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FSF launches free software extension listing for OpenOffice.org

por John Sullivan Published on 07/05/2010 16h00

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA — Friday, May 7, 2010 — The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced a project to assemble a replacement extension library for OpenOffice.org, which will list only those extensions which are free software, at http://www.fsf.org/openoffice.

"OpenOffice.org is free software, and an important contribution to the free software community. However, the program offers the user a library of extensions, and some of them are proprietary. Distributing OpenOffice.org in the usual way has the effect of offering users the nonfree extensions too," said FSF executive director Peter Brown.

The FSF asked the OpenOffice.org Community Council to list only free software extensions, or to provide a second independent listing which only included free extensions, but they declined to change their policy.

Therefore, the FSF has launched an effort to assemble a replacement extension library, which will list only the extensions that are free. Any OpenOffice.org user will be able to use the new library instead of the usual one just by making a simple configuration change. It will not require any change in the code of OpenOffice.org itself.

At this stage, the FSF is looking for volunteers to check the licensing on existing extensions and identify the free ones, providing a short descriptive text for each of them so they can be listed in the new library.

"OpenOffice.org is free software, and an important contribution to the free software community. However, the program offers the user a library of extensions, and some of them are proprietary. Distributing OpenOffice.org in the usual way has the effect of offering users the nonfree extensions too," — FSF executive director Peter Brown.

They have started a mailing list for coordination, and a project page on the LibrePlanet.org wiki with instructions for how users and developers can make a contribution to the effort. They are at http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/openoffice-extensions-discuss and http://groups.fsf.org/wiki/Group:OpenOfficeExtensions.

Once the library is ready, the FSF will be asking volunteers to help develop free replacements for the nonfree extensions that OpenOffice.org currently distributes.

OpenOffice.org users can also help by contacting the OpenOffice Community Council and respectfully requesting that OpenOffice.org not be used as a platform for distributing proprietary software. Contact information for the current committee members is listed under "Representatives" at http://council.openoffice.org. OpenOffice.org community members (defined by the Council as people who have registered accounts on openoffice.org) can also suggest new agenda items for the Council's next meeting at http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Community_Council/Meeting_Guidelines#New_Action_Items.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

About Free Software and Open Source

The free software movement's goal is freedom for computer users. Some, especially corporations, advocate a different viewpoint, known as "open source," which cites only practical goals such as making software powerful and reliable, focuses on development models, and avoids discussion of ethics and freedom. These two viewpoints are different at the deepest level. For more explanation, see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html.

Media Contacts

Peter Brown
Executive Director
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
campaigns@fsf.org

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