The Document Foundation
Board of Directors Meeting 2020-02-28
Session chair: Lothar Becker
Keeper of the minutes: Michael Meeks
In the meeting: Lothar (Chair), Franklin (Deputy Chair), Michael
(Board), Daniel (Board), Thorsten (Board), Emiliano (Board), Cor (Board,
from 13:10 on); Paolo (Deputy), Nicolas (Deputy); Florian (ED), Stephan
(AA); Marco, Dennis, Simon, Ilmari, Brett, Guilhem, Eliane, Sophie, Gabriele
Chairman of the Board is in the meeting. One of the Chairman or Deputy
Chairman is required to be present or represented for having a quorate call.
The Board of Directors at time of the call consists of 7 seat holders
without deputies. In order to be quorate, the call needs to have 1/2 of
the Board of Directors members, which gives 4. A total of 7 Board of
Directors members are attending the call.
The board waives all formal statutory requirements, or requirements in
the foundations articles, or other requirements regarding form and
invitation, time limits, and for the topics discussed in this meeting.
The meeting is quorate and invitation happened in time. From now on,
motions can be passed with the agreement of a simple majority of those
remaining present. The majority threshold is currently 4.
The meeting commences at 13:02 Berlin time.
1. Q&A: Answering Questions from the community (Lothar and Franklin,
max. 30 minutes)
Rationale: Provide an opportunity for the community to ask questions
to the new board and about TDF.
Questions Eliane via e-mail:
- Why new company will be located in UK?
Simon: Could be incorporated anywhere, not doing cross-border trade
dealing with MS & Apple.
so most important issue - is staff employment
most likely to be commercial marketing, contract, project
will need to work in an office with CEO of TDC
wherever its CEO lives - will need to be the place it is
so can work under local employment law with them.
Current proposal is to have Simon as CEO, so makes sense
to be in the UK
UK have Community Interest Company (CIC)
+ registered to serve the interests of a specific community
+ allows TDC to serve the LibreOffice community without
Reason not wanted to be a subsidiary
+ TDF has a broader role than just this
+ Legal, regulatory and other risks could apply
+ and so can insulate TDF from liability in a way
that ownership & control would not.
Question of how to - communicating needs of TDF -> TDC ?
+ handle money from app-stores & spend it on LibreOffice
+ amount of operations money is smallish
+ code contributions would have to go through stock ESC
+ if there is a cash surplus - needs to be donated to TDF
+ regular input from TDF should not be necessary to do this.
UK: CIC - can state in incorporation - surplus is donated
+ without having formal ownership & so direct liability
If TDF is not part of TDC (Dennis)
+ Version 0.4 of the paper - was a note, that TDF
controls TDC indirectly
+ is that no longer a part of this ?
+ That is still there (Simon)
+ but this is done through a non-ownership approach.
+ rights to appoint director, and share ownership
would be seen as control
1. company is a guarentee company: limited liability
+ a group of members - pay a small sum in the
case of it going wrong
+ those members - can appoint initial directors.
+ also entitled to add/remove them in the future.
+ members in control of directors if they choose
+ initial members: steering committee TDF put in
+ will continue to appoint people to that body
to steer it.
2. Branding is vital to TDC
+ LibreOffice has that brand recognition for
+ so being able to act as the exclusive agent
for TDF in app-stores
is a very significant element here.
+ without this right, TDC would struggle to function
+ so TDF can put rules & controls in the TM
agreement to ensure
that the brand is correctly used.
So - the combination of the purpose of the CIC - to
serve the LibreOffice community,
and the TM agreement - gives TDF the ability to
direct the overall direction
without becoming the formal owner.
Statutes of CIC ? Dennis)
+ there will be written - that BoD members are elected
from TDF board ?
+ No; keen indeed, to avoid the perception of ownership
by TDC (Simon)
+ anticipating that the TM agreement provides safety
Process is underway, articles are drafted & definition of
+ at the tail end of discussing that with Michael,
Thorsten, Uwe, Nicolas
+ hoping we can make that available to TDF members
+ can see CIC36, and INO1 form, and articles of association
+ not going to find written explicit control by TDF
+ because it's not good for TDF
+ implicit control
If TDC does something bad ? (Dennis)
+ expect TM license to have unilateral revocation on 30
notice by the TDF board (Michael)
+ and this is highly effective
+ if it goes wrong, TDF has authority to withdraw this
+ no real rules around this.
+ but important for both parties to co-operate
+ so can expect clear communication around difficulties
ensure that they understand each other well
+ expect the TM license to be like the other ones TDF
+ but with 30 day notice, and at the Board's discretion
+ so eg. can withdraw CIB's license at 1 days' notice.
Gabriele's microphone not working
+ also use board-discuss@ list for questions (Lothar)
+ a concern wrt. cash-flow wrt. funds to work on code (?)
Concern wrt. having same people in both boards (Gabriele)
+ will not be the case, TDC - a commercial board with no
overlap with TDF
+ anticipate having a paid board incl. a lawyer, financial
controler & a S/W business background
+ not drawn from TDF board.
Lots of questions (Paolo)
+ would like to see articles of incorporation
+ but heard members - who can influence direction
+ who are the members, and how to become one ?
