Software & Services: Mergence and Liberation (not breakaway)

Two pieces of news are around recent days, related to software and online services.

Mergence

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Windows Live and wordpress.com get married, to all surprise!  No doubt wordpress.com will at least double its users, and Windows Live gets well advertised and its other services closely linked to the current and future wordpress.com users. But as skeptical as usual, I guess this is more like a “soft acquisition”rather than a “co-operation”.  Why? I simply do not see the reason why wordpress.com can survive for long purely for the service of blogging hosting (and perhaps also the web hosting toolkit they provide with wordpress.org).

Anyway, let me show my gratitude after all skepticism. Earlier I dropped from Windows live spaces due to its often slow response, as echoed by many. My feeling is blogging cannot be slow, otherwise you lose all your sparkles of thoughts. Wandering a while with several other blogging site, I finally settled down with wordpress.com, which seemed a decent place. Later I also infrequently visited my old paradise at Windows Live and experienced their improved service… but never truly been back.  In fact, what has caught me there are the numerous pieces of blog articles I wrote during my undergrad days. Now thanks to the marriage, Windows Live and wordpress.com have created some wonderful piece of migration software to seamlessly move blog contents from Windows Live to wordpress.com. And my current wordpress.com blog starts with sometime 2005, my sophomore year! In addition, Windows Live Essential (beta, v2011) has provided the user with an updated version of Writer, that features a fancy user interface (well, it’s the Ribbon world) and better (local?) integration with wordpress blog. This makes live writer an excellent piece of client software for wordpress.com publication at least, period. (I’m an open-source lover and wouldn’t like to spread too many favorable words towards Microsoft.)

Liberation

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And let’s really embrace open-source and this time the open-source event isn’t insignificant. The OpenOffice.org community, after being shepherded by Sun Microsystems (and recently by Oracle) for a decade, declared their independence/liberation on September 28th, 2010 and formed their own organization named the Document Foundation.  According to the press release, the Foundation aims to engage contributions from individuals, communities, and commercial companies, independent of drive of any single commercial bodies.  This is a big move for the OpenOffice.org community, which has successfully delivered to the open-source Linux society, and even many Windows users, one of the most successful open-source and FREE office suite.

Although stated as one of their strategic steps that was set forth from the start, there is obviously reason that the open-source community isn’t quite happy with the former shepherd.  Before Sun Microsystems and Oracle have been very selective of the components contributed by outside contributors, but favored some non-free components they developed. That’s why different variants and forks of the official release have existed, e.g., the OxygenOffice (Ref. here for an outdated list of many such derived office suites). Coming into OpenOffice.org 3.0, Sun Microsystems and later Oracle have noticeably put their logos and even copyright lines to the starting window of the software. Understandably, these are in particular intolerable to open-source enthusiastic and go against the spirit of open-source.  I still remember in Ubuntu 7.10 (or 8.04) the stable release of openoffice.org suite contained the logo of Ubuntu (possibly of others) and the logo was later immediately removed during the first update to that release. So you see that open-source people proactively protect their right of freedom.

The Document Foundation has temporarily named their office suite the LibreOffice (i.e., free office), and has received support from IT giants such  as Google, Canonical, and Novell. These free minds are still waiting for Oracle, its former shepherd, to denote OpenOffice.org to the foundation and to be used in continuation as the name of the great office suite . Let’s wish all the best to the new foundation! And for another reason I’m quite happy with the bearing of the foundation, since September 28 is my birthday.

Allow me to finish this long blog article with a quote of Richard Stallman, President of Free Software Foundation (FSF), in welcoming the release of LibreOffice,

I’m very pleased that the Document Foundation will not recommend nonfree add-ons, since they are the main freedom problem of the current OpenOffice.org. I hope that the LibreOffice developers and the Oracle-employed developers of OpenOffice will be able to cooperate on development of the body of the code.

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One thought on “Software & Services: Mergence and Liberation (not breakaway)

  1. […] Two pieces of news are around recent days, related to software and online services. Mergence Windows Live and wordpress.com get married, to all surprise!  No doubt wordpress.com will at least double its users, and Windows Live gets well advertised and … Continue reading → […]

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