The thing about so-called "marketing gurus" is that their assumptions
about how the markets work may break down when we are talking about
software that has zero cost.
I will simplify the marketing issue making a bold statement: "We have
millions of users because we do 80% of what the market leader does but
with 0% of the price." Yes, there are other software packages that
comply with the same criteria and may even be better in some place, but
we keep the same consistent interface and branding that people have come
We *can* indeed still differentiate from *other-name*Office as long as
we keep the application consistent with what our current users have come
to love. In other words, we have to play conservative but we can
innovate in the things that people don't see easily. OOXML is in that list.
About the license, it is certainly a strength. Not only it is finely
recognized and permissive license, it is *one* license (well there are
some minor pieces under other licenses but they are all permissively
compatible). This quite honestly makes a difference as a starting point
for other projects. LibreOffice, from the last time I looked, opted to
obfuscate the parts of the code that are under ALv2 by just slapping
MPLv2 on everything. This said, and IANAL so don't take this as legal
advice, after the linux-vmware law suit it seems clear that restrictive
licenses will be very difficult to enforce unless someone that ewants to
enforce the licnese is getting copyright assignment.
If I had some resources, I think I would focus on the plugin mechanism,
perhaps port some of LibreOffice features as extensions and encourage
special purpose forks (I have also considered a personal closed-source
fork as well). It would also be important to have some sandboxing
I just don't have resources for that, so for the time being I am toying
with the idea of using APR to hijack the SAL layer, which would make AOO
consistent with other Apache projects.
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