Montag, Jänner 31, 2011

LibreOffice 3 veröffentlicht

Document Foundation und LibreOffice 3

  • Ein großer Teil der internationalen Community bei OpenOffice.org entscheidet sich für einen eigenständigen Weg und am 28. September 2010 erfolgt die Gründung der unabhängigen Document Foundation

  • LibreOffice 3.3.0 die neue Productivity Suite der Document Foundation steht als Finale Version zum Download bereit!

  • Feiern Sie mit uns den ersten Release am 25. Januar 2011!

    LibreOffice Productivity Suite

Mittwoch, November 10, 2010

Kostenpflichtige Javavariante: Oracle sprengt Freie-Software-Szene

Oracle entwickelt sich zum meistgehassten Feind der Open-Source-Gemeinde. Der Softwarekonzern versucht, Kapital aus Software mit offenem Quellcode zu schlagen, die er sich mit der Übernahme von Sun sicherte. von Annika Graf, Hamburg

Nachdem kürzlich die Wartungsgebühren für die Open-Source-Datenbank MySQL verdreifacht wurden, will Oracle in Zukunft offenbar eine neue kostenpflichtige Variante für wichtige Bestandteile der Softwareplattform Java einführen. Das geht aus einem Vortrag hervor, den Oracle-Manager Adam Messinger auf einem Fachkongress in San Francisco gehalten hat und der auf einschlägigen Webseiten und in der Entwicklergemeinde Wellen geschlagen hat.

Oracle-Firmenzentrale: "Oracle fährt eine sehr riskante Strategie"
Mit der Ankündigung setzt Oracle den Konfrontationskurs gegen die oftmals ehrenamtlich arbeitende Community der Programmierer lizenzkostenfreier Software fort: Im Sommer hatte der Ellison-Konzern bereits Entwickler des quelloffenen Großrechnerbetriebssystems Opensolaris mit der Ankündigung vor den Kopf gestoßen, künftig Softwarebestandteile aus den Oracle-Laboren erst mit Verzögerung für das Projekt bereitzustellen.

Vor wenigen Wochen schließlich kam es zum Bruch mit Entwicklern, die das Bürosoftwarepaket Openoffice - und damit das wichtigste Konkurrenzprodukt zu Microsoft Office - betreuen.
"Oracle fährt eine sehr riskante Strategie", sagte IDC-Analyst Rüdiger Spies. Der Softwarekonzern versuche, in der Open-Source-Gemeinde möglichst glaubwürdig zu wirken, auf der anderen Seite nutze er jede Chance, um die Projekte kostenpflichtig zu machen oder Wartungspreise zu erhöhen. "Die Frage ist, wann Oracle den Bogen überspannt."

Mit der Java-Technologie können Entwickler Programme schreiben, die auf unterschiedlichen Geräten und Betriebssystemen laufen. Die mobile Variante von Java wird auf verschiedenen Mobilfunkplattformen wie der Google -Software Android eingesetzt. Sun lizenziert zwar Java auch für geschäftliche Zwecke, gibt aber eine kostenlose Open-Source-Variante für Entwickler heraus.

Streit mit Google
Und genau mit dieser Version hat Oracle nun offenbar neue Pläne: Künftig soll es zwei sogenannte Java Virtual Machines (Java VM) geben - eine freie und eine kostenpflichtige. Java VM ist ein wichtiger Bestandteil der Plattform, sie stellt die Schnittstelle zum Betriebssystem dar, mit der viele Miniprogramme überhaupt erst laufen können. Bereits im September hatte Oracle Ähnliches angedeutet, gleichzeitig aber erklärt, auch die Weiterentwicklung der offenen Java-Plattform zu sichern. So verbündeten sich die Kalifornier im Oktober mit IBM, um die offene Java-Plattform voranzutreiben - was vor allem IBM nützt. Der Konzern sichert sich so günstige Software für seine Hardwareangebote.

Clinch um Open Source
MySQL Die EU-Kommission stimmte der Sun-Übernahme erst zu, nachdem Oracle versprochen hatte, den Open-Source-Kurs für die Datenbank MySQL nicht zu verlassen. Geld verdient Oracle mit Wartung - die wurde kürzlich teurer.
Openoffice Ende September kündigten Mitglieder der Openoffice-Gemeinde die Gründung einer unabhängigen Stiftung an, um die Bürosoftware auf unabhängiger Basis voranzutreiben. Oracle will der Stiftung nicht beitreten. Das neue Produkt heißt jetzt Libre Office, weil Oracle die Namensrechte an Openoffice.org hält.
Opensolaris Oracle bremste im Sommer die freien Entwickler um das lizenzkostenfreie Betriebssystem aus. Sie erhalten jetzt erst Zugriff auf Codezeilen, wenn Oracle schon die nächste Solaris-Version herausgebracht hat.


