nononono, no, no! It's resting!

    TDF: All right then, if it's restin', I'll wake it up! 'Ello, Mister OpenOffice! I've got a lovely fresh merge request for you if you show...

    (Apache hits the server)

    Apache: There, it moved!

    TDF: No, it didn't, that was you hitting the server!

    ....

    TDF: It's not loadin'! It's passed on! This project is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet it's maker! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, It rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to your brand it'd be pushing up the daisies! It's typesetting processes are now 'istory! It's off the twig! It's kicked the bucket, It's shuffled off it's mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

    1. Al fazed
      Flame

      Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

      You developers and coders really get on my nerves, the bloody PROJECT is dead BUT the application is ten times better than Libre (FUCK OFF) Offices attempt to rule the roost.

      Basically, "letter notes that LibreOffice saw more than 15,000 code commits in 2019, compared to 595 for OpenOffice" but leaves out the all important bit about Libre Office installs by default on most Linux OSes, and once that happens, anyone "WHO IS NOT A DEVELOPER OR CODER BUT WANTS TO USE APACHE OPEN OFFICE" will be unable to install it......Thanks (LIBRE) WTF Orrifice.

      The END USERS just want to use the fucking thing...........

      ALF

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

        > will be unable to install it

        Yes, LibreOffice burns itself into the CPU and then starts itself at boot-up WHICH NOBODY CAN STOP ANYMORE !!!!1!11!elevenkerzillion!1!!

        P.S.: I did that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Joke

          Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

          He's right! I just low-level formatted my disk to check, and a big message with red text came up saying "Deleting everything except libreoffice, mwuhahaha!"

        2. Maelstorm Bronze badge
          FAIL

          Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

          Really? I don't seem to have a problem with controlling it, bootup or otherwise. But then again, if you were trying at sarcasm, you picked the wrong icon.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

            ...so... I'm guessing english isn't your native language?

        3. danbi

          Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

          LibreOffice is the new Windows? ;)

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

        "letter notes that LibreOffice saw more than 15,000 code commits in 2019, compared to 595 for OpenOffice"

        Oracle have discovered letting LO fix the bugs then bulk merging them into their codebase is easier.

      3. Horridbloke

        Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

        It turned me into a newt!??!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

          You got better.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

        @Al fazed -- got me divided. Horrible argument but a beautiful rant. Have an upvote!

      5. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

        I think we found the single developer still committed to Open Office.

      6. Just an old bloke

        Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

        Not it's not. It dead.

      7. gobaskof Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

        Dear Al Fazed,

        Thank you for replying to "my" comedy sketch with an incredible spittle-flecked rant. It shows passion.

        How about we come to a middle ground agreement? Instead of killing Apache Open Office, perhaps we rename the project "Alf's Angry Orrifice". We can add new features like RANDOM CAPITALISATION, and unnecessary ....... extended ...... ellipses?

        Yours trollfully

        Gobaskof

      8. RLWatkins

        Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

        I have both installed on my dev box and on a Win10 test box.

        Yes, I'm a programmer, but no, I didn't have to do anything special to install both of them. Just ran the installers. Two sets of icons, I can launch either one, even run both simultaneously.

        What happens when this fails? I'm curious.

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

      Its spell checker is just pinning for the ford mondeos.

    3. arachnoid2 Bronze badge
      Mushroom

      Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

      Just like Monty Python's parrot its not dead I tell you

      1. EagleZ28

        Re: THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!

        Indeed, Monty Python's Norwegian Blue (and its beautiful plumage) may have shuffled off this mortal coil, but only to shine forever as a stellar example of witty and funny redundancy.

        As for Open Office, it's merely resting peacefully, perhaps pining for field-arrays, rather than propagating revisions for the sake of forcing mere humans to learn new ways of doing old things... like a certain OS which I could name. Open Office, at least for me, is still very much a "going concern", regardless of that for which it pines.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "We were caught quite off guard"

    Yes, you obviously were. You are also apparently caught off guard by the notion of (gasp) actually updating your software.

    I use LibreOffice, because for what I need to do, it fits the bill and, at a cost of zero, that bill works fine for me. I also view the frequent updates as a Good Thing (TM).

    That said, I also view LibreOffice as a pale copy of what Office 95 would give me if I could still get it working today. Don't get me wrong, I respect the work that has been and still is being put in LibreOffice, but a contender to Microsoft Office it is not.

    To read that OpenOffice hasn't had an update in 6 years makes me shudder to think of the state of things. Multiplan, anyone ? Word 4 ?

    LibreOffice is obviously the future. Go LibreOffice.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

      The best reason to put VirtualBox on a Linux system is so one can run a real document suite like Microsoft Office.

      1. LeahroyNake

        Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

        If Excel could open .ods files properly and stick to the specification it would be a lot easier to transition to Libre Office. As it is now some moaning bean counters can't fathom a proper menu system....

    2. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

      That said, I also view LibreOffice as a pale copy of what Office 95 would give me if I could still get it working today.

      The only area where office 95 would win is Outlook, and LibreOffice (presumably purposely) doesn't have a mail client.

