The Family Office

When a 16 year old German started work on a word processor in 1984, I bet he had little idea of the software dynasty he was founding. At one stage there were at least six distinct descendants, all claiming to offer something special to computer users looking for an alternative to Microsoft’s Office software.

For those interested in such matters, I’m proposing this little genealogical chart of the family. Any comments, corrections, etc will be gratefully acknowledged!

9 Responses to The Family Office

  1. Aldi says:

    Thanks for the chart. Is there any recent contact beween the LibreOffice/OpenOffice developers and Marco Börries? Would be really interesting.

    I actually have used StarOffice already since its first Beta-Versions for Linux. I think it was something like StarOffice 3.1 Beta. Long time ago.

  2. Aldi says:

    For everyone who knows some German: An article in a German newspaper on StarDivision and Marco Börries from 1987:

    However, the best sentence is the last one on page 4: “Bill Gates ist heute mehrfacher Millionär.” =Bill Gates is nowadays multi-millionaire”. Hehe, times have changed.

  3. André says:

    Hi John,

    maybe some minor corrections:

    – Oracle Open Office is (afaik) not contributed to Apache. Proprietary additions in OOO (like sharepoint connector, ldap based configuration management and maybe others) are not to be open sourced (at least I’m not aware of any public statement on that). So OOo is a “dead end”

    – first Symphony versions had been based on “pre OOo 2.0” code (some 1.9.x versions that still allowed SISSL)

    – Symphony code has not yet been contributed to Apache (depends, if you want to show current reality or future intentions)

    – WhiteLabel Office is under LGPL

    – More recent NeOffice versions are based on OOo (or more correct on GO-OO) 2.x and 3.x

  4. John says:

    @Aldi – thanks for the link. The computing industry has evolved so rapidly that 20 years ago reads like ‘ancient history’…

  5. John says:

    @Andre – useful information, thank you. Revised version on its way…

  6. ericb says:

    I’m surprised OOo4Kids and OOoLight, far more famous than “White Label Office” have not been mentionned.

    See : and

  7. John says:

    @ericb – as I understand them, OOo4Kids and OOoLight are specially tailored versions, aimed at special markets, rather than general purpose office software (“MS-Office replacements”).

    I’ve also been shown Rob Weir’s similar “Family Tree” which shows how complicated things get if you try and include everything. Even this mega-chart has at least one missing edition – BrOffice ( rebranded for the Brazilian market for copyright reasons…)

  8. anon says:

    neooffice is based on go-oo 3.3, not oo 1.0 fyi…

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