Microsoft Office rival OpenOffice could be squeezed out of the market due to lack of volunteers

help-wanted

Not everyone is in a position to pay for their office software and this led to a market for free Microsoft Office competitors. One of the best known and most popular is OpenOffice, but the open source project is in trouble.

Volunteer vice president Dennis E. Hamilton has warned that retirement of the project "is a serious possibility". The problem is a combination of a lack of volunteers willingness to work on the project, and the increasing popularity of LibreOffice. The lack of developers means that important security updates are at risk.

Hamilton writes: "It is my considered opinion 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".

OpenOffice has already lost a number of developers to LibreOffice, and the Libre variant of the suit benefits from far more frequent updates. The musings on the OpenOffice mail archive makes for interesting reading as Hamilton contemplates the future of the project:

I have regularly observed that the Apache OpenOffice project has limited capacity for sustaining the project in an energetic manner. It is also my considered opinion 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. It doesn't matter what the reasons for that might be [...]

In the case of Apache OpenOffice, needing to disclose security vulnerabilities for which there is no mitigation in an update has become a serious issue [...]

I cannot prediction how this will all work out. It is remiss of me not to point out that retirement of the project is a serious possibility.

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