Hi Phillip;

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 to love.

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 capability there.

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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