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


On 2020-02-28 15:51, Michael Stahl wrote:
On 28.02.20 15:04, 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. Sacrifices to user empowerment are

off-topic, but: how is Canonical related to any non-profit?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canonical_Ltd doesn't mention anything.

Mark Shuttleworth began the Ubuntu project with the express intention of keeping Ubuntu for the community while also creating Canonical as a for-profit company in an attempt to make a consumer-grade support/development experience. Ubuntu has a board wherein Canonical members were allotted a maximum number of a seats to guarantee community member additions. (Disclaimer, I haven't spent much time in the Ubuntu ecosystem for some number of years now so things may have changed).

Over time, the boundaries between Ubuntu/Canonical dissolved as more user-hostile measures made its way into Ubuntu - Not enough money was being made from Ubuntu's lackluster business models (AFAICT, selling *tshirts* was practically the only long-term revenue stream they retained...) so the Ubuntu platform slowly degraded into a distribution that went from "not recommended by the FSF" to outright labelled as spyware.

I believe that Canonical is related here because, like TDC, the proposal appears to be that a for-profit entity be given exclusive rights to a trademark to a supposed community-owned product. Like TDC, Canonical's founding idealized Shuttleworth's pessimism that free software could survive without a for-profit entity as its protector.



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)?

what exactly do you mean? the majority of bugfixes and new features already come from developers employed by companies such as Red Hat, Collabora, CIB, and this has been the case for most of the existence of the project. of course most if not all of the developers employed by these companies consider themselves members of the LO community, and why shouldn't they?



Like the Linux kernel, the product's ecosystem benefits greatly from external for-profit organizations' contributions! But I would point out that these businesses do not own the LibreOffice product itself - they merely contribute or create their own commercial fork. There's nothing wrong with this, of course! But imagine if Debian had granted rights to its trademark exclusively to Canonical back in 2005. Debian would be a very different distribution today if it were under the stewardship of an entity expected to turn profits. And the community would likely not be happy with the Debian project as a whole: It'd be just another consumer distro and the tenets guiding Debian's community would have likely withered.


Simon claims that I'm overstating TDC's influence - that will be addressed in its relevant thread. My reply here is only to expound on how I found Canonical relevant to my questions.

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