      Word/Excel 95 would be unusable in a modern context if only for the fact it literally couldn't open modern office formats.

      While I am sure that if you looked hard enough you could find features that Office95 has that LibreOffice doesn't, if we are honest about it then Libre office has at least 80% of the features and the absence of them will be noticed by well under 20% of users.

      Personally, if documents weren't being generated through an MS Office API (and thereby requiring it to be installed) then i'd have LibreOffice on my desktops at work. There's no other reason; a lot of computers have copies of it as it's good at opening the exceptionally weird formats clients sent us without any hassle.

      1. avakum.zahov

        Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

        Another area LibreOffice is severeky lacking is Vision equivalent.

        Other than that, I use them intergangably with MS Office and my documents, spreadsheets and presentations are OK 95% of the time.

        1. Paul Herber Silver badge

          Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

          Visio.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

            Intergangably.

            1. David 132 Silver badge

              Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

              Severeky.

          2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

            I suspect he didn't see that.

        2. RAMChYLD

          Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

          > Vision equivalent

          LO Draw. Opens Visio documents great, has great flowcharting capabilities rivaling that of Visio, and exports the drawings into PDF. Also works great in letting you open PDFs and edit everything to the minute detail.

      2. Woodnag Silver badge

        Outlook? Nope

        MS keeps updating the Exchange client killing backwards compatibility, so older Outlooks are SOL for the obvious use. Can't even use Ofice 2007's Outlook for current Exchange.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: Outlook? Nope

          Part of that is because Microsoft keeps re-architecting Exchange; it changed quite radically between 2007 and 2013, along with dumping most of the legacy MAPI/RPC protocols over the side in favor of RPC over HTTPS and whatnot. and FWIW, the changes are for the better, at least. (The Public Folders are treated just like any other mailbox database now, for the most part).

          1. LeahroyNake

            Re: Outlook? Nope

            Outlook 2007 works fine with Exchange 2013. Would prefer everyone just used OWA but I don't have anywhere to wedge the lever.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. LeahroyNake

            Re: Outlook? Nope

            Someone in accounts that looks at the quote to upgrade and than thinks... nuts to that it's working fine. When it hits the fan maybe an upgrade opportunity but it will not be to MS if I have a say. It has become so complex that even renewing am SSL cert can seem to work then stop working after a reboot. So much easier with postfix dovecot and it just works without faffing around on forums for a few hours because the provided tools to not work cotrectly.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Outlook? Nope

            Outlook 2007 only went EOL in October 2017, so only 3 years of missing security fixes; still not good, but not as bad as you make it out to be...

          3. Norman Nescio

            Re: Outlook? Nope

            I mean, I know this is an argument for the argument's sake, but, any suite, any OS aside, who in their right mind would want to run a 13-years old piece of software to process emails, aka basically mini web pages with attachments that include probably about 5,000 security fixes in the intervening 13 years? Scary!

            Someone with a mail client that doesn't process HTML and/or Java/ECMAscript perhaps?

            Basically, treat HTML as plain text, treat attachments as things that are shown to the user with their full file names, including extensions, and need to be explicitly detached - no double-click-to-'accidentally'-run-a-dot-exe-file. A mail client that shows the sender domain in full as well as the 'display name'.

            Emails should not be 'mini web pages', as history has shown.

          4. Woodnag Silver badge

            13-years old piece of software?

            I use Office 2003 because I prefer the old menu system, and it t does everything I need (apart from incompatible Outlook).

            I use Protel 99SE (you possibly guess the date) because it does everything I need.

            Yes, both paid for.

      3. jilocasin
        Unhappy

        Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

        The only thing that I miss running LibreOffice is competent envelope printing. And no, creating a special *envelope* *document* and printing that isn't the same. Besides, it rarely works correctly.

      4. RLWatkins

        Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

        The only feature that Ms Office has that LO and OO don't is the one which clobbers my 200-page document when I change the wrap parameters on an anchored image or table.

        Got tired of that. Now use LO to write documentation, save as DOCX when someone needs to open it in Word.

        1. Jakester

          Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

          I second that - I quit using Office many years ago when I would put more than 3 images in a Word document and the images automatically arranged themselves to where they wanted to go, rather than where I anchored them no matter what anchor method I chose. I ran across Star Office and bought a new copy whenever a new version came out. Star Office (and later, Libre Office) handled formatting much betther than Microsoft Office. When Oracle acquired the Star suite, I continued to use my last version of Star Office as I don't ever intend to intentionally install anything Oracle to keep from running afoul of their licensing. When Libre Office forked off from OO, I started using that and have been quite pleased with it. I do provide technical support to Microsoft Office users and when I have to fix a document that Microsoft Office totally messes up, I open up up the offending document/spreadsheet in Libre Office, fix the document, and resave it. In recent versions of Microsoft Office, I have seldom been able to setup a pivot table that works properly (trying to help a user) in Excel. Calc's implementation of the pivot table is much easier to setup for the tasks I need done. I can't say whether OOO or LO is better or worse than the other. I have just stayed with LO.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

      YMMV but I find OpenOffice feature complete and more stable, at least on MacOS, than LibreOffice. It also benefits from the fit and finish provided by IBM. And despite all those many commits, LibreOffice still contains some embarassing long-standing bugs, especially when it comes to handling OOXML documents.

