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Apache OpenOffice Downloaded 50 Million Times In a Year 155

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the name-recognition dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this quick bite from the H: "Just a few days after the one year anniversary of the release of the first version of OpenOffice from the Apache Foundation (Apache OpenOffice 3.4) on 8 May 2012, the project can now boast 50 million downloads of the Open Source office suite. 10 million of those downloads happened since the beginning of March. In contrast, LibreOffice claimed it had 15 million unique downloads of its office suite in all of 2012."
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Apache OpenOffice Downloaded 50 Million Times In a Year

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  • by duckgod (2664193) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @01:35PM (#43742723)
    and LibreOffice gets everything else. LibreOffice is such a better piece of software after all the hard work done since the fork. But sometimes even when talking to my techy friends I have to elaborate when I say I created the doc in "LibreOffice".
    • Marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @01:41PM (#43742809) Homepage

      LibreOffice is such a better piece of software after all the hard work done since the fork. But sometimes even when talking to my techy friends I have to elaborate when I say I created the doc in "LibreOffice".

      ^ So, so much this. Seems like only the geeks have figured out that LibreOffice exists, and these numbers only confirm my suspicions.

      LibreOffice needs some kind of marketing push to get people to switch.

      • Re:Marketing (Score:5, Interesting)

        by kimvette (919543) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @01:58PM (#43742997) Homepage Journal

        Better yet, merge projects. Use LibreOffice as the new base and port whatever optimizations and enhancements OOo has over. Now that Oracle has washed their hands of OOo there is no "philosophical" reason not to do it.

        I prefer LibreOffice over OOo myself, but I prefer either one over the user-hostile ribbon interface of Microsoft Office where it has been turned into a game of hide-and-seek.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          LibreOffice recently rebased onto Apache OO ( https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Development/Re-Basing ), no idea whether or not new updates are being ported from Apache to LibreOffice though, but it seems that the intention is to port anything of use to LibreOffice.

          • by Anonymous Coward
            It is up to the individual projects as they are separate. In the end it comes down to licensing constraints.

            My understanding is that the Apache OpenOffice has more stringent licensing constraints so that whatever is committed to OO could be ported to LibreOffice, but the reverse isn't necessarily true.

          • by Nutria (679911)

            LibreOffice recently rebased onto Apache OO

            1) That was almost a year ago.
            2) If they just kept copying files over from Apache OO, then they'd lose all the code refactoring they've been doing.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          "I prefer LibreOffice over OOo myself, but I prefer either one over the user-hostile ribbon interface of Microsoft Office where it has been turned into a game of hide-and-seek."

          It's kind of ironic. Microsoft took much of Xerox PARC's human-computer interface research, and continued it for decades. Resulting in some VERY effective UI.

          Then, inexplicably, they turned around and just threw most of it away, with the ribbon interface and then Windows 8.

          To be fair, Microsoft has not been the only one lately to do "new" things that are actually quite old (tried many years ago and discarded for good reasons). Apple's recent "dumbing down" of their desktop UI to make it more like iOS

        • by caspy7 (117545)

          Better yet, merge projects. ... Now that Oracle has washed their hands of OOo there is no "philosophical" reason not to do it.

          Sure there is. It's called the not-in-my-house philosophy.

        • if you are going to do that get rid of the little "o" and stick with just "Open Office" as the name of the product. I always thought having the ".org" as part of the name of the product sounded terrible. I always just called it "Open Office" or OO.
        • It's messy :(

          Sun released openoffice under the GPL (I don't remember the exact version offhand) and in the wake of the oracle takeover a number of developers decided to fork and produce libreoffice. While the oracle takeover was apparently the immediate trigger I get the impression that there were deep tensions within the project already.

          Normally when such a fork happens one of a few things results
          1: The two forks continue in paralell with code flowing from the original to the fork and possiblly back again

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Uhhh...why? What difference at the end of the day does it make if they use OO or LO, they are both FOSS correct? Frankly you shouldn't care one way or the other whether you get 65 million OO or LO or a combination of the two.

