Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Oracle bloodletting as OpenOffice forks

If Oracle purchased Sun with the main intention of acquiring Java, that might soon be the only technology they're left with. First Monty of MySQL fame began pushing a new database initiative after losing confidence that MySQL would survive Oracle's chopping block, then the father of Java left the company citing pay and corporate culture as his main reasons for heading for the hills, then Oracle itself discontinued the popular OpenSolaris operating system, opting to keep the paid only "Greedy Bastards" version. All-in-all, it's not been an easy road for open source within Oracle this last year. Yesterday, it got even worse.

After expressing severe doubt about Oracle's intentions with the popular OpenOffice productivity suite, a team of independent developers, OpenOffice veterans, and others from around the software industry, announced the launch of The Document Foundation and a new office suite based off of OpenOffice called, sadly, LibreOffice.

The Document Foundation says that it seeks to continue the legacy of OpenOffice by running a truly independent, transparant, and meritocratic organization that guides the future of the software suite by community instead of committee.

I believe the unstated goal is 'to make sure OpenOffice survives Oracle'.

Overall, LibreOffice has a good start. It's got broad support from around the industry and is definitley going to be able to capitialize on the tide of Oracle hate that's going around. Will Oracle try to kill the initiative? Probably so. Even though they give OpenOffice away, it still brings in customers and allows the Oracle name to be in front of customers. LibreOffice is a threat to Oracle, just like OpenSolaris was and just like MySQL is. While I hope it survives, I'm not terribly hopeful for its future.

Is Oracle quickly becoming the new Microsoft? Will it, like Microsoft, eventually grow into a comfortable relationship with the open source community? I wasn't too hopeful for Microsoft and they've proved me wrong. For the sake of the community, I hope Oracle does too.

I'm not holding my breath.