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Open Office, and OSS fears

The real advantage of open source software is that the package can
continue even if the corporate sponsor abandons it.  Whether it's picked
up or not by the community will depend on its utility.  I think that
FOSS encourages usage since it's less likely to be abandoned for purely
business reasons.  And in the event that there are several options in
the same space I think the best one will live.  I think OpenOffice would
continue to live if Sun dropped it.  

Think of all the wonderful and creative PC DOS programs that got
abandoned and are lost forever because they were clobbered by the MS
juggernaut and were closed source.  If they had been open sourced a lot
of them would still be available (IMO).

Mozilla had a steep hill to climb before the codebase became useful.  In
that case Netscape seemed to be trying to mooch off the community to fix
their browser.  Mooching goes both ways.  Doesn't really work that way. 
The corporate entity really needs to sponsor the bulk of the work.

I happily buy a copy of StarOffice, partly because of the extra goodies
they put in and partly to support Sun's effort.  Paying for open source
really kills the idea that it can't make any money and encourages it.

On Wed, 2004-04-07 at 15:14, Brian Nelson wrote:
> Steve <steve at> writes:
> > On Tue, 2004-04-06 at 20:27, Derek Martin wrote:
> >> OO is an important software package to the Free software world; if Sun
> >> abandons it, I believe it will be picked up. 
> >
> > Given its importance, the community should be involved now while
> > OpenOffice is still in Sun's good graces. The transition to a more
> > community oriented project would be a lot smoother. OpenOffice is too
> > dependent on a Sun business decision, and Sun as a business is in murky
> > territory.
> >
> > But the community isn't (after about 4 years?) Apparently, despite its
> > importance as a desktop solution and widespread use, there aren't enough
> > people who enjoy trying to wrap their minds around a bazillion lines of
> > OpenOffice code. They see an already solid program, but the
> > consideration of the resources required to support that codebase isn't
> > there. There is no sense of urgency to become involved. Sun is taking
> > care of it. I wonder if the community at large is even aware that Sun
> > shoulders that much of a load and is having a lot of difficulty
> > attracting OO community-driven developers that they don't have to pay? 
> >
> > One reason why high-profile projects like OpenOffice are troublesome
> > from an open source perspective is that although the code is available,
> > the community involvement is low. Just seems like a small army of paid
> > Sun employees and a few saints. Some people talk about OpenOffice's
> > success as an open source project in the same vein as say the kernel,
> > but OpenOffice's programming resources are mostly supplied by Sun
> > whereas the kernel is mostly done by a community. To me, they are very
> > different beasts.
> [...]
> I, and likely many others, have very little motivation to contribute
> free time to a project where several others are getting a full salary to
> do the exact same thing.
> I would guess this is also a problem for the Mozilla Project.

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