So the news yesterday was that The Document Foundation has been set up by a consortium of interested parties who are unimpressed with Oracle’s stewardship of the OpenOffice.org codebase and project. In short, the project has forked. This isn’t the first time a prominent open source project has decided as a community that the direction of a controlling company is not they way they want to go. In 2005 Mambo was an up and coming web content management system, but there were issues in the community and the strategy of the company. It forked. A foundation was set up, OpenSourceMatters and the codebase was forked into Joomla! So taking a lesson from history, what happened next to the two halves of the fork? Well I find Google Trends illustrates it rather well. Mambo is the blue line, Joomla! is the red line. If the fork had not happened would the blue line continued to a higher point today than the red line? Hard to say, in the bigger picture it looks like forking it was a setback, but it is clear that the fork managed by the foundation quickly gained more popular relevance (and no, this is not very scientific) than the one managed by a single company.
Lets have a look at OpenOffice.org vs LibreOffice. Clearly not much on the chart yet for LibreOffice except for a media spike at the end, it will be interesting to look at this chart in a year or so and see when the red line crosses the blue line.