      They should get over themselves, switch licences so that a merge is possible. That should also make it easier to offer a commercial version, which, if done properly, could be possible.

      In the meantime all the navel gazing is letting Microsoft extend its lead on mobile platforms.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

        OOXML was forced on the world by Microsoft and has to die, the sooner the better.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

          At least it is a published specification. I don't like it very much myself but as an ISO document it's likely here to stay and pretending otherwise is like sticking your head in the sand.

          1. PerlyKing Silver badge

            Re: published specification

            That "at least" seems to imply that ODF is not a published specification, but it is: ISO/IEC 26300.

            For anyone who doesn't know the history, OXML is an ISO specification following what has been described as perhaps the most controversial and unusual ISO ballot ever convened, which was covered on this site at the time. Spoiler: Microsoft used every dirty trick they knew to get the specification ratified.

            And following the standardisation it was found that Office 2007 didn't implement it properly. I don't know if it does now.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: published specification

              That "at least" seems to imply that ODF is not a published specification

              That's your inference but not my intention and I don't really see how you arrived at the conclusion.

              I would compare OOXML with the previous undocumented BIFF format that Microsoft did use unfairly to force upgrades. Yes, Microsoft cheated and only went along with the process because it was forced to by various governments. And, as someone who works occasionally with the ISO working group, I can confirm that Microsoft is generally helpful when it comes to the OOXML specification. Now, with everyone loving SaaS there is no need to keep changing the file format all the time, ie. they've learned to stop fighting yesterday's battles.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

        "They should get over themselves, switch licences so that a merge is possible."

        Easier said than done. They'd have to get agreement from all contributors.

      3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: easier to offer a commercial version

        MPL does not prevent a commercial version but it does prevent switching the source code to a closed source licence and adding closed source improvements for locking customers in so they cannot easily switch back to the free version. Libre office attracts more developers precisely because the licence prevents embrace, extend, extinguish. If the license were not the key issue libre office contributors would be contributing to open office.

    4. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

      Office 95 was crap apples.

      Is Office 97 the one everyone remembers fondly.

      Not only was Office 95 spellchecker really bad for anything not AMERICAN ENGLISH, Excel was so basic it was laughable and I say that as someone who hates Excel yet was forced to use it for a few six... seven.. ten years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

        I say that as someone who hates Excel

        I'm guessing that your hatred for Excel is as a candle guttering feebly in the wind compared to the raging inferno of malevolence that Matt WankCock Hancock feels towards it...

        1. Blackjack Silver badge

          Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

          The piece of software I hate the most is Windows Me... and Vista. Some days I hate Windows Vista more. Heck for four years I used the "Bad Vista" thing as my logo in Hangouts/Google Talk/Whatever name it gad back then.

          Mostly I do know what Excel is for; I freaking hate Excel auto-corrects, because of freaking course it knows better, right?

          And I freaking hate that's is used for everything, even stuff you can do better with a few hundreds lines of code in an easy to code programing language.

          1. Carrot007

            Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

            > The piece of software I hate the most is Windows Me

            Only idiots used it. Win 2000 came out first so there was no reason to use it. Hell I'd have moved to NT4 if it had DX support. Yes I played lot's of game. Yes win 2000 worked fine for it.

            > and Vista. Some days I hate Windows Vista more

            Nothing wrong with vista. I guess the orig needed a lot of painful configuring but SP1 was fine. Vista was the last MS OS I actually bought! Why? Because I needed a 64 bit OS and XP (the OS we all laughed at and kept using win 2000 for as long as we could) 64 bit was only ever a unsupported tech preview.

            > I freaking hate Excel auto-corrects

            And yet you leave it on becuase you lke it upseting you?

      2. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

        Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

        Back in 1998 I developed a very nice neural network for epidemiological data in Excel 97. True, it took a week to develop the model after crunching ten years of data, but the model was very accurate and useful. Pretty astonishing looking back at it.

    5. martynhare
      Trollface

      Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

      I’m not sure what Pascal is talking about here. Microsoft demonstrated to the public that Office 95 still runs on Windows 10. They “don’t support it” but their team still tests compatibility with it and Application Compatibility applies shims to keep it working.

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

        Really strange as I can swear not only is Office 97 way more popular, is also the most pirated version ever.

        Then again I cab totally believe some people still has files saved in Office 95 format for compatibility reasons.

        1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

          Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

          Piracy really was fun in the lawless era of 1998-2002 unis.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

          “... Office 97 way more popular, is also the most pirated version ever....”

          I have no idea what you mean, Number 111-1111111

      2. Naselus

        Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

        "I’m not sure what Pascal is talking about here. Microsoft demonstrated to the public that Office 95 still runs on Windows 10."

        I think the 16-bit version of office 95 doesn't work on the 64-bit version of Win 10?

  3. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Le mot juste

    As the ever-accurate Verity Stob points out here, the OOo abbreviation looks like a deflating balloon.