        Honestly I'd say in the grand scheme of things both OO and LO are irrelevant, as the ones that can most use it, home users, are increasingly not opting for any office software at all. Hell i stopped including an office suite in my default install ages ago unless they specifically ask fo

        • by Luyseyal (3154)

          Indeed, for most home and SOHO users, Google Docs/Drive/Apps is Good Enough[tm].

          When you get to the point where you need Excel, you buy Excel. Oh, it comes with a word processor. How nice. If you're not mail merging, who cares?

          And frankly, I like Google's presentation software better than PowerPoint simply due to its simplicity and near universal access.

          It's not Open Source. That sucks. But it is free and easy to access and use. Just trade your data and your soul to Google Marketing Group and be done with i

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            While I'm glad that works for you my users? Aren't using those either, they are doing everything either real time with FB and twitter or they are using webmail and that is pretty much it. I don't have a single customer using any of those, in fact i had to go look up what drive was as i hadn't heard of it.

            When it comes to home users the future is instant or near instant, its here today gone later today and they really don't care because they'll just move on to something else. They have their pics backed up

            • by Luyseyal (3154)

              Google Docs--er--Drive (don't like the new brand) is convenient. Like, my wife and I can edit and watch the budget (spreadsheet) easily on different devices. I know a lot of people use Mint.com and whatnot, but it is insufficient for our needs (I use both. Mint has its place.). When we were preparing for adoption, it was convenient for editing various documents without having to email stuff around. Dropbox can work, but you can also easily overwrite someone else's changes. Live editing with history makes th

      • by uncqual (836337)

        Sadly, it needs more than marketing - it needs quality 'help' as well. Unfortunately, the population of those who enjoy writing tech docs and will do it in a FOSS project seems to be much smaller than coders who enjoy writing software in FOSS projects.

        LO's online docs/help are a mere shadow of those in MS Office - even when comparing them to MS Office versions from over a decade ago. This makes LO less friendly to new users.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        LibreOffice is absolutely excellent. Except I think of the "Nacho Libre" movie and I can't see myself saying "Libre" in casual conversation and it sounds exceptionally geeky and not mainstream. Not as bad as "The Gimp" in the name department, but yes the name absolutely falls in the "not helpful department". Versus, say, Firefox which always had a good name or MYSQL was always a good name.
      • only the geeks have figured out that LibreOffice exists

        And only the French geeks... should have called it "FreeOffice"

      • I don't get it.

        I've been watching the LibreOffice posts on slashdot since it began in 2010. To me, it looks like a political move driven by dislike of Oracle (however well-deserved that dislike might be). Why does my mother-in-law care about that? OpenOffice is good enough for her, and it's the name everybody remembers.

        It seems to me that the only people who care about LibraOffice are motivated by ideology. The rest of us don't really care.

        • It was not just ideology. Basically they had issues getting their patches accepted. There were also a lot of people in LibreOffice who wanted to ditch Java as a requirement because it makes the suite even slower than it needs to be.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They should have called it OfficeLibre and used a syilized picture of Che for their logo.

    • Personally, I say "OpenOffice" anyway when I mean LibreOffice. It has more currency with less technical people and those who never update, and only occasionally does it prompt a concerned stare when someone actually knows the distinction. Maybe we could just go back to calling it StarOffice?
      • by Qubit (100461) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @02:56PM (#43743725) Homepage Journal

        Personally, I say "OpenOffice" anyway when I mean LibreOffice.

        *concerned stare* ...that's very interesting.

        It has more currency with less technical people and those who never update, and only occasionally does it prompt a concerned stare when someone actually knows the distinction.

        Speaking as a LibreOffice user and contributor, I am impressed that the OpenOffice name is so well known these days. I remember a number of years ago when *nobody* knew the name "OpenOffice" ("Is that some kind of template pack plugin thing for Word?"). It's very interesting to hear that now the name is well known enough that technically-minded users use the OpenOffice name to refer to both LO and AOO. Brand recognition is really quite strong!

