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Re: [board-discuss] Re: Some problems.


What if as part of the $5 (or $2, something accessible) annual co-op membership with Libreoffice 
you got access to the support forums? Those who wanted to spend the time to help support the 
project to provide free tech support to others would feel good knowing that the people they were 
helping were giving back to Libreoffice by being a co-op member, and those who were receiving 
one-off technical support would have to pay for the membership to get access to the support forum.

Yes there would still be reddit and other channels, but knowing that using the forum to provide 
support might push those altruistic people to only use the forums to give support, and this could 
snowball into a larger membership.

Just a thought I had rereading what I wrote. There's digital real estate here that can be monetized 
in a privacy respecting, non-community killing way that will also benefit eco-system partners IMO.

    On 08/07/2020 10:44 Kev M <kevm@mailbox.org> wrote:


    Hopes this works as I've never used a mailing list before..

    1) I'm making the assumption, not having this information, that Collabora Office is cheaper 
than Microsoft Office and other Office Suite software. How much cheaper is it? If it's just as 
functional as competitors but it is less expensive, and has other advantages, there is a 
profit-making market for it:

    1) a) This is that it is open source, and can be reviewed and audited for security gaps. In 
Canada, Europe, Russia, and other countries there is a significant concern that geopolitics in 
entering into the realm of technology. Governments are becoming more concerned about the USA and 
China installing monitoring software for political and industrial espionage reasons.

    Why does Collabora not position itself as a secure/open-source/auditable solution to security 
issues. Isn't this the reason the German federal government chose Nextcloud, and the reason the 
Italian military chose Libreoffice?

    1) b) To that point, Michael you raised points about the UK and French governments not paying 
for Libreoffice. This is surprising to me and shameful IMO. These would be large, relatively 
sustainable contracts to pursue, and I would suggest that working more with the FSFE's Public 
Money Public Code initiative, and presenting it to them from the perspective of; you're using 
things, we're having trouble sustaining it, we're hoping you will purchase, will be a potentially 
successful strategy. That or do they get that Collabora is the premiere developer and TDF isn't 
developing this for free? If they've already institutionalized the software it might be worth 
tugging at the rug under them a bit and telling them the project may not be able to continue as a 
going entity because the contractor they used is not providing any contributions to the 
development of the software. But this leads to my later point about trustmarks.

    1) c) Does Collabora and/or the TDF not have a dedicated government relations advocacy 
employee in Europe/North America/Other market countries? There are many discussions that occur at 
the government relations level that lead to contracts and exposure of opportunities to companies.

    2) That the TDF is not adequately promoting it's enterprise vendors is a failure of the TDF's 
marketing committee and the contractors that they hired. I have followed LO and AOO for years now 
and I've noticed that the TDF marketing committee is unwilling to promote LibreOffice in modern 
ways. There seems to be a lack of focus on communities outside the FOSS environment, which 
doesn't make sense because it's like setting up a booth to advertise bibles at a religious 
convention. Why does Libreoffice focus on attending FOSS conferences instead of International 
Government conferences? The NGOs that use LibreOffice for free would be obliged to let 
Libreoffice attend the WEF, Davos, and other places. Is there the potential that the leadership 
of the Marketing at TDF is not thinking out of the box, or too small?

    3) SaaS model - recognizing that all the costs you just listed to set up small clients is 
cost prohibitive and that you would need to get 10,000+ clients for it to be viable -- I would 
only suggest that because it's hard and maybe expensive doesn't preclude the idea that this may 
be one of the best options to generate sustainable income.

    3) a) Personally I was excited at the opportunity to pay for LibreOffice support via 
Collabora as an individual. I couldn't, because I needed to have several employees first to 
justify it. Instead I donate to TDF, but apparently this money is holed up in a bureaucratic 
bunker because of issues of distribution. There's a couple problems here: 1) It suggests the TDF 
needs a regulatory review to streamline it's operations. 2) again, the TDF isn't being proactive 
enough - are the people working there the right people to accomplish the organizations mission, 
or are we just being polite because they've been loyal for a long time. In that case we might be 
looking at an old boys club situation.