  4. Claverhouse Silver badge
    FAIL

    Grandstanding

    "We were caught quite off guard by the open letter," he said. "There are numerous ways for TDF to contact the AOO project and, from what we can see, none of those were used instead of the somewhat impersonal and semi-confrontational method of an 'Open Letter.'"

    All of which ways are easier to ignore.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Grandstanding

      To be fair, it's incredibly easy to ignore an open letter. In fact, the only thing easier to ignore is a closed letter.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Grandstanding

      Passive aggression is a completely appropriate response to blatant trolling.

  5. Roland6 Silver badge

    Possible solution to different licencing...

    Jagielski points out that while the ASF has always been willing to cooperate with TDF and LibreOffice, the relationship has been mostly one-way due to differences in the software licenses governing the two projects. The licensing differences mean that LibreOffice (Mozilla Public License v2) can incorporate OpenOffice (Apache License v2) code changes but OpenOffice cannot do the same with LibreOffice improvements unless the code supports ALv2.

    Surely the obvious solution is to terminate the current OpenOffice code tree, take a fork of LO, and create a new OO code tree with an ALv2 license. Or is there some (commercial) benefit to ALv2 that is missing from the MPLv2?

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Possible solution to different licencing...

      I am not an expert, but it looks like they cannot do that. MPL is copylefted, so all forks must also be MPL. AL is permissive, so can be brought into MPL. This was alluded to in the article, with claims that code commits can only be transferred in the one direction. This is why. Another option is to re-license OO under the MPL, which seems to be allowed under ALv2. Of course, that's unlikely!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Possible solution to different licencing...

          >isn't that the part where all contributors would also have to agree?

          Yes, I suspect the OO project would need its contributors to agree to terminate development of OO ALv2 codebase, then adopt a fork of the LO MPLv2 codebase and rename and release this as Open Office 'Phoenix' with MPLv2 licence...

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Possible solution to different licencing...

            Sure, but Apache would have to stop using the Apache licence and move to something more restrictive. That's why I think that they are unlikely to do that.

      2. David Austin

        Re: Possible solution to different licencing...

        Very few big projects re-license, but it is possible:

        Have a read on how Dolphin, the GameCube/Wii Emulator switched from GPLv2 to GPLv2+ to stop this exact one way code sharing issue: The general consensus seems to be if 95% of contributors agree, and none of the remaining 5% actively disagree, you can re-license.

        https://dolphin-emu.org/blog/2015/05/25/relicensing-dolphin/

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Possible solution to different licencing...

      This can't be done for the same reason that OO can't take the MPL contributions. The MPL contains copyleft clauses similar to GPL, i.e. projects using such source, including any forks, must also be copyleft. The Apache licence is permissive and doesn't put any such constraints on code taken from it. It may seem unfair that LO could take the OO code freely and not give back but that's the difference between the two licences. Yes, it's ironic - or something - that the copyleft principle is intended to force code sharing whilst permissive licences simply facilitate it.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Possible solution to different licencing...

        "Yes, it's ironic - or something - that the copyleft principle is intended to force code sharing whilst permissive licences simply facilitate it."

        Not exactly ironic. The copyleft principle is intended to prevent code *stealing* whilst permissive licences simply facilitate it. The issue at stake is that someone can take "permissive" code, do something trivial to it and then flog it under a non-permissive licence. That leaves a bad taste in the mouths of some people because it feels like "You are selling something that is 90% mine and 10% yours but refusing to include me in any of the profits.".

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Possible solution to different licencing...

          Stealing is taking with intent to deprive the owner of it and without the owner's permission. Basing a commercial product on a permissive licensed one in no way deprives the world of the original version. I don't know about current windows but earlier versions used, and, in keeping with the licence, acknowledged they used, the BSD networking stack. That in no way prevented the same stack being used in other OSs.

          If someone contributes to a permissive project they presumably do that in full knowledge of the possibility of someone basing a commercial product with it so the commercial product has the contributors' consent. The commercial product might be feeding back changes to the product. It might even fund the entire product.

          On neither basis can the accusation of stealing stick. The only difference is that the permissive project can be shared in binary without any obligation to provide source code. Even then there's only a real difference if the commercial version has made changes that aren't fed back. And what's at issue here is one project forking a permissive project and making changes that can't be fed back due to the difference in licensing terms. If you want to consider a commercial closed version as stealing from the original project then you must surely apply the same label to the fork under the more restrictive licence.

          From the PoV of the original project it's just sharing, as the licence facilitates but don't you think it just a little ill-mannered, to put it no stronger, to take the freely shared code from an original project, ensure that your changes can't be shared back and then claim some sort of moral high ground over the project from which you've taken it?

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Possible solution to different licencing...

            I suspect this is one of the reasons behind the way OO has been licenced, namely it leaves the door open for the Apache Software Foundation to make a version of OO - call it say StarOffice and put a price tag on it and charge for support. Thus providing some revenues to support the (not for profit) Foundation in delivering against its objectives.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Possible solution to different licencing...