Nun wird in der Open-Source-Community allerdings befürchtet, dass Oracle die kostenfreien Versionen von Java verkümmern lässt. Ähnliche Sorgen um die Open-Source-Datenbank MySQL riefen schon die EU-Kommission vor der Sun-Übernahme durch Oracle auf den Plan, die dann aber genug Wettbewerb sah und grünes Licht für den Kauf gab. Dass Oracle gerade bei Java keinen Spaß versteht, machte der Softwarekonzern im Sommer mit einer Patentklage gegen Google klar: Der Internetkonzern habe mit seiner offenen Handysoftware Android Java-Patente verletzt, so der Vorwurf.
Laut IDC-Analyst Spies bremst Oracle mit diesem Kurs Open-Source-Projekte. Sie lebten von der Gemeinschaft aus Entwicklern und Vermarktern. "Wenn die sich auflöst, geht das Projekt zugrunde", warnt er. Wenn Oracle einmal als "bad guy" dastehe, könne die Community zerfallen.


FTD - trackback

Samstag, November 06, 2010

Global Peace Fire Ceremony – Free Webcast from Kyoto, Japan | Common Passion

Buddhist and Mayan spiritual leaders are joining forces for a unique wisdom transmission and historical cultural unification. This Sacred Fire Ceremony for oneness and world peace will occur on November 6th - 7th 2010.

You are invited to attend the [VIDEO] webcast free of charge or by simply lighting a candle for peace, joining millions around the world as this special ceremony begins.


The One Peace Live Aura Festival is an Agon Shu event offering its participants the ability to receive the Buddha’s wisdom directly through the transmission of enlightened master, Kiriyama Kancho. Together with Grand Elder of the living Maya, Alejandro Cirilo Pérez Oxlaj, also known as Wandering Wolf, they will offer a free, globally broadcasted sacred fire ceremony and a direct transmission of wisdom, light and peace at this most critical time for humanity. Participants do not need to be knowledgeable of Buddhist or Maya philosophy in order to participate.


The first Aura Festival for world peace was held in 1984 by Agon Shu’s spiritual leader, Reverend Kiriyama Kancho, and His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. This second Aura Festival will host sacred fire ceremony on November 7th in Kyoto, Japan at Agon Shu’s mountain temple. Both the Buddhist and the Maya spiritual leaders will transmit wisdom, light and the ability to create personal and world peace directly to participants around the world in a free live web-based video broadcast.

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Global Peace Fire Ceremony – trackback

Freitag, November 05, 2010

Freiheit für Openoffice

Die Entwicklerszene für die kostenlose Bürosoftware bricht auseinander. Sie hadert mit Oracle.

Nach der Sun-Übernahme durch Oracle rumort es in der Openoffice-Szene. Viele Entwickler der kostenfreien Bürosoftware - eines Konkurrenzprodukts zu Microsofts Office - sind frustriert. Jüngst kehrten 33 Mitglieder der deutschen Openoffice-Gemeinde Sun den Rücken. Thomas Krumbein, Vorstand des deutschen Openoffice-Vereins, nennt die Trennung einen "Befreiungsschlag".

Oracle hatte das IT-Unternehmen Sun Anfang 2010 für 7 Mrd.Dollar gekauft und damit das Softwareprojekt Openoffice, an dem neben Sun-Angestellten auch freie Entwickler arbeiten. Bereits Ende September kündigten Mitglieder der Openoffice-Community die Gründung der unabhängigen Stiftung The Document Foundation an, um das Projekt nach ihren Vorstellungen voranzutreiben. Sie luden Oracle ein, der Stiftung beizutreten - auch um die Markenrechte am Namen Openoffice.org einzubringen. Doch der Softwarekonzern ließ lediglich mitteilen, er werde Openoffice.org weiter unterstützen. Die freien Entwickler wichen für ihre Version vorsorglich auf den Namen Libreoffice aus.