        Questions for you:

        • What do you think LibreOffice should do to make its brand more recognizable?
        • How 'known' would the project need to be for you to start calling it "LibreOffice" ?

        Maybe we could just go back to calling it StarOffice?

        Well the binary is still called "soffice" :-)

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Well, *office would match both :)

        • And if it weren't for that binary name, I never would've known at all. :)

          I'll switch to calling it LibreOffice exclusively just for you if it makes you feel better. I do have a few... vague suggestions for things that could be done to promote LO's image, but most of them depend on understanding why Apache has bothered holding onto its fork instead of giving it back to the LO community, which is something I'm not privy to. I'm pretty sure that most people (who are aware of the distinction) see the existence

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I would say the fact that e.g. IBM is making use of the code (and possibly/probably willing to contribute) and they probably don't like LibreOffice's license might be one of the main reasons for OO to still exist.

        • by FreeUser (11483) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @05:40PM (#43745241)

          What do you think LibreOffice should do to make its brand more recognizable?

          I've been using LibreOffice for a number of years, and love it (having written two, and typeset three, books with it), but the name is a hindrence. When I speak to my wife and use the term LibreOffice her eyes glaze over, whereas Open Office has a natural name people understand.

          Free Office would have been better than LibreOffice, or any of a dozen other names I can think of (Community Office, OpenSource Office, New Office, World Office, even abbbreviating it to L-Office ...anything like that would lead to far better name recognition).

          That said, LibreOffice is great, and I wouldn't necessarily spend too much energy trying to get agreement to change the name at this late date (well, maybe the abbreviated "L-Office"). You've all done fine work...now the word needs to get out.

          I also find the stats suspicious...Gentoo folks like me are probably counted in the stat as downloads occur on an emerge, but how many copies of Fedora, Scientific, CentOS, RHEL, etc. have shipped with LibreOffice and aren't counted?

          • by Qubit (100461)

            I've been using LibreOffice for a number of years, and love it (having written two, and typeset three, books with it), but the name is a hindrence. When I speak to my wife and use the term LibreOffice her eyes glaze over, whereas Open Office has a natural name people understand.

            Free Office would have been better than LibreOffice, or any of a dozen other names I can think of (Community Office, OpenSource Office, New Office, World Office, even abbbreviating it to L-Office ...anything like that would lead to far better name recognition).

            I personally think the name LibreOffice is pretty good. Yes, the abbreviations aren't great ("LO"? "LibO"? "LibOff"? ...), but the name itself captures a bit more about the project and its purpose than some other names out there. When I tell people about the Free Software Foundation, I have to explain to them what "Free Software" means and how it's different from Open Source. Have you ever tried to google for "Free Software"? Now try "Libre Software" -- much better :-)

            So basically you get the concept of "Fr

        • by duckgod (2664193)

          Speaking as a LibreOffice user and contributor, I am impressed that the OpenOffice name is so well known these days. I remember a number of years ago when *nobody* knew the name "OpenOffice" ("Is that some kind of template pack plugin thing for Word?"). It's very interesting to hear that now the name is well known enough that technically-minded users use the OpenOffice name to refer to both LO and AOO. Brand recognition is really quite strong!

          Questions for you:

          • What do you think LibreOffice should do to make its brand more recognizable?
          • How 'known' would the project need to be for you to start calling it "LibreOffice" ?

          Honestly it is partially a problem with the word Libre. I understand the whole "Free as in Beer vs Free Speach" conversation. To a whole lot of people "Open Source" = "Free as in Beer". Most open source software leverages this as the main selling point. Open Office for example. So when I have to explain that

          Libre (pron.: /libr/) is a loan word in English borrowed from French. As it does in that language, "libre" in English denotes "the state of being free", as in "having freedom" or "liberty".

          (Wikipedia) ...How am I not supposed to sound confusing and pretentious?

          Maybe we could just go back to calling it StarOffice?

          ^^^Can we do that???

          • by shikaisi (1816846)

            Libre (pron.: /libr/) is a loan word in English borrowed from French. As it does in that language, "libre" in English denotes "the state of being free", as in "having freedom" or "liberty".

