OpenOffice to become adware?

From Jonathan Schwartz’s blog:

An auction’s afoot … to see who we’ll be partnering with us to integrate their businesses and brands into our binary product distribution – the possibilities are limitless: people tend to print those documents, fax them, copy them, project them (and I know this annoys my friends in the free software community, but branding allows us to invest more in OpenOffice.org community and features, from which everyone benefits).

An alarming prospect. But OpenOffice.org is meant to be free and open source. What does Schwartz mean by “our binary distribution”? Note he says OpenOffice.org not Star Office, Sun’s commercial version.

I presume it will be possible for others to step in and offer branding-free distributions of OpenOffice. I’ll go for those, thanks very much.

Contributors to OpenOffice.org put their trust in Sun and even assigned their copyright, supposedly to protect the open source status of the code. If Sun commercialises the free distribution (it can do what it likes with Star Office), that strikes me as stretching the limits of what people understand by free software.

If Sun, by Schwartz’s own admission, is willing to “annoy” its friends in the free software community, OpenOffice.org will lose a lot of momentum – I foresee forks and anger. A good day for Microsoft Office.

Then again, I may have misunderstood. I’m seeking clarification.

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4 comments to OpenOffice to become adware?

  • Calm Down

    I for one would love to see OpenOffice gain mainstream status. And commercial branding would help us get more resources and adoption, and potentially build even more awareness for the project. To me, this is just like Firefox, a great victory for free software. There’s no way Sun can pull back the source code (and why on earth would they want to… it goes against everything they’re doing).

  • Tim, when you get clarification please, please post about it… Can you imagine printing a document with a sponsorship logo on it!!!

    Gary

  • tim

    @Gary yes, will do. I can’t believe that Sun would attempt to brand the documents…

    Tim

  • Tim,

    Unless it’ll be like what IE is now – the title bar would say “Open Office Document supplied by MegaCorp”. Plus the splash screen could have the companies logo on it. I don’t really see it being much more than that, but could be wrong.

    Adrian