What went wrong with Apache’s OpenOffice?

Trouble has been brewing in Apache Software’s OpenOffice Project, well-known for gifting the world the best MS Office alternative, completely free.

Apache Software has considered to shut down the OpenOffice project, with much debate between the internal executives. It has also caused one of its members to resign from the team. The rest of the team however, is now struggling to patch the software to address some security concerns. As a result, the Apache Software Foundation has asked for the OpenOffice team to explain how they are going to remedy the situation.

OpenOffice is an open-sourced version of the earlier StarOffice, which Sun Microsystems acquired in 1999

OpenOffice is an open-sourced version of the earlier StarOffice, which Sun Microsystems acquired in 1999

OpenOffice has been going through a dry run lately, since its acquisition from Sun Microsystems went south. Their major rival – Libre Office, is now part of the standard package that comes fitted with most Linux-based software. The past couple years have been tough on OpenOffice, getting calls from numerous people to handover their code and operations to Libre Office.

With now insufficient developers for the project, Apache’s lead, Dennis E Hamilton suggested that the team consider the course of action if it becomes necessary to retire the OpenOffice project. Although this does not officially mean that they will be shutting down, it is just bringing to light the matter of concern.

When a mail was sent to the developers, it did receive quite the bit of reception from those in the list. Key Schenk, who has been one of the project’s long-time contributors had felt the need to announce her resignation from the project following the mail. Having been an important part of the development of the code and various other website projects, Schenk’s departure has been quite a loss for the OpenOffice team.

This struggle has been there for some time among members of the team and more people might consider resigning from the project as well. The need for more resources and personnel has been acknowledged by the team and Hamilton himself.

What’s surprising to note is that Hamilton himself is scheduled to leave his position as chairman of the board next month, which also might be one of the reasons he would suggest wanting to put OpenOffice to a close.

Whatever the reason is, it will definitely be a sad day when OpenOffice, the pioneering developer for free and rich document editing decides to hang in the towel. Hopefully that should come later, rather than sooner.