I would like to inform you about my attendance of a workshop from the
OSBA [1] to discuss a potential future project to improve the
interoperability of OpenOffice/LibreOffice with the also standardized
file format OOXML. But also with focus on an improved and a standardized
change tracking proposal.

I attended as individual AOO member and IBM representative. I made clear
that I am no official spoke person for AOO and explained once more that
we don't really have a hierarchy or formal leaders.

One part of the workshop was to review the first project [2] which was a
success for open source but not directly for OpenOffice. We know all
that the patches are not yet integrated in AOO. I reported that I have
informed the AOO project/community about the availability [3] of the
related patches but that nobody has worked on it so far. And that it is
not easy without having access to the test documents.

Svante Schubert gave a good overview presentation about the change
tracking proposal that is currently discussed and proposed in the
related OASIS sub committee. All attendees agreed more or less that it
is important to have it more formalized and be part of the ODF standard.
Funding to work on the ODF specification is one aspect ...

During the workshop new problems were reported and feature requests
communicated. This will be me worked out in detail and new use-case
specifications will be prepared similar to the first project. When they
are available I will share them with the community. Interested
developers and companies can give an offer to work on the implementation
later, similar to the first project.

A further important point was the potential collaboration between
OpenOffice and LibreOffice at least on source code level. Some of the
sponsors of the first project were not 100% satisfied because they can't
benefit from the work they have paid for which I can understand. The
availability of patches under ALv2 is not enough to have them
integrated. The integration work have to be done and ideally from the
people who were paid for. Or at least in time and in collaboration with
other volunteers. Anyway something that will be probably improved in the

Jan Holosevsky from Collabora and a developer on LO and me as a
developer from AOO were asked about a proposal/idea how such a
collaboration can happen. We all know that it is not so easy to answer
and that it comes quite fast to an ideological and political discussion.

I simply tried to explain the situation we already have today. In detail
I showed the code flow from AOO to LO and the dependency of LO to AOO
since their rebase. They mirror our svn repos and merge fixes and
features on a regular basis into their code. And most of their source
code is under the ALV2 because you can't remove the license. You can
only add additional licenses for significant changes you made in a
source file. As one possible way for collaboration I proposed to work
more directly on the same code base. And that the TDF could continue to
provide binaries and could continue with their community work they are
doing today (I like of course many things they doing). The only
requirement would be to work together on the same code and contribute
the changes upstream. I believe this would make most sense and the
resources in both project would be used more efficient. And the most
important point from my point of view it would reflect the main idea of
open source and would benefit the open source spirit.

Jan Holesovsky with backing from Simon Phipps proposed that we could use
LO code which is under MPLv2. As a reminder the additional MPLv2 is the
result of their rebasing work against the AOO code base after our first
official release AOO 3.4.1. Well I found not very much information about
the exact licensing on their webpage, mainly LGPLv3. And no reference
that at least major parts of their code is under ALv2 today. At least to
me it looks quite confusing and I am happy that we have it much clearer

But back to the proposal I have to confess that I don't really
understand how this should work in detail. MPL is category-b and we can
link against it but we can't host any MPL code in our repo. And it would
work on completely new code only that is quite well encapsulated  and
modularized. It can be potentially an option for some of their new
filters but that have to be checked in detail and is only one aspect. We
talk about million lines of code mainly.

It was also mentioned that mixing of ALv2 and MPL code is possible in
general and that it is more a problem of the ASF and the processes
applied to projects here at Aapche. I was thinking what it should mean,
confuse people even more or an indirect recommendation that OpenOffice
should be hosted somewhere else? I stopped thinking about it because
it's out of scope I think.

If people think I misunderstood things or summarized it incorrect,
please feel free to correct me or add missing information.

I shared this with you because AOO is a community project and such
discussion have to be discussed with the community in the end anyway. I
found it interesting to learn from their experience of the first project
and to learn what the problems of real users are. It was interesting to
see that people from more the outside of the projects are interested to
force or seek ways for collaboration on the same common goal, that is
the best free office productivity suite. Well they belong to the project
as users and are very important because without users we wouldn't have
neither AOO nor LO.

More information will be shared when it becomes available. And hopefully
some volunteers are interested to start working on the OSBA patches to
get as much as possible out of them.


[1] http://www.osb-alliance.de/working-groups/wg-office-interoperability/

[2] http://www.osb-alliance.de/working-groups/projekte/ooxml-filter/


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