"Offensichtlich hat es bei der künftigen Strategie Diskrepanzen gegeben", sagt Ralf Kaumanns von der IT-Beratung Accenture. Er stellte in einer Studie fest, dass für freie Softwareentwickler Motivation eine wichtige Rolle spielt - ebenso wie das Projektziel. Geld spielt eine untergeordnete Rolle, obwohl das Geschäft von Software mit offenen Programmcodes boomt: Der Marktforscher IDC sieht den Umsatz bis 2013 auf 8 Mrd. Dollar wachsen von derzeit knapp 5 Mrd. Dollar.

Der Markt ist den Experten zufolge schwer abzuschätzen, denn die Konzerne verdienen am meisten an Dienstleistungen oder Werbung. Große Unternehmen und Open Source schließen sich also nicht aus, auch wenn die Projekte von Ideen freier Entwickler leben. "Nehmen Sie zum Beispiel Google, die schaffen es sehr gut, Entwickler entsprechend zu motivieren", sagt Kaumanns.

Oracle und Sun gelang das allerdings nicht. "Es gab viel Frustration und Stillstand in den letzten zwei Jahren", sagt Krumbein, der auch an der neuen Stiftung mitarbeitet. Seit der Abspaltung habe das Projekt regen Zulauf von freien Entwicklern, denen die Restriktionen von Oracle zu hoch waren. Libreoffice entwickele sich schon jetzt in eine neue Richtung. Natürlich sei es ein Nachteil, Sun nicht mehr im Rücken zu haben. Libreoffice muss die Kosten für vier Server nun allein tragen. Doch Krumbein ist zuversichtlich: Große Namen wie Red Hat, Novell und Google unterstützen die Document Foundation.

Und Krumbeins Pläne gehen weiter: Er will die Document Foundation nach Deutschland holen. "Deutschland war die Keimzelle von Openoffice.org und das soll auch so bleiben."


Das deutsche Office
Aus der Heide ... Openoffice ging aus Staroffice hervor, das ein Startup in Lüneburg entwickelt hat. 1999 übernahm Sun Microsystems die zu der Zeit in Hamburg ansässige Firma. Im Jahr 2000 überführte Sun Staroffice in das Open-Source-Projekt Openoffice.org.

... in die Welt Nach wie vor arbeiten die meisten festen Openoffice-Entwickler in Deutschland. Oracle nennt allerdings keine genauen Zahlen.

trackback Financial Times

Document Foundation: Das Projekt Openoffice.org zerbricht

Die Gründung der Document Foundation hat direkte Folgen für das Projekt Openoffice.org in Deutschland: Über 30 der freiwilligen Helfer der deutschen Sektion kündigten ihren Rückzug aus dem Projekt Openoffice.org an, darunter die beiden Co-Leads Marko Moeller und Jacqueline Rahemipour sowie der komplette Vorstand des Vereins Openoffice.org Deutschland. Neben Rahemipour sind das Thomas Krumbein und Florian Effenberger. Krumbein kümmerte sich im Projekt um Marketing, Effenberger machte die Pressearbeit für Openoffice.org in Deutschland. Auch Markus Gommel, Kassenwart des Vereins, kehrt Openoffice.org den Rücken, ebenso Kassenprüfer Bernhard Rückgauer und André Schnabel, Aufsichtsrat des Vereins. Mit Erich Christian, Friedrich Strohmaier, Jens Nürnberger und Uwe Richter verlassen auch Unterstützer des Projekts PrOOo-Box das Projekt.

Zwar habe die Zusammenarbeit zwischen den freiwilligen Helfern und dem Hauptsponsor Oracle beziehungsweise Sun in vielen Bereichen gut funktioniert, doch "aller Zusammenarbeit und dem gemeinsamen Finden von Lösungen [seien] manchmal Grenzen gesetzt", heißt es in einer gemeinsamen Stellungnahme der nun ehemaligen Openoffice.org-Unterstützer. Probleme seien vor allem dort aufgetreten, "wo sich Ideen zur Weiterentwicklung der
Arbeitsplattform, des Designs oder des Marketings nicht mit den
Vorstellungen des Hauptsponsors decken oder aber einfach nicht
angegangen oder umgesetzt werden können, weil derjenige keine
Entscheidung trifft, der dazu (rechtlich) in der Lage wäre".
Das habe immer wieder zu unnötigen Missverständnissen und Diskussionen geführt.

