FSF backs LibreOffice while Apache votes
The Free Software Foundation has warned that the proposed transfer of OpenOffice.org to the Apache Software Foundation will make it easier for companies to take the code and market it as proprietary software. It recommends the LibreOffice fork of the OpenOffice.org code, as that is under an LGPL licence which requires a user or a company who modifies and distributes the software to release the source code to their changes.
A vote on whether the Apache Incubator should accept OpenOffice.org as an Incubator project was started on 10 June and voting will conclude at 16:00 GMT today (Monday). If it is accepted, the OpenOffice.org code will be available under the permissive Apache Licence 2.0 which allows users and companies to modify and distribute the code without releasing their changes.
In a posting on the FSF web site, the FSF notes that, although it recommends the Apache Licence in particular situations – specifically where developers are looking for widespread adoption of standards creating code – the case of OpenOffice.org is not such a situation. "This situation calls for copyleft because the gains free software stands to make from a non-copyleft license don't justify giving a handout to proprietary software developers". The FSF also cites LibreOffice's commitment to only offering free software extensions for the office suite.
OpenOffice.org was created from the source code of the proprietary package StarOffice, which was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 1999 and released as open source by Sun in 2000. It was then developed by Sun/StarOffice developers and the community over the subsequent ten years.
- LibreOffice - A fresh page for OpenOffice, a feature from The H