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LibreOffice: A Continuing Tale of FOSS Success

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There are countless excellent open source software packages available today for virtually every taste and purpose, but it would be difficult to find a better exemplar of open source success than LibreOffice.

Having been born as a fork of OpenOffice.org back in 2010 following widespread community concern over Oracle's inherited stewardship of that popular package, LibreOffice has gone on to essentially replace its OpenOffice parent as the leading free and open Microsoft Office alternative.

OpenOffice still exists, to be sure, but it's LibreOffice that's now included with most Linux distributions, and it's LibreOffice that's being developed most actively.

In many ways, LibreOffice epitomizes the power of open source software.

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Imagine your company just acquired its competitor for $100 million. Now imagine the company’s most important asset – its proprietary software – is subject to third-party license conditions that require the proprietary software to be distributed free of charge or in source code form. Or, imagine these license conditions are discovered late in the diligence process, and the cost to replace the offending third-party software will costs tens of thousands of dollars and take months to remediate. Both scenarios exemplify the acute, distinct and often overlooked risks inherent to the commercial use of open source software. An effective tech M&A attorney must appreciate these risks and be prepared to take the steps necessary to mitigate or eliminate them. Over the past decade, open source software has become a mainstay in the technology community. Since its beginnings, open source software has always been viewed as a way to save money and jumpstart development projects, but it is increasingly being looked to for its quality solutions and operational advantages. Today, only a fraction of technology companies do not use open source software in any way. For most of the rest, it is mission critical. Read more

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