Who am I
My name is Pedro Giffuni. I am a Mechanical Engineer but I love to spend my copious spare time with technology. In particular I love to spend time on the FreeBSD Operating System. I am always looking for new challenges, you can check a rough version of my CV here.
Within the Apache Software Foundation I am involved in Apache OpenOffice, a well known office suite with more than 250 million downloads!
OpenOffice.org was originally developed by SUN Microsystems, and shortly after SUN got bought by Oracle. Oracle at some point lost interest in the office suite and donated the code and trademarks to the Apache Software Foundation. The community had already been split by some linux distributions that wanted to take control over the code, whatever that means in an opensource context, so the adoption from the ASF was seen as a risk, but also an opportunity.
As a user I was a huge fan of OpenOffice originally but I had no interest in its development. As an observer on early stages of the project move to Apache, the idea of having the major alternative office suite changing license was an interesting opportunity to learn how such relicensing would work.
Joining the Apache Camp
Without really wanting it, and after suggesting replacements to some major components I ended up becoming a committer and was elected PMC member. It has been a hugely satisfying journey where I have met really great developers and have learned a lot about software development.
One of really great things about Apache OpenOffice has been the openness around the project: in the past it was really difficult for BSD developers to upstream our changes. Within AOO the FreeBSD port has become top-notch: we do regular builds on FreeBSD with the latest clang versions and keep the dependencies upgraded.
Another great feature from an organizational perspective is the Apache Way: having clear and clean licensing model has been really nice and being part of the ecosystem that works on so many other technologies is important. Many of the dependencies in OpenOffice are closely tied to Apache technologies and we are hoping to keep collaboration within the foundation on-going. Building a community is central in Apache Projects and while the community was split long before the Apache Project, the organizational and technical resources provided by the Foundation are well worth it.
I highly recommend attending ApacheCon conferences: they are worth every cent. I have been extremely lucky and I have participated as a speaker in three ApacheConEU conferences: ApacheConEU 2012 at Sinsheim, Germany, ApacheConEU 2014 at Budapest, Hungary, and ApacheConEU 2016 at Seville, Spain. Awesome places, really nice people and no doubt great conferences.
AOO Technical Overview
Apache OpenOffice is an extremely complex codebase. Not only it accomodates building for various UNIX variants, OS/2 and Windows, it shows in age in mixing an old C++ variant with Java. I plan to create a development page in the future. For the time being checking out my initial AOO page.