            Well that's your problem right there. Who wants to use a piece of software that might have been written by cheese-eating surrender monkeys? Now, call it Liberty Office and you've got an office suite that a red-blooded, patriotic Murikan can use to defeat the terrists.

        • by archen (447353)

          Questions for you:

          • What do you think LibreOffice should do to make its brand more recognizable?

          Most people probably think this is irrelevent, but make icons that look like something or ANYTHING. The Libre Office Icons seriously look like the system "I have no icon for this file type" icon. I think a problem with Libre Office is that there is nothing BUT the name. At least Open Office I kind of assocate with the seagulls.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          • What do you think LibreOffice should do to make its brand more recognizable?
          • How 'known' would the project need to be for you to start calling it "LibreOffice" ?

          They need to lose that LibreOffice name. Seriously.

          After the KOffice split, the name Calligra (from the Greek word for artistic drawing of texts) was chosen for the fork. That was an excellent choice and much better than what they had before. In contrast, "LibreOffice" is just terrible. The Document Foundation needs to invite their users to choose a new name.

        • by Ash-Fox (726320)

          Note: I am not the grand parent.

          I would suggest differentiating the brand from just being an 'OpenOffice.org fork'. Give it a more unique name, points for:

          • Name rolls off the tongue
          • Is easily pronounceable in most languages
          • Advertising - Full page ads in magazines (and being an opensource project, you might get a special deal)
          • Affiliate linking programs similar to the earlier days of Firefox, where users could compete with each other based on how many people they referred uniquely.
          • A distinctive large icon in t
    • Uhh... Why wouldn't OpenOffice be called "OpenOffice"? It doesn't seem much of presumption to me, since it is actually OpenOffice.

    • and LibreOffice gets everything else. LibreOffice is such a better piece of software after all the hard work done since the fork. But sometimes even when talking to my techy friends I have to elaborate when I say I created the doc in "LibreOffice".

      ===
      The difference in downloads has to do with name popularity. OpenOffice implies free and unencumbered . LibreOffice, if it was called FreeOffice would probably have done better in terms of downloads. To non English speakers, LibreOffice means freedom. But most Americans don't think about libre as meaning free or free to use or unencumbered.

  • unique vs total? (Score:5, Informative)

    by trybywrench (584843) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @01:37PM (#43742759)
    If you're going to make the comparison between the two download counts they need to be the same as in unique vs unique or total vs total but not total vs unique.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @01:38PM (#43742777)

    downloads of all the distributions that use it.

    • Correct. So that means that the OpenOffice numbers include only those who actually *wanted* OpenOffice and intentionally downloaded it. It doesn't include those who mere *got* software as part of a larger bundle without asking for it, or even knowing it is there. For all we know some Linux users consider LO to be so much bloatware that came bundled with their operating system.

      I think it is fair to consider the quality of a user claimed as part of a metric. We make that distinction all the time. With Mi

      • by iggymanz (596061)

        nice try, fan boy. most people use the office suite that comes with their distro, the package tracking of Debian and Ubuntu prove it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It serves the needs of most people.

  • Meanwhile, LO comes with every Linux distro, so it's unlikely any of those will have been logged.

    I've switched over to LO by default. Does anyone here have any kind of opinion on the matter? It seems that LO has been undergoing a massive codebase cleanup and they're beginning to capitalise on it in that they seem to be adding features at quite a pace now.

    Then again I don't use it much.

  • Meh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by ndtechnologies (814381) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @01:42PM (#43742833)
    Whoopdie doo. I honestly moved to LibreOffice as soon as it forked. True that OO.o has more mindshare, but LibreOffice is better. I simply tell people "they renamed it", lol.
    • by kthreadd (1558445)

      Why is it better?

      • They went through and optimized the code, for one thing. I seem to recall they culled about 50% of deprecated code that was just hanging around like junk DNA, doing nothing but bloating up the program. After they cleaned up the code, they tightened up the rest of it. The result was a leaner piece of software in all modules, so it loads faster and runs faster.
  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @01:45PM (#43742861)

    LibreOffice comes pre-packed in most Linux distributions. If you want OpenOffice you have to download it from Apache.

