OpenOffice, once a gleaming example of what open source software looks like, has seen better days, as interest to hold the project together wanes and people increasingly switch to alternatives. An e-mail thread was posted recently by Apache OpenOffice vice-president Dennis Hamilton, which discusses the possibility of retiring the project.
The thread, entitled ‘What Would OpenOffice Retirement Involve?’, argues that there is ‘no ready supply of developers who have the capacity, capability, and will to supplement the roughly half-dozen volunteers holding the project together’.
Essentially, the project needs more updates, mostly security updates, but there aren’t enough quality developers willing to build them. With security, especially corporate security, being such an extremely important aspect, consumers have been switching to LibreOffice and Microsoft Office.
ArsTechnica says that while OpenOffice has had a handful of updates in the past three years, LibreOffice has seen 14 updates in 2015 alone. At one point, it was discovered that OpenOffice could be used to create denial-of-service attacks, but there simply weren’t enough people to tackle the issue, so everyone was advised to switch to another program.
Describing what eventual retirement might look like, Hamilton says the program would essentially remain available for people to download, but things like public discussion mailing lists, the dev@list, and social media accounts would be shut down. Sites would remain static and unchangeable.
Another thing that would remain would be an e-mail address accepting requests to use the OpenOffice brand.