+ seems like anyone could become members
+ a straightforward company limited by guarentee (Simon)
+ we can define who can become a member in the articles
+ its not open membership
+ the BoD has to approve each membership
+ using the model articles for a CIC with a large
+ basically ~unchanged - so it is easiest to approve
+ will let the directors decide who the members are.
+ if want to become a member - let directors decide ?
+ if I become a member can decide what directors do
+ 'member' has a specific legal meaning: (Simon)
+ share the liabiltiy if the company is wound up
+ before incorporates: subscribers, afterwards
+ to become one - agree to share liabilty, and
ask BoD to
approve of what's going on there.
+ I think that for the survival of the project,
donations answer (Eliane)
for themselves. So who exactly is interested in the
+ read that as "who is interested in it?" (Thorsten)
+ outgoing board, and so far incoming board is
+ we need something like TDC, which
complements what TDF can do
+ a shared understanding with old & new boards
+ read that as "surely all TDF needs is donations
+ donations depend on users downloading the S/W
+ this looks like it is becoming harder for
+ future looks like "Windows 10S"
+ donations come from downloads - so without the,
+ TDF has to spend against its mission
+ and this has proved extremely challenging.
+ each BoD has talked on how to invest
+ TDC is one vehicle to keep us spending money
+ will have other meetings in future (Lothar)
+ thanks - particularly to Eliane who asked the question &
triggered this !
+ perhaps think about use of Jitsi for next time: >20
2. Discuss: Areas of oversight (Lothar and Franklin, 5 minutes)
Rationale: Fill in the missing names (marked with ***) and agree on
the final list. Final vote then via e-mail.
employees: Michael Meeks, Thorsten Behrens, Lothar Becker
infrastructure: Franklin Weng, Emiliano Vavassori
QA: Cor Nouws, Nicolas Christener
documentation: Daniel Rodriguez, Emiliano Vavassori
native language projects, translation, marketing, non-English QA
activities etc: Franklin Weng, Daniel Rodriguez
certifications and other business development activities: Franklin
Weng, Lothar Becker
development & releases including schedules: Michael Meeks, Nicolas
license: Michael Meeks, Thorsten Behrens
events: Cor Nouws, Paolo Vecchi, Emiliano Vavassori
affiliations, e.g. advisory board, peer foundations, politics:
Nicolas Christener, Lothar Becker, Paolo Vecchi
marketing, communication & design: Cor Nouws, Franklin Weng, Daniel
assets, finance: Thorsten Behrens, Cor Nouws, Lothar Becker
contracts, hiring, taxes, legal compliance, GDPR, trademarks and
brands: Lothar Becker, Paolo Vecchi, Michael Meeks
3. Discuss: Changes to Rules of Procedures for the new board (Michael,
Rationale: trying to reduce mail volume by speeding up voting
procedure on consensual topics. Final vote then via e-mail.
Proposal: topics not on the board agenda 72 hours in advance can
still be voted on in board meetings - but in the event that a board
member later wishes to alter their vote, or a non-present member needs
more information they can vote to defer the decision by e-mail in the
next 72 hours. Such decision to then be taken in the next scheduled
board, and such item to be considered to be on the agenda for that board
+ for example the previous item - lets avoid 10x mails & hassle
+ so if someone complains in 72 hours we re-reach consensus
+ if some substantial changes are made in a call (Thorsten)
+ or if a proposal is not brought to the BoD before the meeting
+ people do need time to grok that.
+ a useful measure - in a diverse board -
people can read at a leisurly pace, think it through.
+ 72 hours delays things.
+ its only for things not on the agenda in advance (Michael)
+ so no delay.
+ wasting time to vote in BoD call (Emiliano)
+ doing it later via E-mail is better.
+ no major issue - esp. if agree something is urgent (Paolo)
+ or has a small impact, all in a meeting and agree on something
+ then agree - just do it, and that's it.
+ suggest lets see how thigns are working with the new board (Thorsten)
+ re-visit in 3 months time.
+ see how it is working.
+ if full BoD is present - can fix problem that its'
not on the agenda and can vote it through.
+ concerned to codify something leading to rushed decisions.
+ what is the concern wrt. last-minute topics ? (Cor)
+ 1st one to speak up & say need to think about it.
+ happy to defer if people actually vote by E-mail (Michael)
+ will ensure we look at this again in 3 months (Lothar)
4. Discuss: Minutes and informations from the board to the bodies
(Emiliano, 5 minutes)
Rationale: Discuss about and finding two or three board members for
defining a workflow and the mechanisms to share the minutes with TDF‘s
bodies and the general public. This Workflow proposal to be discussed
via e-mail or during the next board meeting.
+ suggest strenously avoiding having private board meetings
+ unless there is a good reason for those
+ proposals tabled in the meeting itself,
with no advanced notice - terrible style
+ Emiliano, Thorsten and Florian will conduct a concrete proposal
for that to the board
Public meeting ends 13:50 Berlin time.
Lothar Becker (Session chair)
Michael Meeks (Keeper of the minutes)
Florian Effenberger, Executive Director (Geschäftsführer)
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- [board-discuss] Minutes from Board of Directors Meeting 2020-02-28 · Florian Effenberger
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