OpenOffice.org’s Community Council responds to the FSF

OpenOffice.org is one of the most popular products of the FOSS (Free/Open
Source) community, and for many millions of people it is their first
experience of FOSS. Key to OpenOffice.org’s success has been its ability
to compete openly and freely with competitors on any platform, and
demonstrate that FOSS is a better choice.

Uniquely among leading office suites, OpenOffice.org provides a mechanism
for developers to build and release “extensions” to provide additional
features. Extensions can be added and removed at will by users, giving
them the freedom to tailor their own copy of OpenOffice.org to do what
they need to do. The OpenOffice.org Community has created a common
repository where users can select and download extensions.

The OpenOffice.org Community Council has been asked by the FSF to give the
FSF an effective veto over which extensions should be permitted to appear
in this repository. The Community Council has felt unable to do this. We
believe passionately that FOSS delivers better software – including
extensions, but that users must be free to make the comparison and reach
their own conclusion.

It is a fact that the vast majority of our users currently run
OpenOffice.org on a proprietary operating system, alongside other
proprietary software. We respect their choice, and believe the best way to
influence them to change is by delivering high quality FOSS software that
meets their needs.

The OpenOffice.org Community Council regrets that the FSF was unable to
accept our compromise proposals for a more clearly signposted extensions
repository. We believe the creation of an alternative repository will
cause confusion and will lead to a poorer experience for users. However,
we are more than happy to work with the FSF to encourage FOSS developers
to address areas where proprietary only solutions exist.

The OpenOffice.org Community Council
http://council.openoffice.org

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