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On Software obsolescence

Moved by Freedom, Powered by Standards - Recently the Mozilla Foundation announced a new orientation for their email client, Thunderbird. It caused quite a bit of discussion, and we, at the Document Foundation, received quite a lot of public and private feedback on this mostly in the form of: “Now that Mozilla is getting rid of Thunderbird, The Document Foundation should take on its maintenance and development”. Much of this crazy rumor has ended being disproved by Mozilla itself and what seems to be going on is that Mozilla will in fact enable a real community-led development style on Thunderbird (contrary to the development model of Firefox) but has to intention of dumping it anywhere. That didn’t stop the rumor to spread anyway and this article by Brian Profitt caught my eye: Will Open Source Office Suites go the way of Thunderbird?”.

Brian seems to push the case that Open Source office suites, just like email clients in general are tools that are slowly yet surely becoming extinct and obsolete. Email clients do not innovate anymore, he argues, and suites like Libreoffice lack the innovation and the presence the upcoming Microsoft Office 2013 has. I think that Brian is mixing up several trends and concepts here, although his article is well worth a read.