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10 May 2010, 12:59

FSF launches site for free OpenOffice extensions

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FSF Logo The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has announced that it will maintain a list of free software extensions for the open source office suite. Discussing the announcement, FSF executive director Peter Brown said, " is free software, and an important contribution to the free software community. However, the program offers the user a library of extensions, and some of them are proprietary. Distributing in the usual way has the effect of offering users the non-free extensions too."

The FSF recently asked the Community Council to list only free software extensions or provide a second listing that only included free extensions, however, the council rejected the idea. The non-profit organisation hopes that a replacement extension library will give users the opportunity to easily find and use open source extensions by "making a simple configuration change" that won't involve changing any of the code in OpenOffice itself.

The FSF is currently seeking volunteers to check the licensing on existing extensions to identify the free extensions, and a discussion mailing list has been set up to help coordinate the new project. Following completion of the extension library, the FSF will be asking users to help develop free replacements for those extensions which are proprietary.

The Community Council has since responded to the FSF, saying that they "believe passionately that FOSS delivers better software – including extensions, but that users must be free to make the comparison and reach their own conclusion," adding that, the council "regrets that the FSF was unable to accept our compromise proposals for a more clearly signposted extensions repository."

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