Document Foundation charges from €8.99 for LibreOffice • The Register

The Document Foundation, the organization that maintains the open-source LibreOffice productivity suite, has decided to charge for a version of the software.

LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice and is offered under Free/Open Source Mozilla Public License Version 2.0.

Another Monday Write of the Document Foundation announces that the organization will charge €8.99 for the software – but only if it’s sold through Apple’s Mac App Store.

This sum has been referred to as a “fee” invested to support the development of the LibreOffice project.

The foundation suggests that paying in the Mac App Store is ideal for “end users who want to get all of their desktop software through Apple’s proprietary distribution channel.”

Free downloads of LibreOffice for macOS from the Foundation’s website will continue to be available and arguably superior to the App Store offering since this version will include Java. The foundation argued that Apple didn’t allow dependencies in its store and therefore couldn’t include Java in the $8.99 offer.

The version now sold on the App Store replaces a previous offering from open-source support outfit Collabora, which charged $10 for a “vanilla” version of the suite and added three years of support.

The foundation’s marketing officer, Italo Vignoli, thanked Collabora for its efforts so far and explained the change as a “new marketing strategy”.

“The Document Foundation is focused on releasing the community version, while ecosystem companies are focused on value-added, long-term supported versions that are enterprise-focused,” explained Vignoli. “The award aims to educate organizations to support the FOSS project by choosing the LibreOffice version optimized for production use and backed by professional services, rather than the community version, which is generous supported by volunteers.”

“The goal is to better meet the needs of individual and enterprise users,” added Vignoli, before admitting, “we know the positive impact of the change won’t be visible for some time.”

“Educating companies about FOSS is no trivial task and we have only just begun our journey in that direction,” he wrote.

Given the massive adoption of Linux and open-source databases in enterprises, and the huge market share of the open-source Chromium browser engine in the Chrome and Edge browsers, that’s a bit of an odd statement. Mozilla’s open source Firefox can also be found in many companies.

However, the market for desktop productivity tools remains completely dominated by proprietary offerings like Microsoft’s Office suite and associated cloud services, with Google’s workspaces nibbling at the edges and the occasional new entrant trying to enter the market — web graphics darling Canva has announced a few weeks back.

OpenOffice celebrates download milestone When researching this article The registry discovered a last post by the Apache Foundation, which celebrates OpenOffice with 333 million downloads.

Of these, 55 million were downloaded within the US, followed by 44 million from France and another 34 million from Germany. The Linux version of the suite accounted for just 4.75 million, well behind the 298 million Windows downloads.

LibreOffice is a very decent suite but lacks the murky connections offered by Microsoft and Google.

This omission is intentional. The Document Foundation has occurred a browser-based version of the suite, but chose not to develop it further into a full-fledged competitor to Office or Workspaces.

This “would require selection and integration of the other technologies required for deployment — file sharing, authentication, load balancing, etc. — a significant expansion in scope and not consistent with the original mission of the project,” the foundation’s page says browser-based efforts.

But the foundation is open to others creating such a service. “The task is therefore left to large deployers, ISPs and open source cloud solution providers, and several options are already available in the market. TDF would welcome the provision of a public LibreOffice online offering by another charity.” ® Document Foundation charges from €8.99 for LibreOffice • The Register

Laura Coffey

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