"Um diese Grenzen zu durchbrechen, muss sich das Projekt weiterentwickeln und benötigt eine unabhängige Instanz – eine Foundation", wird die Gründung der Document Foundation begründet. "Die offizielle Antwort Oracles auf die Ankündigung der Document Foundation war eindeutig - Oracle wird Openoffice.org so wie bisher weiterführen." Doch genau das eben wollen die ehemaligen Openoffice.org-Unterstützer nicht. Ihnen reicht es nicht, "wie bisher weiterzuarbeiten".

Daraus ergebe sich tatsächlich ein Interessenkonflikt für Communitymitglieder in verantwortlichen Postionen von Openoffice.org, die sich zugleich in der Document Foundation engagieren. Mit dieser Argumentation wurden zuvor Mitglieder der Document Foundation aufgefordert, das Community Council (CC), das Leitungsgremium des Projekts Openoffice.org, zu verlassen.

Oracle mache unterdessen keine Bestrebungen, in Sachen Projektorganisation und -führung auf Kritik einzugehen. Daher sehe man im Projekt keine realistische Möglichkeit, solche Änderungen umzusetzen und engagiere sich deshalb in der Document Foundation, heißt es in der Abschiedsmail weiter: "Wir wollen eine Änderung, um der Community und der von ihr betreuten Software die Chance zur Entfaltung zu geben. Aus diesem Grund werden wir uns in Zukunft für die Document Foundation engagieren und in diesem Rahmen Libreoffice gemeinsam entwickeln und fördern. Natürlich hoffen wir, dass uns viele auf diesem Weg begleiten, den wir selbst bestimmen".


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Montag, Oktober 25, 2010

Opinion: The Cold War Between OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice - Linux Magazine Online

For the past month, I've wanted to express an opinion about LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org. However, I've refrained, because I didn't know what to think either way. I still don't, but my conviction is growing into that this uncertainty is worth expressing. Although many people want to see a hero or a villain in events, I'm not convinced that anyone who is involved deserves the uncritical support of the community.

If you follow free software development at all, then you know what's been happening. Mistrusting Oracle's intentions towards OpenOffice.org, a group of developers announced The Document Foundation, an independent organization that is developing an OpenOffice.org fork called LibreOffice. In response, Oracle has declined the invitation to join The Document Foundation, and the OpenOffice.org Community Council has called on its members who are also members of The Document Foundation to resign to avoid a conflict of interest.

In the past week, these events have seen people on the OpenOffice.org Discuss mailing list choosing sides and justifying their reasons for doing so. Only the independent OpenOffice.org Documentation Project has announced a policy of neutrality, inviting writers "to work on other flavours of OOo, should they wish to do so."

Amid these events, I hesitate to take sides, because, so far, all we really have is rhetoric from both sides. The Document Foundation's home page sounds idealistic, but, then, so does Oracle's news release pledging continued support for OpenOffice.org. Both sides have yet to back up the rhetoric with enough actions to make any serious judgment possible.

In this circumstance, I can only judge by past performance, which makes both sides seem less than ideal.

The Oracle back story

On the one hand, although Oracle has been involved in free software for over a decade, it has been unable to gain the community's trust. With its own projects, it has the reputation of being unwilling to relinquish control to the community, and of manipulating community expectations for its own purposes. -- of acting, in other words, how many people in the community are always afraid a large corporation would act.


For instance, while Innobase and Berkeley DB have continued to exist since purchased by Oracle, many suggest that development of both databases has slowed, to keep them from being a threat to Oracle's commercial products.


This is exactly the concern that led Michael (Monty) Widenius, the main writer of MySQL, to be concerned for its future when Oracle acquired MySQL along with OpenOffice.org with its takeover of Sun Microsystems. Although Oracle pledged to keep MySQL alive, Widenius believes that "They will market MySQL as an entry database that you can use until you afford something real," and phase it out after five years. He points to a halving of the Oracle staff working on MySQL as proof of his predictions.


Granted, OpenOffice.org does not compete directly with Oracle's products. Even its Base database does not, because it is a much more basic database. All the same, considering how Oracle has acted elsewhere, skepticism about its plans for OpenOffice.org seems well-founded. The fact that Oracle has yet to match its actions to its rhetoric suggests either it does not understand the community (and may therefore blunder in its future handling of OpenOffice.org) or else it plans to act exactly as people fear (in which case the fear is completely rational).

The morphing of Go-OO into LibreOffice

On the other hand, The Document Foundation does not inspire total trust, either. Judging from the members, particularly founder Michael Meeks -- to say nothing of its motivations and goals -- The Document Foundation is simply Go-OO reborn.

