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


Hi Charles, Dear members of the Document Foundation,

On Mon, Nov 02, 2015 at 05:38:59PM +0100, Charles-H. Schulz wrote:
However, I would like to ask a few questions about your views and
intentions regarding the Document Foundation and your plans as potential
directors of the entity. I hope they will be helpful in englightening our
membership and hopefully, all of you will be able to answer them.

Thanks for the initiative here!
 
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. I am confident to be able to continue to volunteer time for both the
foundations broader goals and tedious chores as I have in the last four years,
first as a deputy then as a director. Also I do not foresee stepping down
before the end of the term from the position I am applying for.

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

Both LibreOffice and the Document Foundation already made an amazing history
and the budget available to the foundation grew along with it, which we should
consider extremely fortunate. Yet, for the goals of the foundation, the
foundations budget is just one part contributing. Thus in addition to the
desires of the members of the Document Foundation, multiple other groups have
to be respected and taken into account: the donors, lest the foundation will
lose its funding; those sponsoring developers and mentors, lest the project
will not continue to onboard new contributors; and most importantly those
donating time and sweat by contributing to the project themselves. "Taking into
account", however never means that the foundation should divert from the goals
set in its statues.

The most clear cut investments the foundation can make is when there is an
effort or resource that allows to kickstart, bootstrap or unblock volunteers
and contributors into a self-sustaining mode that is beneficial to the
project. Experience shows the most scarce resource at the foundation is time
donated to project coordination, communication and leadership -- as such,
proposals that can show promise in that area, or do not require much support
beyond plain funding, have a huge bonus here.

Also in the name of transparency and in respect to all the stakeholders named
and with the constraints given above, proposals that proactively show their
progress in public help all members, donors and contributors to the Document
Foundation see that the donations are well spent. Not only is this helping for
marketing the projects themselves, it also prevents in-project jealousy and
builds trust in our governance. Sadly, this is not possible for every effort,
but wherever possible its is greatly helpful -- in justifying the funding
itself and beyond.

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

An unconditional and enthusiastic yes! I would even say that this is the
primary goal for the foundation as all other goals depend on this. An important
follow-up is to ensure these contributors can become self-supported.
 
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?

The Document Foundation engages in promoting and defending Free Software and
Digital Freedom: Document Liberation and LibreOffice are lighthouse projects
for both. This comes with a lot of responsibility: Hardly anything would hurt
the goals given more than omissions or negligence to nurture our core projects
for which the Document Foundation has the ultimate -- and largely unshared --
responsibility. There is some room for the Document Foundation to go beyond its
core projects for the broader goals, but given the constraints described above,
it should be clear that this should be mostly focused on unblocking
self-motivated volunteers.

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?

The role is simple (and yet hard in the grinding routine and attention to
detail needed): Enabling, supporting and unblocking those actively contributing
to the projects (technical or non-technical).
 
7. What is the biggest problem of the foundation in your opinion? What is
its biggest opportunity?

Five years of LibreOffice is a long time. Both LibreOffice and the Document
Foundation grew through both skill and also a fair share of luck. Yet our
current position isnt something that can not be taken as a given: A lot will
change over the upcoming two years. Without getting reckless, we need to stay
hungry and stay foolish. As we continue to grow, the biggest challenge will be
to adapt the project to scale along. As for opportunities: The LibreOffice 5.0
release finally established us a strong and unchallenged fundament to grow our
user share and by extension the numbers of contributors and contributions we
will need to accommodate for making open source productivity the default for
everyone. I am looking forward to face these challenges.

Best,

Bjoern

--
Bjoern Michaelsen
Member, Board of Directors
Key fingerprint = C8BE 3F1F 92CB 2646 17FE  361D DCD9 C191 E48D BF5F
The Document Foundation, Kurfürstendamm 188, 10707 Berlin
Gemeinnützige rechtsfähige Stiftung des bürgerlichen Rechts
Legal details: http://www.documentfoundation.org/imprint

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