    • Linux is what... 3%? 5%? of the desktop market? LibreOffice can have 100% of that market and it means very little.

      • True. However I believe that Linux users make up a large portion of LibreOffice's base.
        • Likely true. But suppose they have 100% of desktop Linux already? Where then is their growth going to come from? From the charts it looks like Apache OpenOffice downloads are 85% Windows. That gives them a lot more room for growth, IMHO. 50 million downloads shows they are a good-sized fish in a very large pond.

          • LibreOffice is being developed in the hopes that it will be useful to people, not for profit. Hence not having room to grow would not be a problem, even if it were true. For some programs, the popularity itself is a large part of their usefulness. This is mostly the case for protocols and networking services, such as ipv6, www, freenet and facebook. But LibreOffice does not fall into this category. It uses standard formats that can be read by many other programs, and would be useful even if you were the onl

      • by geek (5680)

        What's 3 and 5% of 3-4 billion? Hint: it's a lot more than 50 million.

      • I thought in some of the most hardcore countries that Linux use might be 10% --- I'm talking certain parts of Europe here --- but no in those countries it tops off around 4%. Your estimates of 3% to 5% worldwide are very, very high. If worldwide it is even near 2%, I'd be stunned. I do not know if those stats counted tablets and clearly did not include Linux servers.
    • by westlake (615356)

      LibreOffice comes pre-packed in most Linux distributions. If you want OpenOffice you have to download it from Apache.

      You aren't suggesting all those 50 million downloads were to the Windows PC and the Mac?

    • "LibreOffice comes pre-packed in most Linux distributions. If you want OpenOffice you have to download it from Apache."

      And the rest of the world--read Microsoft users--have to download it. That would explain the numbers right there.

  • Good Job (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trifish (826353) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @01:49PM (#43742903)

    OpenOffice is now proper open source as it is under Apache Foundation. There is absolutely no reason to maintain two branches of it now. It only dilutes the effort and weakens the well-known OpenOffice brand. You should end the fork before it does even more harm.

    • Re:Good Job (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @01:55PM (#43742971)

      OpenOffice is now proper open source as it is under Apache Foundation. There is absolutely no reason to maintain two branches of it now. It only dilutes the effort and weakens the well-known OpenOffice brand. You should end the fork before it does even more harm.

      Fine by me, end the OpenOffice fork and give LibreOffice the name. That is what Oracle should have done when they decided to hand OO over to someone else.

      • If the efforts actually merge back together, it is more likely that LibreOffice would join Apache/OpenOffice and not the other way around.
        • LibreOffice is licensed under LGPL, like Sun OpenOffice.org was before it. Apache OpenOffice is licensed under the Apache license, which is more permissive than the LGPL. There is no problem using Apache licensed code with LGPL code, however the Apache Foundation refuses to use any license that is less permissive than Apache license in any of it's projects. It is one of the core tenants of the foundation. So OpenOffice can choose to merge into LibreOffice, but the opposite cannot happen short of getting eve

        • This is not possible, LibreOffice code is licensed LGPL, it can't "join Apache/OpenOffice".
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wisesifu (1358043)
      I disagree,

      OpenOffice brand was already damaged by Oracle and I believe by giving it to Apache they wanted to continue the damaging effect of the way they handled to community.

      Why not give it to LibreOffice? When they realized they where wrong and it was time to dump the code, why give it to Apache? Why not give it to the people already doing development, previous community members?

      I think OpenOffice while it may have been downloaded more times its LibreOffice with the uptrend, with the following.
      • What is the basis for your claim that "the brand was already damaged"? Do you have any evidence for that? And if you did, how could you distinguish damage caused by Oracle from damage caused by the LibreOffice fork?

        I read this claim, and I'm sincerely interested in knowing whether this is just FUD, or whether there are any facts behind it.

        • by Microlith (54737)

          how could you distinguish damage caused by Oracle from damage caused by the LibreOffice fork?

