A lack of volunteer developers could see OpenOffice finally shuttered

By midian182 ยท 13 replies
Sep 6, 2016
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  1. For those unwilling or unable to purchase Microsoft Office, the open source project OpenOffice has long been an excellent alternative. But it now looks as if the free productivity suite could be shut down unless more volunteer developers come on board.

    Ars Technica reports that Dennis Hamilton, volunteer vice president of Apache OpenOffice, sent out an email thread stating: "It is my considered opinion that there is no ready supply of developers who have the capacity, capability, and will to supplement the roughly half-dozen volunteers holding the project together." He added that no decisions had yet been made, but "retirement of the project is a serious possibility."

    Many of OpenOffice’s volunteers have left to work on LibreOffice - a fork of OpenOffice that launched in 2011. Its updates arrive more frequently than OpenOffice: 14 in 2015 alone, which is a lot more than the single update OpenOffice received across the whole of last year.

    The dearth of volunteers has meant that dealing with security vulnerabilities has posed a problem. Apache informed users of a vulnerability in June that could let attackers craft denial-of-service attacks and execute arbitrary code. The company suggested users switch to Microsoft Office or LibreOffice as a solution. A patch that needed to be manually installed was released a month later, but security problems remain.

    Another issued face by OpenOffice is that the few developers still working there are “aging,” and that working there isn’t “much of a resume builder.”

    Despite the lack of updates, OpenOffice was downloaded more than 29 million times on Windows and Mac last year, making a cumulative total of 160 million downloads since May 2012, according to project statistics.

    While there are plenty of people who want OpenOffice to continue by finding other ways of attracting new contributors, the signs aren’t looking good for the open source software.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2016
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,714   +3,695

    I've been promoting LibreOffice over OpenOffice ever since they split. Deep down I knew this day was inevitable.
  3. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 857   +873

    About time. LibreOffice has been the superior project ever since oracle made the incredibly short sighted decision that allowed libre to use all of open office's code. Openoffice really hasnt had a place these last few years.
    wizardB and p51d007 like this.
  4. Timonius

    Timonius TS Evangelist Posts: 647   +58

    Yeah I switched to LibreOffice as well when some of my IT instructors mentioned the split. I followed the talent, so to speak. And overall the LibreOffice experience has been the best I've ever had in free office suites. OpenOffice was good for its time (just like StarOffice was in its own time).
    wizardB and p51d007 like this.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,329   +1,977

    I too went to LibreOffice simply because it is better. OpenOffice had it's day, but they are certainly overdue to close their doors. Still, it will be sad to see another competitor of MSO slip by the wayside. We can only hope that somebody picks them up and works to restore their "former glory" whatever that might be .....
    wizardB and p51d007 like this.
  6. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    I'm all for opensource and sharing ideas and code, but completely free products of this size are going to be tough to keep going. Can't have everything for free.
  7. TitoBXNY

    TitoBXNY TS Addict Posts: 236   +50

    I've been using LibreOffice or Google Docs.
  8. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    Now I'm curious as to what caused the split. I wanna bet it was drama related.
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,714   +3,695

    The impression I had at the time was some of the programmers wanted to cleanup OpenOffice code, and not all of the OpenOffice team agreed. There was old code no longer being used and they wanted to streamline the code that was still in use. Since it was not a unanimous decision a split was made allowing for both directions.
    stewi0001 likes this.
  10. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 718   +236

    OpenOffice sheets has been so extremely slow it was totally unusable since forever and switched to Libreoffice since then.

    Whats the big deal, no one needs an old project thats no longer working. besides apart from that google docs is an excellent alternative.
    Arris likes this.
  11. Jack007

    Jack007 TS Booster Posts: 181   +42

    The linux community will pick it up and give it a spot. open office is just to rock solid and super usable to let go.
  12. Jack007

    Jack007 TS Booster Posts: 181   +42

    if some many linux distros are free which are huge projects that need input from thousands of coders and engineers and enthusiasts can be ongoing why not one small office suite that doesnt require much programming skill be hard to keep going
  13. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Whats more interesting? Contributing to an OS or making a spreadsheet formula from Excel work properly in Calc. I think that's the answer.
  14. lripplinger

    lripplinger TS Addict Posts: 283   +98

    I always tell clients about LibreOffice as being an nice alternative to Microsoft Office. It handles all the formats out there from Microsoft (including that damn Microsoft Works garbage), Corel WordPerfect, etc. It works great when someone doesn't want to pay for an office suite, but might need something from time to time.
    wizardB likes this.

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