The Document Foundation

The Document Foundation
The Document Foundation
The Document Foundation logo.svg
Founder(s) Members of the community
Type Community
Founded 28 September 2010
Products LibreOffice
Focus Office software

The Document Foundation is an open-source software organization. It was created by members of the community to manage and develop a fork called LibreOffice. The goal is to produce a vendor-independent office suite with ODF support and without any copyright assignment requirements.[1] This is in contrast to, which requires developers assign copyright to Oracle.

The Document Foundation was created partially over fears that Oracle Corporation, after acquiring Sun Microsystems, would discontinue developing as they had done with OpenSolaris.[2][3][4]




The Document Foundation display at OpenRheinRuhr (Germany), Oberhausen November 2010

The Document Foundation was announced on 28 September 2010 with the Foundation being governed by a "Steering Committee" during the phase of initial creation. The announcement received support from companies including Novell,[5] RedHat, Canonical and Google.[6]

The Foundation also made available a re-branded fork of which was based on the upcoming 3.3 version. It was hoped that the LibreOffice name would be provisional as Oracle was invited to become a member of the Document Foundation, and was asked to donate the brand to the project.[1] Following the announcement, Oracle asked members of the Community Council who were members of The Document Foundation to step down from the Council, claiming that this represented a conflict of interest.[7]

Jacqueline Rahemipour, Co-Lead of the Board, stated:

Although it has been stressed several times that there will be collaboration on a technical level, and changes are possible – there is no indication from Oracle to change its mind on the question of the project organization and management. For those who want to achieve such a change, but see no realistic opportunity within the current project and are therefore involved in the TDF, unfortunately this results in an “either / or” question. The answer for us who sign this letter is clear: We want a change [sic] to give the community as well as the software it develops the opportunity to evolve. For this reason, from now on we will support The Document Foundation and will – as a team – develop and promote LibreOffice.[8]

When the project was announced, the Document Foundation did not exist as a legal entity. The Steering Committee wished to formally set up a foundation, and following research chose establish the foundation in Germany.[9] On 16 February 2011, a fundraising drive was announced to raise the 50 000 euro needed to create a German foundation.[10] The required amount was raised in eight days.[11]


In assessing Oracle's role in the events surrounding the establishment of The Document Foundation, writer Ryan Cartwright in late October 2010 said:

The worst thing about this move by Oracle is that it will divide a community that didn’t need to be divided. The free software community thrives on forked projects and will actively take the path of greater freedom. Mambo became Joomla, Xfree86 has all but disappeared and StarOffice is now regarded as the less-free cousin of (and not in a good way). What Oracle have just done is put their fingers in their ears and say “la la la” to their critics from within the free software community. With that move they will recruit several more opponents... The bottom line is that in all of this Oracle had golden opportunity after golden opportunity to make real progress for everyone - not just the or the free software community. They could have been the key player and the biggest part of the most popular free software office suite and they treated it like a runny nose. They blew it.[12]

Some media observers have held the belief that the formation of the Document Foundation is just the Go-oo project reinventing itself to the long-term detriment of users. In October 2010 Linux Magazine's Bruce Byfield said:[13]

What happened, I suspect, was that Go-OO, already chafing under Sun's tight control of's direction, saw more of the same -- if not worse -- awaiting in Oracle. Hoping to succeed before Oracle could articulate its plans, Go-OO members reinvented themselves, and announced the foundation that they had long been calling for. But Oracle refused to be stampeded, and escalated the fork into something that resembles corporate warfare. Whatever the merits of either side (and I am most inclined to support The Document Foundation, although only on the principle that any number is greater than zero), I suspect that the losers in this situation will be the users. The risk is that time will continue to be spent in flame wars that could be better spent in coding. What seems likely is not only a general division and duplication of effort, but, in Oracle's case, a decision to focus on proprietary development as a defensive measure. By making the gambit that it did, The Document Foundation may have perpetuated another version of the stalemate that it was trying to break.[13]

As a result of the creation LibreOffice and the resulting loss of developers from, in April 2011 Oracle announced its intention to move to a "purely community-based project".[14][15] Oracle has also terminated their commercial product, called Oracle Open Office. As of 2 June 2011 Oracle has relicensed under the Apache License 2.0 and transferred ownership of the project and its trademarks to the Apache Foundation.[16]

Advisory board

In June 2011 the foundation announced that it had formed an advisory board. The initial members included Google, SUSE, Red Hat, Freies Office Deutschland e.V., Software in the Public Interest, and the Free Software Foundation. Journalist Sean Micheal Kerner noted "The new advisory board along with the stable release are proof positive that LibreOffice has a stable, healthy and supported ecosystem of vendors and developers. This isn't some flash in the pan fork, this a new direction forward." He also asked with regard to membership on the advisory board, "where is Canonical?!"[17]


  1. ^ a b The Document Foundation (28 September 2010). " Community announces The Document Foundation". Archived from the original on 30 September 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  2. ^ Collins, Barry. "OpenOffice group breaks away from Oracle". PC Pro. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  3. ^ Clarke, Gavin. "OpenOffice files Oracle divorce papers". The Register. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Paul, Ryan. "Document Foundation forks, liberates it from Oracle". ars technica. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  5. ^ Kerry Adorno (28 September 2010). "Viva la LibreOffice!". Novell News (Novell). Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  6. ^ Jeremy Kirk (28 September 2010). "Update: developers move to break ties with Oracle". Computerworld (Computerworld Inc). Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Ryan Paul (18 October 2010). "Oracle wants LibreOffice members to leave OOo council". ars technica. Retrieved 20 October 2010. 
  8. ^ Ricky (1 November 2010). "And So The Exodus Begins – 33 Developers Leave". Digitizor. Digitizor Media & Web, Inc. Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  9. ^ LibreOffice 50,000 Euro Challenge The Document Foundation accessed 2011-02-20
  10. ^ LibreOffice Community starts 50,000 Euro challenge for setting-up its foundation
  11. ^ Thousands of donors contribute €50,000 in just eight days to The Document Foundation
  12. ^ Ryan Cartwright (27 October 2010). "Have Oracle just made it worse for everyone?". Free Software Magazine (The Open Company Partners Inc). Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Bruce Byfield (22 October 2010). "The Cold War Between and LibreOffice". Linux Magazine (Linux New Media). Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  14. ^ Paul, Ryan (April 2011). "Oracle gives up on OpenOffice after community forks the project". Ars Technica. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  15. ^ Deborah Hellinger (15 April 2011). "Oracle Announces Its Intention to Move to a Community-Based Project". Oracle. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  16. ^ Heise Media UK Ltd (June 2011). "OpenOffice proposed as Apache project". The Open H. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  17. ^ Kerner, Sean Michael (June 2011). "LibreOffice gets serious with new release and Advisory Board". Internet News. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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