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Hi :)
I suspect that's it's mostly only the "Fresh" branch.

LibreOffice has an extremely fast-paced development.  Each new branch
introduces tons of new functionality and deals with legacy problems.  This
is partly "catch up", partly recoding to reduce the wide number of
different programming languages into just C(++?) and Python, partly
increasing compatibility with constantly changing proprietary formats,
partly dealing with revolutionary changes in IT and radically new ways of

"Sun" achieved a stability by preventing almost anyone from making any
changes at all.  This meant that although there were tons of problems these
were all "known problems" that people knew to either work-around or
accept.  They seldom worked on bug-reports or fixed anything, apparently.

With each change, even if it's 'just' patching some problem there is a
potential for unexpected side-effects.  OpenOffice has a tradition (thanks
to Sun and Oracle) of not dealing with problems.  So OO remains "stable"
even in a wide-eyed-end-user type of way.  LibreOffice marches fearlessly
on, deals with issues, adds new stuff to the "Fresh" branch and then
patches as many of the new problems as it can with subsequent releases in
that branch even after it becomes the "Still" branch and a new "Fresh"
branch has been released.

So it really isn't any surprise that LO has issues that OpenOffice
doesn't.  The same is true the other way around too!  Both still have some
long-running issues, just as any long-running project has.  Just as MS
Office has.  Some may never be resolved but it's more likely to be fixed
some day in LibreOffice precisely because so much more work is going on and
because of the faster pace of development.

This all happened long ago too ...
Back before TDF and LibreOffice, before Oracle, various companies such as
Novell, SuSE, Redhat, Gnome, Debian, Canonical (Ubuntu) and many more got
together and developed a project called Go-oo that added a ton of stuff to
each new release of OO.o making it faster and with better compatibility.
However this often left the original branding in place so that many people
thought they were using as released by "Sun" when they were
actually using Go-oo.  This was the case with almost all Gnu&Linux

IBM created their own additions and changes, eschewing the Go-o changes and
just doing it all their own way to create "IBM Lotus Symphony" to sell to
corporate organisations and others.

Some Mac people did their own thing to OO.o to create NeoOffice.

So lots of people were a little unhappy with the stagnation of OpenOffice
under Sun and created their own forks or bunch of additions/changes to the
infrequent OO.o releases.

When Oracle acquired Sun and refused to communicate with the community at
all, apparently seized assets, bank accounts and funds (almost entirely
raised by the community and meant for the community's usage) a small group
of (imo) heroes (incl Charles Schulz, Sophie, Italo, Micheal Meeks (of
Novell) and about 16 more) pushed through the plan that had been developed
years earlier to break away and create an independent organisation purely
for the office suite.

Luckily, under Sun, some communities had created independent "local"
community organisations.  Famously one in Germany, one in France, one in
Brasil and so on.  This made it easier for those places to set-up events
and respond to "local" situations faster - without needing to run and ask
"Sun" if every 'little' thing was ok with them.  The Brazilian one had
added some of their own coding making BrOO, yet another fork(ish?).  Mostly
these properly registered independent organisations were able to hang onto
their own assets.  The German one had enough funds, and enough expertise,
to lend "The Document Foundation" enough funds to "start-up" as a "new"
charity/business/organisation - and to give outsiders confidence in the
legitimacy and future prospects of the new charity/business/organisation.
Presumably that has long since been repaid or become irrelevant and TDF has
shown that it is excellently well managed and gained a strong reputation in
it's own right!

Oracle kept the name and the branding so the newly formed "The Document
Foundation" had to develop something new, even if it seemed like it would
only be temporary and that Oracle would do the sensible thing and just give
the name and branding back to the community.  Some people stayed with OO.o,
even under Oracle, and went through a ton of hardships there.  The press
and media blew it up as a fight between them and us when really it was
still one community with 2 slightly diverging office suites and 2 different
organisations "in charge".

Go-oo quickly (well, in under a year) merged their changes into the main
branch.  Almost everyone in Go-oo was already heavily involved in
LibreOffice anyway.  For a year or so afterwards their website carried a
really sweet and somewhat triumphant message saying that they had closed
down and gone to TDF and LibreOffice.  It's gone now but the domain is
still hosted somewhere.

Almost all Gnu&Linux distros switched to having LibreOffice as the default
office suite quite quickly, even many that had previously used KOffice
(which also forked at around that time) as their default office suite.

I think NeoOffice and BrOffice also merged back into main-branch of
LibreOffice too along with other less-well-known forks and extra projects
although i've not kept track of what they have been doing.

Oracle attempted to claim their OpenOffice was the superior by suddenly
working frantically towards a new release, which they numbered just
slightly higher than LibreOffice's numbers at the time but by then they had
already lost the impetus and their paid devs weren't familiar with the OO.o
code-base so their 'new' version didn't have anything like as much polish
or new features.  TDF responded to the challenge by simply re-numbering the
releases they were already working on at the time and swept in some new
features they had been going to leave for the next "Fresh" branch.  So TDF
got their version out days earlier than Oracle and with it looking much
better too according to all the reviews at the time.  By the time Oracle
released their 3.4 (or was it 5?).0 a few days later it was tooo late and
unimpressive so few, if any, articles appeared about it - except to compare
it against the LO one that 'everyone' had already been using.

Oracle finally seemed to wake up to the fact they weren't going to be able
to compete and weren't going to be able to split the program/suite up in
order to make an "enterprise" or "professional" version to profit from.
They seemed to see it as a "mill-stone around their neck".

At the time they were in court fighting against Apache.  IBM allegedly
managed to convince them to 'give' OpenOffice away.  Better a millstone
around an opponents neck than around your own when you are trying to fight
someone, right?

Since then OpenOffice has really flown.  Their community, along with some
new people from Apache, have done some amazing good work.  With their new
owner just letting them "get on with it", rather than constantly fighting
against them, made a huge difference!  It then became much easier for
people to be in both communities and to some extent share work across both
projects.  Sadly by then so much development had already gone into
LibreOffice that the two projects really had diverged from each other so
sharing code is often not possible any more - but that hasn't stopped
people working in both or sharing ideas across both or just helping each
other personally.  IBM eventually 'gave' "Lotus Symphony" to Apache
OpenOffice so they could merge.

Hagar helped me with one of our wiki-pages by basically letting me just
copy&paste one of his help-pages from their forum - and helped me with some
of the changes it needed too.  The head of the LO Documentation Team spent
a lot of time heading up their Documentation Team too.  All across the
projects there are people working together quietly.

So throughout the history of this forking and so-called fragmentation it's
actually been a case of merging and consolidation - with even the 2 main
apparent 'rivals' working together to a much greater extent than outsiders
would understand.

Regards from
Tom :)

On 10 October 2015 at 14:27, Florian Reisinger <>

Would you be so kind as to tell us which aspects got worse?

Am 10. Oktober 2015 15:26:08 MESZ, schrieb "Andreas Säger" <>:
Am 10.10.2015 um 15:23 schrieb Philip Jackson:

Thank you Tom for that interesting explanation of the documentation

It explains why I often have trouble finding answers there.  I keep a
local copy
of " 3 Writer Guide" on my machine and can often find
there faster than on the website.


LO introduces far too many changes to the worse which is why I still
prefer OpenOffice.

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