              If that was the idea it's taken a long time for them to get round to it. It was a good while ago so I might have retained the wrong impression but AFAICR there was a lot of who-ha about Oracle not doing much with it, alienated devs and the like so the release under the Apache licence was made so that it could be forked which enabled the dissatisfied devs to do that. If that's a reasonable summary then I think it ill-behoves them to complain about the continuing existence of something that was set up for their benefit.

  6. DavCrav Silver badge

    "But he subsequently insisted word of OpenOffice's imminent demise was FUD spread by 'the usual suspects' – presumably LibreOffice sympathizers."

    Or anyone who looks at the release schedule?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open Letter

    impersonal and semi-confrontational method of an 'Open Letter.'"

    I wouldn't expect anything other than an open letter - presumably one that can be community updated and maintained ?

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Open Letter

      I've decided to fork TDF's letter and replace the entire text with "At TDF, we're a bunch of wankers who have decided we know what's best for everyone and will now graciously share that wisdom with the world."

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Although I have LO as the main office suite I keep a copy of OO, if only for old times sake. I see no harm in OO continuing to exist if only to remind LO that an alternative exists should they lurch off in some odd direction which makes me wonder why LO are so concerned.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Money – we know the TDF is trying to find ways to finance the project and the "power" of the OpenOffice.org brand is probably a distraction for "the market". But they'd probably be more successful if they changed their licence and worked towards a merge of the two projects. However, it seems they don't even want to consider that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Charlie Clark - Rally!

        As soon as LO adopts OO permissive licence, all code will be taken over by OO and with their brand power LO will become history. Once LO is dead, OO will linger at the same rate of one minor update once in a while.

        Is this what you're suggesting ?

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: @Charlie Clark - Rally!

          Is this what you're suggesting ?

          Not at all. If the projects merged then it would be easier to provide a coherent commercial offering and there's nothing to suggest that people from TDF could not be involved in actively developing the merged project.

          1. Naselus

            Re: @Charlie Clark - Rally!

            Because any attempt at merging would result in standard open source behaviour, and rather than reducing it to one project to rule them all, we'd instead have 3 - True Open Office, True Libre Office , and Bastard Lovechild Open Libre. And all three would then continue for the rest of eternity too.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Money – we know the TDF is trying to find ways to finance the project"

        Quite. And even more ironically, it's the nature of their licence that makes it difficult to do that. No wonder they're looking at OO and shouting "sour grapes".

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "LibreOffice (presumably purposely) doesn't have a mail client."

    There was an article some time ago on the LO's blog site arguing for this but the decision seems to have been to stay neutral. A problem with TBird is that the later have gone in for a tabbed interface although the SeaMonkey derivative remains classic although the underpinnings are different AFAIK. Personally I wish the two projects would get together and produce an integrated offering.

  10. Balcom

    From a non-pro user.

    Sounds a bit petty, having a go at Open Office. I've gone back to using both. Started maybe 8 years ago with Open Office, worked fine. Later I was prompted by a friend to try Libre. Again, worked fine for my modest needs, but then with every update they - Libre- screwed up/ reduced the colour palette so that original coloured boxes on "Open Office" didn't match, necessitating more unwanted editing and correcting.

    Later, the line-drawing became more difficult, because the original and convenient click-select-drag-&-move didn't respond to the mouse. Then, revised lines in documents wouldn't save.

    Went back to Open Office at the turn of the year and the revised lines now save and the "click-select-drag-&-move" was restored. I'm much happier and so is my wrist.

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      I must admit we used LO happily, importing a mailing list from a spreadsheet into a mail merge word processed document to produce formatted membership cards with a nice background image and a logo. Simple, easy, worked lovely and, as we had no money, cheap. Then an update meant only 10 images per file or formatting broke for the mail merged document ... that's only five cards and a lot of swearing when you have 200 to print ... update fixed it, then next update broke it again, two subsequent updates failed to fix it and we did the other thing ...

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "Simple, easy, worked lovely and, as we had no money, cheap. Then an update meant only 10 images per file or formatting broke for the mail merged document ... that's only five cards and a lot of swearing when you have 200 to print ... update fixed it, then next update broke it again, two subsequent updates failed to fix it and we did the other thing ..."

        Why didn't you revert to the previous release?

        1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

          We did ... three times. But at some point security becomes more important than familiarity which is why we took the decision and " did the other thing".

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            "We did ... three times. But at some point security becomes more important than familiarity which is why we took the decision and " did the other thing"."

            Sorry, I misunderstood. It sounded like it was just that version that was broken, not that *and all subsequent ones*.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Why didn't you revert to the previous release?

          Pretty much the biggest problem with LibreOffice, even with the so-called stable version is that it breaks so much stuff. Until the developers realise how bad this is for users they will never find people prepared to pay for a commercial version.

          "Move fast and break things" has its place in early development but when it comes to release management "Don't break anything" must be the priority.

  11. HellDeskJockey

    I use both but have found Open Office more stable. In office software there tends to a lot of look we added this new feature that will be useful for a whole 10 users. If it has basic word processing, spellcheck, and does basic multipage spreadsheets that meets my needs.

