Database giant Oracle has announced its intention to move OpenOffice.org to a purely community-based open source project and to no longer offer a commercial version of OpenOffice. Oracle became OpenOffice's principal contributor when it acquired Sun Microsystems last year.
Oracle says it will continue to make large investments in open source technologies that are strategic to its customers, including Linux and MySQL, which it specifically focuses on because they have won broad based adoption among commercial and government customers. The company will support OpenOffice, but its commitment does not appear to include the same level of investment as for Linux and MySQL.
"Given the breadth of interest in free personal productivity applications and the rapid evolution of personal computing technologies, we believe the OpenOffice.org project would be best managed by an organization focused on serving that broad constituency on a non-commercial basis," Edward Screven, Oracle's Chief Corporate Architect, said in a statement. "We intend to begin working immediately with community members to further the continued success of Open Office. Oracle will continue to strongly support the adoption of open standards-based document formats, such as the Open Document Format (ODF)."
Back in September 2010, the OpenOffice.org project separated itself from Oracle, christened itself The Document Foundation, and renamed the actual OpenOffice.org suite of programs as LibreOffice. The new foundation then invited Oracle to rejoin their new community by applying for membership, and also asked it to donate the OpenOffice.org brand. It appears that the OpenOffice community has won this little bout.
OpenOffice was once called StarOffice, but is now called LibreOffice. We have to wait and see if it will rebrand once again, back to OpenOffice.
The Document Foundation released LibreOffice 3.3, a fork of Oracle's Open Office open source office suite, in January 2011. The LibreOffice 3.3 release followed Oracle's Open Office 3.3, which came out in December 2010. It has since received minor updates (we're at version 3.3.2 now) but 3.4 is still on the horizon; it would be quite the headache if the LibreOffice name was only used for one version.