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Hi SC members, :-)

Charles wrote an excellent set of Community Bylaws. I would like to
see them officially adopted and applied. And I would like to see the
various committees and governance systems in the Community Bylaws set
up and become active.

I feel that this is important for the future of LibreOffice. I
strongly support the project, and I want to see it succeed. I think we
need to take action quite quickly.

I have noted how the level of involvement and contribution by "active
community members" has tailed off. I have noticed how few user support
queries there are on the user support list. It is my impression that
the level of contribution to development is also decreasing.

We have a situation in which a key project resource, the
libreoffice.org website, is becoming the center of pushing and pulling
for control over its development. Decisions are needed about the
website's management (editorial team), and about the future direction
of its development (the question of Drupal adoption is becoming
extremely disruptive and divisive in this fledgling project).

I personally have experienced wanting to implement 2 great initiatives
(proactive contact with Linux projects, and organization of interviews
with BBC TV and radio for Charles and/or other SC members) only to
find certain SC members strongly discouraging me to take action,
refusing to give any constructive consideration, or totally ignoring
me and not giving any reaction at all on the subject.

When I have suggested bold initiatives, there have been very
proprietary, "control freak" reactions from some SC members, with talk
of "this is so and so's field of responsibility", and I'm strongly
discouraged from taking the idea further.

These attitudes and some other attitudes I have encountered from
certain SC members are contrary to the
principles of good meritocracy and equality of membership laid down in
the bylaws.

Personally, I sometimes get the impression that there is currently a
three-tier membership in this project: new community members like me:
1 vote. past OOo community members: 1.5 votes. SC members 3 votes (or
simple dictation of decision). I have had this impression a number of
times while contributing work to the project. I know that there are at
least *some* other people who would agree fairly closely with this
assertion. I have an impression that, "All members are equal, but some
are more equal than others". :-D

The SC was a necessary institution when TDF was first launched. But it
was only supposed to be a temporary body. Some SC members now seem to
becoming rooted in their positions of decision-taking power. The
situation is becoming undemocratic and non-meritocratic. IMHO, it
starts to resemble a form of "Communism going wrong". ;-)

I seriously believe that, if you do not take quick action, the
LibreOffice project is in serious danger of imploding within the next
couple of months or before the end of the year. Contributors will
progressively drop away. Less and less work will be contributed.
Ultimately, tensions will arise within the SC itself, and
disagreements will break out; if the SC itself were to fragment, the
LibreOffice project could end up orphaned.

In the present situation, you cannot attract more corporate
contributors/partners to the project, because there is not the
necessary governance. The SC lacks proper legitimacy. If you do not
take action fairly soon, could you perhaps even end-up losing the
corporate contributors you currently have (Novell and Red Hat)?

Even if TDF does not now have the funds to establish itself legally,
there is nothing to stop you implementing the bylaws at a moral and
organizational level right from the present time. You might then
attract more financial contributions to enable you to set up a legal
structure in either Germany or the UK.

I hereby request you to discuss the issue of formal adoption and
implementation of the Community Bylaws during either the next SC
confcall or - at latest - during the next-but-one SC confcall (if you
need time to prepare), and to take some formal decisions in this
respect within a short time frame.

David Nelson

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