    Ok perhaps I'm a bit cranky cause I had to redo my phone after update yesterday. Also another set of phone upgrades this morning over 100 meg.

  12. WolfFan Silver badge

    Probably a license issue

    There is a version of OpenOffice for iOS. It is full-fat, does everything the desktop version does, within the limits of a touch rather than GUI device. There is a ‘reader’ version of LibreOffice for iOS. As of the last version I tried, it is much more limited than the OpenOffice port. From the weaseling in the product description, l suspect a problem with the license, which means that the LibreOffice reader is crippled on iOS and probably can’t ever be fixed. Not unless LO changes licenses, something I expect will happen at around the same time as Satan goes ice-skating.

    Warning: both versions are ad-supported; the ads in the LO app are incredibly annoying and can’t be turned off, or at least I didn’t work out how to turn them off before wiping the app from my system, while the ads in the OO app are less annoying (hard to be as annoying) and can be turned off by a suitable payment. That got killed on my systems too, I just don’t feel like being subject to ads to use an office suite, and I’m not paying one penny when both Apple and Microsoft supply free, no ads, office suites for iOS which work adequately. At least they work well enough for my needs. Others may differ.

    The devs behind the LO ‘reader’ make a big deal of not being affiliated with either LO or OO, but can ‘read’ documents from both. (Gee. Really? Who’d have thunk it?) The devs behind the OO app are less prominent about not actually being OpenOffice, even if searching for ‘Apache OpenOffice’ in the App Store leads directly to their app and offerings from Apache itself are notably missing.

    As usual, the major enemy of open source projects are the licensing and the egos of the devs. It means that those of us who just want to get work done use closed-source apps, because they mostly work and are actually available. If the actual devs behind OO and LO put versions on the App Store I feel sure that they would be better. And no ads anywhere. They won’t, and never will. Somehow VLC manages, but not OO or LO. Sigh.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Probably a license issue

      Have one of these for telling it like it is.

    2. DoctorMO

      Re: Probably a license issue

      To be fair and clear, it isn't Free Software projects that stop themselves from going into iOS, it's Apple who has a political axe to grind against copyleft.

      So, you are allowed to access Apple's users only if you remove all your protections and open yourselves up to abuse from those with power. This is because they see Free Software as an unenclosed field ripe for a few fences, and hate the idea it's not untamed wild, it's well regulated commons.

      Anyone with an apple device must accept they're under the hegemony of a company that sells paternal coddling, and choosing a strict daddy who won't let you play with the kids next door is not the fault of the kids next door no matter how unfair it seems to you.

      1. James O'Shea

        Re: Probably a license issue

        VLC, among others, seem to have no problems.

      2. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Probably a license issue

        As noted above, some open source projects operate in the Apple Store without problems. Meanwhile, some open source projects made licensing charges specifically aimed at Apple; Samba, for example. Apple merely built their own SMB client. If Apple cared they could build their own version of LO/OO. They don’t care. Contrary to the massive egos of some open source devs, they don’t care enough to steal their work. And both Apple and Microsoft have nice free suites which actually work and don’t have ads all over... and are compatible with their desktop suites. Which means that, unless there is a good reason, those who use the iOS suites will probably use the relevant desktop suites, too, not OO or LO. I don’t actually care, as long as my work gets done. I don’t use OO or LO very much, as they don’t talk to all my devices, while Apple and Microsoft apps do. I don’t do office type stuff on Linux, so I don’t care.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. WolfFan Silver badge

            Re: @WolfFan - Probably a license issue

            Interesting. El Reg is a penguin-only zone. Who knew?

      3. RAMChYLD

        Re: Probably a license issue

        I don't get it tho- if Apple is so against copyleft, why did every single *nix distro under the sun switch to CUPS? Shouldn't we all be hating on Apple and continue using LPRNG? Heck, why did they even introduce LPRNG to the Unix world in the first place?

        1. Mark #255

          Re: Probably a license issue

          there was an interesting article somewhere not too far away saying that Apple seem to have stepped away from CUPS...

        2. Dave559 Silver badge

          Re: Probably a license issue

          @RAMChYLD, CUPS started on Linux. Apple only started using it, and then acquired it, later on.

    3. Dave559 Silver badge

      ODF suite for iOS

      Collabora, who are significant LibreOffice developers, have made a version of Collabora Office (their build of LibreOffice, essentially) available in the iOS app store. It's a full version with which you can create/edit documents and it doesn't contain ads.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The open source bullets are flying

    I've used both LibreOffice and OpenOffice, these days I also use Office 2010 and WordPerfect and I prefer WordPerfect although it's not perfect. But both LO and OO have shot holes in all the other word processing and other applications, reducing their income and corporate profits making it harder to maintain the commercial products unless you keep forcing users to buy new versions. That's not what we thought would happen when we started releasing open source code - I'm not complaining because I've released a ton of open source code over the years, making it easy for people to access the files that animation, film studios, biomechanists, and motion capture environments use every day - but it's kill my income - something that I've done to myself.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: The open source bullets are flying

      "But both LO and OO have shot holes in all the other word processing and other applications, reducing their income and corporate profits making it harder to maintain the commercial products unless you keep forcing users to buy new versions."

