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Re: [board-discuss] How is TDC compelled to keep the user first?


Hi Brett,

        First thank you for your questions; cogent, lucid, well articulated &
challenging :-)

On 28/02/2020 14:04, Brett Cornwall wrote:
Other Free Software projects have had for-profit entities created
underneath the stewardship of a non-profit; Mozilla Corporation and
Canonical are two living examples.

        Perhaps in both these cases - the difference is exclusive ownership of
the TM here, and they totally dominate their ecosystems & communities
whether intentionally or not. I guess Mozilla looks to me structurally
not unlike TDF plus TDF's captive business entity.

        Similarly the intention with TDC is not to build a Mozilla style
monolith that hires developers - but to contract that out in order to
grow the number of independent companies & individuals contributing to
development. That can help to build the ecosystem. Over time - new
companies and individuals will want to diversify their revenue sources
and evangelize LibreOffice to new customers, and niches. We saw this
historically with Nokia's investment into Maemo - a flourishing of many
companies and interest and investment.

Canonical has made similar
sacrifices (e.g. Ubuntu One proprietary service integration,
cease-and-desists towards fixubuntu.com).

        I know nothing of the specifics here. TDC will emphatically not own the
LibreOffice brand: TDF will.

        TDC will have a limited, unilaterally terminate-able license and
limited exclusivity to use it in app-stores.

        So in the case of a (critical?) website - TDF could give them a license
to use the brand in a suitable way as now; why not.

1. How would TDF intend to protect users against the inevitable
temptations to prioritize money/brand over users/computing ethics? "We
can always pull the plug" is not a compelling argument as that's only
used for the direst of circumstances, not the slow poisoning of the well
that Mozilla have experienced.

        I would imagine that the TDF members can elect boards that would put
pressure on TDC to stop doing that ultimately up to and including the
option of pulling the plug by choosing to revoke TDC's TM license
unilaterally.

2. How will TDF assure communities that the creation of a for-profit
entity to manage branding that the above examples will not occur?

        Hmm; I don't see TDC as managing branding, I would expect TDF to do
that. I would expect TDC to follow the branding coming out of the
marketing / UX teams in the community - that TDF are involved with.

3. What assurances does TDF offer that assuage fears that the lifeblood
of LibreOffice will pivot from one of community involvement to one of
company culture (with community involvement as a PR spin)?

        So - I think this is an excellent question for any corporate or
non-profit's involvement in FLOSS. It is the same question whenever TDF
hires a staff member to do something the community can also do - and
there really is no easy answer. TDF staff (typically) have a heavy focus
on not per-se doing the job, but growing and enabling the community
around doing that job.

        Beyond that, having many diverse entities and individuals contributing
is surely a good thing; certainly rather than a monolithic organization
which both Mozilla & Ubuntu are.

        My 2 cents anyway,

        ATB,

                Michael.

-- 
michael.meeks@collabora.com <><, GM Collabora Productivity
Hangout: mejmeeks@gmail.com, Skype: mmeeks
(M) +44 7795 666 147 - timezone usually UK / Europe

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