Skip to navigation
Latest News

OpenOffice group breaks away from Oracle


By Barry Collins

Posted on 29 Sep 2010 at 07:38

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

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.

Subscribe to PC Pro magazine. We'll give you 3 issues for £1 plus a free gift - click here
User comments

I REALLY like openoffice but...

No SI units in the spreadsheet application.
We've been asking for engineering notation for 8 years, yes, 8 kin years. one of the most persistant issues (issue 5930) in the openoffice project and we're still waiting. Of course, software engineers probably don't use engineering notation so we'll never see it. Hopefully this next bunch of clowns might actually give us (non software engineers) something we can use..

By darkhairedlord on 29 Sep 2010

Do Something Free, for Me, you clowns

darkhairedlord - what???
You've been asking for SI units for 8 years. And you just expect other people to jump to it and build something nobody else seems to want, because you're a nice guy?
Well, feel the love.

By widgy2 on 29 Sep 2010

Widgy2 read issue 5930..

I haven't expected anyone to jump to it..
It's an issue that has been logged and voted on for over 8 years. It's why I and many others still can't use open-office. Why would they have "issues" and "voting" if they are not going to act on them?
Oh, and I am a nice guy! perhaps calling them clowns is perhaps a bit strong but the frustration has been building for a long time. rant rant

By darkhairedlord on 29 Sep 2010

something no one else wants?

Engineering units has been consistantly voted for as one of the most requested issues (top 3-4)

By darkhairedlord on 29 Sep 2010


If Oracle are now charging for the ODF plugin then doesn't that mean that the much vaunted ODF format is no longer 'open'? After all the flack MS took over getting the OOXML format standardised this smacks a bit of double standards.

By everton2004 on 29 Sep 2010


But surely this can't be right that you've waited 8 years for a new feature. Its open source right? So all you do is roll your sleeves up and modify it yourself? Surely that's why OS is always touted as the wholly grail and why it will be the death of evil closed source companies like Apple… Or is Richard Stallman's version of Shangri La not quite what its cracked up to be ;-)

By rjp2000 on 29 Sep 2010


Edit: that should be 'holy grail'....

By rjp2000 on 29 Sep 2010


The "free" in open software is free as in speech, not as in beer. The ODF is "open" because it is not encumbered by copyrights or patents which prevent developers from producing software using the format. Microsoft has an ODF plugin -it's just not very good. Since people pay for Microsoft Office, it does not seem inappropriate that they pay for ODF support. OpenOffice / LibreOffice is free of cost, and so is ODF support.

By milliganp on 29 Sep 2010

SI unit debate

If you follow the web discussion about LibreOffice, the fork is very much about breaking Sun/Oracle's stranglehold on development. The problem with "Open" projects that are largely owned by proprietary vendors is that key open source contributors like IBM, HP, Google, Red Hat etc do not commit resources in the same way as they support fully open projects.
If LibreOffice truly bears fruit there should be major advances with the product over time.

By milliganp on 30 Sep 2010

SI unit debate

@darkhairedlord That seems to be one of the points of breaking with Sun/Oracle as they throttled development and bug fixing that the open-source community are taking things into their own hands. Even if you were so inclined and programmed the patch yourself you might have still hit a brick wall with Sun.
I wish LibreOffice all the best!

By McDragonSI on 30 Sep 2010

Dog eats tail...

This is either very good or very bad news in the long term, but short term this is where Open projects fall down. User's want stability and continuity and Oracle really do seem to be causing a sh*t storm of calamity at present.

It's a great shame because Open Office had finally seemed to reach a kind of mainstream maturity, going ahead of Corel's suite in terms of quality, with features akin to the Microsoft Office 2000 - 2002 era.

MS reached its quality peak at Office 2003 in my view, and their offerings have largely been re-churning less useful changes ever since.

I'm hoping Libre settles fast and takes off.

Not having engineering notation onboard is foolish. Corel Office suite hung around for donkeys years purely because it was the suite of choice for the legal world.

Backing a "niche" as large as the engineering world would pretty much make Libre / Open reach the mainstream.

By Gindylow on 30 Sep 2010

"The free and open productivity suite"

@darkhairedlord: That's how Open Office sells itself; the clue is in the word "suite". So why complain about one small aspect, no SI units, of one part of the suite, namely "Calc".

If this really is a problem for you then why not use "Gnumeric" instead of "Calc", which is also free.

By 6tricky9 on 30 Sep 2010

Leave a comment

You need to Login or Register to comment.



Most Commented News Stories
Latest Blog Posts Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest ReviewsSubscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Real World Computing


Sponsored Links

Your email:

Your password:

remember me


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.