OpenOffice.org at Oracle After The Sun Acquisition

Yesterday, I participated in the local JUG’s discussion of the Sun acquisition by Oracle. Somewhat to my surprise, the general opinion was dismissive of OpenOffice’s future at Oracle. I haven’t spent much prior thought on this, but to me, OpenOffice seems to fit much better with Oracle than with Sun, at least on a strategic level. The reasoning is quite simple: OpenOffice can help Oracle’s application business.

On the top floor of Business Software applications, there are no viable open source offerings, there is only SAP and then, somewhere, Oracle. OpenOffice, in contrast, while far from perfect, is a fine contender for office productivity software. The complexity of an office productivity suite is much smaller than that of a serious business application suite. Thus, in many organizations, OpenOffice is a real option. In particular, the public sector comes to mind.

Under Sun, OpenOffice integration with business applications was sorely lacking. If I was running Oracle’s application business, I’d make sure these days are over, and that OpenOffice integrates well with its applications offering. There are many organizations whose feature checklist for business applications includes OpenOffice integration. In a head-to-head competitive sales situation between Oracle and SAP, this will be a box only the Oracle sales rep can check off.

4 Replies to “OpenOffice.org at Oracle After The Sun Acquisition”

  1. OpenOffice.org being LGPLed, there is no reason anyone could vertically integrate it already, of course, not just Sun (apart from the hassle involved in forking a project).
    It is a better fit for Oracle than for Sun, though. OO.o has the potential of tighter integration with MySQL (provided Oracle ended up acquiring both) and thus provide a direct competitor to Microsoft Access, with then the possibility of upward-selling customers to Oracle Database.
    (Though on that topic, I wonder if it’s not better if they just promote PostgreSQL instead of risking regulatory wrath by keeping MySQL. Perhaps PgSQL is *too* close to Oracle DB for comfort?)
    One slight problem with OO.o, from the development standpoint, is that its codebase is supposedly rather byzantine, similar to the first public release of Mozilla. It is one of the projects with the least proportion of outside contributors, if I recall (arguably that could be because working on business applications for free is not enticing, but then KOffice would not be as successful as it is).

  2. I have never understood the hoop-la over the aquisition of OO.o and MySQL by Oracle. No one seems to be panicking about Java…
    Although there is the “OpenJDK”… however, it does not have all that the Sun JDK has, now does it?
    OO.o and MySQL are both open source applications. As such, they can be forked at anytime. Maybe this is the perfect opportunity to “clean up” the “byzantine” code, in favor of some other approach. Or, perhaps, to add the functionality some believe is lacking in MySQL.

  3. @Michael – it is easy to have an opinion on OO.o while it is much harder to figure out the Java situation, because it is so much more complicated or at least appears that way 🙂
    One thing is that the older licenses like GPLv2 are silent on trademarks and patents so the IP situation of MySQL and Java isn’t as clear cut as it may seem. I believe IBM is mostly annoyed about the Java trademarks that Sun holds and views them as a problem.

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