Business deal between Oracle and IBM

Story: The Decline and Fall of OpenOffice.orgTotal Replies: 4
Author Content

Jun 13, 2011
3:50 PM EDT
This is a business arrangement between IBM and Oracle. IBM needs a non-copyleft license for OO so they can continue to use it in their proprietary Lotus Symphony office suite. IBM has been dealing with the Apache foundation since the 1990's. So Oracle and IBM cut a deal to 'give' it to the Foundation. I wonder what IBM gave Oracle? I feel sorry for the Apache Foundation to be used as a middle man in this mess. In the past it has been pretty straight up in dealing with the commercial sector. Meanwhile, as I have pointed out elsewhere, I am moving my network to LibreOffice.

Jun 16, 2011
5:15 AM EDT
I know what IBM gave Oracle: Support for OpenJDK over Apache Harmony.

Conspiracy theory, anyone?

Jun 16, 2011
7:15 AM EDT
Good point, Sander. Seeing those two events in chain context does look rather Wier'd.
Quoting:Conspiracy theory, anyone?
I'll be sure to keep my Hot-Pocket-warmer hat on. (It's lossy at those mind-control-demod UHF frequencies, unlike aluminum foil which reflects everything around inside. Do you believe that?)

Jun 16, 2011
11:48 AM EDT
I think that Micro$uck's "Awfice" still remains to this day the elephant in the closet, for all this talk of the decline of OpenOffice and the rise of LibreOffice.

Even in its heyday, I just don't think OpenOffice ever really unseated the entrenched behemoth that still is M$-Awfice (with its Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Acess,...)


Jun 16, 2011
5:14 PM EDT
flufferbeer wrote: I think that Micro$uck's "Awfice" still remains to this day the elephant in the closet ... I just don't think OpenOffice ever really unseated the entrenched behemoth that still is M$-Awfice

True, that. However, that elephant does not have its hoped-for complete monopoly control of the office-suite realm, with monopoly control of pricing, substantially because of OO and its spawns, which form the engine driving ODF like a wedge to splinter MS's de-facto control of office-document format standards.

Thus, all of this matters beyond this limited open-source v. free-software context, in how it impacts continued free availability of a free office suite, and how likely that suite looks to be continued and improved, to eventual parity and even superiority (beyond the low price/freedom-from-lockin) with MSO.

Discerning and understanding how this chain of events happened can give us forewarning of problems affecting OO/etc. It also forms a case-study which is highly visible to others in the business world, concerning profitable interactions with the FLOSS communities. If they aren't paying attention now, they will be returning to this case if and when they're faced with similar situations:

- (IBM) how to guarantee continued availability of an open-source resource around which they've formed and enacted business plans but which has since gone threatened, without destroying the collaborated future value of that resource.

- (Oracle) how to offload an acquired open-source resource which is outside their business focus, but which has tactical importance in battling MS, in such a way as to minimize both financial embarrassment in the business world and PR embarrassment in the volunteer-developer communities associated with that resource.

- (both) how to conduct a strictly-for-business transaction (if Sander's supposition is correct) between two firms with an open-source resource's community as a concerned party, without pissing them off and thus killing off that goose-laying-golden-eggs.

- (both) in terms of potential profit versus expended effort measured in salaried hours, how worthwhile is it, really, to deal with those open-sourcers and all their fiddly distinctions about who-copies-what, when all you really want is the best way to earn an honest profit? It really is a different culture, one which, from the outside, I would imagine somewhat resembles an Asian one with its extra emphasis on courtesy, gifting (back), and face or rep. In the Sixties, the counter-culture was billed as having nothing in common with normal business competition; now these open-source types are all about competing with normal business using community methods, and even collaborating with business in competing, and the written rules (the licenses) can be confusing enough, never mind the unwritten ones.

If there are takeaway lessons to be gotten from this sequence of events on how to prevent or minimize our vulnerability to fragmenting of efforts in future controversial handovers, such as might arise from the OO-Apache/LO-TDF split, it's important that they be noticed now so as to be in mind when such events happen again, so that those in the community who happen to be positioned to have an impact can be proactive. I think it also matters that we read the same lessons which the business types are reading from this case, so as to get a better handle on how they react to such things, so as to better manage things to mutual benefit.

Disclaimer: My opinion, all of this, based on reading and watching. I do have a relative working somewhere in IBM, but that person had nothing to do with these opinions and likely has no idea that I write these posts. So, don't mistake me for an expert, just a thinker.


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!