Go-OO is (or was) a semi-independent group of developers, who became impatient with the slow pace of OpenOffice.org development under Sun's development. Several of its members, including Meek, are Novell employees, and the project has been funded by Novell. Since OpenOffice.org did not accept all its code, Go-OO quickly became the version of OpenOffice.org used by many distributions, including Debian and Ubuntu -- which is why Shuttleworth's instant support for The Document Foundation means nothing; in announcing that Ubuntu will ship with Libre Office, he is merely saying that Ubuntu will continue to act as it has in the past.


Over the years, Go-OO has, in fact, introduced enhancements faster than OpenOffice.org. However, "faster" is a relative term, and The Document Foundation's rate of development is unlikely to be that much better than OpenOffice.org's. Similarly, whether Go-OO was a more democratic place for development is hard for an outsider to decide. Even if it was, will a relatively small organization be able to scale successfully to become an independent Foundation? Although Go-OO has made no obvious blunders, it seems only a modest success.


Moreover, Richard Stallman's words of welcome when LibreOffice was announced strike me as ironic. Less than two years ago, other free software supporters (although not Stallman himself, so far as I can tell) were condemning Go-OO as a tool of Novell and the conspiracy to spread the use of Mono.


Now that the cards have been reshuffled, and Oracle is replacing Novell as the company that parts of the community love to hate, The Document Foundation looks better than Go-OO ever did. Yet there is no reason to think that the goals have changed with the name. If you believed that Go-OO has a hidden agenda, then you can believe with equal justification that The Document Foundation has one, too.

A Bluff That Was Called

What happened, I suspect, was that Go-OO, already chafing under Sun's tight control of OpenOffice.org's direction, saw more of the same -- if not worse -- awaiting in Oracle. Hoping to succeed before Oracle could articulate its plans, Go-OO members reinvented themselves, and announced the foundation that they had long been calling for. But Oracle refused to be stampeded, and escalated the fork into something that resembles corporate warfare.


Whatever the merits of either side (and I am most inclined to support The Document Foundation, although only on the principle that any number is greater than zero), I suspect that the losers in this situation will be the users. The risk is that time will continue to be spent in flame wars that could be better spent in coding. What seems likely is not only a general division and duplication of effort, but, in Oracle's case, a decision to focus on proprietary development as a defensive measure. By making the gambit that it did, The Document Foundation may have perpetuated another version of the stalemate that it was trying to break.

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Dienstag, Oktober 19, 2010

Is it a spoon? Is it a fork? No, it's LibreOffice!

The newly founded Document Foundation announced their existence on Tue, 28 Sep 2010. Their first product is LibreOffice, a version of OpenOffice.org, which is released under the LPGL v3+ license.

What are the reasons and -- heatedly discussed -- is this a fork or not? Let me discuss some of the background and give my own layman interpretation of what is happening. Even back in 2008 Michael Meeks was looking at the contributor statistics, finding that Sun-external contributions were comparatively small. In the graph, you see around 30 active Sun Microsystem contributors, and between 4-8 external contributors. That can be interpreted as a sign of tremendous commitment by Sun (which has been significant all the time), or as a failure to mobilize external contributors. After all, this is 4-8 active external contributors when the Office Suite is the killer app next to a web browser and email application for most office workers! I have not checked the development in 2009/2010, but I don't expect that things have looked much different.

Micheal Meeks and others blame that on "enormous groupthink", but also on the fact that Sun, and now Oracle, requires Copyright Assignment for all code contributions, so they can sell proprietary versions of the office suite, while others cannot. This prevents some companies employees from contributing and is a disincentive for many individuals too. (e.g. University employee's code often is automatically copyright to the employer, and they cannot transfer their copyright). Anyway, the end result is that Sun, now Oracle, never played on one level with other contributors, which is what they had promised from the very beginning.

In their original press release on July 2000 , Sun had stated:

[...] In addition, Sun also announced today the new OpenOffice.org Foundation, which will initially be modeled on other successful open source projects and will consist of a project management committee, source code maintainers, and developers. Sun will hold a equal membership position in the OpenOffice.org Foundation project management committee. [...]

That foundation has failed to materialize until today, and so has the equal membership position. As I am not familiar with the core (people and processes) of the Documentfoundation, I can't comment on how it came about, but they announced their existence, emphasizing that they see themselves as part of the OpenOffice.org community, implementing the decade-old promise of Sun of a level playing field, doing away with Copyright assignments, and at the same time, lowering the barrier of entry for prospective developers.

