Apache OpenOffice is living in interesting times, and this is a good moment to reflect on future scenarios.
The old OpenOffice.org project spawned numerous derivative products and we are proud to see how the OpenOffice ecosystem, taken as a whole, has grown so far.
Apache OpenOffice is distributed under a license (the Apache 2 license) that by design permits anyone to reuse the code and create derivative products almost under any license, ranging from copyleft to proprietary. The Apache Software Foundation has been really successful in creating and nurturing open source communities leveraging code distributed under the Apache License, and we aim to be one of those successes.
When considering collaboration between a project and its derivatives one important aspect is how and if upstream changes are submitted to the original project. Basically, permissive licenses like the Apache License are forward-compatible with nearly any other kind of license, but backward-compatible only with other permissive licenses.
We are really glad to be able to provide other open source projects as well as proprietary products with a rock solid platform to build on top of. Projects like AndrOpen Office, LibreOffice, NeoOffice, Ooo4Kids and others are all benefiting from our work, and we’d love to be able to keep releasing new versions at a steady pace and make all of this possible.
We fully understand that some of these projects rely on their customizations as an “added value”, but it is also true that collaborating with the main OpenOffice project - if the partnership is limited to working on the common functionality - would be a win-win, since needs are basically identical.
Considering that OpenOffice is currently in the need to expand the number of its developers, we believe that seeing our release cycle slow down would damage the whole OpenOffice ecosystem.
We want to continue serving all those different communities, and to do that we need your help. We invite all the most relevant OpenOffice derivative products and their communities or vendors to join us in discussing further ideas for collaboration and improvements. For example, we could organize what would be the first "OpenOffice Ecosystem Meetup", but we are open to explore all options.