      I've used oOo and later LO under Linux for decades. Awareness of oOo/LO is basically of measure zero in any setting that I have worked in. Hilariously that includes an employer whose standard desktop image includes oOo, inkscape and GIMP alongside MS Office, MS Publisher and the Adobe-thing-for-education-of-the-year.

      I suspect but can't prove that MS Office basically ate the market for anyone on the Windows platform even going back to Star Office which is how we got OpenOffice in the first place.

      I also suspect but can't prove that Google docs/apps/business is more of a rival to MS 365 in the current cloudy commercial era.

  14. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Who was it?

    That told me a couple of weeks ago that one can always fork an OS project if necessary? And that the OO/LO fork was a demonstration of this?

    No. You. Can't.

    You can fork the _code_. You cannot fork the developers, the user base, and most certainly not the brand awareness. Actual successful cutovers are quite rare.

    1. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

      Re: Who was it?

      I would say that LibreOffice did it quite handsomely.

      In fact, they took most of the OO developers with them and added even more themselves. The original project died or stalemated.

      Brand awareness is an issue, as I indicated above, but not something that's insurmountable.

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Who was it?

        Yeah, 2/3 ain't bad. My point is that this letter demonstrates that even one of the most successful stories for project forking is still substantially hampered in its success. As part of a larger conversation about why "just fork the project" is, in general, a useless retort.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Who was it?

      Forks succeed when the major contributors jump ship. The ones who are frustrated with existing process, or the owners.

      OpenOffice was refusing decent patches left and right under Oracle stewardship and it pissed people off so much they forked and here we are. I should note it's not the first or last time this happened with Oracle - Hudson forked as Jenkins & MariaDB forked from MySQL. It seems they have a "reputation".

      I bet the majority of people submitting to OpenOffice are Oracle employees and maybe some consultancy firms scraping by on support contracts. Basically bug fixing and maintenance mode.

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Who was it?

        Agreed--mostly. But again, the devs are not forked--they must be convinced, often one-by-one to jump ship. Even then, success is not guaranteed, and the prior success works against the new effort.

  15. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Lots of small business and home users get strong armed into believing they need to pay for a MS Office subscription, But if you are someone who rarely needs to to send or open documents from MS Office both OpenOffice and LibreOffice are more than enough of an office suite. I have used both OO and LO in within my business for over 10 years and only had a couple of issue with them.

    I think having more than one FOSS office suite option is a good thing, although it does seem to be unfair that OO can't take improvements made by LO due to the license differences.

  16. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

    Hand it over

    I agree completely with LibreOffice. OpenOffice should hand over the rights to the OpenOffice name and curl up and die.somewhere.

    The thing is: everyone is still searching the web for OpenOffice, not LibreOffice, even though there hasn't been a OpenOffice release in over 6 years.

  17. Maelstorm Bronze badge

    Another dick measuring contest.

    Nothing to see here folks. Just another dick measuring contest. OpenOffice being the more mature product is similar to *BSD where LibreOffice is more akin to Linux.

    With that being said, I moved from OpenOffice to LibreOffice years ago because OO couldn't do something that I needed it to. Furthermore, OpenOffice is actually the open source version of Sun Microsystems Star Office (I have a version 6.0 CD running around here somewhere.) which was Sun's answer to Microsoft Office at the time.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Another dick measuring contest.

      LibreOffice is a mature product and there is a stable LTS branch and a bleeding edge branch and you as the user choose which to use. Features or stability. They even have links to companies that offer support services.

      As for BSD vs Linux, the history of the two is intertwined and there are many forks of BSD with their own development model and focus. Some of them don't even share their kernels. But Linux (the kernel) is mature, witnessed by the fact it runs on everything from lightbulbs to z/Architecture. And Linux (the dist) is a matter of requirement & preference where there are stable choices (e.g. Red Hat or Ubuntu LTS) and seat-of-the-pants choices.

    2. Nick Pettefar

      Re: Another dick measuring contest.

      Sun bought Star Office.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We appeal to Apache OpenOffice to do the right thing."

    Well fork me!

  19. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Yet another example of holy wars over licences strangling FOSS projects. Anyway ... just 20 years? I was using StarOffice under OS/2 in 1996 and pretty good it was except for its insistence on using its own crappy "desktop" instead of PM. Have you all noticed what the LibreOffice executable is called ... ?

    1. ortunk

      Haha I was thinking it was just me :)

      soffice.bin

  20. Stuart Halliday
    Facepalm

    But Office365 is free!

    I'm a keen LibreOffice user and I've donated money to the organisation a few times.

    When I visit Home users on IT jobs, Office365 often becomes a subject of conversation.

    It seems a lot of people with Office365 can share the suite. Seemingly up to 5 shares are allowed?

    So getting it free is a big temptation I guess.

    1. Displacement Activity

      Re: But Office365 is free!

