Earlier this week, AttachMate subsidiary Suse announced it was stopping development of LibreOffice and will facilitate the migration of staff contributors to a new business focussed on the code. Michael Meeks, a key developer on the LibreOffice project, along with many of his colleagues from Suse, have formed a new productivity suite business unit of the U.K. open source specialist Collabora, dubbed Collabora Productivity.
Meeks told me: "The core of the LibreOffice team, critical to contributing to the project and supporting our customers, is alive and well inside Collabora. We expect the effort applied to LibreOffice in the community to continue as before."
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Meeks becomes the CEO of the new business unit and told me the staff joining him are the core contributors to LibreOffice from Suse, performing maybe three-quarters of Suse's commits. Of those left behind, many remain committed to working on LibreOffice. Fridrich Strba -- the author of much of the key interoperability code for legacy file formats -- told me, "I worked on LibreOffice for fun in my spare time, before I joined the Suse team. Now I'll continue to work on it in my spare time; it is the best project I've ever worked on."
This move should finally end the rumormongering by the detractors of LibreOffice suggesting Microsoft is somehow using the project to harm software freedom. Meeks told me those whisperings have long been a mystery to him, but Microsoft has nothing to do with Suse's move or with Collabora's future business.