Sun Microsystems was a funny old company; it not only made servers, but some of the CPUs they ran on. It also owned a lot of software, including the Solaris OS, the Java programming language and the My SQL open source database. It was also the principle sponsor of the free, open source productivity suite project: OpenOffice.org.
Oracle acquired all this stuff when it snapped up Sun, but the people behind OpenOffice.org have decided they don't want to work under the direction of Oracle and are going it alone. The new organisation is called The Document Foundation and the product, unless Oracle decides to give them the right to use the old name, will be called LibreOffice - as in Cuba or Nacho.
"The Foundation will be the cornerstone of a new ecosystem where individuals and organisations can contribute to and benefit from the availability of a truly free office suite," said the announcement, taking an apparent swipe at Oracle.
While the product is free, the project does require some funding and the move wouldn't have been possible if other sponsors hadn't stepped up to the plate. As it is a lot of the open source usual suspects such as Novell, Red Hat and Canonical (Ubuntu) have all pledged their support alongside a number of other organisations, including Google. Oracle has been invited to participate, but nobody seems to be holding their breath.
"We believe that the Foundation is a key step for the evolution of the free office suite, as it liberates the development of the code and the evolution of the project from the constraints represented by the commercial interests of a single company," said Sophie Gautier, representing the project's volunteers. "Free software advocates around the world have the extraordinary opportunity of joining the group of founding members today, to write a completely new chapter in the history of FLOSS."
In other free stuff news, Wikimedia Commons - the free online media resource - has announced it's using peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to enable the distribution of video files. The kind of hosting and storage costs associated with providing a lot of video independently make it prohibitive without using P2P technology.
You can find out more about it and download the software here. Thanks to David and Chuckskull for their tips.