      Really? Details appreciated. I'm on 2010 because the cheap 5-licence 'Home and Student 2010" appears to allow far more than 5 installs. Still, not keen on the cloudy bits.

      1. jason 7

        Re: But Office365 is free!

        Yeah essentially you get the usual Word/Excel/Outlook to use on 5 machines with 5 different email accounts whatever, but the cloud stuff (Onedrive/teams) is just the one user account.

        I had 2 or 3 years ago, a small business that wanted to just buy two subscriptions and share that between 10 users as they really just wanted the Word/Excel/Outlook but somehow I convinced them to get ten subscriptions (no kick back for me) which paid off big time when it came to March as they all had access to the cloud/collaborative stuff on an individual level. There was a bit of push back at the time but as I said "If you cant afford £1200 a year for the software that essentially your £X million turnover business runs off...."

  21. LDS Silver badge
    Facepalm

    FOSS "We don't like monopolies!!"

    "Unless it's our own, of course!!!!"

    What's the problem, LibreOffice? They can't build their own brand? Maybe if they had chosen a better name instead of the usual "activist" one it would have been easier? You really need to tell others what they should do because you have your own issues - i.e. a dwindling number of developers?

    But I think they are just letting people looking under the mask. FOSS for many is not about choice - is just about forcing people to use only what they think is right to use.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open Saucy

    What surprises me is that there aren't more forks. The original fork was due to a holier-than-thou attitude (OpenOffice not being open source enough).

    I'm sure that LibreOffice is contaminated by source code written by someone who committed some non-open source sin like using electricity provided by some evil conglomerate, using non-open source hardware or programming in a non open-source language.

  23. Kiloseven

    Libre Office missing feature

    OpenOffice exports to EPUB. Libre Office does not.

    1. Mark #255
      Headmaster

      Re: Libre Office missing feature

      Erm, yes it does. If you don't believe me (Some Random Bloke on Those Interwebs), the online LO help also says it does.

    2. RLWatkins

      Re: Libre Office missing feature

      Sure it does. Just tried it. Worked fine.

  24. arachnoid2 Bronze badge

    Sorry Libra Officce we cant read your note as our office software is not compatible with the file type ".junk"

  25. arachnoid2 Bronze badge
    Trollface

    Anyhow

    Can either of these applications manage large databases, just asking for a friend?

  26. Archivist

    Why I use OO

    Have both on MacOS.

    Size:

    Open office: 391MB

    Libre Office: 780MB

    Opening time from cold:

    Open Office: 10s

    Libre Office: 24s

    Open Office does everything I need. I downloaded Libre Office as it's supposed to have better compatibility with MS Office but I didn't find it any better on documents I dealt with.

    1. jason 7

      Re: Why I use OO

      Ahhh Apple user...so you are still using a 2GB IDE HDD from 1997 then? That extra 300MB or so would be an issue.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Why I use OO

        It's not the space on the disk that matters, though on some MacBook Airs that is still at a premium, but the size of the executable affects load time. I, too, have both and would add that OpenOffice has by far the better UI and why I generally prefer to use it. Yes, icons in toolbars are details, but details are important.

      2. Archivist

        Re: Why I use OO

        Um, not really an issue on my 4 year old iMac, it's the load time that makes the difference.

  27. That 8 Bit Guy
    Thumb Up

    He's dead Jim!

    No love for Office 365?

  28. devTrail

    Bad bad taste, poor poor manners

    Basically they are insulting OpenOffice users alleging they do not understand what they are doing. It's a pity to see an open source foundation behave in arrogant Apple style and treating users as idiots.

    BTW I am not an OpenOffice user, but I can easily understand that a lot of organisations can prefer an old platform if it is stable and still has the functionality they need. Continuous upgrading to new bugs sometimes can be just a cost.

  29. jason_derp Bronze badge

    Well, what options were there?

    "There are numerous ways for TDF to contact the AOO project and, from what we can see, none of those were used instead of the somewhat impersonal and semi-confrontational method of an 'Open Letter.'"

    How else would they get a response? It's pretty common now to release stuff into the wild in order to provoke meaninful responses. Sent in a bug to a company that said it was out of scope for a bounty project? Release into the wild after a time and let natural selection sort it out. That's the way things are done now you silly person.

  30. The Empress

    All I need an office suite for is to read other people's horseshit. And those lovely 900 page Powerpoints they like to create at work extoling the virtues of Agile streamlined workflows. Everything else is in email or some god awful web app that's mostly json crap.

  31. aqk
    Pirate

    WordPerfect, anyone?

    What is this "open" stuff anyhow?

    I, for one, will stay with my venerable WordPerfect 3 and its dandy companion Quattro-Pro!

    And keep all my backups on sturdy 3.5" floppies.

  32. desgua

    OpenOffice is better for my user case

    I switched back from Libre Office to Open Office because of quickstart. I'm spoiled by opening any document in a fraction of a second and I can't get used to sluggish Libre Office after they removed quickstart from Linux.

  33. Ashto5

    FacePalm

    For god sakes just use MS office suite it costs peanuts and rocks.

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