I sent out a similar email to our mailing list before
Christmas and before I took a short break to relax with my family and
friends. But it's maybe worth sharing with a broader audience
here on the blog.

Let me first tell you something about
me (Juergen Schmidt=jsc) and to explain the title of this blog. I have been involved in the
OpenOffice project since the beginning and have worked on the source
code before when I started to work for StarDivision in 1997. So I can
for sure argue that I am one of many grandfathers of the
OpenOffice project and that the last year or better the last 16 month were
not the most brilliant in the long and successful history of the
OpenOffice project.

A lot of misunderstanding and
miscommunication led to confusion by our users and before we start
in a challenging new year I would like to share some thoughts with
you about the last months, my private expectations, and my wishes for
the next year.

Oracle's announcement to stop their investment
in OpenOffice.org was a shock for me. Well the reason is obvious, I
was paid by Oracle and worked on this project. The people who know me
from the past know that I am a 100% OpenOffice.org guy and I always
appreciated to work on this project and together with our community.
I always felt as part of the overall community. I know the reasons
that were responsible for the LibreOffice fork and the split of the
community and I have to confess that I can understand it. But I
didn't like how it was done. If Oracle would have done this step 6
month earlier I am sure we wouldn't have this fork and we wouldn't
have this split of the community. We would potentially still have the
go-oo fork which was the foundation for LibreOffice but that is
something different. Anyway it is as it is at the moment and we will see
how it moves forward in the future.

The grant to Apache was
at least the appropriate signal that OpenOffice.org as a project will
never die. The brand is too big and too important, the opportunities
around the product and the overall eco-system are great and I am very
sure that the project will continue and will be hopefully shining
brighter than before.

But a lot of work was and still is in
front of us. We had to deal with a lot of things in parallel where
other derivative projects didn't had to deal with at least not in public. We had to migrate the whole OpenOffice.org infra-structure to
Apache and had to ensure that it worked. I think we were very
successful here and have migrated nearly everything we need from a
technical perspective.

Our mission was to migrate as much as
possible of the available stuff on www.openoffice.org
and at least save it for later use. I think we did it! Thanks to all
who made this possible. And we can concentrate in the future on some
structural and conceptual redesign of the main portal page
www.openoffice.org to
provide the information to our users that they need to find the
product, to find more information like help, discussion forums, and to
find the way in the community if they want to do more etc.

couldn't simply use the code as it was and could continue with the
development as in the past because of the different license. A huge
challenge that is still ongoing and where I had many problems at
the beginning. It is not easy to explain why you remove something and
replace it with something new that provide the same functionality but
is under a more appropriate license. It's simply boring work and no
developer really likes it. But is a prerequisite for Apache and in the
end it is better for our eco system because the Apache license is
much friendlier for business usage as any other open source license.
As an individual developer I don't care too much about all the
different open source licenses, as long as the work I do is good for
the project and in the end for our users. But I learned that the
Apache license can be a door opener for more contributors and more
engagement of companies. I think that is important and I am confident
that it will help to drive our project forward.

And not
everything is bad. With the IP cleanup we really cleaned up many
things and Armin's replacement for the svg import/export is the best
solution we ever had for OpenOffice and with the biggest potential
for further improvements. All this is really motivating for the

Well we had a lot of noise and communication problems
on our mailing lists and I think we missed transmitting the message
that OpenOffice.org has found a new home under the Apache foundation
and we have missed communicating the progress we have made in the
pubic. We can do much better in the future! And I am looking forward
to working with all of you on this communication part in the future. We
don't have to be shy, we work on a great project with a great product
and we should have enough to communicate and to share in the public
(not only on our mailing list but on all the modern and very useful
media like Facebook, Google+, twitter, ...)

For the next
year I expect that we find our way to guide and control our project a
little bit better. I expect our first release early next year and
hopefully a second one later in the year where we can show that we are
able to drive the project forward and that we are able to create and
establish a vibrant and living community.

I wish that we can
gain trust in the project and in the Apache way and that it is a good
move forward. Our users simply want the best free, open source office
productivity suite and they don't care about the different licenses.
Enterprise users would like to see a huge and working community with
the participation of a lot of different companies or at least their
employees working on the project. We all know that such a huge and
successful project can only work if we have individual community
members as well as full-time community members. Important is the WE
and the TOGETHER that makes open source projects successful.

I heart voices and read emails where people said that Apache
is not able to manage such a huge end user oriented project with all
the necessary things. A strong statement, isn't it. At the beginning I have to confess that I also had doubts and wasn't sure. But as I
have mentioned in an earlier post on our mailing list, I have seen and got
the necessary signals over time that Apache is willing to listen and
is open for changes as well if they make sense for the overall
success of our project and if these changes are aligned with the
overall Apache principles. And I think that is fair enough for all.

The move to Apache is a big challenge for all of us. Apache
had many very successful projects but none of these projects has
such a huge end-user focus like OpenOffice. And of course OpenOffice
is no small or new project. No it is one of biggest and most
successful open source projects ever. And the migration was and is
not easy. But we the community can do it, we as individuals,
everybody can help and we together will do it!

And the Apache
way and the Apache license have proven in the past and with many
successful projects that it is a good way and a good license to
achieve this.

For our users I wish that press people
will do a better job in the future to research facts and stories
better or if they prefer to write articles based on first-hand
information that they contact the Apache OpenOffice project
directly. We are here and can help with information! That will
definitely help to avoid further confusion about the future of

Enough from me for now and I hope that I haven't bothered you with my private thoughts. I wish you all a
happy new year, enjoy these days, take your own break too, load your
batteries for our next challenge in 2012.