Yesterday Michael Brauer posted on the OASIS ODF TC mailing list his farewell post. Michael, like a very large number of the other employees of the “Oracle’s Hamburg Business Unit”, if not all of them, will be let go by the end of the month. If you wonder what the “Oracle’s Hamburg Business Unit” is, it’s the people who have been developing a large part of what was OpenOffice.org and before that, StarOffice. I remember the company when it was a privately owned entity called StarDivision. I have contributed and interacted with these people for over 10 years. I guess I will see some of them working for different employers; sometimes as competitors, sometimes as partners. But we will see us again one day or another, and I look forward that day. I have made a few friends there; these are bright people, and they have played an instrumental in the expansion of Free and Open Source Software, and dare I remind it? ODF and Open Standards as well. I sincerely wish them the best for the future, whatever road they choose to take. This “business unit” has been known under many names during all these years, and I understand very well that the present days must be sad and sorrowful days.
I would like to tell the “Hamburg team” as we often used to call them that they should have no regrets whatsoever. Perhaps my words will surprise some, after all, I didn’t leave the OpenOffice.org project under Hamburg’s cheers. It does not matter in the grand scheme of things; what I’m doing for the Document Foundation is what matters now and the shutdown of the operations at Hamburg shows once again that the people behind the Document Foundation were right from the start: Oracle’s stewardship of the OpenOffice.org project would neither be sustainable nor workable. I, for one, wish that in an ideal world, most of the Hamburg team would have transitioned over to the LibreOffice project. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, but life is made so that things are never really perfect. StarDvision team, you gave birth to many good things, your work now lives in several software, most important of all them, in LibreOffice and the Document Foundation; Apache Openoffice.org/Symphony carries your name, and will use a great deal of your code as well. Even more importantly, the Hamburg team, through the OpenOffice.org project, has also attracted and helped many people from all walks of life who over the years have worked together and grown as a team. That is the case for me, and it’s the case for many other people. You have brought us so much, and I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all what you’ve done. You have started something incredibly important; your work will not have been made in vain, and it will continue to bear fruit for a long time.