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Open source Apache Openoffice surpasses 100 million downloads

Microsoft Office alternative hits milestone in two years
Tue Apr 22 2014, 11:27

Open Source Apache Open OfficeOPEN SOURCE PRODUCTIVITY SUITE Apache Openoffice has reached the 100 million downloads milestone.

The alternative office suite launched two years ago after a fork of the project emerged, known as Libreoffice, resulting in many of the original developers leaving the then owner of Openoffice, Oracle.

Speaking about the 100 million downloads milestone, Andrea Pescetti, VP of Apache Openoffice, said in a blog post, "This is a testament to our community volunteers: the hundreds of talented individuals who make Apache OpenOffice what it is, who write the code, test for bugs, translate the user interface, write documentation, answer user questions, and manage our servers."

Although the history of Apache Openoffice can be traced back to Starwriter, a 1985 word processor, originally programmed in BASIC for the 8-bit market before later expanding into Staroffice, the product as we know it today began with the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle in 2010.

Many developers working on, as it was then known, feared that the database giant would slight a largely commmunity based and unprofitable project.

Oracle donated the source code to the Apache Software Foundation, adding its developer pool to those of companies like IBM, whose own Lotus Symphony, another cousin, was added to the codebase in 2012.

Although by that point most popular Linux distributions had already opted to bundle Libreoffice rather than Openoffice, that makes the 100 million download milestone even more of an achievement. It is a testament perhaps to the strength of the original Openoffice, which had by the time of the split become the best known alternative for anyone trying to escape Microsoft Office.

With more businesses, particularly in the public sector, looking to open source alternatives, the next battlefield could end up being between competing alternative productivity suites, as the forks of the original project decide whether to compete or combine their source code into a merged productivity suite somewhere down the line. µ


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