Decade One: What We Have Learned with OpenOffice.org

Louis Suarez-Potts (Oracle / OpenOffice.org)
Business
Location: D137
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Sun Microsystems released the code under the dual open licenses LGPL and SISSL (like BSD) to StarOffice 5.2 in October 2000, nearly ten years ago. The OpenOffice.org Project was initiated at that time, which was also when I joined it, becoming the next year the Community Manager, a position I’ve held since.

In this first decade of the Project’s existence, we have been both affected by and effected changes even few adherents of FOSS wanted to admit to, let alone anticipate. We have moved from the scoffing by seemingly imperturbable market leaders, from fatuous claims about FOSS and free labour, from gross political and legal misunderstandings resulting in bizarre Cold-War accusations of Communism to equally wrong but more glowingly bright promises of political revolution that will first be seen on the desktop (!) to the now more solid and accepted roadmap enabling widescale adoption of the application on the desktop and now in the Cloud.

If not the Second Coming or the Anti-Christ, OpenOffice.org, like Linux and so much other FOSS, is changing the world, and in ways that demand understanding. This presentation embarks upon that technical, social, and political examination from the perspective of Community management in- and outside of Sun. (I joined in 2007, seven years in.) In the presentation, I examines our errors, our triumphs, and what—and it is a bit of a mystery—has allowed us to survive (and in fact thrive) in waters uniquely hostile and unforgiving.

Photo of Louis Suarez-Potts

Louis Suarez-Potts

Oracle / OpenOffice.org

Louis Suárez-Potts is the longtime Community Manager and Chair of the Community Council for OpenOffice.org; he joined Sun Microsystems in 2007 and has led the OpenOffice.org community since 2000. The lead and co-lead of several projects and the primary spokesperson and representative of OpenOffice.org, Suárez-Potts also represents the project regarding OpenDocument format (ODF) matters, and is on the OASIS ODF Adoption Technical Committee and is a member of the ODF Alliance. He speaks frequently on the ODF, OpenOffice.org, education and open source, and community development throughout the world. Suárez-Potts is currently working on several articles regarding open source development and education. He lives in Toronto and received his PhD from U.C. Berkeley.

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