          You can't. But it was Oracle's project to act on and they decided to be as uncooperative as possible, even more so than Sun. So LibreOffice was born and much progress was made in spite of Oracle. Then Oracle decided to dispense with it and carelessly tossed it aside to Apache.

          • by unrtst (777550)

            While I think that the LibreOffice folks had some valid complaints, there has been an awful lot more stink made about it than was necessary. They could have stated their needs/complaints, proposed their forking plans should certain criteria not be met, and just went on their way when that didn't happen. Many of the members did just that, and didn't raise a big stink.

            However, it's not helping anything to say that "Oracle ... decided to be as uncooperative as possible". They just took over a very large and wi

    • by Microlith (54737)

      You have a history of telling people what to do. How about you take the initiative and resolve the licensing conflicts between the two projects?

      You should end the fork before it does even more harm.

      Blame Oracle, they catalyzed the split.

    • by berarma (1472191)
      Now proper open source because it can be shipped to users as closed-source? That must be great, in your mind. A lot of developers might not want their code to end being a closed source product for the users by looking at the number of LibreOffice developers. And me, as a user, I don't want that a closed-source OpenOffice fork with propietary extensions ends killing the original open source effort by becoming the new standard suite ala MS Office. That reason alone is enough for giving all our support to Li
    • Having two branches does not necessarily have to slow things down, it may actually speed things up by allowing an alternative possibility where new features can be tried if they are not accepted to the other project. As long as the two projects coordinate to make sure improvements can easily moved between the two projects, it can be a win.

  • by jensend (71114) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @02:59PM (#43743751)

    Rather convenient Slashvertising, comparing total downloads for AOO with unique downloads for LO.

    AOO has been too busy removing functionality (my personal favorite: the wpd filter), having a license inquisition, and taking potshots at LO to get much done.

    Here it's now almost 2.5 years since OO 3.3, the last Oracle version, and the latest AOO version has no significant advances over OO 3.3-- instead it's got reduced functionality. In the meantime LibreOffice 4 has come a long way.

    Don't know why anybody bothers giving press to OO anymore.

    • by kthreadd (1558445)

      The primary difference is that LO is locked into LGPL, while AOO is free software under the Apache license.

    • by ras (84108)

      Well that, and if you are measuring the health of an open source project the number of downloads is meaningless. The only thing that matters is the rate of change of the code base. LO has more developers, they are doing more work, and the gap is only growing larger.

      In the end, the users will follow the developers. They don't have much choice really.

      • And measuring an open source project by code churn is also meaningless. Results are what matters in the end. Users choosing to download OpenOffice is certainly one form of results. There may be others, of course. But if project A makes X code changes and gets Y downloads, and project B makes 10X code changes and gets Y/10 downloads, then I don't call project B more successful. I call them an inefficient failure.

  • How many, 10? FAIL.

  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @03:38PM (#43744155)

    ... of the arguments over which FOSS office suite had got most users, people should recognise that there have been at least 65 million users of them not using Microsoft Office.

    This is a good thing.

    mind you, Microsoft says there are 750 million [winrumors.com] Office users worldwide, so we have a little way to go yet.

    • by msobkow (48369)

      Still, that's nearly a 10% hit to MicroSoft's wallet.

      Not a bad impact, all things considered.

    • I don't hate Office 2013 as much as some folks do. (I also got it for free from my school. Lucky me.) So I've got both 2013 for the people that insist I work in the Microsoft formats, and LibreOffice for everything else.
  • Microsoft complains about Office being illegally downloaded a few hundred million times a year.

  • The only reason I'd want Apache Open Office to merge into / with / from LibreOffice is this: To get the overall better suite, LO, using some of the uniquely cool features in IBM's very different fork of OO.o into IBM Lotus Symphony. Which, for those who remember the end-of-CP/M-start-of-PC era, has nada to do with Lotus Symphony, Lotus Development's follow-on to Lotus 1-2-3, which never met with its predecessor's success. But, it was a very early attempt at an "office suite" (spreadsheet-centric, MS/PC-DOS-

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