A few days ago, the LibreOffice
project turned 5
Slightly more than 5 years ago, Oracle bought Sun Microsystems
, acquiring ownership of a number of valuable Sun technologies, including the SPARC
family of processors, Java
. It also got a bunch of other things into the bargian that it didn't really seem to know what to do with, including Slowaris
OpenOffice.org (OOo) was, at the time, the number one office suite for GNU/Linux systems, far ahead (in terms of market/mind-share) of Calligra
, with Microsoft Office not having been ported at all (yet) (*ahem*
). However, even Sun had been dicking about with its stewardship of the project for quite some time, and the maintainers of the Linux OOo packages
for most of the large distributions
had amassed a fair number of improvements over the course of a few years in a mostly-unofficial fork nicknamed Go-oo
. Even so, Sun had at least committed plenty of their own developers and marketing resources to OOo, and was making regular releases to the project, which made the Linux devs reluctant to strike out completely on their own.
This changed with the take-over by Oracle. Over the course of some months, Oracle pulled most of the resources away from OOo development, and were even less willing to work well with the Free Software
developers from Linux-land. Things simply could not go on as they were.
So, on 28 September 2010, LibreOffice
was officially born with the release of version 3.3 beta, based on the most recent OOo 3.3 beta release and the Go-oo patchset. This also made the Go-oo code widely available for Windows and Mac for the first time. It was followed on 25 January 2011 with the first "stable" release, version 3.3.0. Then, at pretty reliable 6-monthly intervals ever since, they've released another 9 main feature updates (plus umpteen minor bugfix releases). This has culminated (so far) in version 5.0 being released a couple of months ago, and 5.0.2 a couple of weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the official OpenOffice.org codebase, along with associated trademarks and copyright ownership, was transferred to the Apache Foundation and became Apache OpenOffice. Since then, AOO has made 3 releases, in total, including bugfix updates. The most recent of these was over a year ago, and since then remote-execution bug CVE-2015-1774
has gone 6 months without being fixed - even though to do so would only require the removal of a single file from the installer. Apparently a new release fixing this is due "soon", but in the interim they've been knowingly distributing vulnerable software for 6 freaking
months. It would be an exaggeration to say that AOO is a dead project, but only just.
Anyway, if you're on an old and busted branch of StarOffice/OpenOffice.org/Apache OpenOffice, it's probably worth downloading LibreOffice
and giving it a spin.