Computerworld: Stay away from OpenOffice.org, analyst says (but Lotus Symphony is fine)

Now this is an interesting article on ComputerWorld:

Stay away from OpenOffice.org until Oracle shows commitment, analyst says

Oracle must invest in the open-source suite, says Software Improvement Group


A European IT consulting firm is warning large enterprises and government entities not to deploy OpenOffice.org until Oracle Corp. shows proof that it will invest as heavily in the development of the open-source productivity suite as project champion Sun Microsystems Inc. did.


According to a 12-page report published earlier this week by Amsterdam-based Software Improvement Group, the main risk is that OpenOffice.org’s code may get buggier if Oracle pulls personnel and resources from OpenOffice.org after finalizing its acquisition of Sun.


Although Sun spun the productivity suite out to the open-source community in 2000, OpenOffice.org’s development and marketing still relies heavily on paid Sun employees, such as OpenOffice.org community manager (and overall boss) Louis Saurez-Potts.




He said the other risk is that Oracle, in its zeal to beat Microsoft Corp., could divert resources for OpenOffice.org toward a commercial version (see PDF) of the software or to a “fork” aimed at challenging Microsoft Office in the enterprise market.


“It all hangs in the balance, depending on what Larry Ellison and Oracle do with OpenOffice.org,” he said.

He continues:

Kuipers said a move to OpenOffice.org would be riskiest for large organizations, because the cost of switching would be high. Individuals and small businesses are less vulnerable, he said. He also noted that the risks do not apply to companies adopting Lotus Symphony, an IBM-led fork of OpenOffice.org, because it comes with IBM’s backing.

Whilst I’m not sure I agree with the perceived risk from Oracle’s lack of commitment, it’s interesting to see analysts now taking Lotus Symphony very seriously as a competitor to MS Office.

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!