OpenOffice group breaks away from Oracle

OpenOffice supporters have broken away from Oracle to form a new version of the open-source suite, called LibreOffice.

OpenOffice group breaks away from Oracle

The new project fork will be overseen by a group called The Document Foundation, which has already released an early beta version of LibreOffice.

The breakaway group has already secured high-profile backing from Ubuntu, Novell and RedHat, which all plan to include LibreOffice in forthcoming versions of their Linux OSes. Google has also endorsed LibreOffice and says it plans to participate in the project.

The move will once again crank up the tension between the open-source community and Oracle, which completed the purchase OpenOffice’s owner Sun earlier this year. Larry Ellison’s firm has upset the open-source community in recent months by filing a Java patent suit against Google and shutting down OpenSolaris.

Oracle also upset many by introducing charges for the previously free ODF plugin, which allows software such as Microsoft Office to use the open document format.

In a statement, The Document Foundation hints at a culture clash with Oracle. “After ten years’ successful growth with Sun Microsystems as founding and principal sponsor, the project launches an independent foundation called ‘The Document Foundation’, to fulfil the promise of independence written in the original charter,” the statement reads.

The Document Foundation has encouraged Oracle to become a member and hand over the OpenOffice brand. “Pending this decision, the brand ‘LibreOffice’ has been chosen for the software going forward,” The Document Foundation states.

Oracle has yet to comment on its next move, but the software firm could use it as an opportunity to jettison OpenOffice, which has long been regarded as a poor fit with Oracle’s core database and middleware business.

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