Monthly Archives: June 2011


A world premiere and a 150-year-old masterpiece, this Sunday (June 26th) at the Guildhall, Plymouth.

There’s nothing quite like Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, a lovely and startlingly unique piece, and the main work in our forthcoming concert.  Perhaps it takes a septuagenarian Old Master – as Rossini was in 1863 – to have the confidence to write something quite so cheekily uncharacteristic of its time.  It certainly shows the complete mastery of a lifetime’s experience, together with an creative imagination undulled by age!

Also on the programme is a world premiere of Clive Jenkins’s Gaudeamus in Coro.  This is a prelude and fugue with a difference: complex jazz-inspired rhythms make for another unique piece – and a challenging sing!

Anyone within evening-out distance of Plymouth may wish to note that tickets are cheaper in advance than on the door.  Details at the choir website.

Life Update

This blog is looking sparse of late!

One reason for that is last week, which I spent dog-sitting for friends.  Moved into their house for most of it.  With no broadband and only a very limited (read: slow) mobile data connection I was semi-offline, and certainly wasn’t indulging in low-priority activity like blogging.  The week was hard work but also good fun: an element of the holiday to it, but of the busman variety.

Also online I’ve been following the progress of OpenOffice into the Apache Incubator.  It was accepted today, so that will now go ahead!  The debate generated hundreds of emails per day over the week, which was unfortunate timing with my limited connectivity.

In national news, we’re now officially into a drought in one region of England: East Anglia is a dry area as well as Britain’s richest arable farming area (I expect the wheat crop is suffering, among others).  Here we have semi-drought.  But at the same time, we’ve started to get some rain: several heavy showers over my week with the dog should be sufficient to halt (albeit briefly) the decline of water supplies and tables.  Yesterday we finally had a longer spell of real rain, sufficient to raise the level in the river to near-spate for a couple of hours.  But even with that, the ground is already dry again up on the edge of the moors.  The forecast now is mixed: sunny days and showers, which is probably healthy!

OpenOffice at Apache?

Today’s buzz: talk of OpenOffice being donated to the Apache Software Foundation.

Wow!  That’s a Very Big Catch, isn’t it?  Perhaps the biggest since Hadoop?  Or???

Well, maybe.  As of now it’s a long way from a done deal, and it’s by no means clear that it will happen.  To become an Apache project, OpenOffice will have to be accepted into the incubator where it will have to demonstrate suitability before it can graduate to an Apache project.  Apache media guru Sally Khudairi has written about the incubation process here in anticipation of a wave of interest.

The first question is whether OpenOffice will enter the incubator in the first place.  Before the LibreOffice split there’s little doubt it would’ve been warmly welcomed, but now there’s a questionmark over why Oracle should prefer the ASF to TDF, and whether Apache folks want to make ourselves party to a legacy of that split.  But if this reaction from the LibreOffice folks represents a consensus then I for one will be happy to accept OpenOffice.

Intellectual Property should be straightforward (because Oracle owns all the rights, inherited from Sun), so the question then becomes how the community will fare.  How much room is there for both projects to thrive?  Who will give their loyalty to ASF in preference to TDF, or equal loyalty to both?  Could separate competing projects become a Good Thing and foster innovation, or will it just add duplication and confusion to no real purpose?

There is a likely driver for an Apache version: contributors who prefer the Apache License over the GPL.  That could drive interest particularly from companies like IBM who maintain their own derivative products.  Whether that will give rise to a thriving community, and perhaps a development focus distinct from that of LibreOffice, remains to be seen: that’s part of what incubation will tell us.

Anyway, if OpenOffices enters incubation at Apache, I’d expect that to be make or break for it.  If it thrives then we could see “Apache OpenOffice” at some future date.  If not, then it pretty clearly cedes the future to LibreOffice.  If only they could find a better name …

Shane’s blog links to lots more good reading.