Given the surprise that many showed, the process seems to not have been handled very transparently. Oracle was "invited" to join the new foundation and help to shape it, ideally donating the OpenOffice.org trademark to the foundation, however it seems that there was little discussion going on informing Oracle about specific plans beforehand.

So far so good, the have been 3 (related) contagious issues which are heatedly discussed:

1. Is LibreOffice a fork or rather than the natural further-development of OO.o? As in, the same thing, the same community, with just a different name?
2. Does the OO.o community also represent LibreOffice users, ie can someone be on the bouard of the OO.o community council and at the same time be in the board of the Document Foundation?
3. This leads to a bad fragmentation of the Office suit developers and should be avoided at any price.

As somewhat sensationally reported on Slashdot does the Community Council of the OpenOffice.org project expect people (lengthy IRC meeting minutes here) with a role in Libreoffice to step down due to conflict of interests. Oracle proponents state, that there obviously is a conflict of interest, as the 2 projects were effectively competing now. Most TDF proponents were trying hard to emphasize the fact that the project were not competing, and Oracle were still invited to join, and that there is no conflict of interest as both organizations goals were congruent.

So what is my take on it?

1a. It is a fork, let's get over it. The organization's goals are the same, and the software might be the same, but the means to achieve that are very much different. If this is not a fork than gcc/egcs, xf86/xorg, emacs/xemacs were no forks either. The "but we invited Oracle to join" argument doesn't count, gcc adopted back the egcs code base later as well, and it still was a proper fork. So even if Oracle joins in the fun and starts using LibreOffice as code base, this would have been a fork.

Was this fork necessary? In my opinion yes. As former Chief Open Source Officer at Sun Microsoft put it: "If the company sponsor stands still and the community moves on, who forked?" I sincerely think that Sun/Oracle is holding back the potential that the Office Suite could have. I have the highest respect for those currently involved on the Oracle side of things and I don't think any of them is at fault, but the current OO.o project governance structure is killing of external contributions. Leading to the situation where Oracle has to contribute nearly all of the source code.

Does this mean there can be no cooperation? Heck no, "competing" implementations inspire each other in the FLOSS world all the time, and both project rally around the .odf format. So there is plenty of room to collaborate anyway.

1b. There have been arguments that this belittles Sun/Oracle as a contributor, showing disrespect of the enormous amount of code they put into the code base. The code is certainly huge. Including comments about 8m lines of C++ code and 410k lines of code of Java plus various other stufff sprinkled in. This compares roughly to the whole of the linux kernel which wheighs in at approximately 13m lines of C code (for 2.6.35). But this is a two-sided sword: If Sun were more open, they propbably would not have to contribute all the code themselves. This is a huge project, and having to bear it on ones organization shoulders' is an incredible task, especially when directly and openly competing with Microsoft's office cash cow.

2. As for the conflict of interest, this depends. A conflict with the OO.o community council? Certainly, now that the three indedependent members have been asked to step down, the council will be 100% composed of Oracle employees. That doesn't make these employees and contributors bad or ruthless, but it makes it an enlarged-arm of Oracle, rather than representing the community. There is effectively no independent user community anymore. And with that council, an independent member is certainly at a conflict of interest. Are there conflict or interests with things like http://www.oooauthors.org? I don't think so. The code base is still mostly the same, the UI is still mostly the same, and the templates can be used for both office suites. There should be plenty of collaboration and dual board-membership between those sites. (Dual board memberships are quite common in the business world).

3. Does this lead to Office developer fragmentation? It is true, that the amount of direct code reuse will probably decrease over time as the code bases diverge. But at the same time the current governance style prevented many contributions from being taken, and everyone had to maintain their own little stack of patches, leading to increased fragmentation. Redhat, Debian, all had maintained and applied their own set of patches on top of OO.o. It is also a well-hidden secret that most people using OpenOffice.org on their Linux-desktops were not really using OpenOffice.org but rather http://go-oo.org (wikipedia entry) which collected up to 800 patches on top of vanilla OpenOffice.org. Distributions, such as Debian, Mandriva, openSUSE, Gentoo and Ubuntu have been using some or all of the Go-oo patches for quite some releases. Being able to merge these patches into the proper code base and also integrate those of, say, Redhat, actually might lead to less fragmented development that it had been before.