    3) b) In some non-profits, there is no ability to donate directly, the foundation is 
supported by the enterprise companies based on the profit they make. Could the TDF create a 
certification body with a Trustmark that says only these companies are able to provide enterprise 
support for Libreoffice. Meaning the TDF does not sanction other vendors slapping on Libreoffice 
to their solution and hoping it gets updated to fix bugs by Collabora and CIB, etc. These 
certified companies would then pay for the certification on an ongoing basis to remain in good 
standing, as well as donate to the TDF to maintain its operations. This would also have the 
effect of keeping TDF staff more accountable to metrics set by a small group of knowledgeable 
individuals. (Something would have to be done for keeping community representation available to 
unaffiliated citizens such as myself. Haven't thought that far.)

    3) c) Just building on this and what others have written; Nextcloud has issues as well, but 
again, the LO website needs to do a better job of featuring vendors. I agree with what was 
written about displaying enterprise supported versions on the TDF website with a drop-down or 
some other format. As stated in point 3) b) I think instead of a donate button, saying that 
Libreoffice is free, but if you'd like to contribute to development and support, consider signing 
up for LibreOffice Online, or paying for a monthly or annual support license.

    3) d) how are these large companies and governments sitting on advisory committees of TDF and 
not providing any funds for its growth?

    4) Co-operative model - has the TDF considered setting up a model in which LibreOffice is run 
as a multi-stakeholder co-operative? This would entail paying an annual membership fee in order 
to vote for members of the board of directors. These non-corporate board members could then 
reflect member concerns and issues. People will pay for democracy if its a small amount, say $5 
USD, a year. It creates a democratic institution, increases engagement, and also provides 
sustainable income. There are lots of people looking into the concept of platform co-ops to 
create sustainable software that doesn't sell-out.

    5) Eurocentricity - If you read the document foundation planet - throughout the year the TDF 
sometimes features volunteers working in countries like India, Indonesia, and other low wealth 
countries where schools, non-profits, and small businesses are using LibreOffice to provide 
betterment to humanity. I get that we're looking for sustainability from rich enterprise 
countries, but I think it's possible that this is another marketing angle - Germany, France, the 
EU, the UK, Quebec/Canada, and other countries are starting to fund software to provide licenses 
to these poor countries. Can Collabora receive grants from the government aid organizations to 
give digital access to poor communities. Can this be position in a marketing way to rich people 
in rich countries that want to (at the end of the day, alleviate the guilt of their inequality) 
help others position TDF/Libreoffice as software helping the third world. Because it is already 
and it's not being marketed as such.

    5 a) Does the TDF not have a grant writer to get funding from developed governments for the 
work they're already indirectly doing in these underdeveloped countries?

    Just some thoughts on how Libreoffice could evolve, generate income, and do things in a way 
that doesn't start creating "editions", which is a road to the destruction of the project. I also 
think someone earlier referenced that this could be interpreted as being against the TDF bylaws, 
so those might need to be changed anyway.

    I would recommend taking maybe 200k of that 1.5 million bucket and hiring a strategic 
consultant (not one from McKinsey, or Deloitte, or any of those profit maximizing consultancies) 
to look hard at the TDF's current management structure and operations, and provide 
recommendations on business model solutions. It sounds like there are structural issues and there 
hasn't been action on evolving the organization to look at new markets for things that 
Libreoffice is already really good at: namely - Privacy, Government costs, Public Money/Public 
Code, NGO/Emerging Market Aid grants and contracts.

    I'm being critical here but not trying to place blame on any particular person at the TDF. 
I've worked at organizations before where everyone is working too much for little pay based on 
the lack of understanding by sponsors/stakeholders at what's being done. And that is a 
marketing/communications/advocacy issue. I love the LO project and what it does for digital 
accessibility in poor countries, churches, community groups, and other places that Microsoft and 
other big-tech firms exploit. I don't want the wrong step to be taken that leads to the eventual 
loss of community of the project. (Which btw I still don't get the justification for the lack of 
a Discourse or NodeBB forum on TDF. How outdated is the ask.libreoffice software? 5 years now?)

    Cheers,
    Kevin


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