Monday, 18 April 2011

Bussines: You Messin' With Me?

As if it mattered any more, Oracle now wants to give OpenOffice back to the community...

Well, it may not matter any more for the community, as it is doing just fine, thank you very much, with LibreOffice and The Document Foundation. However, as it turns out, this whole mess will probably have a significant impact on Oracle's business itself. OpenOffice was one of the cornerstones of Oracle's ambitions in both productivity suites and cloud based services. Now, with all developers worth mention having jumped ship to LibreOffice this particular venture - at least its productivity suite part - has suddenly become untenable, or rather, too expensive for Oracle. Too expensive, because Oracle can no more rely on free (as in beer) work of independent developers. If it wants to press on on its own it would need to hire more of the in-house variety - which costs money. But worse, all the good will of both developers and users has shifted to LibreOffice so quickly and completely that I believe everyone was taken by surprise. It does seem that messing with beloved community projects like OpenOffice can only be done at the detriment of the proprietary vendor attempting it - as Oracle seems to have learned the hard way. Heck, even I felt obliged to donate to the initial fund of €50,000 for incorporating The Document Foundation in Germany!

And this mistake from the company with such a wise sounding name. Greed is really a horrible thing...