This is the advent calendar for techies. In the fully digital, commercial world, almost everything belongs to a large Internet company. Their software is neither open nor free. Alternatively, there is this small island of an open source world: a program whose code is publicly visible and can be independently scanned for potential vulnerabilities and backdoors. Software that can be freely used, distributed and improved. Often the motive for action is simply the pleasure of doing something useful to society.
Short images of open source projects will be posted online from December 1 to December 24. These are about the respective program functions, pitfalls, history, background and financing. Some projects are backed by an individual, others by a loosely organized community, a tightly managed organization with full-time employees or a consortium. The work is entirely voluntary, funded through donations, collaborations with Internet companies, government funding, or an open source business model. Regardless of whether it is a single application or a complex ecosystem, whether it is a computer program, an application, or an operating system – the diversity of open source is enormous.
Short images of open source projects will be posted online from December 1 to December 24. These are about the respective program functions, pitfalls, history, background and financing.
December 1st: Firefox
December 2: F-Droid
December 3rd: LibreOffice
As with Firefox, LibreOffice’s predecessor started commercially. Then the most important German open source project emerged through several development steps.
It contains six applications Office Libre Office software packageA writing program (LibreOffice Writer), a spreadsheet program (Calc), a presentation program (Impress), a graphics program (Draw), a database application (Base) and a formula editor (Math). Approximately 2000 extensions Available.
LibreOffice is primarily developed for computers. The program has appeared on average over the past year 2.7 million monthly downloads. The Document Foundation estimates the number of users at nearly 200 million.
There are also apps for it LibreOffice Viewer Just a rudimentary Android app to display texts too far away For remote control of presentations. As an integrated smartphone application, LibreOffice recommends the application developed in the ecosystem Office-App collaboration.
StarOffice becomes OpenOffice
The history of LibreOffice dates back to the mid-1980s. 16-year-old IT prodigy Marco Boris founded Star Division in 1985, which sold the StarOffice office software package.
In 1999, he sold his Hamburg start-up to Sun Microsystems, and in 2000 it was renamed OpenOffice. In the same year, Sun released the source code for the software project and renamed it OpenOffice.
That was shortly after the release of Netscape’s browser code, which became Firefox. Sun has followed the trend of the times, says Mike Saunders, Director of Marketing for the Document Foundation: “At the time there was an idea in some companies: We just released the source code, and then the open source community introduces many new software that’s free of shipping functionality.” Until then, Sun had been considering outsourcing the development of an organization, but had not implemented the idea.
In 2010, Oracle acquired Sun. The community was unsure how far the IT giant would stick to its support, and a fork occurred. Since Oracle did not want to release the naming rights to OpenOffice, the new software project was called LibreOffice. In the spring of 2011, the community gathered in crowdfunding 50,000 euros as start-up capital.
Based in Berlin: The Document Foundation
Founded in 2012 Document Foundation offiziell in Berlin. Shortly thereafter, Oracle handed over the Open Office project to the Apache Software Foundation.
The Document Foundation is based in Berlin. It has eleven employees and is independent. There is one The seven-member board of directors, the chairman of the board is software entrepreneur in Karlsruhe, Lothar Becker, and managing director of the Foundation Florian Effenberger, one of the founders of the foundation, who lives in Kaufburen, Bavaria. Member of the Board of Trustees consisting of about 200 peopleCouncil elects.
who – which Engineering Steering Committee Advises the Board of Directors on technical matters. He also has an advisory role Advisory Board (Advisory Board), where sponsors are represented, including representatives from Red Hat, Collabora, Gnome, Google, City of Munich, and Free Software Foundation Europe. Mike Saunders estimates the size of the community at about 300 to 400 people.
“Not a software house”
Unlike the Mozilla Foundation, for example, the LibreOffice Foundation is essentially “not a software company.” According to Saunders of the Document Foundation, the model is more comparable to that of the Linux Foundation. The organization is concerned with the core of programs, quality assurance, documentation and management. However, most development work is carried out by the corporate community: employees of companies that use LibreOffice in their own products or provide LibreOffice support.
by assembly For the current release, 29 percent of about 7,000 software contributions came from British company Collabora, which provides a cloud solution for LibreOffice, and 27 percent from Red Hat Linux. An IBM subsidiary provides LibreOffice with its own operating system. Another 27 percent came from 120 individual developers from the community. The Document Foundation made up only about eight percent of contributions.
Private individual donations
according to Annual report in English The Document Foundation 2020 had an income of around 1.4 million euros, and 500,000 euros was spent on staff. the foundation finance itself Almost exclusively – 97 percent – through individual donations. The average donation is 11 euros.
A small portion of the revenue comes from advisory board members. The Foundation recommends a minimum annual donation depends on The size of the company is between $500 and $20,000.
Google is also a member of the advisory board. The IT giant plays another role as a sponsor. Work on Summer of Code Scholarship 2020 six studentsGoogle pays it to LibreOffice for three months at a time.
shadow of the past
The development path that led to LibreOffice began over 35 years ago; The fork was ten years ago. The story is still there, however. LibreOffice and OpenOffice still exist as parallel projects, to the dismay of LibreOffice: for historical reasons, OpenOffice is still better known than LibreOffice. In the fall of 2020, the Board of Directors asked the Appache Foundation in an open letter to finally abandon parallel development and join LibreOffice.
The work in the article series is based in part on the “Neustart Kultur” grant from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, awarded by VG Wort.
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