LibreOffice Is One

Simon Phipps | Computer World UK | October 4, 2011

Once in the mists of time, I was the head of open source at Sun Microsystems. One of my chief delights in that role was the project. I attended the Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Monterey, California in 2000 where the project was created out of a product Sun had acquired the previous year, StarOffice. I watched as it grew in polish and capability. I also helped as it submitted its ideas to the OASIS standards group for an "Open Office Document Format", a project that evolved into ODF and changed the world of enterprise document handling.

During that launch, the head of the product group promised the OSCON audience that Sun would soon turn over to a non-profit foundation. As each year passed, the community that grew around the project patiently waited for Sun to deliver on its promise. For various business reasons, it never happened, despite intensive lobbying inside Sun.

By the time I took over as chief open source officer in 2005, a clear leadership had emerged for the non-Sun-employee community at, and one of my annual tasks became to discuss with them the future of the project and try to advance the cause of community control for the project sufficiently internally to discourage a fork from happening. I did this at least three times in the years up to 2009. I left formal involvement in the project in 2010 when I left Sun on its closing day in the UK...