Mergers happen all the time in the tech world. Some mergers seem naturally logical while others make folks go, "Hmmmm." Other mergers leave consumers filled with doubts about what the future holds for their beloved software, products or services.
The latter is the case with the popular Microsoft Office suite alternative, the OpenOffice.org. OpenOffice.org is both a product and a project.
Let's rewind for a bit of company history on the project. Prior to 2010, the product was a proprietary office suite known as StarOffice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StarOffice) which was created by StarDivision. StarDivision was bought out by Sun Microsystems in 1999. Subsequently, Sun was acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2009. See the press release at www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/018363.
The source code for office suite was released by Sun in July 2000, and the suite was renamed to OpenOffice.org. After Oracle purchased the Sun, the suite took on a new identity, Oracle Open Office.
Soon afterwards, there was a fork in the project and a new office suite came to life, LibreOffice at www.libreoffice.org/. This new suite was created by The Document Foundation at www.documentfoundation.org/. They were a group of former developers on the OpenOffice.org project.
This April, Oracle abandoned the office suite completely when they announced the project would become community-based. Then in June, the company went a step further by donating the suite to the Apache Software Foundation. Read more at www.marketwire.com/press-release/statements-on-openofficeorg-contribution-to-apache-nasdaq-orcl-1521400.htm.
Keep in mind that OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice are both free office productivity suites. However, in recent months, OpenOffice.org was enforcing a mandatory "donation" to download. As of this writing, this is no longer happening.
The latest news about the office suite came last week. IBM announced that it would be donating its IBM Lotus Symphony source code to Apache’s OpenOffice project. IBM's Lotus Symphony was based on OpenOffice. Read more about it at http://symphony.lotus.com/.
Check out Apache OpenOffice.org at http://incubator.apache.org/openofficeorg/ or download OpenOffice.org at www.openoffice.org/.
In the end, consumers now have two free alternatives to Microsoft Office. At the core, both alternatives are basically the same and they can save you money.
Trivia for techies
For you tech trivia buffs, here are a few extra tidbits you might want to know.
** A cool fact about the StarOffice suite and its company. It was created and founded by a German 16-year-old named Marco Boerries.
Boerries went on to create other companies and he has held top positions in several major companies including Yahoo! and Sun Microsystems. And one more fact for you Linux fans, Boerries was also instrumental in introducing the GNOME project.
** A Sun programmer named Simon Phipps gave the number one reason why Sun bought StarDivision. Basically, it was to save Sun money from having to purchase about 42,000 office suite licenses from Microsoft.
Netflix, a popular DVD/streaming movie service, caused an uproar amongst its subscribers with the introduction of new plans and price increases.
Essentially, Netflix has split their combined DVD/streaming plan into individual plans and increased the price to the joint offering. The main complaint among users is that the movie selections are not equal among the plans offered.
Read more at http://blog.netflix.com/2011/07/netflix-introduces-new-plans-and.html.
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