The Path to Apache OpenOffice 4.2.0

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Monday, December 4. 2017 in ASF, Open Source

It is no secret that, for awhile at least, Apache OpenOffice had lost its groove.

Partly it was due to external issues. Mostly that the project and the committers were spending a lot of their time and energies battling and correcting the FUD associated around the project. Nary a week would go by without the common refrain "OpenOffice is Dead. Kill it already!" and constant (clueless) rehashes of the history between OpenOffice and LibreOffice. With all that, it is easy and understandable to see why morale within the AOO community would have been low. Which would then reflect and affect development on the project itself.

So more so than anything, what the project needed was a good ol' shot of adrenaline in the arm and some encouragement to keep the flame alive. Over the last few months this has succeeded beyond our dreams. After an admittedly way-too-long period, we finally released AOO 4.1.4. And we are actively working on not only a 4.1.5 release but also preparing plans for our 4.2.0 release.

And it's there that you can help.

Part of what AOO really wants to be is a simple, easy-to-user, streamlined office suite for the largest population of people possible. This includes supporting old and long deprecated OSs. For example, our goal is to continue to support Apple OSX 10.7 (Lion) with our 4.2.0 release. However, there is one platform which we are simply unsure about what to do, and how to handle it. And what makes it even more interesting is that it's our reference build system for AOO 4.1.x: CentOS5

Starting with AOO 4.2.0, we are defaulting to GIO instead of Gnome VFS. The problem is that CentOS5 doesn't support GIO, which means that if we continue with CentOS5 as our reference build platform for our community builds, then all Linux users who use and depend on those community builds will be "stuck" with Gnome VFS instead of GIO. If instead we start using CentOS6 as our community build server. we leave CentOS5 users in a lurch (NOTE: CentOS5 users would still be able to build AOO 4.2.0 on their own, it's just that the binaries that the AOO project supplies won't work). So we are looking at 3 options:

  1. We stick w/ CentOS5 as our ref build system for 4.2.0 but force Gnome VFS.
  2. We move to CentOS6, accept the default of GIO but understand that this moves CentOS5 as a non-supported OS for our community builds.
  3. Just as we offer Linux 32 and 64bit builds, starting w/ 4.2.0 we offer CentOS5 community builds (w/ Gnome VFS) IN ADDITION TO CentOS6 builds (w/ GIO). (i.e.: 32bit-Gnome VFS, 64bit-Gnome VFS, 32bit-GIO, 64bit-GIO).

Which one makes the most sense? Join the conversation and the discussion on the AOO dev mailing list!

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