Add Apache OpenOffice, the free productivity suite, to Fedora.
- Name: Andrea Pescetti
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Targeted release: Fedora 19
- Last updated: 2013-03-12
- Percentage of completion: 35%
- According to the latest OpenOffice Release Plans OpenOffice 4 and Fedora 19 are set to release on the same day. This implies a large overlapping of development and QA cycles.
- Some patches have been committed to the OpenOffice trunk (leading to version 4) and dependencies updated to work with the current Fedora javac, but OpenOffice does not fully respect the No Bundled Libraries policy yet. In light of this, shipping OpenOffice 3.4.1 does not seem a sensible contingency plan due to the number of backports needed and to the fact that all OpenOffice QA activities are now done on the trunk.
- What should be kept of this feature, that can possibly be retargeted to this aim, is that LibreOffice (default) and OpenOffice can coexist without posing problems to users. This is especially important giving the timing: there would be nothing worse than seeing Fedora 19 and OpenOffice 4 released on the same day and discovering that users cannot try OpenOffice due to incompatibilities. Packaging discussions have not gone into details yet. A request to fedora-devel for more information on packages already using environment modules, as recommended by FESCo, has gone unanswered. OpenOffice packagers are available to work together with LibreOffice developers, offlist or on fedora-devel, to reach the minimum goal of this feature, i.e., support installation and coexistence of LibreOffice (default) and OpenOffice.
Apache OpenOffice (formerly OpenOffice.org) is an extremely popular free and open-source office software suite.
Donated by Oracle to the Apache Software Foundation in 2011, it is now developed and supported by a thriving community; it graduated from the Apache Incubator in October 2012 and it is now an Apache Top-Level Project.
Two new versions, 3.4.0 and 3.4.1, were released in the last 8 months and a major update, 4.0, is in the works and scheduled for April 2013. Versions 3.4.0 and 3.4.1 totalled 35 million downloads so far (not counting mirrors).
To be clear, this proposal is about merely adding Apache OpenOffice: it doesn't affect existing office suites included in Fedora and it doesn't require that Apache OpenOffice is made the default office suite in Fedora.
Benefit to Fedora
Fedora will be able to offer an extremely popular productivity suite, often used to interoperate with Windows users too.
Version 4.0 of OpenOffice brings major and very visible improvements, such as a new and more modern user interface, which are enough to differentiate OpenOffice from other free office suites, like LibreOffice and the older OpenOffice versions (known as "OpenOffice.org" at the time).
Since the graduation of OpenOffice as a top-level Apache project is relatively recent (October 2012), Fedora could be one of the first distributions to include it after the name change.
Packaging is the main issue here. The default OpenOffice build process produces RPM packages, but there are major changes to be done to obtain a set of RPM packages and matching SRPMs suitable for inclusion in Fedora.
The current development builds have been configured to produce packages based on the current product name: this allows to avoid name clashes with older versions of OpenOffice.
The /usr/bin/soffice and /usr/bin/unopkg executables/symlinks are still a problem since (in the Fedora packages) they would conflict between LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice: it is recommended to fix it in the LibreOffice packages too. As discussed on the mailing lists, applications that programmatically spawn an OpenOffice/LibreOffice process may benefit of the "soffice" symlink when they need to locate an OpenOffice/LibreOffice installation. On the other hand, the current upstream LibreOffice packages do not rely on a "soffice" symlink.
How To Test
Testing would need to ensure that Apache OpenOffice can be successfully installed in Rawhide, make sure that it can be installed together with other office suites (and especially with LibreOffice), with the help of the Alternatives system if needed, and that it can work as expected if it is the only office suite installed in the system.
Users will get access to a robust, modern, supported free office suite, often the suite of choice for Windows users who are becoming interested in free and open source software and who would appreciate to find it in the standard Fedora repositories.
A considerable cleanup has been performed since the 3.3.0 times. No other packages depend on Apache OpenOffice. FreeBSD already includes Apache OpenOffice in their packages and contributed back some work needed to align it to the latest versions of some dependencies.
If version 4.0 is not ready in time for Fedora 19 but packaging is satisfactory, we can ship version 3.4.1.
If instead packaging is still unsatisfactory, Apache OpenOffice won't be a feature, but still Fedora should adapt the conflicting LibreOffice packages and possibly implement the Alternatives system for the shared "soffice" alias, so that it is possible to include Apache OpenOffice in the Fedora Updates as a proposed new package later.
- Features: Release Planning
- Code: Feature branches
- Screenshots: Document fidelity improvements, Sidebar.
- Fedora 19 includes Apache OpenOffice (formerly OpenOffice.org), a popular free and open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. Apache OpenOffice is available in many languages and it is now developed by the Apache Software Foundation. LibreOffice, a fork of OpenOffice.org, remains the default office suite in Fedora.