I wish LibreOffice all the best, and do hope that Oracle joins in the fun as one among equal as the year 2000 press release had promised. The intransparent process and the hot blood that had been shed in the mean time might make that much more difficult and the blame does not squarely lie on one side or the other here, but it would be the logical and correct thing, in my private opinion. Look at Eclipse and the Eclipse foundation for one example how things might work out in the long run. Oracle should get credit for what they have contributed to the free and Open Source world.

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Montag, August 16, 2010

Java-Erfinder James Gosling: Bei Oracle geht es immer nur ums Geld

Für Java-Erfinder James Gosling kommt die Klage von Oracle gegen Google wegen Java nicht überraschend.

Schon während der Integrationsgespräche zwischen Oracle und Sun sei die Patentesituation zwischen Sun und Google ein Thema gewesen, schreibt Gosling auf seiner Website unter der Überschrift "The shit finally hits the fan....". Man habe das Funkeln in den Augen von Oracles Anwälten sehen können, als diese ihn und seine Kollegen "gegrillt" haben, so Gosling. Suns genetischer Code habe keine Patentklagen vorgesehen, so Gosling.

Er hoffe, nicht in die Angelegenheit verwickelt zu werden, so Gosling weiter. "Sie haben sich nur eines meiner Patente (RE38,104) für die Klage herausgepickt", schreibt Gosling und kommentiert später seinen eigenen Eintrag: "Bei Oracle geht es immer nur ums Geld. Das ist die einzige Metrik, die sie verstehen."

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Oracle beerdigt offene Entwicklung

Oracle hat das Opensolaris-Projekt beendet. Die Entwicklung von Solaris wird künftig ohne das Opensolaris-Team erfolgen. Ausgewählter Quellcode wird erst veröffentlicht, nachdem eine offizielle Solaris-Version erscheint. Bis Ende 2010 wird Oracle die Binärversion Solaris 11 Express unter einer kostenlosen RTU-Entwickler-Lizenz veröffentlichen.



Oracle ändert das bisherige Solaris-Entwicklungsmodell: Künftig wird der Source-Code von Solaris erst nach der Veröffentlichung der kommerziellen Version freigegeben. Bislang war im Rahmen des Opensolaris-Projekts täglich (Nightly Builds) beziehungsweise alle zwei Wochen eine Entwicklerversion des Unix-Betriebssystems erschienen, die dann in die offiziellen Variante mündete.

Diese Binärversionen wird es künftig nicht mehr geben. Auch die Veröffentlichung der Opensolaris-Version 2010.05 wurde gestrichen. Man wolle sich gänzlich auf die Entwicklung von Solaris 11 konzentrieren, erkläre Oracle in einer E-Mail an die Entwickler. Oracle-Vize Fowler hatte vor wenigen Tagen die Roadmap für Solaris 11 vorgestellt.

Damit bleiben die quelloffenen Projekte wie Opensolaris, Nexenta, Belenix oder SchilliX bei der Entwicklung von Solaris außen vor. Sie können zwar weiterhin den CDDL-lizenzierten Quellcode für ihre Projekte verwenden, sind aber darauf angewiesen, was ihnen Oracle vorsetzt. Wie lange die Entwickler freier Varianten nach Erscheinen einer Solaris-Version auf den Quellcode warten müssen, ließ die zunächst nur intern verteilte E-Mail offen.

An der gegenwärtigen Lizenzierung will Oracle jedoch nichts ändern. Man werde auch weiterhin weite Teile des Quellcodes unter der CDDL veröffentlichen und wie bisher den Quellcode nur weniger Anwendungen unter geschlossene Lizenzen stellen. Auch die bisher unter andere freien Lizenzen gestellten Komponenten, etwa im Desktopbereich, bleiben unangetastet.

Nur ausgewählte Partner können künftig über das Oracle Technology Network (OTN) auf den Quellcode von Solaris zugreifen, so Oracle. Zusätzlich sollen Kunden über das Solaris 11 Platinum Customer Program Anregungen für die Entwicklung der nächsten Versionen einbringen können. Eine Dokumentation über technische Neuheiten in kommenden Solaris-Versionen wird ebenfalls nur im Rahmen des OTN freigegeben.

Bis Ende 2010 wird Oracle die Binärversion Solaris 11 Express unter einer kostenlosen RTU-Entwickler-Lizenz veröffentlichen. Dafür will Oracle optional Support bieten und das Betriebssystem mit Updates bis zum offiziellen Erscheinungstermin von Solaris 11 im Jahr 2011 versorgen.

