Apache OpenOffice Valued at £13m Per Day

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has revealed the value of its open source productivity suite, saying Apache OpenOffice has a value of $21 million (£13.4m) a day.

ASF officials said Apache OpenOffice has averaged 131,455 downloads per day since its 3.4 release last May. That represents an average value to the public of $21 million per day or $7.61 billion (£4.9bn) per year, ASF said.

Productivity Suite

Apache OpenOffice is comprised of six personal productivity applications: a word processor and its Web-authoring component, spreadsheet, presentation graphics, drawing, equation editor and database. OpenOffice is released on Windows, Solaris, Linux and Macintosh operating systems, with more communities joining, including a mature FreeBSD port. OpenOffice also is localised, supporting more than 110 languages worldwide.

OpenOffice.org was donated to the Apache Software Foundation on 1 June, 2011. As with any code base brought to the ASF, OpenOffice.org underwent incubation before graduating to a top-level project on 17 October, 2012.

Users have downloaded Apache OpenOffice from 236 countries and territories. The OpenOffice 3.4.0 release has been downloaded more than 35 million times since May 2012.

Although Apache OpenOffice is free, it still has value, and that value can be estimated, ASF officials said. The main alternative to OpenOffice is Microsoft Office, perhaps the lower-priced “Home and Student” edition. Microsoft sells the latest version for a variety of prices, varying by country.

In the US, it is $139.99 (£89). In Germany, it is quoted at 139 euros, which is $188.04 (£120). In Australia it is $169 AUD, which is $174.42 (£111). In Russia, it is 3,499 rubles, which is $116.30 (£74). For the sake of easing the calculation, ASF cited an intermediate value of $150 (£95) for Microsoft Office 2013 Home and Student. A person who uses the free OpenOffice saves $150 over paying for Microsoft Office, ASF said.

Community Project

“With the donation of OpenOffice.org to the ASF, the foundation, and especially the project, was given a daunting task: re-energise a community and transform OpenOffice from a code base of unknown intellectual property heritage, to a vetted and Apache Licensed software suite,” said Jim Jagielski, ASF president and an Apache OpenOffice project mentor, in a statement.

“The release of Apache OpenOffice 3.4 shows just how successful the project has been: pulling in developers from over 21 corporate affiliations, while avoiding undue influence, which is the death-knell of true open-source communities; building a solid and stable code base, with significant improvement and enhancements over other variants; and, of course, creating a healthy, vibrant and diverse user and developer community,” Jagielski stated.

Apache OpenOffice is the leading open-source office productivity suite, with more than 100 million users worldwide in home, corporate, government, research and academic environments, across 15 native languages.

The OpenOffice code base was created by Star Division in the 1990s, acquired by Sun Microsystems in 1999 and later Oracle in 2010, before being submitted to The Apache Software Foundation mid-2011.

Today, the project is being developed by an all-volunteer group of developers, testers, translators and other contributors under the ASF’s meritocratic process informally dubbed “The Apache Way,” and is supported by hundreds of open-source software volunteers from around the world.

New Release

“Initially released a decade ago, the first release of OpenOffice 3.4 as an Apache project marks an important new chapter in the life of a landmark project,” said Stephen O’Grady, an analyst with RedMonk. “Following months of effort, the open-source productivity suite is now licensed and built with the intent of courting a large population of users, developers and ISVs worldwide.”

In August, the Apache OpenOffice project announced the availability of Apache OpenOffice 3.4.1, a maintenance release that built upon the success of Apache OpenOffice 3.4.0 and added further language support, platform compatibility, performance enhancements and bug fixes. New language support included new support for Khmer, Finnish, British English, Slovenian and Slovak languages.

ASF is working on OpenOffice 3.5, which is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2013. Areas of focus for version 3.5 include improved Microsoft Office interoperability, performance, stability and usability improvements, and support for additional native languages. A major update, Apache OpenOffice 4.0, will follow, including additional features and improvements merged in from the IBM Lotus Symphony code that Big Blue contributed to Apache.

“IBM is pleased to contribute to the Apache OpenOffice project licensed under the Apache License v2,”  Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president of business and technical strategy for IBM Social Business. “This project represents a unique opportunity to innovate and create office productivity documents that meet the needs of social businesses.”

“We are working on the Apache OpenOffice project because our goal is to consistently bring business value to users,” said Clint Oram, chief technology officer and co-founder of SugarCRM. “The project will ultimately drive increased productivity as we work toward extending report generation and document collaboration from within SugarCRM. When users are more productive, they can focus on the most important task at hand, which is to deliver a stellar customer experience.”

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Originally published on eWeek.

Darryl K. Taft

Darryl K. Taft covers IBM, big data and a number of other topics for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

View Comments

  • What about LibreOffice from The Document Foundation (TDF)? Isn't that the successor of OpenOffice for users and developers? They just released LibreOffice 4.0 which looks like a great improvement.

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