Oracle pledges support for OpenOffice.org

The announcement comes after speculation and worry among the OpenOffice community

Oracle sought to dispel any doubts about its commitment to OpenOffice.org on Wednesday, announcing its participation in the ODF Plugfest event in Brussels this week and talking up future development plans for the open source productivity suite.

Programmers and testers at the vendor "will continue developing, improving, and supporting OpenOffice.org as open source, building on the 7.5 million lines of code already contributed to the community," Oracle said in a statement. The company welcomes community contributions to the code base, it adds.

Oracle's announcement follows last month's move by some OpenOffice.org contributors to create an offshoot version of the suite under the name LibreOffice.

The group also formed a new organization called the Document Foundation, which released a "Next Decade Manifesto" on Wednesday. It lays out the group's philosophical principles, which include the rejection of "office productivity tools by monopoly suppliers" and the embrace of "an open and transparent peer-reviewed software development process where technical excellence is valued."

LibreOffice has support from a number of major vendors, including Google, Red Hat and Novell.

Last week, the group said a beta of LibreOffice had been downloaded more than 80,000 times and code contributions had already been made.

The group has said it has no intentions of creating a commercial product based on LibreOffice, although nothing stands in the way of vendors doing so.

Oracle itself sells Oracle OpenOffice, a product based on the OpenOffice.org code base that bundles in additional tools and extensions, including a Microsoft SharePoint connector.

The Document Foundation, which could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday, has invited Oracle to join the organization and donate the OpenOffice.org brand name. An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment on the status of that request.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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