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Re: [board-discuss] Fwd: Questions for the candidates to the board of directors of the Document Foundation


Hi Charles, dear Community,

below my answers to the MC questions:

1. Do you commit yourself to have enough time and the necessary
technological tools in order to participate to the regularly scheduled
board calls?

Yes.

2. Do you commit yourself to follow up and work on (at least) the main
items and actions you have volunteered to oversee or that have been
attributed to you by the board?

Yes, absolutely.

3. What are your views on the foundation's budget? How should the money
be spent, besides our fixed costs?

The foundation has an articulated, specific mission [1]:

- to eliminate the digital divide in society by giving everyone access
  to office productivity tools free of charge to enable them to
  participate as full citizens in the 21st century the ownership of
  office productivity tools by monopoly suppliers which imposes a de
  facto tax on global electronic free speech and penalises the
  economically disadvantaged

- to support the preservation of mother tongues by encouraging all
  peoples to translate, document, support, and promote our office
  productivity tools in their mother tongue the creeping domination of
  computer desktops by a single language forcing people to learn a
  foreign language before they can express themselves electronically

- to allow users of office productivity software to retain the
  intellectual property in the documents they create by use of open
  document formats and open standards the ownership of file formats by
  proprietary software companies – documents belong to their creators,
  not software vendors

- to an open and transparent peer-reviewed software development
  process where technical excellence is valued

So personally, my decision making tends to be guided by those broad
ideas, with a clear preference (when given the option) to attract
contribution, make working for LibreOffice or the Document Liberation
Project more effective & fun, and generally have every Euro of
donation money spent (into tools, mentoring people, outreach &
marketing) return tens of Euro worth of enabled volunteer time.

4. Should we work towards broadening our pool of contributors, both
technical and non-technical?

A resounding yes!

5. Should the Foundation -as an entity distinct from the LibreOffice
project or the Document Liberation project- engage into growing its
influence and promoting and defending Free Software and Digital Freedom?
It is, after all, an integral part of its mission per its very Statutes.
If yes, do you have ideas on what should be done about this?

It is in TDF's self-interest to continue promoting and defending Free
Software and Digital Freedom. The most natural way for us to do that
is to keep LibreOffice successful, growing, and fun.

At this stage, I think there are other organisations much better
positioned to do generic FLOSS & Digital Freedom advocacy, so I don't
believe we should divert focus (and resources) too far away from
LibreOffice & DLP. This is not to say we shouldn't raise our voice to
support those fighting for that in public, nor missing opportunities
to share our vision in the political arena.

6. How do you view your (potential) role as a member of the board of
directors, given that this position does not give you any specific
functional role inside the LibreOffice or Document Liberation projects?

In the board - I'd like to make things running smoothly in the
background, for others to do their work & have fun. I have some idea
what that entails. ;)

7. What is the biggest problem of the foundation in your opinion? What
is its biggest opportunity?

I don't think TDF currently has any particularly nasty problems, which
ironically might be its biggest problem - becoming too complacent,
leaning back, and to stop improving would be a terrible thing.

TDF's biggest opportunity is the fact that we're at the center
(jointly with a few other large FLOSS foundations) of a sea change in
the software industry - opensource has won & became the norm, and it's
moving up the software stack, from compilers, to operating systems, to
complex userspace applications. If we play this right, there's no
reason why our software in the end shouldn't be as portable, and
pervasively used, as e.g. the Linux kernel.

[1] https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/TDF/Next_Decade_Manifesto

All the best,

-- Thorsten

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