Forking Mandriva and OpenOffice.org: Poor Management versus Competent Technology
There have been two fairly significant forks in the Linux world in the past few weeks; one is a large number of the developers of Mandriva now concentrating on on that technology under the new title Mageia. As advocates of that this new Linux distribution state: People working on it just do not want to be dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company.. In addition to this is the fork of OpenOffice.org by the name of LibreOffice. OpenOffice.org is quite clearly a very popular alternative application suite to Microsoft Office and has in the past been a strong advocate for international standard office formats such as ODF. However given Sun's acquisition by Oracle (who seem to be trying to take over the world), doubts have arisen over that company's committment to free and open-source software (so where's MySQL going to go). Thus the formation of LibreOffice, a fork of OpenOffice backed by Google, Novell, and Red Hat - with Oracle invited to join if they so desire, an attempt to ensure that the OpenOffice.org is truly a community project.
What is going on here? Basically, poor management decisions, orientated towards a more traditional business mind-set, are conflicting with the new, free and open-source approach to technological development - and some old fashioned thinkers are showing that they are completely out of their depth when it comes to understanding the new technology. They are still paddling in the shallows of a world where software meant intellectual property, which meant a monopoly on code and ideas & etc. We have seen this sort of thing before; the fork of Mambo into Joomla, TWiki into Foswiki and so on. There is an underlying assumption among those in the old managerial mindset that those in free software development just aren't savvy enough to see clever corporate tricks. Don't believe it; these developers have super-powers and can see right through you. When poor management techniques from yesteryear comes into conflict with good contemporary software, the latter will simply pack up and leave. And the corporates? You can keep your steenkin' trademarks. It's all you'll have.