An freien Projekten, die für die Entwicklung von Solaris relevant sind, will sich Oracle weiterhin aktiv beteiligen. Dazu gehören unter anderem die Projekte Gnome, X11, Apache, OpenSSL oder Perl. Entwicklungen von Oracle werden in die Projekte zurückfließen.

Bis zuletzt hatte die Opensolaris-Gemeinde noch verzweifelt versucht, das Projekt zu retten. Das kürzlich gegründete Illumos-Projekt will die Entwicklung einer quelloffenen Solaris-Variante weiterführen. Illumos verwendet dafür den Kern des Opensolaris-Projekts OS/Net.
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News on OOo: has ORACLE learned anything from SUN?

Sharon Plate posted on the "OpenOffice user" group on LinkedIn a webcast from the OOo GM at ORACLE. I did not have enough space to comment, hence I complete my review here.
To start with, I almost stopped listening after the disclaimer (and the useless next slide on the product stack). This disclaimer says to me that everything I hear or say is useless since it can't be used in contracts. Bed stories are certainly more useful -and nicer to hear- than this narration.
I work in government and although many criticize some politicians because of their broken promises, at least they have the "pantalones" to make some. This is very sad, because I thought the objective of this communication was to re-assure clients and potential new clients that ORACLE will support OOo. I heard nothing such, and there is obviously an intention NOT to support.
Friendly reminder: business partners rely on contracts.
Lesson learned #1: ORACLE needs to hire communication staff that is at least half as good as their lawyers.
The technical side of things is also weird. I set the bar at an average level for one of the biggest IT corporation in the world. They have websites, Engineers, etc. Furthermore, when a communication is such heavily scripted (reading from a paper, with a disclaimer inserted in the video), I would expect the quality of the format (ie the interface with the clients) to match. 1) The javascript code is intrusive (it tries to resize my entire window), 2) the video codec does not work on Linux (on a working Firefox + Flash setup), and 3) the video fails silently (an insult to the developers in the audience).
OOo is a multi-platform product (says again the video). Why is the video not working on Linux? Why is Flash used if Mac users won't be able to see it? I can't imagine how users could look at it on Solaris..?
Lesson learned #2: ORACLE should straighten up their market strategy or their communication. Is this multi-platform or not? Talk to your clients where they are.
Now, let's look at this message from an economic perspective. ORACLE is following Google and Microsoft in offering an online version. IBM and NOVELL might not be far behind. OK, great news but there are only a few pictures to look at. In comparison, Microsoft launched a beta already at least a year ago (and it was fully working on Linux). After looking at how this simple webcast did not work on my work platform, I have serious doubts about the more complex Office suite product. Bottom line, what's the value proposition from ORACLE? What's different from the other guys?
The GM talks about a lower TCO. That's good news, except that there is not a single number in this "hypothetical talk", and I can't really see why TCO would be lower with ORACLE (certainly not but just saying it in a "non-binding" form).
Lesson learned #3: Don't say big words in a "casual talk". That usually means either big mouth dreamers with no intention to stand for promises in binding contracts, or total ignorance of the (office suite & FLOSS) market coupled with a lack of strategic vision (other than following).
"Extensions" can be developed for OOo, but that's not new. ORACLE "dreams" about (because of their disclaimer I can not say they really "talk" about it) a platform integrated in JDeveloper to support the development of these extensions. OOo is Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS). I don't remember JDeveloper was FLOSS as well. I don't see any stats on the IDE used by the current OOo developers but I doubt most are not using Eclipse or other FLOSS products that are enterprise-grade.
Finally, I can't see much about how ORACLE plans to navigate in a FLOSS business model (selling SaaS like the other guys does not count; ORACLE is not in the dominant position Microsoft is in). Integrating OOo in their "stack" (e.g. BI) is certainly a good thing, but if done wrong it is plain vendor lock-in buyers will detect right away. Although there is a mention of open standards, it is not clear how they fit in the whole picture (integration with ORACLE BI and CMS). There is no mention of innovation, although there is hope that after 20 years or so of existence (and monopolistic control) it was time to move to the next stage.
To sum up, it is a very curious message. I can't believe ORACLE is entering the end-user market with the same sales tactics of the legendary used cars salesman. After looking at where SUN ended-up with its ambiguous FLOSS approach and in particular OOo, one should wonder where ORACLE wants to go. Unfortunately, this talk is evidence there is a will not to commit to anything at ORACLE (this is only informational, please refer to disclaimer).
In a position where I have to give advices to my clients, I am not better equipped after looking at this video. I now wonder what all this communication exercise was all about…

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