Apache to shut down its OpenOffice project
Apache to shut down its OpenOffice project. Image credit: The UK register.

What are the problems with Apache OpenOffice?

OpenOffice coders are considering shutting down its free, open-source office productivity software suite Apache OpenOffice. Existing issues with security vulnerabilities through 2015 and 2016 have led to the need for volunteer developers for the project to continue.

The Apache Software Foundation asked the OpenOffice team to detail how they will produce secure software and respond to documented bug reports. One member of the project’s management committee has already resigned.

Apache OpenOffice vice president Dennis Hamilton informed via email developer support was an essential element for the office productivity suite to eventually become an open source alternative to Microsoft’s desktop dominance. The successor of the OpenOffice.org open-source office suite, Apache, is being developed for Linux, OS X, and Windows.

Oracle’s acquisition didn’t help at all

Sun Microsystems used to support Apache OpenOffice. But when Oracle acquired Sun in January 2010, the majority of outside OpenOffice.org developers left due to concerns over Oracle’s management of the project.

They formed The Document Foundation and released the fork LibreOffice in January 2011. Subsequently, Oracle stopped development of OpenOffice.org and laid off the remaining development team in April 2011.

Most Linux distributions soon moved to LibreOffice, including Oracle Linux in 2012. In June 2011, Oracle transferred the OpenOffice.org trademarks and source code to the Apache Software Foundation.

The Apache Software Foundation continued the project and renamed it Apache OpenOffice. In May 2012, the 3.4 version was Apache’s first release. However, problems within the project continued.

Security issues and lack of developers could end Apache

Its last update release was version 4.1.2 in October 2015, which finally fixed a known remote code execution security vulnerability in Apache OpenOffice 4.1.1. The team project had been working on the fix since April 2015.

However, the new version featured another problem. Apache Software Foundation announced a memory corruption vulnerability in 4.1.2. It wasn’t until March 2016 that developers figured out a source-code fix. The hotfix was made available on August 30.

Additionally, between October 2014 and July 2015 the project had no release manager following the retirement of Jürgen Schmidt from the role. Former PMC chair Andrea Pescetti had to volunteer as release manager so the 4.1.2 release could begin.

The project needed more people in January 2015, and they have struggled to involve new volunteers who can independently work on significant developments. Yesterday, they started discussions on retiring Apache OpenOffice.

Source: Tech Times‎