What I wrote in the comments

Story: An Invitation to Apache OpenOfficeTotal Replies: 5
Author Content

Jun 03, 2011
11:15 PM EDT
Any change can be done in LibreOffice.

Consider the massive complexity of this technology, and the amount of work to be done.

IBM could help the community by having the core OO developers work in LibreOffice. Note also that LibreOffice could use this help. The proprietary stuff (Note, Symphony, etc.) doesn’t matter to us, but why not build that on LO as well?


Jun 04, 2011
12:43 AM EDT
Not gonna happen, is my take on this. From reading the comment stream appended to the article, it seems clear to me that the major issue is LGPL copyleft vs. copy-what's-left (which IBM apparently intends to handle as open-core for Symphony). Weir's responses to Jeremy Allison and Bradley Kuhn are telling, particularly near the end:

Quoting: @Bradley, you thought my response *seemed* dismissive? I apologize for the ambiguity.

Weir's group at IBM apparently wants a code-base they can value-add without having to post source. If the Apache move succeeds, that'll happen and LO will look like just another, parallel, downstream builder. How well this power-play works will depend on how committed the bulk of the OO/LO devs are to copyleft, and I won't be surprised if a lot of eyes all over IBM watch how this plays out to pick up cues on what is acceptable corporate behavior in the FLOSS communities in this decade.

Disclaimer: I've got a relative who works somewhere within IBM but they had/have nothing to do with these personal opinions of mine.

Jun 04, 2011
10:01 AM EDT
> Not gonna happen, is my take on this.

Agreed. See the comments on this LXer thread: http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/31811/

I've posted a link to this thread there as well.

Jun 04, 2011
10:39 AM EDT
Quoting:Not gonna happen, is my take on this. ... Weir's group at IBM apparently wants a code-base they can value-add without having to post source.

You might be right, but why would anyone with the right mind want to replace their current shackles with another for a different color?

It would be much better if IBM base Symphony on LO, but in case they don't, any value added could be adopted in LO without having the code, unless of course IBM does have it patented.


Jun 04, 2011
12:28 PM EDT
Quoting: why would anyone with the right mind want to replace their current shackles with another for a different color?

- There are plenty of *BSD-etc types in the world who regard copyleft as restrictive. They're more likely to put their code into Apache/OO than TDF/LO, given the choice.

- Weir calls out some conditions he finds less than perfect in the setup of TDF/LO (membership approval, unelected governance, etc). To the extent that those problems are real, or he manages to whip up acrimony to make them look real (not being in there I don't know which or how much), some folks will be more likely to cling to AF where the controlling body is stable and has a good rep so their efforts don't go to waste and they don't have to spend those efforts on contentious politics.

- To make all of this work, IBM will have to visibly contribute devs and code. An external body, AF, will be judging their efforts for value to the community; if they don't like the size of IBM's 'skim' (the extent to which IBM's value-add code is kept out of the public OO codebase, effectively skimming off the cream, because even though they wrote it themselves it's founded on public OO code), OO won't be kept for incubation. If too many devs don't like the size or existence of the skim (and the license that makes it possible), OO will founder as devs avoid it in favor of LO. IBM is smart enough to avoid this, if they can just attract enough devs for whom the license isn't an issue or who don't like copyleft.

- IBM makes a lot of money providing support services and expertise. There are business types who'll pay money for an office suite like Lotus Symphony precisely because IBM is behind it: their support has a good rep and the IBM cachet is hard to beat for stability. It's the same reason Red Hat makes money while CentOS makes discs. So, the skim can stay thin and IBM will have a product it can sell to its markets. As long as they're visibly contributing to the public codebase they don't look parasitic, instead they look like good citizens and other good citizens want in. It's a matter of perception, that comparison of skim vs contribution, and IBM has learned a thing or two about managing appearances since the antitrust days. They've still got a lot of public good karma from the boost they gave Linux a decade and more ago and from unleashing their Nazgul on SCO.

My opinions, all of this, obviously.

Jun 04, 2011
12:49 PM EDT
IBM's policies towards Linux are very specific and purposeful. They're not "friends of Linux" in the sense that they think it's cool and worthy, and that FOSS is important and good, but only as far as it supports their own goals. All the years they sold Thinkpads they never once considered officially supporting Linux, even though Thinkpads are popular with Linux users, even though they were bombarded with requests, even though they got all kinds of community support for free. You might recall Ken Starks asking a panel at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit when they were going to market Linux and run TV commercials like they used to, and was given the brush-off because "we sell solutions, not components!" The video is priceless, because Ken dared to disrupt their chummy little mutual corporate love-fest with a cold dash of dissent http://linuxlock.blogspot.com/2008/10/leave-it-to-little-guy...

Quoting:I won't use the word condescending...that is until I find one that fits their responses better.

Posting in this forum is limited to members of the group: [ForumMods, SITEADMINS, MEMBERS.]

Becoming a member of LXer is easy and free. Join Us!