Volunteers, not Amateurs
Complicated software, developed by volunteers?
Apache OpenOffice is developed 100% by volunteers. Apache does not pay for developers, for translators, for QA, for marketing, for UI, for support, etc. Of course, we're happy to accept donations to the Apache Software Foundation, to keep our servers running and for similar overhead expenses. But our products are developed entirely by volunteers.
Some users are initially worried by this statement. How can software for free, developed by volunteers, be any good?
Talent as deep as any corporation
OpenOffice, through its decade plus existence, has had, and continues to benefit from the contributions of many professionals. Some are sponsored by their employers to volunteer with the project. At one time or another Sun, Oracle, Novell, Redhat, IBM and others have sponsored their employees to work on OpenOffice. Some professional are recently retired and work on the project to keep their skills sharp or to "give back" to the open source community. Others have a business based on OpenOffice consulting, and volunteer with the project to stay close to potential customers. Others are students, studying software engineering or a related field, and participate in our project as a form of electronic internship. Among our volunteers are several programmers with over a decade's experience working on OpenOffice. We are fortunate to have a depth of talent working on this project that would be the envy of many corporations.
So our all-volunteer principle is a statement of how we are organized, as a non-profit. We do not pay for developers. But this is not a statement on the professionalism and talent of our volunteers. In fact, very few corporations would be able to afford the kind of talent that we have, as volunteers, helping with Apache OpenOffice.
If you have skills in programming, quality assurance, translation, technical writing, graphic design, marketing or related disciplines, then you can make difference by volunteering with the Apache OpenOffice project. With the generous contributions of your time and talent, we can make OpenOffice even better!