Oracle Makes completely Open Source

Oracle's office software suite is becoming a full community-based open source project, and the company plans to work with the open-source community on development.

Oracle is relinquishing its tight control over, the popular office software suite, and will no longer offer a commercial version. will be moving to a purely community-based open-source project, Oracle said April 15. While Oracle will stop selling a commercial version of OpenOffice, the company intends to continue working with the community on development.

The details about when the move will occur, and why Oracle is making this unexpected change, were not available.

"Given the breadth of interest in free personal productivity applications and the rapid evolution of personal computing technologies, we believe the project would be best managed by an organization focused on serving that broad constituency on a noncommercial basis," said Edward Screven, Oracle's chief corporate architect.

While the company said it will continue to "make large investments" in other open-source products, such as MySQL and Linux, it is unclear whether the company will continue to invest in OpenOffice.

"Oracle will continue to strongly support the adoption of open standards-based document formats, such as the Open Document Format," Screven said.

If Oracle retains the OpenOffice trademark, it will continue to have ultimate control over what changes are added into OpenOffice, despite being community-driven.

Despite its claim of a “long history of investing in the development and support of open-source products,” many open-source advocates have viewed Oracle with distrust, especially after its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2009. That acquisition brought the popular MySQL database under the database giant’s control, as well as open-source projects including OpenSolaris. Oracle canceled that project in favor of Solaris 11 Express.


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